When news broke a few weeks back that the Iya Oge of Lagos, Chief (Dr.) Mrs Opral Benson was about to clock 85, it came as a pleasant surprise. This is because this woman of great substance has not shown many signs of ageing. Even after she turned 80 a few years back, she was still attending parties and dancing in her high heels. Over the years, she has been able to manage her life and has always looked ageless.
How does she feel turning 85 we asked her recently?
“I feel very good about it. I feel very happy that God has blessed me to be able to live to see this number of years. And appreciate all of the persons who have been connected with me one way or the other.
I feel there is nothing but happiness and nothing to make me sad about having a birthday like this. I like to say a big thank you to all of those who have found it necessary to congratulate me, or to be with or to say nice things about me.
Does she feel fulfilled?
“Oh Yes. I do feel fulfilled. I feel I have done what I could. I feel that anything that has come my way that I could be part of, I have done that. I feel fulfilled. Yes. I don’t think there was anything much more that was meant for me to do that I didn’t do. I have gone from the Bottom and I think right now I was at the top, both in Age & in accomplishments. So, I am happy about it.”
How has she always been looking very young and ageless all these years? What has been the secret?
“I don’t know why everybody keeps telling me I am looking young for my age. Everyone who has come to see me or everywhere I have gone to, they say you are looking young for your age. If I do look young, I think I appreciate God for what he has done for me.
I am not sad about anything. I don’t have any problem that I can’t settle. It is when you are worried about things, that you from your face, that you have things on your mind that you can’t get rid off, much of it is what makes people look old. Some of it I think is inherited. But as far as I am concerned. I think I have tried to live my life on a day-to-day basis and to accomplish what I could and to solve problems as they arise and to do good to those I could. I feel all of that has helped to make me look how everybody says I look.”
So what’s the secret? is it that she doesn’t face problems or challenges in this Nigerian environment that is tough?
“Of course I face challenges. Everyone who lives in this environment faces challenges. But you must be able to deal with your challenges. That is important. You must be able to do something about it, to solve is the best way that you can and to do appreciate others who help you to solve the problems that come your way. Yes, I do have challenges but I don’t let it get me down, and not get up to be able to move around.”
What are the lessons life has taught her at 85?
“Life has taught me to be thankful for all that has come my way. Life has taught me to appreciate others, to do good to others if I can. I try to solve problems whenever they come my way. I have contributed to the development of many young people in this country, by establishing Beauty School which will be 35 years old this year. I have been part of many other organisations that have done very well for Nigeria. So, really, my Philosophy is do what you can, do the best that you can, contribute whatever you can, and make sure that at the end of the day you are making some people happy.”
For years, she has been blessed with a very radiant skin, how has she kept it aglow?
“I don’t do much to my skin. What you see is my real skin. My skin is natural. I have inherited a naturally good skin in my family. Maybe it runs in my family. I have not had any problem with my skin at all.”
She is surely an accomplished woman.