Many know her to be a great politician in Nigeria but they don’t know she is also a big businesswoman. Chief Mrs Remi Adiukwu now owns one of the biggest fabric stores in Lagos. Although, she has been in the fabric business for close to 12 years while she was in Abuja but she recently opened a big luxury fabric store where she sells fabrics for men and women.
Beautiful and flawless Chief (Mrs.) Oluremi Adiukwu is a force to reckon with because of her strong political influence and structure. Just as she is doing so well in politics, she is also a great businesswoman and she has her businesses in Lagos and Abuja. Aside fabrics business, she is also into Real Estate business which she has been doing for close to 15 years. Did we also tell you that she is a lover of fashion and a very stylish woman? This gorgeous woman combines beauty with brain.
A few days ago, she opened a huge fabrics store in Ikeja. At the opening, she spoke with City People Society Reporter, TOYIN OGUNDIYA about her life, businesses and political career. Enjoy excerpts.
Why did you decide to open a fabric store in Lagos judging from the fact that you used to stay in Abuja?
Well, I have had my fabric shop for some time and Abuja is not my home town. So I felt I should come back home to have an outlet where people will appreciate what one is doing.
How long have you been in the fabric business?
Close to 12 years.
How and when did you discover your interest in selling fabrics?
I discovered it when my son was going to get married. I wanted to buy Aso-Ebi, so I went to Mrs Akeredolu. I saw what she was doing and I developed interest, I felt inspired and of course, I have always loved clothing. So, I told her I am interested in the business and she said I should let her know when I am ready. So after the wedding, I went to her and trained for sometime before I finally went into the business.
Are you saying it is very important to train under someone before starting the fabrics business?
Yes, it is important that you get some training. Get someone to mentor you, to know how to do a few things otherwise it might be a bit difficult.
You are very stylish and fashionable, how have you been able to be very consistent with your style?
It is just the way I am, maybe because I attended Queens College.
How do you get the inspiration to dress gorgeously all the time? Even when you choose to appear simple, you still look classy?
Well, it depends on my mood, I have been to this shop wearing a long shirt and short and snickers, I have also worn iro and buba, boubou to the shop. So, it depends on where I am going and how I feel or what meeting I am attending. I would say my mood and meetings, determine my dressings.
There are a lot of businesses that are very profitable, why did you choose fabrics?
Fabric business is not the only business I do, I am also into real estate in Abuja.
How long have you been into real estate?
Almost 15 years.
Now that you have a big fabric store in Lagos and the real estate business in Abuja, how do you intend to balance the two?
I have engineers who work for me for the real estate business, I don’t have to be there all the time. I could go visit once a week to see how things are going. And again, technology has taken care of everything. There is CCTV camera everywhere, both in Lagos and in Abuja.
What is fashion to you?
Fashion is what suits you best, know your body and wear what suits you best.
What would advise young entrepreneurs that are aspiring to be like you?
Well, I would advise them to be honest, you have to be honest with yourself and your fellow human being. Secondly, they should be patient enough to know that it is one step at a time.
You have been in politics and the social scene for decades and you are still very relevant, how does that make you feel?
I feel happy all the time. Like I was telling a young girl some time ago, I said, if you have 1 million, and you spend Seven Hundred Thousand Naira on people, you will gain one million back. The 1 million might not be in naira or kobo, it might be in good deeds. That is the way I have been able to manage my life, I love helping people.
You have a very beautiful skin, many people won’t believe you are over 60. How do you maintain your beautiful skin?
I use our local soap, the black soap and I make sure I use good cream, moisturisers preferably and I make sure I stay away from the sun. By now, I should have been battling with wrinkles but I don’t have because I am very careful with what I use on my body.
How do you rest?
At this age, you can’t get up early in the morning. I am now in retirement age, if I was working in the ministry, I would be retired by now. So, after 60, you wake up anytime you like and sleep anytime you like, but I try to sleep early so that I can have my 8 hours sleep.
Secondly, I unwind with my friends, we come together, we have fun. Old girls of my school also do get-togethers and don’t forget we all have grandchildren that make us happy.
Who are your close friends?
I have many close friends but on different levels. I can’t say this particular person is my close friend, but all the friends around me are on different levels. I don’t keep enemies.
Like you said earlier, you said you are also into real estate business, why did you decide to go into real estate?
In Abuja, Real Estate is a very good business and when you see a good business and you have the opportunity to do the business, then you should go for it.
What has kept you this far?
My faith in God.
You got so emotional when you were appreciating God while giving your welcome address. Why?
God is the only one that can do what no man can. I was very ill to the point that some friends felt I would die, but God kept me. He is a merciful and a faithful God.