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Martha Najoma : Sparkling like a Diamond at 60

Beauty before age is what a woman like Martha Eseoghene Najomo (Nene Atatah) lives by. At sixty, the diamond merchant, renowned for selling only 18-carat gold and diamond from the best craftsmen and traditions in the world has held onto her relationship with God, attributing all her success to God at the slightest opportunity.

She started out as a classroom teacher. As time passed her path detoured from a classroom teacher to entrepreneurship, and since then, she has enjoyed remarkable success and upliftment.

Blessed with seven lovely children including three lawyers and a pilot, she has kept the tradition of discipline in her family which is evident in the way she brought up her children to become responsible people.

As the first daughter of her mother and the second child out of ten children, she learned to take responsibility at a very tender age– a circumstance that has served as a motivating factor for her to strive.

In this interview with the Mediaroomhub crew, she bares her mind on the place and worth of women in society–talks about how parents can prevent their kids from drowning in a private swimming pool and goes further to highlight her life story weaved with grace.

Q: You Recently turned 60, and from all indications, you still look good, what is the secret of this good look?

A: First of all, God. I would say, God, because even if I am a gym rat or a gym freak, God has to give me a good health to be able to do that. After God, I’ll say I love myself, I truly love myself, and I do everything to keep my sanity. I do everything to keep my physical outlook as well. I am always at the gym from Monday through to Thursday—even if it is not the physical gym, I exercise at least five days a week except Sundays and Thursdays. Sundays I go to church. So, after God, I make an effort to keep my physical look and my physical appearance.

Q: Where do you draw your inspiration and happiness from?

A: Happiness comes from within (inside) and you owe yourself that because happiness is free. So, you can tell yourself that in the midst of very rocky situations, you have chosen to be happy. And once you are happy from the inside, you radiate to the outside. That’s my belief.

Q: Looking back, what are the things about your life that you wish you could change if you had the power?

A: I had that interview at my 40th, I had it in my 50th, I had it at my 55th and I’m hearing it again at my 60. The truth of the matter is that I believe that there is a divine plan of God for everybody and so, whatever route God has taken me through to get here, I wouldn’t want to change anything. I don’t believe in regrets. I think it is purposeful for God to take you through things if he has to take you through things. Whatever I have done in the past is the past, it is behind me. So, with no regret at all, I am happy the way everything has turned out. Whether beautiful or not so beautiful, everybody has a low moment, a desert moment, and a high point. I am just happy—no regrets at all.

Q: Growing up as a young girl, what did you plan to become and how did your path detour to where and what you are now?

A: I wanted to be a lawyer, but my father wanted me to be a teacher. So, I was in a secondary school, St Theresa’s college—if you read my biography, you would see that, and my father came one day and said he’s taking me out of here to Teachers Training College Warri and at that time, as the first daughter and second child of my mum, I had no say. But the good thing is that, what I could not achieve, my daughters have done for me, I have three kids who are lawyers.

Q: You went straight to business after school?

A: I became a teacher first, and by the time I finished my first degree, I started working. I was a teacher after my NCE, the teachers training college. So, I started teaching but I went for my first degree at the University of Benin. When I came back, I branched off to work with a company called….. and someone made me lose my job at the time, and after that, I said to myself, I can as well be a CEO myself, because from age 9 to 10, I was already selling for my mum—I was already buying things for my mum. I was always inquisitive about the prices of things she brings in and she will tell me. I was already selling things, so I was like ‘I am an entrepreneur, I can do this, I don’t have to work for anybody and so as soon as my job ended, I didn’t go back to any salaried job, I started a business.

Q: Tell us about your childhood and some of its remarkable moments that you still vividly remember and smile about?

