In this week’s segment of YabaCitizen, we had a chat with the Iyaloja-General of Yaba LCDA, Mrs. Josephine Oluwayemi Owolabi. in this interview, she talks about what her childhood was like and how she combatted problems with prayers. Enjoy the read.
Tell us about your Childhood.
I was born in 1962 and raised at 9, Kakawa Street, Ita-Tinubu in Lagos- Island. Although my parents, Mr. Akin Lawrence and Mrs. Anike Lawrence were Lagosians, their own parents immigrated from outer parts of Lagos. While my father was from the Egun tribe of Badagry, his parents originated from the town of Ganvie in the Republic of Benin. My mother was from Abeokuta. Her parents were originally from Emure-Ekiti in Ekiti State before venturing to Abeokuta.
I attended St. Matthews afternoon school in Ajele for my elementary education. After that, I was enrolled at Holy Saviour’s College in Isolo for my secondary education. After a few years, it was discovered that the school was not approved to function by the government. So, I was withdrawn from there and was re-enrolled at Obaseku High School, Eruwa, Oyo State.
After acquiring my school leaving certificate, I attended a catering school to study Catering and Hotel Management. Then I got married to my husband of thirty-eight years, Hon. Monsuru Alao Owolabi. That’s how I became Mrs. Ibiwunmi Josephine Oluwayemi Owolabi.
Shortly after, I got the opportunity to attend a school of theology, International Divinity College, Agbala-Itura, Agege.
Then I started to sell some goods here in Yaba market after the government had cleared off miscreants that used to terrorise the neighbourhoods.
Unfortunately, traders were not recording much profits from what we sold at the time. We were plagued by incessant visits from some local government officials asking us to pay fines for crimes we did not even commit.
I am a firm believer that prayer changes situations. I was raised that way. So, I rallied other traders to organise a weekly prayer session on Thursdays.
This was what made the local market committee to choose me as a leader when the need arose for one.
We were positioned under Yaba local government administration then.
When the former Iyaloja General, Muyiba Asejere died, the mantle of leadership fell on me and I have been at the helm of market affairs in Yaba up till this moment.
Any advise for local market leaders?
I would advise that market leaders should go and register their markets with local government authorities. It is very important.
Secondly, the leadership of market associations should not be just about appointing who is perceived to be the richest but who is ready and capable of fostering a healthy market environment among stakeholders.
I also advise people to stop looking for a big stature in a person before appointment. Sometimes, the market committee end up regreting appointing such a person as leader.
Dedication, commitment, and the fear of God should be the imperative qualities to look out for when appointing a leader.