- Reveals Why They Call Her RISI KOLEX
Have you met Alhaja Risi Odumosu before and hear her speak English? Her diction and phonetics will melt your heart. She is not one of the regular market women you have met.
Incase you still don’t get the drift, let us fill you in about Risi Kolex. Alhaja Risi Odumosu is the Iyaloja popular Gutter fabric market. She is one of the Lagos Society matriarchs and she is very well known among fabric merchants in Lagos.
She is not just God mother to many because of her leadership role in the market, but many call her “Mediator” because of her exemplanary character.
It may amaze you that this society woman who makes heads turn at many social gatherings is going to be 70 years soon.
This is authoritative as City People Assistant Society Editor, ABIOLA ORISILE attended her Maternal Aunty’s burial, late Alhaja Taibat Munis and had a chat with her. She spoke so glowingly of her and how she took the place of her mother after her demise, why they call her Risi Kolex, and how she started selling fabrics. Enjoy it.
You gathered the creme-de-la-creme in Lagos at Yoruba Tennis Club for the burial of Alhaja Munis, what is your relationship with her?
She was my aunty. I mean my grand Aunty. She took charge as my mum after the demise of my mother. My mum died in 1985 February. I was in my early 30s then. She was my mum’s Aunty. If you were there at the 40th prayer you would have seen how much I love Alhaja.
She loves me just like her own children. She made sure that I didn’t miss my mum. I am one of her priorities despite having many children. I am my mum and Dad’s favourites and she made sure I didn’t miss them.
Your English is fluent and proper, how was growing up for you?
The education system was very good back then. It is not like what we have lately. I was one of the best students way back in school. I attended Ansarudeen Secondary School in Lagos. I also went to Federal School of Science for my HSE.
You have been selling fabrics for how long?
I have been selling fabrics for well over 35 years in Lagos.
Were your parents’ Fabric Merchants too?
No, my parents were not Fabric Merchants. My father had a professional career he pursued while my mum was into catering. My mother is a Lagosian while my father was from Ijaiye.
You know as a young entrepreneur, one will be jumping from one business to the other. So finally I settled for fabric. Initially, I would travel to Beruit, Saudi Arabia, Italy as I was trading in Jewelry.
You are Iyaloja of Idumota, Gutter market?
I am Iyaloja of Gutter Market. Gutter is the source of fabrics in Lagos State.
Then it was called “Gutter Alaran” back then.
That was even before I was born. So I am Iyaloja of the source of fabric.
Many people don’t know that you are going to be 70 soon, what has sustained you?
Yes, I will be 70 in the next few months. I give God the glory for His grace. It is His grace that has sustained me and brought me this far.
I am a stress-free person, I don’t let anything bother me.
How did you get your name Kolex?
It was from my ex-husband’s name. He was a Kolex Mechanizer and to differentiate me from other Risis, so they added Kolex to it.
You have a clean personality devoid of blemish, would you ascribe this to your upbringing
I had a very good upbringing. My parents were well to do. They were socialites of those days. You know the popular “Egbe Killers” of Lagos. My father was Alhaji Raufu Durosimi and he was one of the front liners of Lagos social scene. He was very rich and famous.
Lets talk about your friendship with Mrs. Rose Osipitan, how long have you been friends?
Well, I don’t call Mrs. Rose Osipitan my friend. She is my sister. For us, it is not how long that matters. I have lots of friends, so Rose is not my friend. She is my sister. You know what it means to be sisters? We were made in heaven to meet on earth. She is my heartthrob.
How do you Rest?
Lately, I have slowed down as I don’t work like I used to when I was much younger. I love to enjoy myself when necessary. I take my time a lot. I am not the type that gets up early in the morning and starts rushing out of the house to start my business for the day. I take my time, I sleep well and rest well before coming out to do business. This keeps me as fresh as ever.
People call you Mediator, how did you get this trait?
I am a peaceful person. I hate people fighting and my role as Iyaloja also makes me mediate on all issues. I hate the fact that some people are friends today and tomorrow they are sworn enemies. Life is a temporary place and we are not going to be here for life.
How fulfilled are you?
I thank God. I am privileged. It is a rare gift from Almighty. Some people work all day and have nothing to show for it. I am just privileged.
What is the secret of your youthful look as you don’t look your age?
It is God. I don’t do any thing out of the ordinary. I just get into bath. I hardly have time for frivolities.