A: I Think it’s only the memories of my grandmother that would make me really smile. My mother was too much of a disciplinarian. My mother would literally tie me up if I did something wrong. I was always looking forward to those times when my father would drop me off on holidays with my little bicycle in the village and I will be with my grandmother in the village. Her name was Ishanu which means perfume. She was my idol; she didn’t believe that you have to beat children to correct them. To her I was smart, and I was doing everything that a child of my age should do, but my mother didn’t believe that, my mother believed in discipline and correction. I followed her everywhere like her escort and didn’t have to do anything then I would ride my bicycles all day and I was also free from the beating of my mum at least. So, I look back and realize that I really had an exciting childhood. We were many, my father had 22 children, but my mother alone had 10 out of the 22, but we were a close-knit family. I am not from a very rich but we were comfortable. My father had a lorry in those days, and I think I enjoyed my childhood, but being in the village with my grandmother was the thing that did it for me.

Q: What are the things you learned from your grandmother that have kept you till now?

A: I think I learned more from my mum. You know how grannies are, my daughter is always shouting that I want to spoil her children (she giggles). As you know, grannies want to spoil, mothers want to correct them. So, from my mum, I learned that I can be anything I want to be. I think that is why she was so hard on me. I was the first daughter and I needed to carry everybody along. I had 8 people behind me—she knew she was not going to stay for too long, so she had to prepare me in the best way. My father died as soon as I left Uniben and my mother died at 67—very young. I learned that you can do it yourself, that you can be anything you want to be, and that it doesn’t have to be a man coming to do anything for you. So, while my mother was married as the third wife to my father, the first and second wives had like two children before my dad married my mum but my mum as the third wife had a place for herself. My mother can literally have a child and get to work the next day. Just like my last sister who works with me at my office now, my mother had her on the 19th of December, I can never forget and on the 22nd she was on her way to Onitsha to do her trade—in just three days, that’s the kind of woman she was. So, she taught me hard work, and I can never forget it. I pray for her every day.


Q: Between when you were growing up and now, what would you say has changed about the way parents bring up their children?

A: This generation is different. They call themselves Gen Z. I would not look at my mother in the face and tell her ‘I am not doing it I can’t. The one we have now, we have sent them to ivy league schools and they live abroad and they are even more oyibo than the oyibos themselves, and so they would look you in the face and tell you ‘No’. I was talking about my tribute with my daughter and she said why do you want people to write tributes about you at 60. What they celebrate in Africa is dead people and they’d say ‘o my gem is gone, she was so nice, she did this, she did that. For me, if I am a gem celebrate me—I am a living gem and I am going to do things differently from the norm, and she was like you want people to wash you and I told her why would people wash me. I do a lot of charity for people and I am telling them to thank me, it’s only God who rewards me, but I want to be sure of what I am doing, whether I am doing things right or wrong. Our upbringing was totally different. I would do everything as the first child—I would go to school, come back, and still clean, and wash plates. For these ones, if there is no washing machine, you would have a house help that would be packing and washing so it is quite different. But one thing I tried to do is make sure that they are responsible people. I would sponsor you if I have to pamper you, when I have to be serious with you, I would be serious with you. But you can’t compare the upbringing we had and the one we have given to our children. The one thing I have done is to inculcate a culture of being responsible for yourself. A little example is the case of my sister who was complaining that I have a lot of daughters and I’m not teaching them how to cook and each time I sent them to the cook to learn, they would come back with one complaint or the other. I told my sister that when they find themselves in a position to be responsible for themselves, they would learn. I told her that when they leave home, they would be no house help. So, my last daughter went to Malvern St James in England for her A levels, she finished and went to Exeter and she had to cook because at the A level they cook for them, but in the university, you have to cook for yourself. So, she calls me one day and told me she wanted to cook jollof rice I gave her the recipe and now she can cook almost everything. In fact, she was teaching me how to make salmon the other day I went to her house. We teach them with words mostly, but our parents will slap them. That’s the difference.


Q: There has been a lot of campaign and awareness about the girl child bothering on mental health and self-love, what advice do you have for the upcoming mothers regarding how they should groom their girl children?

