Filed in Entertainment by on May 1, 2010

Secrets of my sucessful marriage to an actress – Ausbeth Ajagu, Chairman Betcy Group of Companies
By ADA ONYEMA, Published: Saturday, 1 May 2010

Ausbeth Ajagu, the Chairman of Betcy group of companies, speaks with ADA ONYEMA about his career and his marriage.

Why did you study law?

I had always admired lawyers. Besides, there was the need for me to advance my knowledge. That was why I decided to study law. If I have my way, I would know everything in this world. But that is not possible. When you are knowledgeable in many areas, you talk authoritatively and give incisive analysis of whatever topic you want to discuss.

While political science broadened my knowledge of what goes on in government, how governments are formed, how they are run, the dynamics, power interplay, all the gimmicks and challenges, the politiking, electioneering, and all that; legal studies helped me a lot. Before I studied law I was not able to do my legal agreements. There were some pronouncements that were alien to me. But with my knowledge of law, I have to read in between lines when you bring any legal thing for me to sign and I will be able to defend myself logically. It added a lot to my impetus as a man and as a business man.

What challenges did you face in your career?

When I look at a career, I don‘t just look at educational qualification and acquisition, I see my career as the sum-total of my personal development from one stage to the other: as a student, youth corper, worker, investor, and the rest. I would say that there are many lessons to learn and that is why I have been able to put my thoughts in writing for people to avoid the pitfalls that I experienced when I was trying to establish my business. I have encountered challenges at every stage of my life and development. I thank God that I have been able to summonut most of them.

Why are you not a politician?

I have always known that I have a calling to impact on people positively, but not necessarily in the political arena. Every human being is a political animal. I believe that before you go into politics full time you must have tried your hands in politics in your house and be successful. You must have run a successful business and managed resources successfully. Then you will be able to effectively and efficiently run government. It will be absurd to see someone who is fighting his wife or her husband, or who cannot pay salaries, who borrows money from the bank and can‘t pay because he or she lavishes money carelessly or because he or she has not been able to allocate his or her finances appropriately, going to contest and becomes a governor, or being appointed as a commissioner. The person will not know what to do because he has not been able to manage 100,000 Naira. How then can he manage N10 million or N100 million? That is why some of them end up embezzling the money because they do not have finnacial discipline.

That is why if you look at the advanced world, most people who are running for offices have ran better businesses for themselves before they start running for government because government is quite tempting if you do not have financial discpline. I will go into politics, if my people want me to do so and God approves.

What are the most remarkable stages of your life?

Two stages actually. The first stage is the adolescent stage. That was when I was trying to determine who I was going to be, when new ideas were coming to me, when I had peer group challenges, bad influence, and all that. This is when you start learning good or bad behaviours. The second challenging stage was when I started making some money. The moment you make your first five hundred thousand or million, you feel you are on top of the world, you would want to go around painting the town red. This becomes a major challenge and that is where discipline comes in because you need to know that money is meant to be prudently managed and not spent recklessly. If you are able to manage these two stages positively, you would become successful.

You look calm, calculated and highly organised, not as a radical lawyer. Why?

It depends, I‘m not a practising lawyer, even though I have a masters degree in legal studies from LASU. It depends on what you mean by radical. I don‘t believe that people should make noise; you drive home your points through logical explanation and superior argument. I don‘t believe that people should be shouting, uncouth and uncivilised. I have a way of making my points, I rather say I‘m soft very firm.

And underneath every soft and firm person there is the strong side. What is yours?

Yes, I am a very strict person. If you don‘t mind, I belong to the perfectionist school. I believe that things should be done in the right way. I don‘t compromise mediocrity, if you plan well you save ninety percent of faulure.

What makes you happy?

I am happy when people around me are happy and as such I don‘t employ sad people. I employ only happy people. I try as much as possible to be friendly with everybody but between that friendliness, there is a firm grip of what we are supposed to be doing. More than that I don‘t joke with my yearly vacation with my family. Other times I swim or watch home videos with my wife most nights. I just make myself happy.

