By Christian Agadibe
The pulpit may be the exclusive reserve of clergies and men of God but evangelism comes in diverse forms. In this interview with Daily Sun, Princess Folashade Olabanji-Oba, a real estate consultant and founder of Shelter of Grace, preaches the virtue of endurance and patience as key elements upon which today’s women can build lasting marriages.
She spoke to Daily Sun recently about her organisation and other issues.
Can you tell us about your early days?
For me, growing up was fun. I remember the days of my youth with nostalgia. Funny enough, I still crave what I enjoyed then, and I was blessed with wonderful parents. Although, things were not always rosy but we got along because they understood that the children came first.
Interestingly, my father was semi-literate while my mother was illiterate. They were bent on giving us quality education. My father was a disciplinarian who ensured that we were brought up the right way. Of course, sometimes, my mother felt like my father was being too harsh on me but he raised me like I was boy because he, indeed, had wished that I were a boy.
What kind of girl were you school as a teenager?
I was like every other girl of my age. I loved dancing, listening to music but I still loved my books. I went off to the boarding school from my primary days and coming home for holidays was something I looked forward to, so that I could help out in my mother’s retail business. She was into textiles and once I came home, she would wake me up by 4am to get ready to follow her to the market. Most times, I returned late and when we were home, she made sure we had quality time.
As a young girl, what did you aspire to be?
I wanted to be a lawyer. I liked to feel that I was representing everybody’s interest. I liked to share and take care of people even though, I was very fragile and didn’t like trouble, yet, I felt people listened when I talked. Then, when I left secondary school and got admission to study law at the university, my mother felt I was too young and should go for my ‘A’ level. Fortunately, I ended up studying business administration. My mother was really interested in it because she felt I had acquired some basic entrepreneurial skills. As luck would have it, I veered off into real estate.
Why did you go into politics?
After studying Business Administration, I studied Real Estate and Mortgage Banking, which is what I am still doing now. As a Real Estate consultant and developer, politics came out of my desire to serve God. It started like a pastoral ministry and I made up my mind to give my life to God. As at this time, so many things were not right in my life. People expressed concern for me and I needed inner peace. For me, peace is priceless, but the peace I so much crave comes from knowing and loving my God and giving Him all, no matter the challenges I was going through. Then, I realised that I could reach out to children. Thereafter, I started it through the community. Funny enough, I ventured into politics because of voluntary services, which is the Shelter of Grace.
What is Shelter of Grace all about?
It is an empowerment and training centre. It was formed so that the down-trodden may have a voice, especially the women. It is, however, not restricted to women alone because we have a lot of men that have passed through the centre and were trained in different fields like agriculture, fish farming, mechanics, shoe making and so many other things.
What do you think is responsible for broken marriages in Nigeria?
I think there is an element of luck in everything we do in life and marriage is not an exception. Parents should always pray for their children to be successful in marriage because it is one thing that can make or mar you. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you meet a prospective partner, apart from the pretty face and handsome looks, is to ultimately commit your relationship to God.
How best do you think that marriages be sustained?
Let’s learn to always put God first in everything we do. Moreover, we should strive to curb greed, because there is so much unhealthy rivalry and competition among today’s young girls. A lot of them want to have it all in one day. They lack to cultivate the time and patience to go through the gradual and slow process of life and this is most unfortunate.