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Celebrating Poise, Intellect & Beauty! Read Osayi’s Mother’s Day Interview with a Nigerian Mother – Elizabeth Ebi

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Mrs. Elizabeth Ebi

It’s mother’s day again and every year around this time I think about all the amazing mothers that have helped us to accomplish so much. I think about how life has changed since when I was a child. I think about the sacrifices of women in times past, and the sacrifices I will undoubtedly be privileged to make for my future children. It is exciting to think about, and somewhat terrifying. Will I have to give up my career when the children come? Will I have to sacrifice my dreams to help my husband accomplish his? Will I have to become the manliest woman I can be just so that I can get to the top of my career? Those are some of the questions that keep running through my mind, and when I got the opportunity to interview Mrs. Elizabeth Ebi – I knew I would have to ask her all those questions.

Mrs. Ebi is a beautiful, intelligent, calm woman of poise and grace, who has made it to the top of her career, and yet still finds more grounds to break. I was really impressed to find out that she had been running FutureView Financial Services Limited, an investment banking company, for so many years, and that she is the first female stockbroker licensed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. But perhaps what was most impressive to me was that she is married to Mr. Ernest Ebi, Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and she has managed to raise three wonderful adult children. See, one of my greatest fears as a future mother is realizing when my children are adults that they are monsters and they don’t want anything to do with me. And then here is a woman in Mrs Ebi who has learned to manage the challenges of Nigeria so well, while maintaining a healthy marriage and raising children who cherish and adore her. I knew I had a lot to learn from this woman, and boy was I right.

What are some of your concerns for younger mothers in Nigeria?
I haven’t been as fortunate as I’d ideally like, to study some of the younger mothers closely, so I don’t have much to say specifically. But one thing that concerns me these days is how mothers today are raising our children. These days a lot of the younger mothers live so far away from their jobs, spend so much time commuting, and then while on the job during long work hours, leave their children to unpredictable strangers to train and take care of them . During my time as a young mother, this was a major concern for me. My husband and I knew, even though then we were financially thin, we had to make sacrifices to ensure we lived closer to our places of work. It provided the proximity to rush home for lunch and allowed us to keep an eye on the children’s welfare while saving about four hours of commute to and from work. The flexibility and the opportunity to spend more time with the children made it a worthwhile decision. .

How do you balance having a career in Nigeria and being a wife and a mother, remaining feminine and strong at the same time?
I have maintained a career in the financial industry for over 34 years, had my children during the first ten of those years. Unfortunately, the infrastructural decay in Nigeria was existent then, as it is now. I just had to make it work. When I had my first baby, I was married and committed to being an amiable companion and lover to my husband, a dedicated scholar and a professional at work, all at once. I had to learn to prioritize and outsource some of the activities that I could. There would be some events that I wouldn’t have to attend the whole time, but I could send my children ahead with a trusted caretaker and then join them for perhaps the last hour or so. I would use the hours when my husband and children were asleep to accomplish some of the tasks that I couldn’t complete when they were awake because I needed to spend time with them. And that’s one thing I never took for granted, I always made efforts to spend time with my family. Whether it was attending an event, going to church, trips to recreation centers (then, the only one they loved was Ikoyi Club), doing homework or just spending time together reviewing activities of the day., I made sure we spent quality time together.

What are some of your favorite memories with your children?
I have had two different opportunities professionally to work with two of my children. Working with them was simply bliss. Purest collaboration. I can trust them to provide support and brilliant ideas making the workday more pleasurable. Just watching the children of yesterday making decisions and accomplishing major feats on the job is quite a delight. Even in their independent endeavors, I remain so proud to watch their character, poise and composure. Recently, our family celebrated the traditional wedding of my first daughter, where I was honored as her mother – that was quite exciting for me. I was certainly proud to be the mother of that day. Come to think of it, I have quite a lot of good memories with all my children – growing up and winning laurels in school graduating, achieving major milestones while chasing their individual passion professionally. The impact they continue to have in their immediate circles and their communities at large, is very inspiring and I’m utterly blessed with my shining stars. Again, I am proud to know my husband and I have raised true leaders in their own right. I love them dearly.

What would be your advice for young mothers?
Children today are “E-Children.” They are so different from when we were growing up. As mothers, we have to learn to relate with and manage them. We have to continuously learn to keep abreast, read books, go online and learn from successful people. We just have to stay committed to learning. We have to constantly grow, and keep ourselves healthy, attractive, available and supportive to our spouse. We must always know and play our role in the family regardless of professional accomplishments and accolades. We must not abdicate our responsibility to family, but always strike a healthy balance between the many roles we play as mother, wife and professional. It will always be a constant balancing act.

