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The Punch - - INTERVIEW -

Yes; see­ing my chil­dren makes me happy. We have mar­ried peo­ple have yet got a child, but I have a boy and a girl. How­ever, be­ing a fa­ther is quite chal­leng­ing when one looks at the sit­u­a­tion of the coun­try’s econ­omy. For me, the fewer one’s chil­dren, the bet­ter. I have two chil­dren and I am sat­is­fied with that. But if it is God’s will for me to have more chil­dren, it will hap­pen.

For some rea­sons, I was not around dur­ing the birth of my chil­dren, but I am not afraid of be­ing with my wife dur­ing child­birth. If I must be there, I will.

I had my first child while I was still in sec­ondary school, years ago. I wouldn’t say I was pre­pared for it, but I was lucky that my mother was able to help me and she made things eas­ier for me. Though I don’t like say­ing this pub­licly; when I look at my son now, I am al­ways thank­ful to God I gave birth to him when I did. He is 30 years old now. My sit­u­a­tion has made me to be­lieve that cer­tain things hap­pen for a pur­pose.

Luck­ily for me, it was not an is­sue. It is all about hav­ing a sin­cere com­mu­ni­ca­tion, as we all have things we did in the past.

I have never re­gret­ted get­ting mar­ried be­cause I pre­pared for it. I even saved money to­wards my mar­riage cer­e­mony.

I was 35 years old when I got mar­ried. I didn’t marry ear­lier be­cause I wanted to sta­bilise my busi­ness. Even when I mar­ried and I was us­ing a two-bed­room flat as my of­fice, I stayed in a room apart­ment for years. When I moved to a six-bed­room flat, I was still liv­ing in a room apart­ment.

She felt bad, but for me, it was busi­ness be­fore any other thing. By the time I moved into a two-bed­room flat, she then un­der­stood my point of view. I couldn’t be liv­ing large and my of­fice was un­com­fort­able. It didn’t make any sense to me, as I felt there was a need to build a struc­ture for my brand first.

Sim­i­larly, there was a time my el­der brother told me to move out of my room apart­ment, say­ing that his friends were al­ways mock­ing him that de­spite my fame, I lived in a room. But I told him I knew what I wanted to achieve. At a time, all I wanted to do was to ex­pand my busi­ness.

We met in La­gos in the course of my job, though she does not do fash­ion. I have al­ways be­lieved that once it was time for mar­riage, I would lo­cate my wife.

My fa­ther died about 15 years ago. He mar­ried many wives and gave birth to 27 chil­dren. But he was able to man­age his home till his death. Nowa­days, peo­ple struggle to man­age one wife, not to talk of mar­ry­ing plenty wives. Also, I don’t blame my fa­ther for mar­ry­ing many wives be­cause it was the trend at the time.

No, I can­not. I am too busy to start mar­ry­ing wives. My job takes my time a lot; so, I don’t have the time and strength to ac­com­mo­date many women in my life.

My fa­ther was thor­ough and dis­ci­plined. I learnt th­ese virtues from him. Also, my fa­ther knew how to play pol­i­tics even in the house. While we were grow­ing up and he saw the need to give me money, he al­ways en­sured that I was alone with him. I felt he did this so that the other chil­dren or wives wouldn’t feel bad. God blessed him with wis­dom and I learnt from him.

There was no such thought. I was just do­ing my work and re­mained pos­i­tive. In what­ever one does, one must be prayer­ful and up­right. I will be cel­e­brat­ing the 25th an­niver­sary of Mudi Africa this year. Inas­much as cer­tain peo­ple might feel I have achieved all, I am still chal­lenged to do more.

With all sense of hu­mil­ity, get­ting things done my­self is one of my suc­cess se­crets. But I thank God for the wis­dom, drive and dis­ci­pline He has given me. I trust peo­ple work­ing with me, but they might not have the strength or dis­ci­pline to get the job done as one does. In this part of the world, it is extremely dif­fi­cult to del­e­gate re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to peo­ple.

I have a store in Ac­cra, Ghana. I am also about to open a sec­ond store in Ac­cra too. I have a store in Abid­jan, Cote d’ivoire, and in Dakar, Sene­gal. But I shut down the Dakar’s store be­cause it was not do­ing well. I have stores in Nairobi, Kenya, and Jo­han­nes­burg, South Africa, too. Also, do not for­get that I have stores in three places in Nige­ria – Abuja, Port Har­court and La­gos.

Putting aside the fact that char­ity be­gins at home, Nige­ria is the big­gest mar­ket in Africa when it comes to fash­ion. We have the buy­ing power, pop­u­la­tion and there is a mar­ket for clothes. In Nige­ria, fash­ion-wise, peo­ple want to outdo one an­other.

I opened my store in Ghana in 2009, but it took about two years to sta­bilise things. I guess they were new to my brand, which was un­der­stand­able.

I like sim­plic­ity with a touch of ele­gance. As a de­signer, I make wear­able and prac­ti­cal clothes. I make clothes peo­ple can re­late to.

The first was hu­man man­age­ment. It is extremely dif­fi­cult to man­age peo­ple, but I did the best I could and I un­der­stood I could not sat­isfy ev­ery­one.

Once I can­not con­tinue to work, then I can think of re­tir­ing. But at present, I am en­joy­ing what I do. When­ever I see beau­ti­ful ma­te­ri­als, I feel like work­ing. Some­times, on Sun­days, I go to work.

I make clothes for my­self reg­u­larly; I don’t buy clothes. If I have a new de­sign, I rock it first and look out for peo­ple’s re­ac­tions.

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