A: Self-love is very important. Very important. Without being proud or giving myself some kind of accolade, I don’t think I brought up daughters who are not conscious of their self-worth. I raised girls that are tough, I raise girls that know their onions—I raise girls that know that a man is important but you have to determine what you want for yourself. You will love your husband and do everything with him, I won’t even interfere but you know when to draw the line. And so, everyone went to school to the glory of God, everybody is working except my little boy—the only one left now who is not working. I taught them to understand that they are as important as men because from the bible, God created a man and a woman and it is said that he created them both and so God says I am bringing you as a helpmate for the man not as a slave for the man. God created a man from dust and created a woman from the ribs of the man which is stronger than the dust but women don’t know their place—you have to respect your husband, that’s true it is in the bible, but before God said to a woman be submissive, he said a man must love the wife as himself as Christ loved the church and died for it. So, when you love me as yourself and you can die for me, submission follows without you asking for it. Women think they are frail, but they are not—they are stronger than they think. The first thing you have to do as a woman to get your self-confidence is to be financially stable, what are you bringing to the table, you must work. You must have money of your own. I had a rough patch at the beginning of my marriage, and my late friend Ginika kept telling me to do something. She would always remind me that I was the best graduating student at the masters level at the University of Lagos why I’m I sitting at home doing nothing, I’ll tell her that my husband would not let me work and she would rebuke me for doing that to myself. She reminded me that I am the first daughter of my parents with just a brother older than me, so I have 8 siblings who are older than me. I am coming from a good home with a tough mother who had been working all her life and was working at the time I got married so I can’t sit at home and do nothing. Women should not believe that their lives depend on a man because I don’t think so. Yes, he is supposed to be your head because God said he should provide as the head. I don’t believe in a full-time housewife because they will be times when the man will be down and you need to raise him up—that’s why God created you as the wife in the first place. Women should think outside the box of full-time housewives. I teach my children about work—that they should work, they must save and they must be self-sufficient. A man can add value to your life with whatever he can bring, but you can’t wait for him to do everything for you. Relying on men for full financial assistance is not a good thing and I didn’t train my children like that.

Q: Who is a complete woman to you?

A: A woman who knows her self-worth—a woman who combines her work with homefront. A woman who knows the difference between work time and family time is a complete woman.

Q: The issue of domestic violence is on the rise in marriages and women nowadays feel they need marriage to be complete, what advice do you have for women on this?

A: I think most of those women who follow up with their husbands to the point violence erupts are jobless. I am saying this because through raising my kids, I will travel and come back. I have done the same business of selling jewelry for 29 years and I always make sure I give time to bringing up my children as well so I don’t see where I would have the time to go see who my husband is dating and would want to pursue my husband with a car, not like I don’t care or I don’t love home, I just don’t have all the time. I don’t think marriage validates anybody. I went to see a friend once, and upon entering her house, I asked the security man about her, her name is Timi and the security man told me no one like that lives there, so I called her and told her I am at her gate and she told me nobody knows her as Timi but rather Mrs. Somebody. When I met her, I told her she has lost it. You were first of all Timi before you became Mrs. Anybody.
Marriage is good because it is ordained by God, but you cannot now say that life is just about that—you have much more to give to society, you have much more to give to God, you have much more to give to everyone around you than a marriage that is killing you and you pursuing a husband who is cheating or set your house ablaze because of a man.

Q: There is this trend of children drowning in private swimming pools at home, what advice do you have for parents about how to prevent such a disastrous occurrence?

