The name Yetunde Isola is very popular among those who deal in fabrics in Nigeria. She is the CEO of RIO FABRICS and has been in the business for more than 35 years and has carved a niche for herself in that line of business.
Many people who see Yetunde Isola would not believe that she is already a grandmother. On Friday, January 29, 2021. She clocked 55 and had a mini-party at her Lagos house. You will call it a mini-party because of the number of people in attendance but the quality of the crowd does not make it a mini-party in anyway.
She is also the brain behind the Amdalat Ajiun Foundation. A charity organization that is well rooted in Ogun State. The organization is known for giving helping the needy, particularly women and children. It has given hope to a lot of hopeless people.
This charming society lady is also the younger sister of Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, Alhaji Sarafa Isola, who also doubles as a prolific politician. Yetunde Isola had an interview with City People’s DAMILARE SALAMI 07033526688; to whom she revealed a few things about herself, life, childhood and why she is running the Amdalat Ajiun Foundation. Below are excerpts from the interview for your reading pleasure, enjoy.
Congratulations on your 55th birthday. How do you feel celebrating this milestone?
Thank you so much, alihamdulilah. I feel so happy and I thank the almighty allah for making see this new age. When I look back at my life, where I started from and where I am right now, I know that God has been so good to me and I do not take his blessings for granted.
You look so stunning today. In fact, people will still believe you are in your 40s. Can you tell us the secret of this good looks?
Laughs… thank you so much. Well, as you know that I am a fabric merchant, I decided to take some of my best fabrics to celebrate my day because it is worth it. As for my young looks, well, I think it is what everybody can achieve. Firstly, I don’t bother my head with things that are not important or necessary. I face my business and only do what is right and I relax when I need to. I also feed well on the right diets especially vegetables. These and many more I think have kept me in shape.
For those who really don’t know you, tell us who Yetunde Isola is…
My name is Yetunde Ibinat Isola, I am a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, the daughter of Ibrahim Isola. I had my primary and secondary education in Abeokuta before relocating to the UK. I am a wife, mother and grandmother and I am a citizen of England. I am a mental health nurse in the UK and I have been practicing for a long time now.
I am also the founder of the Ajiun Amdalat Foundation which caters to the needs of the less privileged in the society. The foundation is well rooted in Abeokuta and Ijebi axis of Ogun State. As you know that charity begins at home. Since I am a native of Ogun State, I decided to start there but we are gradually moving down to Lagos. Just as I said earlier, I’m a mother of two and grandmother of three. In the last few years, I’ve been through hell, passed through many challenges but I thank God for life.
What was growing up like for you?
Hmmm… that question is really making me feel emotional. Growing up was very difficult for me. I lost my dad at the age of nine so we were left alone with my mum taking care of us. It was really difficult for my mum. Ha! My mother is such a good woman. She did all best to take care of all her children. She invested her life and everything she had on us. You can imagine what it means to train your children alone as a petty trader. My mother went through a lot to see that we become important people in life and I’m so grateful to God for giving us such a good mother.
You are one of the big players in the fabrics market. How did business start for you?
Thank you so much for this question. My answer will help the young ones to understand that things don’t just happen. Life is always a gradual process and when you put your heart to whatever it is you are doing; it will help you a lot in the near future.
I started my life with just five thousand naira around 1984. This what how it happened, my mother gave me a gold chain at a very tender age and it meant a lot to me. But when things became tough, I decided to sell that chain and I started business with it without my mother knowing. I sold that chain for five thousand naira and I started following my aunties who were traders to Lagos to buy and sell. So, I started life from there and I thank God for what we have been able to achieve so far.
Before you talk about your foundation and what you have been doing so far, what advise would you give to the teeming youths who are looking up to you and are aspiring to be like you?
The only advise I have for them is to trust in God, be hardworking and have a dream. They should be passionate about their dreams and work towards actualising it and in no time, they will become great. Another thing I would advise our youths on is that they should become multitasking.
You know that you can’t put your eggs in one basket, so as an entrepreneur, you have to be able to do more than other people to become better than them. Many youths of these days are quite lazy, they believe that they can be fine with just being a graduate but I tell you the truth, it is not just enough.
You mentioned Ajiun Amdalat foundation earlier on, can you tell us a little about it? What is it all about and what exactly do you do there?
The Ajiun Amdalat Foundation is focused on helping the need in our society especially women and children. We go out on outreaches to provide food, clothing and financial supports. We also carry out women empowerment. We do vocational trainings for them and help them establish business and follow them up.
The reason I decided to run this foundation was that there is too much suffering in the land. There is too much poverty. And looking at how my mother struggled to cater to our needs why growing up, I understand how difficult it is for women especially single mothers who have children. Although we are looking at making the foundation all-inclusive in the near future, that means that we will also consider the men but right now, women and children are our priority.
What inspired the name Ajiun Amdalat Foundation?
I named it after my mother to immortalize her. She was a source of inspiration to me and one of the reasons I founded it. My mother was a mother indeed, her partings words are still very fresh in my memory. I remember that when she was going to die, she told me a few things about life which have all come to pass now. I wish I could have her here with me forever but God understands best. My mother was one in a million and her impacts in my life and that of my siblings cannot be underestimated.
Your brother, Alhaji Sarafa Isola just became Nigeria’s High Commissioner to the UK, what do you have to say about it?
I am very happy for him and I want to say a big congratulations to him. My brother is a very big politician who is doing so well and I am proud of him. He has been a minister in this country and now an ambassador. He is an inspiration to many others and has represented our family well. What more can I say than for God to keep protecting him and help him in his new appointment?
Do you have any plans to go into politics in the far or near future?
No, not at all. My brother is the politician, I am not interested in politics either now or in the near future. So many people have been saying different things but I don’t care. Some have said that the reason I am running the foundation is that I want to join politics soon and I want to use the foundation as a campaign platform, but they are wrong. I am just contributing my quota to the society that made me. I don’t even have the energy for politics, I can’t deal with the stress, I want to live long so I’ll prefer to do what I know how to do best. I think that is all I have to say, thank you.