Taofeek Okoya is the son of business mogul, Chief Razak Okoya of Eleganza Empire. After spending almost 15 years as the executive director in Eleganza Industries, he decided to establish FICO Solutions Limited, the first manufacturer of African dolls. Taofeek’s decision to start his own company, was borne out of his passion for creativity and the desire to nurture his own dreams to reality.
“One of the things I realized when I started doing dolls is that there’s a need to promote African culture and values especially among the younger generation.
I used that platform to begin to talk about the great things not only as Africans but also to empower young girls especially in Africa because of the geographical limitations that the society puts on young African girls”.
At a function in Lagos recently, he spoke to Sunday Sun about his mum.
Tell us about your mum?
My mum is Kubura Olayinka Okoya, she’s about 74 years old now. She is a woman that has great depth of understanding and patience. For you, as the first wife to allow your husband to marry additional wives, shows a level of understanding. My mum is understanding, she’s like the matriarch of my family, she’s the mother hen; she takes all of us under her wing, not just us, even all my daddy’s children are her children.
I remember when I was young, sometimes some of the house helps were getting funny and getting out of place and I tried to put them in their right place.
When my mum got to hear about this, she scolded me, saying, “that is someone else’s child, you are my child and I need to discipline you. You are my child and I will discipline you not her,” she would tell me. It was a great lesson. I understood that you need to understand and tolerate people. I respect people regardless of where they are from or who they are.
What position are you in your family?
My father has almost 30 children. My mum is the first wife and we are four.
What advice did she give you while growing up?
Oh gosh; I wish I didn’t really listen to some of her advice.
She would always advise me to be patient. Sometimes I could be a bit of a troublesome person. I would want to tell some people off when they stepped on my toes. My mum would scream, urging me to be patient, to relax, and forgive them.
I would say, “wait mummy, there’s a long queue in this your advice. I’m not sure when God will get to this side…let me deal with this one myself but she would insist that I should relax and allow God to vindicate me.
What’s her favourite meal that you also like?
I don’t know. But one food I like right now is Calabar cuisine.
I love almost all the menu on the Calabar kitchen range. Just give me Calabar food and I will be fine. I’m married to a Yoruba woman but I can go out and eat Calabar cuisine.
I like edikangikong, I like afang, nsala, banga; they are really nice. I don’t do much of the solid food but more of the soup. It’s very healthy and good.
What do you like most about your mum?
I like the fact that she is humane, very considerate and very caring. She doesn’t have any bad bone in her. She’s just too nice.
I pray she should be rewarded more than she is right now in life because of her patience and understanding.
If you see God today, what will you tell him about your mum?
I will tell God to bless her children.
The whole of them exceedingly, so that she will know there is goodwill. My mum will say to us that she needs to treat other children very well because as you my children are traveling to other places you will meet people that will treat you well.
And that’s how she treats other people’s children. So when you sow good, you reap good.