A: It happened to me. The first thing Nigerians and Africans would do is think that maybe I used her for ritual but that is not true. I brought my sister’s first son to my house and he had been living with me and was already about 8 years when the baby was born. Naturally, everybody calls me mummy. My sisters’ children call me mummy and call their mothers’ aunty Stella because as soon as they are born, everybody wants to stay with me and so they are here. So, Stella came to me, the year was 2019 and I was in bible school then—it was a terrible year for me—she told me she wanted to go with her child and she did and every time she will cry and tell the mum that she wants to come back to me. I brought her back here on a Friday on my way back from bible school and on Saturday Shade came to visit and saw her on my leg, she wanted me to carry her everywhere, so I told her I am going to see a carpenter and won’t be able to carry her. I was still at the carpenter’s place when they called me and told me Seraphina had drowned in my pool. They didn’t even tell me she drowned, they told me she fell into the pool and immediately I came back, I don’t know whether I flew or I ran and when I got to the hospital, the doctor told me we have lost her—she was dead on arrival. My life literally stopped because this girl was everybody’s idol, she was on everybody’s phone as the wallpaper and iPad. She was little and very smart. Why I am saying children drowning in the pool is demonic is because this was a very smart girl who knew that for you to go to the swimming pool, you have to wear your swimming pants, but the day she drowned I had ten people in this house and no one saw when and where she passed. Her nanny was washing clothes at the back and our security man was in front, but nobody knew where she passed into that pool. We had protectors in the pool and the child squeezed herself through the protector. So, I am begging everybody to secure their swimming pool at home, don’t put protectors that even your hand can go through. One of my friends also lost her only son in her pool. By the time it happened to me I was down, I was sober in my house for months and I prayed to God for another fruit of the womb for my sister while everyone on the other end kept telling my sister that I have killed her child. My sister’s husband came after a week and cheered me up he said I didn’t kill their child—he reminded me that I brought their son from Dublin, and enrolled him in a school here in Lagos without even telling him, why then would I kill their daughter. What I tell people now is that if you must have a pool in your house, you must protect it. Nobody must get into the pool except the protector is opened for the person, and the protector must be so tiny that your hand cannot even pass through it. After she died, I named my business after her—her name was Seraphina so I had to rebrand my business and name it after her. My children said they can’t enter the pool again so I had to shut it down for three and afterward converted it to a cinema where we could just sit and relax. It is becoming very rampant. Besides the fact that you should get a guard, if you must have a pool, you should be able to afford a guard that would watch the swimming pool all day long. Secondly, you must have a pool cover whether it is fanciful or not. Don’t rely on the nanny, cook, or every other person in the house to always protect the baby, because there were about ten people in my house when Seraphina walked into the pool and drowned but nobody saw it.
I had a strong conviction in God—I told God that nobody thought I could go to bible school because of my busy schedule. I told God that it happened in my house, that he will bring another daughter into this house, but my sister didn’t have the same faith. She kept saying that it took her 8 years to get Seraphina and that there was no doctor she didn’t see and nothing she didn’t do and I told her this one would not take her 7 to 8 months. So, one day, I was in my usual quiet place praying to God, and suddenly I saw the little girl that died—it was like I was in a trance or something similar, she held another girl and was climbing the stairs and I was like Seraphina so you came back and she pushed the girl she was with to me who was fatter. In the next three months, my sister took and afterward delivered a very big and beautiful baby who would be 12 years by December this year. So, when she came, I told her I am going to carry her to ivy and teach her how to swim my sister said over her dead body and I insisted that I will take her to the swimming pool myself, and I will ensure that there is a guard to watch as she enters the pool. Currently, she is so grown up and she loves swimming—she even represents her school in swimming competitions. Your pool has to be closed up regardless of how it looks because so many kids die in swimming pools.

Q: As a mother, what is your advice to Davido and Chioma at this critical point in their life?

A: God will heal them. They haven’t healed. Even for us, we have not healed but we are grateful that God replaced her almost immediately. It is a very sad situation and it’s different from a child who is sick and dies—in this case, you might just be playing with the child this moment, and the next moment the child has drowned and is dead. The mental torture of imagining how the child was struggling in the pool is a lot of pain. The day I heard about Davido’s son Ifeanyi, we were all crying in this house because we have experienced something similar and we know how devastating it feels. My daughter Nosa was on her way to Abeokuta when she called me and told me about the incident. She told she read that the child was alive and I told her that I don’t think the child is alive because drowning for children is very dangerous and the chance of survival is very slim. It’s a very horrible thing, but what I would tell them is to hold onto God. You can’t say they’ll heal even in the next five years even if they have other children because every child is unique. Isabella came after Seraphina died, and she is my idol but there is still a place for Seraphina that’s why I had to name my business after her so that we can remember her forever, but we are grateful to God that we were blessed with another. God will bless Davido and Chioma with other children. The pain might not go, but with time, by God’s special grace they would be fine.


