By Samuel Fadipe
My name is Rebecca Ihonsi, the Managing Director of Sim Properties and Homes Limited, the wife to the late Professor Simone Ihonsi.
The shoe is very big o. But thank God that I have been part of the vision from the ab initio. At least I am able to fit in to continue where he stopped.
Like I said, I have been with him over the years so filling the vacuum is not difficult kind of but actually, there is no one that can wear the shoe that he has left because he was a man of vision and a strong man. So a woman like me fitting into that is kind of challenging but God in his infinite mercies has been helping over one year now. It is one year and four months that h passed on and I am trying all I could by moving on.
The government is not doing anything in the housing sector. We are by ourselves helping ourselves in real estate business that is all I can say.
No, we have not. At least Sim Properties is part of or is a member of REDAN. There is no support that I am seeing that government has given to REDAN not to any one of us. We are by ourselves working by ourselves to support ourselves.
They are always there. They would always be there. Some of us we land ourselves in court, some we do settlement by sitting down and negotiating but omo onile will always be there. The actual thing is that they will not confront the buyers. It is the company that owns the property that they will be fighting. Such is our case in Nigeria.
I don’t know. I don’t think so. The only way I feel the government can help is by giving us quick judgement when we get to court because the court thing lingers. Three, four, five years you are still on one particular case and that gives the omo onile ample time to do whatever they want to do. So the only way I feel the government can help is by hastening up the justice when it comes to land grabbers and omo onile wahala when we get to court.
Privileged! I am a man now since the demise of my husband I have turned to a man.
Sim, as most people called him, is a loving guy. The memory lingers and don’t forget I have children for him so it is everyday that you remember many things that you can never forget about him. Many things. Many things. I pray that his soul would continue to find rest wherever he is.
We continue where he stopped. We still do NHF houses within Masters Golden Estate, Ofada and his last baby that he was embarking on is Golden Beach at Okun Aja for relaxation. It is a resort at Okun Aja. We are on it. We have not stopped. The management I head is working tirelessly everyday with construction at Ofada, Golden Beach is still going on. Ofada House building is still going on. Even at our Mowe estate, Arigbawo village, we still sell plots there. So, everything that he left behind, we are working tirelessly not to let it come to nothing by God’s grace.
Thank you, sir, for having me.
Style is anything that makes you comfortable. That is me. Anything I wear that makes me comfortable and make me look goo, that is my fashion. I don’t copy, I don’t do Giorgio Armani, I don’t do all those brands. But anything I can put together that I am comfortable in is my own fashion.
Privately, we are trying. I can still give it to the private sector because private sector is the one I can still talk on. We are trying. Me as an example, I am trying. We have a school running at Ogun state. I know what and what everyone is trying to put in place for it by ourselves in that axis. We are only the ones trying for ourselves. Government is not helping us in that aspect. I couldn’t remember during the COVID-19 time. There was nothing from the government to us. Nothing. My teachers were all looking at me that I would do miracle. So, no government input on our side too.
No, we are not after the money. We are after everything. In as much as we need the money, we try our best to put in place what we need to put in place before we ask for the money. We need the money to do many things. We are not after the money. That is what I can say.
Talking about education, the private sector, we are not falling. I run a primary and a secondary school. We are trying to maintain the standard we have started with. We are not falling. We are aiming higher.
No support. No support from the government I stand to say it. Since my practice in both Lagos and Ogun state, no support.
I would not say yes and I would not say no. In building houses, it all depends. At the mainland where we have our estate. We try as much as we can not to subsidise, not to look for cheap labour and materials but things are expensive. For you to meet that standard, if you tell someone now that land in our estate is five million they will tell you is it not that estate? How can land be five million? Don’t you have land of five hundred thousand naira? People are looking for cheaper things and probably that is why some people are looking for cheaper materials to use. In our own estate, we have bungalows that we know we built with materials that are good. Come check our houses, you see the houses there. The are solid houses and we do not sub change clients. We try as much as possible not to be too expensive.
