Mrs Victoria Adeniyi is a retired Town Planner, the first woman Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners and the current Chairman of the Nigeria Institute of Town Planners, Ondo State Chapter. She explained the functions of town planners and spoke on how she rose to the top of her profession herself in this interview with EVELYN OMOTOYE and SADE AFE.
Tell us about your background?
I was born in Emure Ekiti, in Ekiti State and I am married to Chief F.A. Adeniyi from Ibulesoro, Ifedore Local Government Area, Ondo State.
I attended St. Joakim Primary School, Emure Ekiti, later I went to Sacred Heart Convent School, Ibadan where I finished my Primary School education.
After that, I went to one modern school in Emure Ekiti, thereafter I went to Ode Ekiti High School, I started 1969, finished in 1973 with May/June Exams where I obtained School Certificate result.
I went to The Polytechnic, Ibadan, where I obtained HND in Town Planning. Meanwhile, I have been at Obafemi Awolowo University, it was then University of Ife, after that, I did my Post Graduate Diploma in Management Studies. Then, I went for my MBA, Project Management at University of Ife. Also, I did my Professional Exams in Urban and Regional Planning, when I finished, I become registered as a Town Planner, latter I did other exams and I became registered Town Planner. I registered with Town Planner Registration Council of Nigeria (TAPREC).
So, after that I worked, after which I did some interviews and some exams and I became a Fellow of the Institute of Town Planners. After sometime, Ondo State Chapter considered me for the position of the Chairman which I am occupying now, this is my second year.
What about your work experience?
I did my NYSC at Oranmiyan Local Government, Osun State as a town planner, after which I secured an appointment with University of Ife where I worked till 1988.
I transferred my service from there to college of Education, Ikere. We women, our career is tied to our husbands. I could have gotten job somewhere else, but my husband got employed with Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti as the Bursar. Then I had to move to where he is. Four years later, I got appointed to work as a Physical Planning Officer in College of Education, Ikere, I was there from 1988 to 2001.
After 2001, I got appointment with Adekunle Ajasin University where I worked between 2001 to November 2009. By 2009 I was thirty five years in the public service, so I have to voluntarily retired.
I am still practicing as a Town Planner, but I am mostly at home as a full time house wife. Although, I have an office at Fanibi where I do my professional practice, I am also involved in a little bit of buying and selling.
How did you manage career with your home? What is the contribution of your husband to ensure you get to this stage?
Well I thank God; with God all things are possible. I was a student when I got married, we got on very fine. You know he was an accountant, he was doing his work, and I was doing my own work too, so one does not disturb another. I wanted to further my education and he allowed me, he did not object to it.
Town Planning is regarded as a man’s job. What prompted you to choose that career?
You know, in those days, we just follow whatever we see, but I have some senior colleagues then, who encouraged me to venture into it. When I entered the Polytechnic my husband wanted me to go for Accounting, but I was Science biased I did science subjects in my secondary school but to gain admission into the University was difficult for me.
Those days, they used to do concessional not JAMB, and lecturers would do the marking, and you know I was working in the University of Ife where I saw some of them doing the marking but they were asking for something that I could not afford, if I could afford. I might have gained admission to read Pharmacy or Medicine.
Do you have any regret for choosing Town Planning?
No, I have no regret, even now that I am retired, I am happy with Town Planning, because I see so many things around me, and I thank God since I retired, they have been paying me my pension. Some even advised me to become a contractor, but I said no, once a woman become a contractor, she is something else. I am happy like this.
Are you now saying that being a female is professionally limiting?
Yes, there is no doubt about that but women need to be determined and hardworking. If you are determined even when you are cooking or feeding your baby, you can still put a book by your side and be reading and you will be able to combine so many things together, the domestic chores, satisfy your husband, if a woman is not up and doing, she will not be able to make progress in her career.
In the office, the Architect, the Quantity Surveyors, all of them are there and most of them are males and you have to compete in their world to prove your worth that you can do it. If you are a female you have do dress well, you have to know your onions and you have to look good. So those are the combination a woman should have to be able to cope with progress.
People said women are too high handed, it is because we know what we want and we want to pursue it. We want people to know that we know what we are doing. So a woman has to put in extra effort, if a man succeeds in an endeavour, he can put in like 50 percent but a woman will put in more than that, say like eighty percent effort.
How did you meet your husband?
I met him when I was a young girl. I was at Ife then, I saw him, you know in those days, when you meet a lady or a man, before you say yes, you ask about him. People around you will say something about the man, it is not like nowadays that you keep people in the dark, no. There is no secret then.
What is your advice for women?
My advice for women is that, they should be up and doing, hard working and be intelligent and there is no intelligence without Jesus Christ. There is no hope in the world but if you have Jesus, all things will be turn around for you for good.
What is your best food?
Before I married, Amala used to be my best food, but when I got married, my husband’s food became my best food and that is pounded yam.
What is your philosophy about life?
If you are alive, you are God’s own, if you are dead you are God’s own, you cannot hide from God.
What is your best colour?
I don’t have a specific colour, I wear anything my children gives to me.