What depresses you?

I hate people who are not straightforward.I get depressed when I meet fraudulent and cunny people because I believe that everybody can harness opportunities to make a success of himself or herself by being truthful and sincere. Our yes should be yes. People must develop trust-worthy traits and behaviour.

What is your description of success in life?

It is the ability to fulfill your God given purpose on earth. So the earlier someone discovers and starts working towards achieving it. the better. This should be the driving force behind everybody who wants to achieve in life.

What childhood experience made you do establish an NGO for Youths?

The NGO, I would say, is the baby of my beloved wife with my input and support. You know, it ismperative for you to add at least little to the society that made you what you are for there to be continuity in your life and business. We believe that the youths of today need more counselling than before because we are in a jet age. They are daily living in a corrupt envoronment. It is our way of helping to mould our youths better.

Tell us about your background

I‘m from a humble background, the last in a family of eight. My parents never joked with discipline. I remember then in Secondary school, I disobeyed my senior and was flogged and given punishment of washing the toilet for two weeks; I ran home thinking my parents would support me, they pursued me back to school and at the end I washed the toilet for three weeks instead of two.. That is why now I can wash toilets and do anything at home without looking back, as a matter of fact, I teach my house girls how to clean up and all that when they are newly employed, with my wife, I was also taught how to cook and do all the house chores.

Do you still do that today?

Yes I cook when my wife wants me to help her; I do not see any big deal there after all it is part of the whole thing.

What circumsatnce did you meet your wife?

Nothing happens by accident. I was just watching television one day and I saw her and the Holy Spirit says that is your wife. I did not believe it. I didn‘t know who I was being shown and of course I did not take it serious. Two months after, I was invited to a christain party and there she was. The Holy Spirit reminded me of her again and right there and then, right in the presence of all I declared her my wife and she was embarrasssed and today, the rest is history.

How does it feel being married to an actress?

I don‘t see anything wrong in marrying an actress. Funny enough, I carried out a research and found out that throughout her acting career, she held her head high. She acted ‘Gloria‘ in ‘Fortunes‘ and she never messed around as most of them used to do. It means that, in spite of the bad image about Nollywood actresses, there are still some of them that are good. I don‘t have any qualms and this is is the 15th year of our marriage and we don‘t have any cause to regret anything.

What do you consider as tonic for successful marriage?

The indisputable fact is that marriage can only suceed if there is God because it is the coming together of two strangers. So you need divine wisdom and direction.‘Wise‘ people don‘t succeed in marriage. No ‘wise‘ man or ‘wise‘ woman can last in marriage. successful marriages are meant for ‘foolish‘ people like us because if you bring your ‘wisdom‘ and she does, two captains can never be in one ship. You must be ‘foolish‘ for that marriage to last. Gradually make him or her like what you like, do things together, and go out more often and communicate always. Learn to trust each other; even when there is no money, share it with her and do not compete. Just carry your spouse along and never you lord your principles over each other.

What is the most romantic gesture you have ever made?

Always making her believe that she is my mother, father, lover, girl friend and all in all after God. Each time I call her my one and only, she knows I mean it. As a matter of fact we don‘t have any secret, we share everything.

How romantic are you?

Absolutely romantic if you ask my wife.

Any embarrassing moment?

It depends on what you mean, people get embarrassed for one reason or the other. Even last Sunday I was embarrassed, I went to church with the buttons of my suit wrongly fixed and somebody met me and helped me to adjust it openly. I was embarrassed because I could not fathom myself not fixing the buttons well.

You look very handsome, how do you cope with advances from opposite sex even when you were in school?

While in School, I had many things working for me. I was the school director of the socials during my first degree.I had an official car and was living off campus. Expectedly juvenile deliquencies were bound to apply and they did apply. I won‘t like to recall what happened, then I would say I had fun but now I know better; I had my challenges but I now know better.


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