Q: You do a lot of charity work, what inspires you to do that which you do for people?

A: When I was 50, I said I was going establish a foundation and would call it Omovigo, that is also the name of the girl that died in my swimming pool—that’s her native name. Seraphina which I named my company is her English name. I didn’t succeed in establishing the foundation because what I wanted to do was to focus on taking children that hawk off the street and people back home started dragging me, saying I am not from Lagos State. According to them, if I wanted to take children off the streets, I should start from my home state, Delta State. In the midst of all that, I decided to go visit sick people in the hospitals. I do IVS for pregnant women; I surrogate for them and also help adopt children for women who really need them. I branched off from the Omovigo foundation because I didn’t register it, but I still do my charitable work. From my tribute, you will get a lot, because I personally don’t remember most of the things I do for people. I went to Standard Chartered Bank and a lady saw me there, jumped on me, and told me she had been looking for me for 8 years—she recounted how I helped her years back. I don’t even remember most of the things I do. I try to help women who are suffering in marriages, I try to adopt children, I try to do surrogacy and I also try to help sick people among other things.
Let me tell you of a scenario that happened last week, I saw a cloth I like, and I was told it was made by Vicky James on the Island, and I reached out to them, and they told me the dress cost 1.2 million and I said over my dead body would I buy such a dress. My mother would slap me from her grave! I decided that I’ll give out the money as seed to at least 20 people I know that are sick right now. I’ll rather give the money to people who are sick at the moment than spend it on buying just that dress. I will call it alleluia seed, and I am not sending them the money because they are sick, I am sending them the money because they have to do thanksgiving and I am praying for them as well—I am tagging it alleluia seed for my 60th birthday, so I am sending money to everybody that is ill right now because they have to testify to the goodness of God.


Q: Tell us how about your journey into selling pieces of jewelry, and how did your path detour into selling pieces of jewelry?

A: Jewelries for me accentuate a woman’s dress, some people don’t believe in it. I actually started with costume pieces of jewelry—I don’t mean selling, I mean wearing. We were doing a program at the University of Lagos during my masters, I have a masters in the public admin. I had a few friends who will come to me and tell me my pieces of jewelry is really nice, and I would tell them that it was costume jewelry and they told me to start selling. Fast forward—I asked them where they think I could good jewelries to sell, and they said I should go to Kano. I went to Kano but at that time it was only the Hausa ones that we were buying, and I sold that for a few months. I started with Ginika who was going to Napoli at the time and she told me to go with her—she said I can’t be a full-time housewife after graduating as the best graduating student at masters level, so she asked me what I wanted to do and I told her I wanted to sell jewelries—I told her I love jewelries and was already selling the ones from Kano, so I got to Napoli with her, got few jewelries and started selling until Aunty Vera took me to Milan and Valencia where jewelries. But I have to leave and come back like three to four times because of the way they treat jewelries payment in Nigeria. Everybody could go buy shoes and dresses of a million and more, but when it comes to jewelries, they believe they have to get it on credit and so it was difficult for me at that initial stage, but I knew deep down in my heart, that I wanted to sell jewelries. I dream it, I sleep it—I wake up with jewelries as the first thing in my mind, so I went back to it. Luckily, one day, madam Shade Balogun told me, sister I think you are too big to be selling jewelries from your home—she told me she had gone to get a shop for me at Surulere, and I was just wondering how I will be able to run a jewelry shop in Surulere from Ikeja—I said I can’t, and she reminded me that my mates are running jewelry shops everywhere. She told me that when I leave my house, I will leave my house and go sit in my jewelry shop. She even gave me the receipt for the shop, and I thanked her and went to the shop and came. When I came back, I thanked her for paying for a shop at Surulere for me, but I can’t go to Surulere. One day she came back and told me she has seen another one near me here at Ikeja. I went there, saw it, and liked it. They actually did the first payment for the shop. It’s been wonderful since then, but not like a roller-coaster—I love what I do, and besides the fact that it puts food on my table, it is my passion. I can literally enter a party and I don’t know you, but the first thing I am trying to do to you is to adjust your earrings or any kind of jewelry on you. I have made a lot of friends, there is hardly any state house in Nigeria that I have not entered to the glory of God—not just to sell jewelry, but for friendship.

