•As Head Of Corporate Communications, BANK Of Industry
Seun Olagunju was a popular Television broadcaster with Nigeria Television Authority, before she got a mouth watering appointment with the Bank of Industry early this year. She is now the Head of Corporate Communication. This stylish woman, who oozes class and charisma left Transmission Company of Nigeria as General Manager, Public Affairs, after rising to the post of a Director. She started her career as a Broadcaster at the Broadcasting Cooperation of Oyo State (BCOS) as a teenager even while she was still at the University of Ibadan where she bagged her first degree in Communication and Language Arts. She later proceeded to the University of Lagos where she had a masters degree in International Law and Diplomacy. She also got some professional certifications in the course of her job. This pretty, amiable and mother of 4 grown up kids is happily married to Kayode Olagunju, a top shop at Federal Road Safety Corps. Seun Olagunju always causes a stir when she goes to parties on account of her style. This epitome of beauty, easy going, adventurous lady is highly connected and she knows the crème de la creme in the corridor of power. City People Abuja Correspondent, ADEBOLA OLORUNYOMI was with this beautiful woman in her office in Central Business District, Abuja where she opens up on her life, career and marriage. Enjoy it.
Congratulation on your new appointment, what is your new job description and what is the difference between your job at Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and that of Bank of Industry (BOI)?
Thanks so much, I am the Head of Corporate Communications, of Bank of Industry, and I was also Head Public Affairs at Transmission Company of Nigeria, its just about the same thing, the main thing is that, I project the company and also manage the image of the organization. Basically, its the same thing. At one point, I was the General Manager public affairs, at TCN before I got promoted to the post of a director, then I went back to Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) before I now came to BOI.
What about the challenging aspect of it, is it the same, or there is a difference between the two organization?
Obviously, there’s no job without its challenges, but there are no serious challenges in this field. You know, compared to 27 years experience in broadcasting and image making. I started as a teenager, so there were no drastic challenges, not even when I was in the power sector. There are just normal things that happen that you have to deal with on a daily basis.
But do you see yourself doing something that has to do with broadcasting later in future?
Oh! Probably. Never say never, it’s my first love, It’s a career I actually love, but you know it will get to a point in life, that you get tired of doing one particular thing over and over again, it gets boring, especially for someone like me who has been tested and trusted. I have won several awards in the field. I have won Nigeria Media Awards like 8 or 9 times, so it has turned to a routine and I needed to branch out, that was why I accepted the appointment with Transmission Company of Nigeria in the first place, that I should give broadcasting a break, and being a restless person I found myself here(laughs) I can’t say never, I might be going back there.
You have achieved quite a lot in life even before you hit 45 years of age. Who inspires you?
My late mother inspires me, she was my mentor, she taught me a lot about life. When I look back at my life, I think its her lesson and words of wisdom, that put me on the path where I am today. My mother always told me not to focus on the noise in the market, but what took me there and that has really helped me. I had an experience when I was in secondary school, there was this wicked rumor going around which was started by a so called friend, I got home very sad, I told my mum, I wasn’t going back to that school, due to all the things they have said about me, compounded with the fact that I was very popular in school, because of my academics, fashion, and looks, I didn’t know the friends were jealous. I was so surprised when my mother insisted that I stayed in that school, she said if I leave, that means they succeeded in getting rid of me. I went back and since then I learnt success is the best form of revenge, and this has helped me in so many ways. For instance, I have never written any examination twice, I wrote WAEC once, JAMB once, I got into the university 3 or 4 months after I left secondary school. As a matter of fact, I entered University at the age of 17. My mum was my role model and she guided me through life.
Can you let us into your growing up days?
My growing up days were interesting, I can say I was born with a silver spoon, I was born into a wealthy family, the Awowajoye in Owo, Ondo State. But I lost my father when I was 10 years old, so things now changed. My mother had to start struggling on her own, it was quite tough at some point, but one thing that kept us going was, I had a good background. My mother was also a broadcaster, she works with NTA Abeokuta. She just had to cope with the little she was earning. She later augmented it with business, we had to sell this and that, for us to be able make ends meet. One thing about her was that, she showed us so much love, we grew up in love, we didn’t have much, but our home was always lively, she makes us laugh and was fun to be with. She really tried for us, and part of what motivated me to be successful in life is to ensure my mother didn’t suffer. Then I was also doing a lot of things when I was in school, I was into acting, baking, making hair for my friends, I had to do all those things, eventually I got to Broadcasting Coperation of Oyo State (BCOS) and I was still in school.
Are you the only child? What’s your position in the family?
We are 2, I’m the first child.
When did she die?
It was 14 years this year, she died June 2005, 11th of June will made it 14 years that she died.
What can you describe as your strength and weakness?
I think my strength is perseverance and resilience, I can cope with a lot of situation, because of my growing up days, I find it easy to cope with a lot of situations. Then I think my weakness is impatience, am so impatient with lazy people. Especially all the people I work with, I don’t want to leave them the way I met them.
As a very busy woman, how have you been able to balance your job with the home front?
Well, now it’s much easier, unlike when the kids were coming. In those early days, it was very difficult, it wasn’t easy at all, I remember then, I was in Lagos, I was working in Alagbado and was living in Ojodu, the kids were young, they just had 2 years in between them, so it was like having triplets. But it is much better now, they are grown, 2 are already in the university. As a matter of fact, the first one will graduate next month, then the 3rd one will soon finish secondary school, then the late comer is an independence boy, although some days were so frustrating, and I will just bust out crying, it’s not easy especially when you have a career, but it’s worth it.
You married quite early, can you allow your kids especially the girls to do the same?
(Laughs) Well, I don’t understand what you mean by marry early, because my mother will argue it with you, I got married in my mid 20s and my mother taught it was too late that time, so I finished university at 21, and she thought how could I have waited for 4 to 5 years before I got married. So back to your question, yes I will allow them and even advise women to do so, at lease by 28 or at most 32, I think a woman should consider settling down and start having kids. I know it may be a bit difficult now a days, but if you are opportuned, please consider it. But I don’t think it should be earlier than 23, at lease live your life then start your career.
Being a woman of style what does style mean to you?
I like to be comfortable in anything I wear, I don’t follow fashion trends, my mother was a stylish, fashionable and beautiful woman. She was a broadcaster too, so maybe subconsciously I got that from her. I will rather set the trend than following the fashion trend, I wear what suits me because am aware when something doesn’t go with my body shape, so I don’t just wear things. And I think style to me is that a woman needs to take good care of herself.
What’s your beauty routine like? At 44 years old, how have you been able to manage your beautiful stature and looks?
Well, I think it’s my gene, maybe I got it from my dad, because my mum, was on the big side. So many people ask me the type of diet I do and all that, but I used to tell them I don’t diet, what I do is when am hungry I eat and I don’t eat when I am not hungry. I’m not the kind of person that believes in 3 square meals. For example, the time is almost 12noon, my breakfast is there, and I am not hungry yet, I will eat it when I am hungry. Then at times I wake very early and I feel so hungry, so I eat. I eat anything, but I mind my portion. My routine is to take my bath normally then rub my cream, then I use a lot of coconut oil and olive oil, I add a lot of it in my cream, put make up on my face once in a while, especially when am going to work, but basically my routine is not so complicated.
When you are not working, how do you unwind?
I love to be at home a whole lot, I attend parties of close friends but enjoy staying at home with my kids. I enjoy being with my family a lot, but because of the nature of my job, I have to mix up with people.