In our estate we have prototypes of what we can build. We have places designed for some things for some types of structures. Not all the land that you can put bungalows. Fine, innour estate at Ofada and probably in Mowe, what we have been doing has been bungalows whereas there are some other side where we have strictly for duplex. Where my house is is duplex area. So as no one has built yet what plan was laid out was if you want to build duplex, in e should see to what you want to build and see who will be in charge of what you want to build. That has been our principle and we are still on it. In Nigeria that we see houses collapsing, I will not fault anybody now.
It’s not normal. We are sorry about that but no comment.
We have never been a victim. We have not and I pray we would not.
In Masters Golden Estate, Ofada, we do all. We have site and service which is you sell land and you build by yourself. We the company can also build for you. We have another company that deals with construction, Sim Works and Engineering company. It is a department of Sim Properties. If you buy our land and you are not in Nigeria or you are in Nigeria you don’t want to go into building by yourself, the company can take that for you. Then also, the houses we’ve been selling over the years, the ones that have been fast selling are the ones we built by ourselves by Sim works and Engineering Company which we sell through National Housing Fund. That is still there. Lastly, we see to the management of the estate as well. We have another department that is called Estate and Management Company. In all, our estates are financed, marketed and managed by Sim itself.
Not all. Our properties at Mowe we only did site and service. So the subscribers or buyers build by themselves. We have not been managing that.
Yes at ab initio it was because if you enter Masters Golden Estate Ofada, there are some houses that look so much like themselves. The same colour, the same paint, the same design that is what they call prototypes. As innovation comes in, we change some things. Nothing is static.
In our estates at Mowe, we have issues of ratification in fact the whole of Mowe go through ratification but we have finished selling before we found out that the estate was under ratification and we have been trying to manage that. In our estate at Ofada you know, once beaten twice shy. In Ofada, we knew that what we faced in Mowe, we don’t want to face it again. We got our C of O even before we start selling. So, we have not been selling lands without CoO. Even here in Golden Beach, we have our Governor’s Consent. Then the other property we have at Skimtutu, we have Governor’s Consent. So we don’t as a matter of fact joke with title because that is what people want to buy.
This place we don’t sell land here. At Masters Golden Estate, Ofada, we have plays from five million, three million.
But we have a promo running now for two million half price.
I am living there. A school is there. It is habitable. People have been living there. We have over 300 people living in the estate. I live there, I work there, I worship there. If not for school holiday that I am here I live there.
We have town planning in Land Bureau in Ogun state. It’s like our home. Like I said, before we start selling our Ofada, we have our estate plan already. The layout is there and by the time they buy, we stay allocating. Nigeria has. It’s only if you want to buy they will cut it.
Sim Properties we’ve not been doing that. At least we have testimonies. We’ve not been doing that. After the struggle to make it work and it has been working and people have bought and are living there. People that are not living there rented it out. We have not in any way short changed at of our clients. Testimonies are there.
I shout. I scream. Then I pray.
I am not an outing person. I don’t go out but as many opportunities I have told talk to young ones especially my staff, I use myself as an example to them.
Yes. I almost got there. Losing a husband just in front of me and my marriage has been myself, my husband and his family. So, I don’t have friends. I don’t keep friends. It had been me and him and immediately when that happened, burial and all that, I think I almost lost it. But thank God that… Did I tell you he had a ministry in the estate? He has a ministry he runs in the estate like a church ministry. Thank God for the members that somebody them parked into my house and they were seeing me on daily basis because I was losing it. It wasn’t a good experience anyway. Depression is real but we should take it easy.
Any young woman like me going through the same challenge please take it easy because childr n are involved. My consolation was that should anything happen to me, let’s forget about the business that he had been trying to run, I have three kids what happens to them? And the don’t know external person. As in my kids don’t know how to share with uncle, aunty. It’s me, mommy and aunty as in my maid in the house. So I just put that in front of me that nothing must happen to me because these childr n are so tender. They are so young. So I used that as my yardstick and I do my prayers and watch my blood pressure because it was going higher. I thank God but depression is real.
No. They knew me very well that I work with him and his siblings also work with us. So should they want any interference, no. They cannot even trouble me because they knew to the glory of God, I am part of the Genesis of the business. So would there be anyone that would run it better than myself among them, no. So they did not contend with me in business aspect. That has not risen and it will not rise.
Rice and beans or pounded Yan and vegetable soup.