During this season, what are your thoughts regarding the Chibok atrocity and the missing girls?
I can’t even begin to imagine what these mothers and daughters are going through. We need to pray more for this nation, the girls and the mothers. I sympathize with these mothers, and can’t even stomach what the girls are going through. The Boko Haram terror is now out of control. They have attacked our “present” and now they are attacking our “future.” The Federal Government must mobilize the required support to end the Boko Haram terror. I pray that God will bring justice to our situation in Nigeria and Boko Haram will end. I add my voice to those pleading and praying for the safety, protection and freedom of our daughters. I pray especially for God’s consolation and peace for their dear mothers.

Any final words?
We should thank God for the opportunity of being mothers, vessels of honour used to build a man – subsequently a family, a village, and then ultimately, a nation. Our roles as mothers are very important and fundamental to every successful life as well as that of families and nations. The Bible in Proverbs 31:10-31 captures the essence of motherhood. I therefore call on all mothers to arise to the supreme call of motherhood and excel in their roles as wives, mothers yet not slacking as career women or business women. Marriage is collaboration and not competition which must be expressed with love regardless of the challenges we face. Mothers as builders have a responsibility to help and support our spouses and our children to achieve their purpose in life while working out our own purpose with “fear and trembling.” It is hard work, but we should continue working at it – keep trusting God and standing on His promises that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

It is imperative during this period, especially as mothers, to remain prayerful, reflect and remain committed to learning and growing.

Happy Mothers’ Day!
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Osayi Emokpae Lasisi is learning to be wiser everyday, you can connect with her on Twitter via @Iyasostuff

Osayi is the Author of Impossible is Stupid (a book about living a fabulous life in every season), and she writes about how you can live a fulfilling life even if things don't turn out the way you expected them to. You can connect with her and find out more - https://OsayiLasisi.com

11 Comments

  1. lakelizzy

    May 12, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I haven’t read the article but just curious to know how many mothers’ day Nigeria celebrates?

    • na me

      May 13, 2014 at 10:35 am

      My dear, follow me and ask. The way Nigerians dey follow, follow; chop and change; add and minus everything don tire me. Mother’s day is officially 4th Sunday in Lent in Nigeria as practised and adopted by the early Nigerian Church from the British who first brought Christianity to our land. It started off as the Christian Mothering Sunday celebration (originally a celebration of the mother church, not motherhood) but has now been merged and transformed into a celebration of motherhood. It has always been celebrated on the 4th Sunday in Lent in Nigeria as in UK. Dates for this celebration are different in different parts of the world. But as it goes, just as we now celebrate American thanksgiving in Nigeria, I guess it is not strange to see people celbrate mother’s day twice. Naija, una try!

    • Anonymous

      May 13, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      The Baptist Churches (and all other churches of US origin) celebrate the US Mother’s Day, hence the 2 different Mother’s Day.

    • Osayi

      May 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      lol! we celebrate as many as possible! we love our mothers 🙂

  2. Shandy

    May 12, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    This woman can dance eh!
    Wow!
    Madam Future View, your dancing skills @ the Burj Al Arab was spectacular!

  3. Deedar

    May 13, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Beautiful interview, many words of wisdom and great advice. She seems like such an inspiring lady and it must be so fulfilling to see that the hard work and sacrifices that she and her husband made have paid off with successful, well-adjusted adult children. May it be so for me and mine. Great job Osayi!

    • Osayi

      May 13, 2014 at 5:52 pm

      Thank you Deedar 🙂

  4. 1 + The One

    May 13, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Great interview. She strikes me as a very astute and intelligent woman – that’s nice.

    • Osayi

      May 13, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      thank you! she is 🙂

  5. Ani

    May 15, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    She spoke like a mother that she is. May God continue to strengthen us mothers. It’s really not easy. Serious hard work.

  6. Sherrie Tolliver

    February 20, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    I first met Elizabeth when we were students at New York University. We all knew then that she was an exceptional woman who would achieve great things. I was there for the baptism of her first child and I have to say I’ve never seen a woman happier to be a loving mother and wife, yet still determined to have an outstanding career. I lost track of her when she left the U.S., so on a whim I decided to search for her on the internet and found this lovely interview, among other articles touting her achievements. Well done, my sister! I hope someday to reconnect with you on a visit to Lagos. I have never forgotten what a dear friend you were to me in school. May God continue to bless you and keep you!

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