Princess Adebimpe Ogunwusi is one of the younger sisters of His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife. She turned 40 a few months back but traveled to the US with her 2 other sisters, Princess Folashade and Princess Adesola to celebrate it. Last week, Yeye 3 spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about how turning 40 has changed her life. Below are excerpts of the interview.
How did you feel when you turned 40?
That was on May 1 to be precise, 2 months ago. I was so happy. I thank God for the journey so far. It is not by might but by the grace of God. It is the Lord’s doing. There are a lot of people who were born on the same day I was born that are no more. I thank God for my life, for giving me the grace to turn 40.
Before you turned 40, what plans did you have in terms of how to celebrate it.
I actually have been looking forward to it! I actually wanted a big birthday. I wanted to do it in 2 parts before. I wanted to have the morning session which would be the church service and reception in the evening. I had wanted to invite Obesere to play. I like Obesere a lot. But I just could not do that. One of my uncles died, so I couldn’t have an elaborate party. I eventually changed the way I wanted to celebrate it. So, I travelled with my sisters abroad. I went to America to celebrate it, courtesy the Ooni of Ife. He sponsored the trip, with the help of some of my friends like Bimbo Odeyemi (based in Canada), My father and my father’s wife. Everything turned out well.
What has changed about Princess Adebimpe?
Yes, I have mellowed down a bit. I used to be on the ‘go, go, go, side’. I love to party. Yes, I love to mix with people. I love to roll. I love to make friends. I am a happy person. Yes, Bimpe of many years compared to Bimpe of now, Bimpe at 40. My brothers will say Onijongbon ni’. Now, I am trying to mellow down because am not getting younger. Now, I have a lot of ‘bukatas’. I am the last born of the family and I have a lot of responsibilities. There is a huge difference between Bimpe of then and now. Yes, I still look up to my siblings for a lot of things. But now at 40, I need to do a lot of things on my own. I am closer to God now.
Where were you born?
I was born in UCH in Ibadan. I schooled in Ibadan. I went to Subiola Memorial Nursery and Primary School, Agodi Ibadan. I went to IDC, Ibadan District Council, I went to Isabatudeen Girls Grammar School. I went to Osun State College of Technology, Esa Oke. From there, I travelled to Canada to have my diploma in Health Sciences before I relocated back to Nigeria.
What were your recollections of your growing up in Ibadan?
Growing up in Ibadan then was beautiful, especially in our area at Akobo in Ibadan. My parents were one of the first settlers there. They moved their in 1979. I was around 2 years old then. My parents with some other families started the area. Ibadan is a very good place to live (peacefully). I remember the Kayodes, Owolabis that we grew up together. My new husband too. We grew up together. We went to the same coaching lesson after school. It was fun growing up in Ibadan with my siblings. I was the youngest. So, I was pampered all the way.
Some of your siblings say you took after your mum in so many ways. Is this true?
Yes. Even my dad would tell me I took after my mother. My mum was a blessed person. What she does not want she does not want. And what she wants, she would go for it. She was sometimes very daring, but she was loving, and accommodating. My mum was very strict in her lifetime, infact super strict. But my dad is the opposite, calm, cool.
How did you take the passing away of your mum about 5 years ago?
It affected me. I kind of prepared for it in 2011. I was in Canada then. I came home for my dads 70th birthday, March 5 to be precise. When I saw my mum, I knew she was ill. With my experience abroad, where I worked in the healthcare sector, I knew she was sick. On my dads birthday, I was asked to give the vote of thanks but I began to cry because I could see mummy was changing in terms of behaviour.
My dads 70th birthday, it was my mum that called for it. She said she wanted everybody to come together. Its very unlike her. She didn’t like publicity, she did not like fanfare. I told my brothers that, for my mum to call everyone together to celebrate my dad birthday, there is more to it and calls for suspicion. So, I went to her, put my head on her chest and I started crying. She didn’t say ‘pele’. She did not say stop crying. That kind of prepared me a little bit. Weeks after I travelled back to Canada, I was called that she had passed. She was in UCH for 3 weeks before she passed on. I miss her a great deal. She was able to put me through life, the bad, the good and the ugly. She was able to teach me lessons in life-like not borrowing from people, to stop depending on people, never say fail, be bold to face life. Prayer and Fasting to confront challenges. She always tells us life is not a bed of roses. She taught the 6 of us to be one family. I thank God for my father too.
