Temi Ajibewa, popularly known as Millionaire Housewife, is an award-winning business coach and a two-time Amazon bestselling author. In this interview by SEGUN KASALI, she speaks about her life experiences.
What was it like growing up as the only child, with single parent?
In my naivety, I was happy I had my mother to myself as an only child. I had all the attention. She gave me the best education and home training. It was amazing. It was when I became mature that I noticed some anomalies in my behaviour, outlook and expectation from other people. I knew I was not normal. When I clocked 19, I had this crazy knack for seeking attention, especially from older men. Once I saw that you were old and you had grey hair, something in me would begin to connect with you. That was when I would like to be your friend. And as you can imagine, many men saw it as an opportunity to exploit my naivety. I didn’t know I was not normal. I had this terrible need for attention and for validation. So, if I greeted you and you didn’t answer me, I wouldn’t think that you may not have heard me. I would think you heard me but chose to ignore me. So, I would internalise the pain and say ‘oh my goodness! What did I do to him?’ I didn’t know this until I became more self-aware that it was not okay for me to have grown up with a single mother. She was strong. She made me a fighter. But, it was not normal. It was not okay. When I got married to my husband, the gap even now became more obvious.
Did the anomaly make you lose your confidence?
Exactly. At a point, I lost my confidence because I had rejection all over me and I was always seeking validation. As a result, I began to stammer. I stammered so terribly for over 15 years of my life that even till now you still hear it because I have now been able to put it together. So, all of these were just as a result of the rejection I suffered. It was later on that I began to notice the trend that I was facing.
Honestly, amongst my peers, I just feel I am among the few lucky women who have been salvaged from that, because how I pulled out of it to be who I am today and to be married is nothing short of God’s grace. I can’t ascribe it to anything else. The moment I lost my mother, the whole thing just came crashing down. I was nowhere to be found. But, I am grateful for the family God how now put me in which is the family of Daystar Christian Centre. It was there I found a father, a mother, brothers and sisters. The family took me up, paid my school fees at a point. At a time, I was homeless, living from one friend’s house to the other and those friends were the ones I met at Daystar. Even when I now rented a new apartment, there was a man that was supposed to have taken full advantage of me. He saw me in church. I spoke to him and he said I should see him in his office. Then, in the office, he gave me a job. He paid my house rent. He bought me my first mattress and till today, he is still a father. Now, his company works with my company as our accountant and today, he is even a director in my company. Like I said, that is only grace because most men would say I would sleep with you before I help you.
What happened to your dad?
What happened was that he was married to a woman in the United Kingdom and he came back to Nigeria. According to him, his people wanted him to marry a Nigerian wife. So, my mother was available and they were dating. My mother felt it was a good idea because he was a Muslim. When she became pregnant, his wife got to know about it and threatened him. This made my dad to ask my mum to abort my pregnancy, but she decided to keep the pregnancy instead. When I clocked 17, he was apologetic but there was still so much gap. I chose to go and study Law so I could sue him. I had a first degree in English language. While my mates graduated and started looking for jobs, I went to study Law in order to sue him. But, while in school, I discovered myself more. I joined Daystar and listened to Sam Adeyemi and I began to rediscover myself. When I was in 200 level, I met my husband and I was 24 years old. He was just three years my senior but he was full of wisdom, understanding and patience. Now, his mum is my best friend; his father is my best friend. They took me in as the last child of the family. So, it was in UNILAG I decided to forgive my father and began to know myself. I went into entrepreneurship and I made money. In fact, I even placed my dad on salary. I have been paying him salary for five years now. So, I began to know myself and said to myself that, Temi, you are an amazing human being. Whoever does not love you has a bad taste and it is their loss not on you. I did a lot of re-wiring
Would you say lack of paternal care during childhood is also a contributor to the same urge most girls have for older men nowadays?
From my experience, yes, it is a contributory factor, in all honesty. I mean, I went to UNILAG and these men used to come and visit me in the hostel and it was always this case of are you really hungry that is pushing you to do this or is there more? Most times for me, it was not out of hunger, broke or poor. No. It was just affection. You know the sweet things that your father would tell you like you are beautiful, you are amazing. I love you. I think it is just human to just yield to such affirmation and then, any nearest person telling you becomes the voice. Now, I do not also close my eyes to the greed evident in most girls’ lives. They have a Blackberry but they want an IPhone. They want an iPhone 10. Honestly, I have been a lady who always pay my own bills. When I was in UNILAG, I was selling bread. I sold bread at MTH. I sold bread and accessories at Fagunwa Hall. I sold pure water, noodles, toast bread at Honours Hostel. When I was in the Faculty of Law, I sold recharge cards. So, if it was money I was looking for, I wouldn’t be doing those things. I would go to UNILAG bakery at 5am to get hot bread and I would hawk all through the hostel’s floor before going to take my bath and going to school. So, in my case, it wasn’t that I was looking for money. Mine was the case of emotion-deprived girl.
As a survivor, what is your advice for the girls and the emotionless fathers?
To the girls, I want to say well done because it is not an easy place to be. It is something that brings tears into my eyes. Having to live with rejection. It is not easy; especially not having around who you call your own father. So, I want to say well done for being so strong, for being so powerful and I want to now ask you to, please, get help. Trust me! What is happening to you is not normal and if you let it have its way, it will sink you and you will drown. It is going to push you into many things. People go into drugs for many reasons. They give in to peer pressure; they can fall pregnant. My case was terrible. Even for younger men, once you just tell, me I am going with you. I have had to go into stupid relationship with them and my friends would be asking me ‘are you okay, Temi? This boy and you?’ Just because he was giving me attention; he was hugging, he was caring; he loved and he was really available. So, I would say girls, please get help. Please, talk to a friend. Talk to somebody. Reach out to someone who can understand you but trust me you are a fighter because no one would know what you are going through. Pray about it and before you know God will bring your own man your way. My own man is my archangel. I am completely useless without him. He is the father I never had. He is the brother I never had. He is a full package. I feel I don’t deserve him most times. He is a compensation for all I have lost. To the men, I want to say well done to you. But please do better. If you dare to sleep with a woman and have a child, can you please grow some more balls and father the child because the ripple effect is crazy. It is happening now. We are sitting on a keg of gun powder. It is going to explode anytime soon. With the number of Baby mama, responsibilities and lots happening with single mothers it is crazy. We need our men to be better. And I am happy I have two boys. So, I have this responsibility to bring them up to be better men. And you women too have to be responsible. If a man has not defined the path of the relationship, can you be responsible? If he says he loves you, can you please ask him why? Make sure it is concrete before go into it. Stop having babies for irresponsible men. This will force the guy to behave better.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him on my way to church on a Wednesday because I was in the media department. So, I had to go to church early. As I left school that day, he was in the BRT bus I was boarding. So, we met in the Brt. We were both standing in the Brt bus. I was reading while standing. So, he began to peep into my book and when I got down at Ojota, he followed me and said, ‘I want to be your friend.’ I didn’t give him my number because he didn’t look like someone that had money and I felt if he had money he wouldn’t have been in a Brt bus. I asked him to give me his own number and promised to call him. Later that evening, I sent him a text message. I just noticed his kindness. That is the word. He is kind-hearted. He can go the extra mile for you.
You are called ‘Millionaire Housewife’
The Millionaire Housewife was an alias I was given back in 2014 while training some women on profitable online businesses they could do from home. The training was tagged, ‘The Millionaire Housewife Course.’ From then, my students began calling me The Millionaire Housewife. Although I have evolved into being known as The Electric Temi, now as a transformational business coach, a lot of people still refer to me as The Millionaire Housewife.