No. If not now that .. like I said when I lost my hubby and so many things went bad with me. I lost focus on myself and my BP began to rise so the only that I usually take for that one year was soft drink. My sugar increased. My calories, my cholesterol everything went high. It is now that I’ve been advised to take it easy and I started using BP regulator daily. Then, watch what I eat. Apart from that nothing.
It has not been easy. It has been challenging but my late husband laid principles for these kids and they have been following it. The are such blessings to us. They have not deviate from it. If they want to you just remind them that you know you don’t have daddy so take it easy on mommy and they will adjust so they have been very understanding. They have not made it hard for me. So if I am not in the house, I leave someone with them and I quickly do what I want to do and get back home or I we go to wherever I am going to do the business together. Like now, they are with me here.
Severally. Tears will come. You do the needful. You cry, wipe your tears a d move on. That is the reality. One cannot dodge it.
Like I said we said that we were coming to the other site then he was actually expecting us to be back on Sunday. We left home on Tuesday that we were coming back by weekend. We didn’t get home that weekend because one thing led to the other. So when I got home, he was at the hospital.i got home on the Sunday and when they asked I told them daddy was in the hospital. I was in the house. I came to change and look at the kids. So it was on that Monday morning that I was called that I should come that he gave up. So going to meet him, saw his dead body, met his parents, met his family that same day. I was accused. You know them. There wasn’t anything to say. I went back to the kids to tell them daddy passed on. They were seeing people that have been coming and are asking what happened. My last boy is going to be nine. Daddy is dead. He understands. He is intelligent like his dad and he quickly understands that daddy is dead and he saw grandma crying and everybody so he knew this is real and daddy is gone. My oldest son too understood so we keep singing to ourselves that daddy is dead. The question the smaller one was asking was that when someone dies does it mean you won’t see the person again? And we said yes. He is with Jesus, yes. So that is what they can still understand now so when I am doing one or two things that they are not comfortable with I am quickly reminded that I am the only one. Don’t tell me to buy you this or that. I don’t have such money. Please manage what we have. So, they are taking it the way it comes. They might not understand the weight of it but I think they will understand as time goes on.
Yes. You know, that over thirteen years I did not let their son come home. Now I am just coming to tell them that he is gone. You know, Edo people believe that he should be coming home yearly. So, if he is not coming home yearly, they will fault the wife. That was the fault. My response was, he is a man now. Will I force him or put rope on his neck and say it’s let’s go home o. So that was what happened.
My mom in law was you know she stays with us so she told them that if he does not come home every year it does not mean that he is the son of the soil. You know, one by one they now said normally they should ask that question. It is a normal thing for them to ask. So they called me our wife, burial arrangement is what we should be thinking about now. That was how it went.
Of course I did. Being a Christian the ones I can fight, I fought. Like shaving of hair for the kids, I couldn’t fight that. It was shaved but the one where they said I have to be with him in a dark room for nine days before the burial, I said no. I can’t do that. He was a man of God and in fact an Apostle and he has a church. What do they want the church members to be saying. So I have already prepared my ground for the burial. Some of my uncle’s that are bishops and his pastors in the church and all. So everything that they were trying to bring we stand on it that no. He died as a Christian and on Christian rites we would bury him. It wanted to be delayed but we stood our ground. That same day, we buried and we left the village. Then when we were leaving the village they said I cannot leave. I said what do you want me to do. The said I have to stay in one dark room for nine days. I said that will not happen. I can let you shave my kids hair after which I would leave and I left the second day. I stood my ground and I left the village two days later and any other thing that the said come and do after I fought it. We dialogued on somethings. They said okay if you cannot marry any body among his siblings, you have to pick somebody. So I told them I would take care of his children and I would stay in the family.
They are and they should be abolished. If possible, they should be abolished. It rose but God in his mercies knows the end from the beginning and he too knows where he came from so all what he has has been channeled through company so cars…. It is only the house that we live that is in both our names.
