Lady Victoria Ifelola, a retired teacher, shares her marriage, work and life experiences with SADE AFE in this interview.
Can we meet you Ma?
My name is Lady Victoria Olufunke Ifelola from Igbara Odo Ekiti. I was born in the year 1954 to the family of Mr and Mrs Ajayi. My father is late but my mother is still alive. My mother is from Ifon, in Ose Local Government Area.
My parents soujourned in Osogbo, Osun State, formerly Oyo State. That is where I was born and I started schooling there, at Olatona Primary School in Osogbo.
When I finished my primary school at Osogbo, I went to my mother’s town, Ifon, to start my secondary school at Ekamarun Anglican Grammar School, Ifon. I spent about two years there. After the second year, I went to Olofin Grammar School, Idanre, where I sat for my school certificate. That was 1972. After that, I worked for almost a year teaching. Then I got married in 1973.
A year after my marriage, I went back to school. I went to Protestant Teachers’ Training College, Idi Araba, Lagos.
After that, I started working in Lagos. I worked for about two sessions. My husband was working at Guiness then as a Supervisor. He worked there for about thirteen years, after which he came to Otun Ekiti where he worked as a lecturer before he got job in Akure as a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Akure.
It was then that I went for Grade one course (Asoso), Associative Course in Education at University of Ife, Ile-Ife. When I was through with the course, I obtained my certificate, Associative Certificate in Education. That was in 1987.
Thereafter, I went to the College of Education where I obtained my NCE, I proceeded to University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where I obtained my B.Ed in Guidance and Counseling. I studied Mathematics/Integrated Science at NCE, I majored in English/Primary Education Studies.
Did you encounter any challenges in your marriage?
Yes. There were so many challenges. There is no way you will not face some challenges in life, but I thank God for sustaining me because we went through so many tribulations, but it was by the grace of God that we sailed through.
I will say that as a woman, you will face so many challenges in life, both from the husband’s side and from your own family, also from the working place. But what a good woman needs are perseverance, endurance, humility, respect and also the fear of God.
Share with us your experience while raising your children?
There are so many challenges in marriage. To become the mother of an Engineer, the mother of a Doctor and so on, takes the grace of God. To train a child is not an easy task.
Who disciplines the children most between you and your husband?
I am the one because I am a teacher. I don’t condone nonsense from my children. They fear me more than their father. Whenever they are doing something and they hear that mummy is coming, they will sit tight. They would say, if mummy comes, she would knock your head. They dare not misbehave. But I thank God today that they adhere to the discipline and education given to them. They are now enjoying it.
How did you meet your husband?
We met through his sister, the first born of his mother. She was the one that introduced me to my husband. When my mother was relating the issue to me, she said that the day they gave birth to me, his sister loved how I looked and she immediately said that I am going to marry her brother.
I didn’t know that God had already attested to the statement.
Your husband’s sister and your mother, were they friends?
Yes, they were neighbours and friends. They lived in the same compound at Osogbo. My mother said the sister-in-law was the one that used to bath for me everyday and she kept on saying she would marry me. So when I finished my school certificate, she said, “your husband is coming to take you to Lagos.” I said, “which husband? I am not ready for marriage o.” She said, I am old enough to get married. She said I better prepare to follow my husband. So it was the sister that arranged the wedding ceremony.
We can see that your marriage was arranged, have you ever met your husband before then?
I never saw him before then. And when he was introduced to me, I did not say anything, because in those days we don’t look for husband ourselves. It is our parents that do that for us. So I have no reason to reject what my parent said.
Can you encourage the children of nowadays to do as you did, or can you do such for your children?
It is like children of the olden days are different from the children of nowadays. Children of nowadays do things and choose by themselves. I had wanted to do such for one of my children and the child said no.
If you do such, and the child did not like the person you introduce to him or her, if you force them to marry each other, it can result into separation. So I don’t advise anybody to do it. Let the child(ren) choose on their own. The only thing you can do is to pray along with them.
What is your contributions to the education of your children?
It can’t be quantified. I contributed immensely, financially. Let’s say both in kind and in cash to the education of my children.
So, what is your advice for women who think man is the only one that should be saddled with all the responsibilities?
If a woman does not contribute at home, the home will collapse, the home will never stand. The Bible says a wise woman builds her own house, but the foolish woman pulls it down herself.
So it is better for a woman to contribute and help because we are help mate. Not only that, we are the mother, the sister, we are everything. So, we are to help them in all ramifications, not to leave one side. You know men don’t know much about home. It is the woman that studies and knows everything about home, even up to the extended family.
For example, in my husband’s family now, they prefer to see me than my husband. If my husband goes home alone, they will tell him to go and bring his wife.
Are you saying that your support for your husband makes your in-laws to love you?
Yes, because whenever they are around, I treat them well, even more than my own family. So, women should support their husbands hundred percent.
Women should stand by their husbands. They should help their husbands to the maximum. If there is any problem at home, they should pray to God and God will answer them.
What is your best food?
Rice with any soup. I can eat it with stew, vegetable, even with okro or ewedu. I can eat rice with any soup.
Your best colour?
My best colour is anything bright.
What is your philosophy about life?
Life is not a bed of roses. The world is spherical and it is rotating. So it can rotate to anybody in different angles. Any angle it rotates to you, as a child of God; you should stand, you should be steadfast in the Lord, you should not shake.