Q: ‘Diamonds are a woman’s best friend what does that mean, and is it also your mantra?

A: Let me explain what they mean by diamonds are a woman’s best friend—if you are tired of your gold, you would take it to a mallam, and he would weigh it on a scale and he would tell you what it is worth, but diamonds are not like that, there is no resalable value for diamonds. Anywhere you take it, they’d tell you they have to pop out the diamonds, so you are going to lose on it. So, they are your friends forever, you love them, you keep them and pass them from generation to generation, but there is no resalable value for them.

Q: If you become the president of Nigeria today, what are the three things you will change in the country?

A: First and foremost, I have never prayed to be a president or a senator I have never prayed to be a chairman of a local government. The economy is bad, yes. I think we are putting square pegs in round holes in Nigeria. Because for every sector—economy or hospitality and so on, they are people who are qualified and would know what to do, but they are not given the opportunity. Recently, I was talking to a friend and the person told me he is contesting for an electoral office. I told him I’m happy that young people are aspiring to lead and he told me he is just going there for his own share—I didn’t like that.
So, I don’t think I want to be anything, I just want to be me. The presidency should address the basic needs of Nigerians, because in America if you are not working, you have a place where you can go get food to at least eat. People are stealing money that they can’t spend forever—money that even their fifth generation can’t finish. Why would one person have a hundred houses? The kind of resources we have in this country can make every human being comfortable. My brother works happens to work in an oil company, and when he tells me the kind of oil that is stolen from us daily, I weep for Nigeria, and nothing is done about it. I don’t even want to be anything in Nigeria. I just want to be me. When I retire, I just want to have a peaceful and enjoyable life where I can go anywhere and do anything with Shade.


Q: Still on the previous question, what are the three things you will do to better the Nigerian system if you opened a ballot in a game and saw that you are the next president of Nigeria?

A: l would get people that can work with me, that is why I said that there are putting square pegs in round holes and so they don’t fit. I cannot be president and think that I know it all. The minister for defense will work on security, I will get people who are passionate about the job. Bandits kill people every day, and the minister of defense does not address the issue. I would get people that are qualified to work in every sector, I think that’s the solution. For instance, I read public administration, and you want to make me minister for health, what do I know about health? Okonjo Ikweala is an economist, she understands the job as the minister of finance, but she left and got a bigger job. If you listened to her while she was there, you would realize that you have to play their game to be able to work with them, or else they will frustrate you. I don’t think God will make me open a paper and see the president, no not at all.

Q: As a fashionable woman, what does style mean to you as a person?

A: I have had this interview before too, and I told them I don’t believe that one should have any particular style to hold onto, I stopped wearing just anything, and maybe because of my age, I have come closer to a few brands. But then I can wear an Ankara dress and feel comfortable in it. You have to know one, how is your physical shape, does what you are choosing match your body, because a lot of people just wear things because other people are wearing them. Like I went for Shade’s black history month, and everybody was wowed with my dress, and they all wanted it—I wore a piece of Ankara pants and a top. I told them with all due respect to look at their bodies first to know if they will fit them. I won’t see some other people wear something and I would want to wear it if it is not going to suit me. Style to me is what suits you. I have a friend who believed that you have to wear Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana dresses and all of that, but I don’t believe in that. Wearing expensive dresses for up to 6000 dollars is a waste for me. I would rather change that money and give it to people that really need it. I don’t think style is an expensive dress. Style is what fits you. For the day I came to Nike Art Gallery, I wore an ankara dress, and everybody liked it, but it didn’t cost up to 35, 000. It’s like I don’t have designer wear, but I just don’t think that is style. I think style is just what fits you.

Q: You are turning sixty and still look fabulous, have you ever felt the pressure to reduce your age?

