Feyi Ogoji is the Group Chief Operating Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA). His marriage clocked 20 and ENCOMIUM Weekly had a chance encounter with him at the wedding of the son of legal luminary, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN). He opened up on how he has been able to juggle career and family life successfully as a top banker…
Most people believe bankers are married to their job. How do you juggle family and work?
There is no doubt about it that banking is stressful and a demanding career. It is a profession that requires a patient and responsible person because how well you are able to dwell on the job determines the outcome of your work, either in a positive or negative way. That is why most times, successful bankers will never lose focus of their family, especially their wives because of all their support in the home. They tend to ensure that things go well out there because you still need to have a home. In order to be able to combine both family and work, it takes a woman with good understanding.
What do you think are the wrong notions people always have about bankers?
Although, the job can be very demanding, does not mean you can’t have a balanced life out there. At the end of the day, banking is a job for the serious minded because a little flop can lead to a drastic fall and you would have to face the consequences. Bankers are out there to serve their customers, to make sure they get the best services. And in order to achieve this, one needs to go the extra mile.
What would you count as the pains and gains?
In a nutshell, banking is not an easy career but its external ties determine the outcome in the government and the entire nation.
How does your family feel or react to you being a banker, especially being at the top echelon of a bank like UBA?
I happen to be married to a woman that we understand ourselves perfectly. I was once her teacher. We attended the same university, University of Lagos (UNILAG), and are still colleagues in the banking sector. As we moved on, the journey into our marriage began. We both have demanding jobs because she was also a banker at that time and we decided that I should continue with my banking job while she takes care of the home because the home is very important. After 10 years of banking, she decided to join UAC Foods. So far, my family has always been in support of what I do and we understand each other perfectly.
What attracted you to your wife?
The relationship between me and my wife started almost like a teacher to student relationship. Back then, I saw a young, intelligent and beautiful lady, very unassuming and reserved. It started like a joke but the more I got to know her, the more attracted I became to her. I saw everything I wanted in a future wife. A bonus to all that attributes was how she turned out to be a very beautiful young lady. Although, that was not the major consideration. I would say, she is a blessing.
Was there any time you had to choose between your career and your family?
There is no union without its own ups and downs but from the outset, we knew what we were getting into. The only period that we had to consider between the job and the home was when we took that decision that she should look at other areas where she would continue to work and as well take care of the home. My wife is a very hard working woman and if she had remained in the banking industry, she would have been one of the top flyers today. But then, the home is equally important.
How successful would you say you are in the banking industry, as a father and a husband?
To the extent at which my children are happy and proud of me as their father. I am indeed happy but at the end of the day, I want to see myself as someone that can impact on not just my immediate children but also to the young ones out there. The reality of success is not much of what you acquire or gather but the number of lives that you are able to touch positively, that you can look back and say “Thank God, I met this person”. It is good to be good and of course, I owe it to the generation after me to see my own approach to life, the way I have been able to live my life such that it gives hope. Surprisingly, one man who has been a source of motivation from childhood has been Chief Olanipekun (SAN).
What are some of the lessons that life has taught you?
The reality is that, with prayers and God on your side, you can be whom you want to be and aspire to get to the top of your chosen career by staying focused. So, if there is any great lesson that life has taught me, it is how to stay focused.
Can we know more about your background?
I am number three out of five children. As a young man, I tended to have gone round in the pursuit of my academics. I started my elementary education in Ekiti State and at some point, I had to travel with my uncle to Jos. From there, he was transferred to Abuja. When I got to primary four, I was sent back to the South so I wouldn’t have to spend 7years in primary school. I completed both Primary five and six at Saint Luke’s Primary School, Ikere Ekiti. When I completed my secondary education, I worked briefly at Leventis Motors in order to be able to put money together to continue my education. After that, I went for A’levels at Ondo State College of Art and Science, where I laid the foundation of my accounting dream and to the glory of God, I came out as the best student which got me a direct admission into the University of Lagos (UNILAG), to study Accounting. Because I wanted to be a chartered accountant, I registered for it immediately I completed my university education. After five years, I was already a qualified accountant and I moved into the banking industry. In 1991, I moved to the defunct Oceanic Bank as one of the pioneer staff and here I am today, I can’t be more grateful to the Almighty God.
– DOLAPO AMODENI