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Saturday, February 2, 2013

A CHAT WITH THE DELECTABLY GORGEOUS PRINCESS FIFI EJINDU REVEALS A HEART OF GOLD

PRINCESS FIFI EJINDU

Not many people from any part of the world would have the wherewithal to stage a one of its kind shindig, at the only official 7-stars hotel in the world, the Burj-Al-Arab, in Dubai, the UAE. That was where the architect of note, the philanthropist extraordinaire with the heart of gold and an unbelievably wonderful human-being, known to most as Fifi Ejindu had her 50th birthday celebration.  We had wanted to meet her for a while, just so we could chat and have a feel of her kind of person. Luck seemingly smiled on us very recently, when we met her at an event, and we found her totally accessible and a human being par excellence. 


We had a quick chat with her touching on several things, especially her plans for the future and she willingly opened up to us. Telling us that ''the well-being of others is now her main priority and that's her main pursuit right now''.  

Check out Princess Fifi Ejindu, who goes by the style & title of Her Highness, Obonganwan King James (Nigeria's own Nefertiti). The first African woman to have graduated from the famous Pratt Institute, School of Architecture, Brooklyn, New York, USA. Rated as one of the best private schools in the world and even by Bloomberg News as one of the best design schools in the world. 


The full excerpt of the chat is below. Read & enjoy.  Interview was conducted by Abiola Aloba for MM. Pictures also our property. Use without prior notification is strictly frowned on. 

 INTERVIEW IS AFTER THE BREAK. PLS CLICK ON READ MORE
PRINCESS FIFI EJINDU
KNOWING YOU TO BE A VERY BUSY PERSON, WHO WE BELIEVE 90% OF YOUR TIME WOULD BE OCCUPIED WITH THE THOUGHT OF THE NEXT BIG DEAL. WE BELIEVE MOST DEFINITELY THAT YOUR PLATE WOULD BE OVERWHELMINGLY FULL. HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT THE DESIRE, THE TIME & ENERGY TO INVE00ST IN CHARITY WORK, ESPECIALLY AT THIS TIME. 


It's because I think that at the end that's what matters the most. At a certain age, one must start to think about the end. It's important to begin with the end in mind. What do you leave behind? What kind of legacy? What do you want to be remembered for? How do you want to leave the world a much better place, than you met it?.

More and more as I turned 50. I was 50 last year, I realised that the things that give me joy are when I hear people say I have affected their lives positively.  It's not about how many houses one has been able to acquire or about the numbers of cars one has in his/her garage or even about what one has.  We have become too acquisitive in Nigeria, without necessarily thinking about the masses, without thinking about how to touch the lives of others around us.

Let's have a look around the world. Look at people like Bill Gates, the 2nd richest man in the whole universe, he now lives for others, check out Warren Buffett also, another super rich.  So why can't we do the same. We are to be our brother's keepers, so why don't we do it? So that's why I have decided to launch my initiative.

We are going to build ''Hope Centres'' all over Nigeria. These centres would comprise of skills acquisition centres, this is basically because the youths are our future and we want to invest into that future.  The idea is to get the youths off the streets. Help to develop the next generation and maybe there would be some source of hope. Our focus is to help change Nigeria, because there has to be change in Nigeria. It is these people we want to empower for tomorrow, that would change Nigeria. Besides, if we keep acquiring and we think only about ourselves and we leave these youths behind, one day soon, the day of reckoning would come and it is near. And when it comes , it would affect even those that think they have so much and are the untouchables.  It would affect them, their children and their investments.  So we must look around us and help to make the change. I am so convinced by that.



SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO GET OTHERS AT YOUR LEVEL TO EMBRACE THIS AND TO ALSO THINK ABOUT IT LIKE YOU. MANY WOULD CLAIM TO BE TOO BUSY TO HAVE THE TIME. WHILE OTHERS WOULD BE OF THE MIND THAT OTHERS WOULD DO IT. 


It is very difficult to convince people, and that's because most people already have a mindset. But what I want to do now, is to act and hope that by seeing what I am doing, such as investing my time and energy in charity, supporting things that empowers the youths such as the Nigeria's Next SuperModel competition. As far as I am concerned, I am looking at it from the angle of youth empowerment. The opportunities been given these young girls, who are discovered from the nooks and crannies of everywhere, opportunities they couldn't have gotten otherwise. The opportunities given to some of them to get on the international stage. I am hoping that the more I do these things , the more it would impact on society and the more it would inspire some others to do some things in other areas too.

I was recently invited to be a patron of the Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL 2013). I am already looking to see ways we can bring up people before then, that we can push to the international stage. So that when people see these things, they will know that we are doing something.

I have got to practice what I preach, so that when I tell people to do something, they know that we are already doing something ourselves. It's a mindset thing. It's a way people have to start thinking. It's not about me, but majorly about others. 


SO WHAT'S THE INITIATIVE/PLATFORM CALLED


It is actually called ''The Hope Initiative''. And just like I said before, we call it that because, we want to build 'Hope Centres'. We believe we could help bring hope to the hopeless. It is a place you can go and learn such skills like Tailoring, Carpentry, Hair-Dressing etc all for nothing.  People who previously had no hope, who had thought help was not forthcoming from anywhere, would learn a skill without paying any money whatsoever. We would train, mentor and try to see ways we can help them, so they too can go on to help others like themselves. It's a cycle.