A: I had this discussion with my daughter the other day, and I think she made sense when she said that people would not want to say their real age when they feel they have underachieved. I am very excited to be 60. I am one person who if I turn 50 today, the next day I tell my friends I am 51. I don’t think 60 is different from 40 or 50. I am grateful to God for giving me life, and good health and for giving me amazing children. I brought seven of them up and I am excited about my friends, I have very loyal friends, and I am excited about everything around me. So, 60 for me is not a big deal. I am not going to do like a big party like everyone is expecting—I just did a party for my daughter this year, and with what is going on in the country, I don’t think a party is what I should be glamouring for. I just decide that I will be doing alleluia seed as I had said earlier. 60 is the same thing as 40 and 50 and by the grace of God 70 in another 10 years.

Q: Have you had the fear of getting old?

A: Currently at the gym I exercise, I was the oldest until one woman joined us three to four months and without being boastful, I am the strongest. So, I don’t have any fears and I know that everything is in God’s hands. If he gives me the strength to keep pushing—to keep doing what I am currently doing at 70, I would continue. No fears at all.

Q: Do you currently have grandchildren?

A: I have three grandchildren and the fourth one by God’s grace is supposed to be born on my 60th birthday.

Q: So how many are you in the family?

A: We were initially ten, but two are late so we are eight now—my senior brother and seven of us.

Q: Your siblings do not joke about anything that concerns you, tell us about the bond in the family.

A: It’s just friendship and love but I try to support them. Like my sister Stella who they think is my twin, I took her from age seven—then I was teaching at a school in a village, so she has been with me for forty-three years. She married from my house. When I got married, she followed me and it’s been forty-three years. When she started selling clothes, I stopped buying clothes from everyone else. For the past ten to twelve years, she has bought every single thing you see on me. She sells dresses from the best designers in the world. What I do is, she brings them and I pay her. I try to also support all my other younger ones.

Q: Which is your favourite food?

A: It used to be rice and dodo but that was before I turned 40—like 20 years ago, but now I don’t think I have a favourite food, because I eat whatever I like. It depends, like the whole of this week, I haven’t really taken carbohydrates. Let me say meat because that’s the reason I am not really losing weight just because I eat too much meat. I am in the gym five days a week, but I eat a lot of meat, it doesn’t have to be beef—it could be turkey, chicken, or goat meat. One girl was telling me the other day to reduce the quantity of meat that goes into my system. So, I can say meat is my favourite food, no favourite dish but I eat everything.

Q: What is your favourite Colour?

A: When I was much younger, I thought red was my favourite colour, but right now, I am tilting towards bright things, maybe for my age I don’t know. But I don’t have a favourite colour. I love all sorts of colours.

Q: What is the first thing you do in the morning after you have prayed?

A: I wake up as early as 4:30 to 5: am and when I get to pee, I drink a glass of warm water. But as I get off my bed, I must say thank you Jesus because the truth of the matter is that nothing wakes you up except GOD, you might have your alarm on and you are dead and can’t wake up. So, I say thank you, Jesus, swim my legs out of the bed, take warm water and go back to be. By six o’clock, I have to come out to jog.

Q: What is the last thing you do at night before you go to sleep?

A: I don’t follow a particular pattern, I thank God for keeping me all through the day, I thank God for everything I have achieved during the day. There are times I watch movies and just sleep off, so there is no particular pattern I follow before going to bed.

Q: What is your greatest fear in life?

A: Fear is of the devil; God has not given me the spirit of fear. So, whatever comes my way, I believe God can handle it. I am a tigress—everything is in God’s hands, so no fears. The things you fear most are the things that come to you, so instead of fear, he has given you the spirit of love, power, and of a sound mind. So, you tell God to take control.

Q: If you were to go on a luxurious birthday trip, what are the five things you would take along with you?

A: My bible first, then I will take my clothes, pieces of jewelry, and a few books. My bible first and it is huge, I can fill my hand luggage, even if I don’t read it all the time, but I want it by my side all the time.

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