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Monday, December 7, 2020

Even As A King, Elegushi Is Still Romantic — Olori Sekinat Opens Up About Husband

 Olori Sekinat, speaks on her businesses, philanthropic activities, fashion and relationship with her husband, Oba Saheed Elegushi.


 Olori Sekinat

Oba Saheed Elegushi and Olori Sekinat

In this interview with Sunday PUNCH, the queen of Ikateland, Olori Sekinat, opens up about her philanthropic activities, businesses, fashion and relationship with her husband, Oba Saheed Elegushi.

***

What are the most important lessons you have learnt over the years that have helped you in the course of your life?

I have learnt that it is very important to be patient.

Ever since you became a queen, what are some of the things you have had to unlearn and relearn?

I learnt how to be more accommodating and patient. As a private couple, it was just me, my husband and our children. Though it had always been a royal family and we used to come to the palace to visit my father-in-law who was the king then, and also attend functions. But back then, it was not compulsory. If I did not want to attend, I would not. But when my husband became the king, those things became necessary. I did not like going to parties but now, I have to attend them regularly.

Also, I have to see to the affairs of the community, especially as regards women, chiefs and siblings of the king. Before we came to the palace, we did not usually have lots of visitors in the house. Even when he was going into politics, he did not bring it to the house. He had a campaign office and that was where he conducted his political activities. But now, I have to accommodate everybody and make sure they are well treated in the palace.

What are the innovations you have brought to bear at the palace and Ikateland in your capacity as queen?

I give God the glory for all we have been able to achieve. One of the most important things we have done is the Quality and Selfless Empowerment Foundation. We care for mothers and their children. We have also been able to help many women in the community. The face of the kingdom has really changed. We have been able to introduce some modernity into the way things are done.

Are there things you are no longer able to do as a queen?

No. There are even things I was not doing before that I do now. Before becoming a queen, I did not like attending parties or applying make-up. But now, I have to do a lot of that.

Are you enjoying that new side of you?

I would not say that. It is a lot of stress having to do make-up and tie gele (headtie) from Thursdays to Sundays. And one cannot say no. Anytime the king is invited to an event, I have to go with him.

What led to the set-up of the QSE Foundation?

I had been engaged in philanthropic activities silently for about eight years without funds from anybody. However, some of my friends were of the opinion that I had to let people know what I was doing. So, in April 2019, we started reaching out to more people and visiting orphanages and hospitals. Since then, we have visited a number of hospitals including Massey Hospital, Island Maternity Hospital and our health centre here in Ikate. We have also visited an orphanage in Ajah.

What are the most pathetic cases the foundation has dealt with?

When we visited the Mother and Child Hospital in Ogombo (Eti-Osa Local Government Area) on January 1, 2019, we met a one-year-old autistic child who was in so much pain and I was really touched. I went there with my three daughters and we almost shed tears.

Also, at Massey Hospital, we saw some children in the incubator. I did not have an idea of what was going on in hospitals until I started the foundation. In some of the hospitals, there were no beds to put the newborns, so in some cases, they put about four children on one bed. The mothers would sit on chairs because there were no beds for them.

Some people could not also pay their hospital bills and we assisted them in doing that. I saw so many things that were touching.

You started your career at Marbell Nigeria Limited. What can you recall of your time there?

The company is owned by my dad and it is into importation of printing paper. I worked there as an accountant. That was also where I underwent my one year national youth service. I worked there for about three years and stopped after I had my first child.

Why did you decide to study Accounting?

I initially wanted to study Business Administration but my dad wanted me to be his accountant. He wanted me to go further and be certified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria but I said I did not want to.

Considering that it wasn’t your initial choice, did you love being an accountant?

Yes, I liked it then because I love handling money. My background in accounting has helped me over the years because I am prudent and know how to manage funds. That is why my husband can entrust so many things in my care.

What were some of the challenges you faced while setting up your company, SekSah Nigeria Limited?

I did not really face any challenges because my father helped me out. I operated a boutique and it was an interesting experience. It is something I could still consider doing in future.

One major challenge I faced in the business was in the area of importing the items we sold. Customs gave us a lot of stress by asking us to pay different fees and levies. That did not help the business at all.

When we visited the Mother and Child Hospital in Ogombo (Eti-Osa Local Government Area) on January 1, 2019, we met a one-year-old autistic child who was in so much pain and I was really touched. I went there with my three daughters and we almost shed tears.

Also, at Massey Hospital, we saw some children in the incubator. I did not have an idea of what was going on in hospitals until I started the foundation. In some of the hospitals, there were no beds to put the newborns, so in some cases, they put about four children on one bed. The mothers would sit on chairs because there were no beds for them.

Some people could not also pay their hospital bills and we assisted them in doing that. I saw so many things that were touching.

You started your career at Marbell Nigeria Limited. What can you recall of your time there?

The company is owned by my dad and it is into importation of printing paper. I worked there as an accountant. That was also where I underwent my one year national youth service. I worked there for about three years and stopped after I had my first child.

Why did you decide to study Accounting?

I initially wanted to study Business Administration but my dad wanted me to be his accountant. He wanted me to go further and be certified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria but I said I did not want to.

Considering that it wasn’t your initial choice, did you love being an accountant?

Yes, I liked it then because I love handling money. My background in accounting has helped me over the years because I am prudent and know how to manage funds. That is why my husband can entrust so many things in my care.

What were some of the challenges you faced while setting up your company, SekSah Nigeria Limited?

I did not really face any challenges because my father helped me out. I operated a boutique and it was an interesting experience. It is something I could still consider doing in future.

One major challenge I faced in the business was in the area of importing the items we sold. Customs gave us a lot of stress by asking us to pay different fees and levies. That did not help the business at all.

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