How come you and your 2 other sisters are very closed?
Yes, we are very close. My 2 other sisters are on the quiet side, most especially my senior sister, Princess Folashade. She is super quiet. The other is semi-quiet. Colour wise, they are both light. I am the dark one. I am a little bit different from both of them, in terms of quietness, in terms of being a little reserve. They usually take their time before they mix with people but I mix straight away. Maybe because they are my seniors. As for me, once I get somewhere I blend. They are much more older than me though. Princess Adesola is 5 years older than me. Princess Folashade is 7 or 8 years older than me. So, there is a big gap between the 3 of us. Most people don’t know this. People think Princess Adesola is the last born of the family, maybe because I am big. But we are all very close. Kabiyeesi is in between Princess Adesola and I. I am so blessed having them as my sisters. I can’t ask for more. I lived in Canada for about 9 years. Whilst I was in Canada, I missed them a lot. So, I used to be on phone with them in the morning, afternoon and night. Having them as my sisters is just God’s blessings. We party together. We wear similar outfits. Some people think we are Olooris. We tell them we are not Olooris but Kabiyeesi’s sisters.
How about the guys?
They are close too. We are close to them too. Before my brother became Kabiyeesi, all of us used to play. They did things in common. They had businesses together. But he is now in Ife at the Palace. They are in Lagos. Our first born is Sooko Laekan, he is Prince Adegboyega Ogunwusi. He is more in Ife these days. Prince Adetunji Ogunwusi is my elder brother too. We look alike. People used to call me Adetunji Obinrin because we look alike. I bless God for my parents. They kind of brought us together.
How did you take the transition that you’ve been through since your brother became Ooni of Ife?
We still haven’t adjusted. I am still getting used to it by the day. Before he became Ooni in those good old days, anytime I see him, the first thing I do was to put my head on his chest. I am so fond of him. I missed that a lot. Though, we still talk its not like before. When we were growing up, we used to fight a lot. Yes, I miss that too. I miss the way we play and run around the house. The 4 of us are super close. I mean Kabiyesi and his 3 sisters. Now, he is the father of all. I don’t have him to myself anymore.
What has changed about your life since your brother became Ooni?
A lot has changed. I am no longer the Bimpe I used to be. Now, when we go to parties, my sisters we to tell me to comport myself. Because in my normal way I will just jump up and free myself, greeting people. My senior sister, Princess Folashade will say don’t stand up, comport yourself ooo; You know you are now a Princess, you have to comport yourself. If I tell her I want to say something in public when we go out she will tell me to shut up. Its a great transformation. In terms of dressing too. I used to put on my shorts and Tee shirt. Now, I can’t do that. The way I dress now has changed. We wear more of ‘boubou’ now.
Did you ever think that transformation will come?
Seriously, I didn’t know it was going to be this fast. It is a thing I wasn’t that prepared for.
But now we are getting used to it. Now I can’t go to the bus stop to look for a Taxi or Marwa. The way I was free before I am not that free.
How do you cope with a lot of new people who wants to be your friend? How do you choose?
Its a problem. Now, you can’t choose oooo. Everybody wants to be our friends and you have to be everyone’s friend. Now you have to relate with people you don’t know and you have to be nice. Now everybody wants to be my friend on Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter, maybe because of my brother, the Ooni of Ife. What I do in my own little way is to be nice and kind to all those who come my way. As you know, you cannot be perfect.
You and all your siblings are very humble. Why is this so?
We got that from my parents. Though, my parents were not that rich. We were comfortable. We were taught to be contented with what our parents have. The humility comes from my parents. They have taught us to know that any position you hold is transient.
How has the last one and half years of being Ooni of Ife?
Its been good. Its been little challenging. People will always talk. People will complain about his unique style of doing things. That is expected. So far, God has been helping him. I thank God that my father is still alive. God has used him so much to put us through in all we do. I thank God for the wisdom. He has given to my brother, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi. It’s been God all the way.
At the end of the day, what kind of a person is Princess Adebimpe?
Hmmmm! How do I describe myself. Its people that will tell you, who you really are. I am who I am. I don’t like to be checked. If you cheat me then you will see the other side of me. I am a little bit protective, most especially about my sister, Princess Folashade. I am like a shield on her because she is soft. I am like a mother. If you treat my sisters badly, I will come out on you like a lion. I am easy going.