The rest had been in the company’s name. So if you want to take over, there were issues that I should list his properties and I listed them. The estate that you all claim that you know he has is a business venture and It has been sold and is still being sold and people have bought. Do you now want to lay claim on it? The cars you are looking at is in the company’s name as well. One mighty one that they know he drives was bought through mortgage. Do you want to collect it and be paying back, they said no. I said they are not good. If you want them, come and carry them. They said they don’t want car that they will be spending money on. So, other properties are in company’s name which they are for business. So will you take over what is not yours? And the company I question, I am a director with other two directors. Do you want to take anything from the company, you have to go through other directors. So there is nothing really that he bought in his name.
I didn’t do anything. I talked everything before them and as I said his siblings work with us. Like four of his siblings work with us so the know that if you want the land in the massive estate, cone and see it. Anyone you take,they are clients properties. It is no longer his property because it has been sold. What we enjoy there and still enjoy is the management. And the management cannot be stated in monetary terms right now. You can only enjoy it over time. Then his company account, the account that he runs that up till now we can still not access it because he was the sole signatory. So, untill you get some document before bank release the money. Do I table all of that before them and the learned among them knows the truth. So I think the learned talked to the ones that are not learned and they said okay since you are the one that have been managing with him before he passed on, continue to manage the company. All we want to be hearing is good news about our son’s vompany. And I said okay sir and we left there. It goes deep. Before you say you want to face in-laws like that you know what has gone beyond. Prayers and fasting.
Spiritually, I don’t know. But look at me. My kids are okay and I am okay by the grace of God.
It goes a long way. I will not talk about intertribal marriage because wherever love finds you I don’t think you should say no to it but don’t forget you are not marrying only the man. You are marrying everything that he in his own case came from a polygamous family. He tried as much as possible to do away with some things so that is what he tried to do. We never know it was going to be this fast when he died. Everyone that does not even know how he grew came up attacking and fighting but we give God the glory.
No. Nothing. Business is going on but I think business is slow and I think it I a general phenomena.
Life is what you make of it. Life is big. Life is large and it is what you make out of it.
My children and this is what my husband find so priceless that time, his business and after he passed on I discovered that life is worth what you should fight for. Right now what you should fight for is your life for me my life and that of my children. Business will continue whether I am there or not.
The resort environment is secured. We have beaches lined up here. So you try as much as possible on your own to put your security in place. Everybody is trying on their own.
I don’t compete. That is me. We do our own as God gives us the strength. If you look at me like this on this side is Ativan on this side is Laguna. Ativan is Laguna’s father. So there is competition. But on our own I have told my people, I am not looking for competition. They have money, I don’t have. They have where they get their loan from to do construction, we don’t have but as it comes, we do one or two things. I don’t compete. I run my race the way I can.
No we don’t allow that. If you come for clean prayer, you come, you pray and go at least we are watching you.
Who wants to carry sacrifice on broad day light? So everyone comes with the motive of I want to say my prayers so they come a face the river, say their prayers and go.
I believe, my brother. There are powers that be up and above. There are powers everywhere. I am a Christian. God gave us powers. This goes along with your faith. If you believe in what you say even if you don’t go to the river and you believe in your heart right here God will answer it. Now, in the same Bible, there are principalities and powers. We don’t shy away from it. So that is my own kin of belief but God has Dominion over all. I believe in the God Almighty.
We watch it. We’ve read it it’s real. I don’t want to see it. We do business close to them but we have not seen them even my staff that live here have not see anything like that.
I have not had any advances from anybody. You are the only one seeing me. Most of my clients people deal with them. Attraction or no attraction, it is what you want to do that you will do. So wherever I go, oo you look beautiful. Do you have kids? I reply jokingly and move on.
I have not and I don’t wish to. I don’t think I would ever have.
I don’t judge people because we are not the same. Everyone has a principle. My principles are mine and for you g widowed like me, if you feel you want to go on with your life by marrying someone else, please do. Do whatever would make you happy and sustain your family.
Self discipline goes a long way. Well, self discipline. I would not put myself in a compromising way that would make me look for romance. I cut away things that would put me there. If I want to unwind, I have my clique of people that we unwind together. My pastor friends drinks, dance and go home.
Like my husband would always say, anything that would make you comfortable, do it. But too much of everything is bad. I stand to be corrected.
Not easy not funny. I stayed in people’s houses. Uncles and aunties houses.