A big problem in the country is the inability of Government after government to provide for its citizenry the basic necessities. Education is of utmost importance, as is Health. So as part of the Hope Centres , a small part of the centres  would have ''Diagnostics Centres'', they would be little cubicles, it is called ''Tele-Medicine and it is new. These machines at centres would be connected to top hospitals around the world.  All that someone needs is internet connectivity, each cubicle would be manned by a nurse who would help collect vital information that would be sent to the hospitals who would use the information to get diagnosis that would now be sent back.  Loads and loads of people have died prematurely because of either wrong diagnosis or even late diagnosis. So if we can help reduce that also it would go a long way. Of course, we know we cannot help all, but at least, we believe we can make a little difference in our own way. And that's all that counts. 


WHAT IS/ARE THE PRINCIPLES THAT  GOVERNS YOUR LIFE(LIVING GENERALLY)


I think basically God. The Almighty has given me a lot of contentment. Yes, and when you are contented with whatever you have, you start to see that it's not only about what you have or what you want to have. If you have the basic necessities, then you should stop looking too much at the luxuries. You can have the luxuries if you can afford it, there's nothing wrong with that. But you can use some of the luxuries to better other people's lives.  So basically, the thing that governs my life's existence is contentment and also something I work so very hard to cultivate is my peace of mind.

I believe one's peace of mind, should be cultivated above all else. All these are the things that brings me peace of mind and they are the things I am trying to give back now. Of course, life is about the pursuit of happiness and I feel , how can I be happy, if my neighbour's life is hanging on the balance.


DO YOU STILL PRACTISE AS AN ARCHITECT?


Of course I still do. Absolutely as a matter of fact. I only just recently finished a huge project that makes me very happy, and that's majorly because it turned out so well. I was actually invited to do that project and it is the official residence of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja.  I can say confidently, that it is a landmark in Abuja.

I come in often to do jobs like this, but definitely not every job, the ones I chose to do must be inspiring to me and I must be happy doing it. It is important to like what one does, so if the job does not meet these criteria, I will turn it down and do other things. Mind you, I am also a business woman. 


WHEN NOT SO BUSY, HOW DO YOU RELAX?


I love to visit spas. I have an addiction for spas. Those who know me, know that about me. I have traveled all over the world looking for the best spas and I have enjoyed pampering there. I spend my time being pampered, taking away a lot of stress that one normally get in the course of work or day to day business activities.

I also spend a lot of time with my family. We believe in holidays, so we always love to create memorable moments. One other thing I don't compromise on is my love for reading.  I read a lot and I have a huge library, you just can't imagine the size. Reading for me is one of the best forms of relaxation, it just takes me away into the world of the author. 


YOU ARE AN ABSOLUTELY STYLISH LADY, EXTRAORDINARILY SO IN FACT. HOW DID YOU CULTIVATE YOUR STYLE, HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT YOUR SENSE OF STYLE.


To tell you the truth, it is very hard to put a finger on how one came about a thing like style. and that's because I have always said that ''Style is an attitude''.  You either have it or you don't.  It's that simple & straightforward. It can't be bought on the street either.  One thing I do know very well is that, I got the influence from my mother. My mother was an absolutely gorgeous & stylish woman.

Like I always say with style, you must know what  you like and what you don't want. You must be focused on details. People shouldn't be the one to dictate what is stylish to you, you should know what suits you, how you want to live and how you don't want to live. A lot of people are confused about the issue and that is where they completely miss it. 

Style is a complete package. It is about how you live your life. It's not only about the clothes. A stylish woman, is even stylish coming out from the gym. Style is effortless, even if it's just in a simple Kaftan. Style is a lifestyle and that includes everything; the people you interact with, places you go etc. Mind you, I am not talking about money here. Money does not buy style, there are so many rich people who don't have style. 

I have loads of friends, who are not rich, but professionals like Scientists, Authors, Artists and even Journalists, who have style. My father was not a very rich man; in those days there was not this much fraud & corruption like its prevalent now. But as far as I was concerned, he made it so big in politics then and later became one of the 1st indigenous lecturers at that time in Nigeria. So in my mind, he was educated, refined, civilized and a sophisticated man.  And that's the kind of man, I have as my husband and that I could only hang around with. 

So style is a package. 


WHAT IS A DEFINITE NO-NO FOR YOU.


In life they say ''Never say never''. But one thing I hate with a passion is Betrayal...the others would be Hypocrisy and a lack of loyalty. If I have a friend & I believe in that friend & friendship, I will stand by that friend till death no matter what. Loyalty is so so important. Betrayal is a definite no-no. I would never condone it. 

ON THE LAST NOTE, PERMIT US TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE SUPPOSED RIFT BETWEEN YOU & YOUR FRIEND-NKIRU ANUMUDU, THAT KEEPS MAKING THE ROUND EVERYTIME. IS IT TRUE & WHAT HAPPENED?

Truthfully, there are 2 things I never ever discuss. First one is lucifer and the second is Nkiru Anumudu. 




4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Betrayal is a definite no-no. I would never condone it.....yes we know and that's why you kicked your former BFF to the kerb.

First one is Lucifer & the other one is N.A.....Chineke, Lucifer and N.A in the same sentence. She must still be hurt. Let it go biko.

What is wrong with discussing Lucifer and his mad, bad, ugly, wicked self?

Mama Borngirl said...

Welldone MM, she's always been intelligent so didn't expect less. As for some of her statements, she was def referring to some people.

Miss Pepeye said...

Whatever N.A did to Fifi, it obviously wounded her to the bone. May God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Shola Onyekweli's demi God, borrow borrow make me rich, caught ur coat according to ur size and stop leaching of Fifi