By Ada Nwanagum
She belongs to the rare breed born with silver spoon in their mouths. Despite having all her needs met right from growing up days, Mrs Ifeoma Silvia Kenechukwu still had to work hard to become an accountant and today she is the second in command at the place where she works. Yet she attributes whatever height she has attained in any aspect of her life to God’s grace and demonstrates her closeness to her Maker by her readiness to share with the needy in accordance with God’s command. She spoke with Ada Nwanagum. Excerpts:
Good day Madam, could you briefly introduce yourself?
I am Mrs Kenechukwu Silvia Ifeoma. I am from Abatete town in Idemili North LGA, married into Amaesi town in Aguata LGA. I was born and brought up in Jos. I did my nursery, primary and secondary school there in Jos. I attended FGC Primary School, Sabon-gwum, Jos, and Federal Government College, Sabon-gwum, Jos. I had my tertiary education here in Anambra State at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. I am married to Chief Kenechukwu Ezechukwu and by God’s grace we are blessed with six (6) wonderfully made children (three sets of twins). I work in a company called the Bright Boat Company Nigeria Limited, though not really as the CEO but as the second in command and the accountant… (smiles). I am also a minister in the vine-yard of God, a simple woman who loves to obey God’s command in my life. What I love most is eating (meat and soft drinks/natural juice). I also love playing music and dancing. I wouldn’t say that I love making friends because of the disappointments that come with it (fake friends), but I love to keep the few good friends around.
What kind of life did you have while growing up in your family?
Life in my family?… Well, I come from a very wealthy family, I will love to say that I was born with a silver spoon… (smiles.We are known till date as the Ifeajekwu family in Oruana-Odida, Abatete town, in Idemili North LGA. My grand-father was a very nice and wealthy man. He was one of the people that built the Most Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in Abatete and that made us very strong Catholics. So, I grew up very happy because my grand-father made the good name and wealth which he transferred to our father and we also inherited same. I will say that there was no time in my life that I experienced hardship because my father, no matter how hard the situation was, would never allow us go wanting or lack anything. I grew up to see my dad and mum driving a car. We were taken to school in car, we went to best school during our time. There was nothing like hardship in our family while growing up. But I used to hear some people talk about hardship in their families and I had enough to help out with, in my own little way. Again, my dad was a very caring man, although, my mum was also caring but business took most of her time. It was written all over her body but whenever she was around she tried her best. My dad, also, was a strong business man but he always made out time to stay with us, inquire about our day and make us happy. We are Nine (9) in number and I am the fifth and the second daughter. My dad is simply a man with a heart of gold. He helps people, trained the poor, maybe that was why God blessed all his seven (7) sons because all of them are outside the country doing very great. In fact, I glorify God for the kind of family He chose for me.
Can you take us back to your childhood dreams? How many of them have you actualized so far?
Yea… the first time boys started admiring me was during my senior secondary school days ( SS1), and I would always tell myself that I would love to have this or that kind of man as husband and almost all those wishful thinking came to pass. But I have never imagined that I would be an accountant. I had loved to read business administration rather than accounting but my dad thought that administering a business would be strenuous for me, so he advised me to study accounting in the university. But I thank God for where I am today because it is all by His grace.
Among your parents and relatives, who influenced you more or helped you to be what you are today?
My father, Chief, Sir, Dominic Ifeajekwu (KSJ). Just like I said before, he is wonderful, a very great man. He carries everybody along but it’s like I am the daughter after the father’s heart because my father used to tell me that his wealth grew tremendously when my mum gave birth to me. Hence, he and my grand-mum gave me one other native name like that, “Ijeaku”. Although my mum tried her very best but my father did more and not only to me alone, but also to my siblings. Even as busy as he was (just like my mum) then, he would always find a chance to impart those positive values to us and that had really helped me and my siblings today.
What would you consider as your greatest achievement in your career and life?
Hmmm… My greatest achievement in all is knowing God. Because every achievement is a blessing from God and by knowing God, I have come to realize that I have achieved a lot even though I still have a very long way to go in my life. Another achievement I can count is seeing smiles on the faces of people that I have encouraged through my ministry, people that I have helped to ease their burdens. Then, the grace of God upon my life, having three sets of twins and a sweet home like mine, is another blessing from God. These are achievements.
Has there been any life or career threatening challenge along the line, and how did you survive it?
Threatening challenge…. (smiles)… I don’t think so. One thing people should always have in mind is that, life is not a bed of roses. At a certain stage in our lives, we will meet the sweet part of life and at some other stage we will be faced with the bitter part of life. But what is required of us to bring out the wisdom God has invested in us to tackle the bitter ones when they come our way, and when the sweet ones come, we should enjoy it and be happy too. So, in my own life, I have passed through some challenges (though not a strong threat), but I tried my best to handle it through the grace of God in me. Moreover, it was not something that I could not handle.
How do you combine your motherly role (home-front) and your career (business-front)?
My dear, I am handling them fine by the special grace of God. As a minister, I take people to the place I call the mountain of faith every second and last Friday of the month, leaving my family to stay alone and to God be the glory, my husband has not complained about the loneliness. They have a reverend sister in his family so he understands what prayer means. In fact, the grace is with me and that grace has been sustaining, encouraging, teaching and helping me in every aspect of my life. So, my dear, I am managing them well because everything is balancing, even though sometimes it seems stressful, but when you know that the end-point for your struggle is greatness, you will always want to do more, no matter the stress involved.
How did you achieve your breakthrough in life and career?
You see, I love God so much, from my childhood days, and I believe He loves me so much too and that is why He has been seeing me through all things both good and bad. I led the legion of Mary. I was the treasurer at Father Tansi Society. I always attended morning Mass even till date. I joined the Charismatic Society when I was 13 years-old. You know, when you are fond of God, you will always feel his presence and hear his voice and when you are really called by God (unlike all these people I call self-acclaimed pastors or prophets) you don’t even need any prophet or prophetess to tell you that you are called because the spirit of God will guide you into that area in which you were called and also teach you on how to work on it. So my breakthroughs had been through God Almighty.
Who amongst the Igbo career women could you say is your role model and source of inspiration?
Hmmm… Prof Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a woman I admire so much for her integrity and firmness. Then, the founder of Sister’s Fellowship, Mrs. Iredu, even though I am not too close to her but I count her as one of the great ladies who love God. Mrs. Chukelu is another woman. I respect her a lot. In fact, I call her my spiritual mother. Onyeka Owenu is there too, I love her for her carriage and charisma.
Are there decisions you have ever taken about your life or career that you regret today?
No, not at all, every decision of mine is always guided by God.
So, how would you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered by the works of God that I have done here on earth; as a woman that did the work of God and followed God, because knowing and loving God is everything to me.
What advice would you give to the younger generation of women concerning their lifestyle?
The major problems we have these days are our teenager. These days you will see a girl of 15 to 17 years coming out from a hotel with a man old enough to be her father and she will be proud about it. My advice to them is that, they should try to bear the ugly situations they find themselves in both in the family and in the society (because those situations are also one of the things that mostly push them into such bad lifestyle), and try to work with God. They should listen to God, and bow to the commandments of God. They need to embrace God and allow him to lead their ways, guide everything that concerns them and rule in their lives. Because God is the author and finisher of our faith, he knows and does everything. They should embrace God.
Our modern mothers (today’s mothers) are not helping the situation.They hardly have time for their kids and some even give their girl-child wrong advice which is very bad and will make them become nuisance to the society. They should try to always give attention to their girl-child, listen to their needs (both toiletries and otherwise) and teach them from little things how to love and embrace God. I believe that God will do great things in their lives if they do so.