FORMER LTV 8 newscaster, Foluso Ogunjimi clocked 50 on Wednesday, November 6, 2013. Rather than an elaborate party, the professional marriage engagement practitioner chose to plant smiles on the faces of the needy. She spoke to ENCOMIUM Weekly about life at 50 and more…
Recently, you and your staff and students visited Ghana, what was it all about?
To refresh ourselves. We go like that once in a year. We only chose not to make it within Nigeria this time around, so that my students and staff could be a little bit exposed to what is going on outside Nigeria. In Ghana, we visited few places and we were able to compare culture and traditions, their ways of life that are different from ours, especially their marriages. These days most Nigerians go to Ghana for their weddings. Again, in the last one year, I have coordinated more than 10 Nigerian/Ghanaian weddings. So, I see them as partners in progress.
With your experiences, what differences are there with the way we do our own wedding in Nigeria and theirs?
There is a lot of differences but the one that caught my attention and interest most is the fact that their own weddings are not as elaborate as we do here in Nigeria. With N100,000, you can do a society wedding in Ghana but here you think of the decoration, event planner, the venue. It is not like that in Ghana. They don’t have anything like aso ebi, the bride’s parents may decide to wear the same Kente they wore on their own wedding. There is moderation in everything they do. There is a touch of elegance and class in Nigerian wedding. In Ghana, they hardly go outside their country to marry other nationals, they marry inside their country.
Which other countries have this engagement job taken you to?
I have been to Maryland in USA, London (UK) in most cases and Ghana.
While in Ghana which interesting places did your team visit and what is the impact of the trip on everybody?
We visited the slave trade area, we were in many beautiful places in Ghana. We visited the Nigerian High Commissioner. He was very accommodating.
Since the inception of the Professional School of Engager, how many have graduated and are working?
About 10 have graduated and they are working. Three of them are working with me, others are on their own. Some left before graduation and they confided in me that they thought the job is easy and they realized it’s not like that. Within one year they were subjected to all sorts of trainings. Here, you learn many songs from different tribes and nationalities like Ghanaian songs, South Africa songs, UK national anthem so that when you have a job there, you can cope.
Recently, you seemed to have slowed down at social gatherings?
I think I am busier than ever before but in the last one year, I decided to handle only 60 per cent of the jobs because of my husband. By virtue of his last two appointments, my attention is highly needed wherever he works. In the Nigerian Navy, once your husband becomes Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), the wife becomes the coordinator of the Naval Officers Wives in that region. His last appointment was FOC East, I had three states under me to coordinate – Cross River, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States. We call our association Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA). We are into charity and taking care of the homefronts. I needed time so I had to cut down on the number of engagements I get. Already, my joy is that I have competent hands. About four of my ladies can go out and do any kind of job confidently.
What about cases where the celebrant insists on your presence?
There are cases like that, when they insist and it did not clash with my programme, I go for it. But if it does, I will explain myself because if I am in the job of making homes work my own must also work. I give my husband 100 per cent attention that he needs. If I make all the money and fame in this world and my home is not in order, I won’t enjoy it. I thank God for our clientele. Majority of them know me very well and they always respect my request.
Where exactly does your husband live now?
In Abuja, he is in Naval headquarters. When he was FOC East, he was in Calabar, but now he is the Chief of Trainings and Operations. He resumed that office February 2013.
Where are the children now?
They are adults now, two of them are in the UK, one is in Cyprus. Two have completed their Masters degree while one is still an undergraduate.
You just clocked 50, you don’t look it, what is the secret?
Age is a thing of the mind. I don’t feel 50 because my nature as a person I am very free with people around me. I play with people. Calendar says I am 50 but as far as I am concerned, I am still a youth.
Why don’t you want to throw an elaborate party to usher in the golden age?
Such a time is coming not yet.
How do you intend to celebrate it?
I decided to bless the widows. I told my staff to give me names of widows or any needy woman, maybe somebody who needs N50,000 to make ends meet, N20,000 for business. I decided to give to the people from what God has given me. I have been blessed through the job I do. So, I want to bless others.
Looking back 50 years now, what will you be thankful for?
I thank God for everything. I am a bundle of testimonies. When I look back and see where I am coming from, all I want to say is thank you God. If you can think very deeply you will know how to thank God. I am not fulfilled yet because I am a living soul. For my age, my status I thank God.
While growing what were your dreams and aspirations and were you able to accomplish them?
To a certain level, yes. But I still have many more mountains to climb, mountain to glory. I am not yet a grandmother, that is one of the things I look forward to. My first son is 28 and whenever I speak to him about marriage, he would tell me to relax. My greatest wish is to see my own children marry and bring forth children.
Any regret about life?
Not at all, by the grace of God.
Are there things you can no longer do by virtue of your age?
The only thing I thought I would do at 50 is to retire but as it is, no retirement for now. I deliberately put in my voluntary retirement at LTV 8 because I wanted to relax a little, but now I do more than when I was in service. I am so restless, because of the school and training I do more every day.
Does longevity run in the family?
Yes! By the grace of God, my grandfather died at 105, my paternal grandmother was over 100, my father is 83 now, he drives himself. He is active in politics, he farms, he does so many things on his own.
Do you still keep your childhood friends till now?
I still keep my friends but from my younger days I never had an intimate friend. I don’t believe in somebody dictating my life and I don’t do the same to others. The little ones I have appreciate me and I appreciate them. The only intimate friend I have is my husband.
What gift has your husband given you for your 50th?
He has already given me but I won’t tell you what it is. My family knows me. Anywhere they are on this planet they call me on my birthday to appreciate me. Last year, the baby of the house (he is 21), he is in Cyprus, he couldn’t get through to me via phone, he had to reach me through e-mail and that was all I needed. The best gift I get from my family is love.
Your plans for life after 50 and your school?
My vision for the school is for God to take us to where only Him can take us. We are limited as human beings but God is not. And for my future, it’s in the Hands of God.
– FOLUSO SAMUEL