Interviews

Feyikemi Niyi Olayinka on life @ 40 – ‘I am grateful to God’

Feyikemi Niyi Olayinka

Feyikemi Niyi Olayinka

ON Tuesday, February 28, 2014, one of Owuro Lawa producers and presenters on Lagos State Television (LTV 8), Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, Feyikemi Niyi Olayinka clocked 40.  The soft-spoken broadcaster cum actress expressed gratitude to God for attaining the landmark age.  The pretty mother of two children told ENCOMIUM Weekly the reason she didn’t roll out the drums to celebrate her birthday.

Instead, she is planning to launch her non-governmental organization (NGO) called Mother Supports Mother Tongue.  According to the Ibadan, Oyo born entertainer, the event will hold towards the end of April 2014.

She told ENCOMIUM Weekly this and much more when she granted us an interview on Friday, March 7, 2014, in Ikeja, Lagos.

On Friday, February 28, 2014, you clocked 40.  How does it feel attaining the age?

It feels great and lovely.  I am happy and grateful to God about it.  I thank God for keeping me this far because the Bible says not to him that runneth nor to him that willeth but to him that God showeth mercy.  The Lord has been so merciful to me for keeping me this far.  We have some people that were born the same year with me, some didn’t attain five, some didn’t attain 10, some died before they got to 20 and more like that. But I thank God for where I am today.

Do you also subscribe to the popular saying that life begins at 40?

Life has always been like that.  Life is dynamic.  To me, life doesn’t start at 40. At 40, it’s just that you have to sit back and count your blessings, do a lot of reflections, know where you’re coming from and where you’re going. Then, know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, before hitting 40, its’ the right time to make a decision because after that it may be very difficult to make any meaningful decision again about life.  So, I believe life begins the day you’re born, it’s only that changes have to come from time to time as one grows.

What’s the significance of being 40?

I appreciate God first that I am 40. Left to me, I don’t feel older, it’s only that every day you gain more experience and become wiser.  So, I believe I am older and wiser.

Can you recall one of the experiences that you can’t forget in a hurry?

Each passing day is an experience itself.  But I thank God as a woman, I have experienced marriage, I am still in my marriage.  I have also experienced motherhood.  And being a daughter and first child of my parents, I have experienced leadership in the family.  I have also experienced being a role model to so many people, especially my children.  So, I have always gone through a lot of wonderful experiences.

When was your happiest day?

I am always a happy person but my happiest day was the day I had my first child. I felt so excited about it that I became a mother.  I saw my pretty child and appreciated the work of God from the baby.  Looking at her, I fell in love with her immediately.  And when I had my second child also, I felt very happy.

When was your child born?

She was born in 2003 while the second one was in 2008.  So, I feel so happy as a mother.

Are both of them females?

Yes, they are beautiful daughters.

When was your saddest moment?

I have lost so many important people. So, each time a loved one dies, I feel sad. I lost my aunty three years ago, my uncle also died last year. I also lost my grandmother. In short, anytime I lose a loved one has always been a very sad moment for me.

What were the things you’re doing before that you can no longer do at 40?

Nothing.  I am still myself.  There is nothing that can stop me from being myself.  Age is just a number. I don’t feel old.  I am still agile and very strong.  I still wake at 4 a.m, I still speak as if I am 20.

What lessons would you say life has taught you so far?

Life has taught me to take each day as it comes.  Life has taught me not to be anxious for anything.  It has also taught me to be contented with whatever I am.  Life has taught me that when you’re desiring something, you need to back it up with prayer.  Equally, life has taught me not to rely on my fellow human beings but God because man will always be man.

Let’s talk a little about your career, how many years have you put into broadcasting and acting?

Broadcasting 19, but I have put in 22 years into acting.

Are you fulfilled with the two professions?

Yes, I have never regretted for one day.  I know it could have been better.  I read Geography in the university, my major was Medical Geography.  May be I might have been working with World Health Organisation (WHO) or any multinational company.  But just like I said, I am happy where I am today.

Were there any goals you set to achieve before clocking 40 but you couldn’t achieve?

I just have one goal left unachieved. I know I will still achieve it.

What’s the goal about?

It’s a private issue.  It’s just between me and my God.  Every other thing I have set to achieve, God has helped me through.

Can we say you’re fulfilled at 40?

I am not totally fulfilled because there are still some things I am aspiring to achieve. But to God be the glory, I am contented with where I am today.

Tell us a little of your childhood, how everything went and all that?

I grew up in Ibadan, Oyo State. We were taught that honesty is the best policy.  Then, hard work.  We’re also taught to be content.  We’re taught that we came to this world with nothing and we will go back with nothing.  We were also taught to be truthful to everyone around us.

How long have you been married?

I have been in my marriage for 12 years.

Would you say you’re enjoying the marriage?

Yes, of course.  I am happily married.  To God be the glory.

What’s your advice for the younger ones?

They shouldn’t take things at face value.  Then, know the person you’re dealing with and marry your friend.  They should marry someone that if the chips are down, they can always have somebody to fall back on.

Let’s go back to life at 40 – a lot of people expected you to throw a lavish party, why didn’t you do that?  Are you planning to do something like that?

No, I am not. I am a little conservative when it comes to things like that.  But I am planning to launch my Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) called Mother Supports Mother Tongue Initiative.  We believe we mothers are the first for our children, and to preserve our culture, especially language, most of these responsibilities lie in our hands as mothers.  So, I am waiting till April when I will be launching the NGO, and also have a colloquium where we will be having guest speakers who are renowned Yoruba enthusiasts to talk about the role of parents in culture preservation.  That’s what I intend doing and maybe with light dinner and entertainment.

When exactly will that hold?

It’s going to be towards the end of April.  You will be invited when it is time.

–  TADE ASIFAT

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