Former beauty queen and chief executive of WABIO International Limited, Mrs Ebele Enemchukwu, was Mrs Tourism, United Nations, for two years (2015-2017). And like most daughters she had a lovely relationship with her mother, who made her become a great personality. She attributed her successes to a super mum who made her take each step at a time.
Give us a snapshot of your mum.
My dear mother, Dr. (Mrs.) Kate Eze, an amazing wife and mother of five children and 10 grandchildren. She is a woman who epitomizes beauty in every sense of the word. She is strong, confident, a disciplinarian and a woman with very high moral standards and love for God. She is a giver, not just of material items, but of her love, time and priceless counsel which she freely shares to not just her family, but also the underprivileged.
As a child what are the things she told you about girls?
Everything she told us as girls were in preparation for the responsible, well-rounded women she wanted us to be as adults. So to be specifics, apart from those ‘protective lies’ most of our parents told us about getting pregnant if touched by any boy, my mum was one who always reminded us of the natural queens we were (still are). She was a constant reminder that to grow into responsible women, it was important to start by being good girls who are strong and confident.
As a teenager what advice did she give to you that has been useful to you till date?
She always told me and my siblings that “Hard work Never Hurts, Rather It Pays!” That life philosophy/mantra guided me all through my growing up years up until now. While in school, I always wrote those words on the cover of my exercise books. However, in my 12 years of paid employment, I found that quote to be slightly flawed. Hahahaha! Hard work in the work environment pays, but it pays with more work, and sometimes it hurts. Hahahaha! I left paid employment from Globacom Limited nine months ago, and that saying holds true all over again. I’m working hard for myself, it is paying, but hurts sometimes too, but nothing two tablets of paracetamol can’t handle. Haha!
Can you share some of the favourite things you did with your mother that you still want to do if you had another chance?
To the glory of God, my mum is still here with us and we still do things together, some of the things we did while I grew up. Such things as gisting, gossiping, cracking jokes etc. But yes, I miss the more physical things such as following her to the market for soup items, stapling lecture manuals/handouts for her students while she was a psychology lecturer at the university, cutting bundles of ankara fabrics for her into six yards each in readiness for sale. My mum was (is) an all rounder. I would have added that I miss the pretty Christmas dresses she used to buy for us, but I won’t, because she still buys dresses, shoes, M.A.C. powder, chocolates and many other items on her way back from her annual vacations in New York with my dad. My parents live in Lagos, but whenever she travels to Enugu (my hometown), she’d always buy garden egg, palm oil, crayfish, abacha etc. for us. Down to agbalomo and mango. Kai! This my mum ehn! None like her in this world o! I can only pray to be as much a great mother to my three children as she was (is) to us.
Can you tell us her favourite meal that she prepared and you equally liked?
Wow! My mum’s abacha, stockfish and dry prawns were simply from heaven. Yum! Plus our local meal of boiled yam served with pounded okra and spinach garnished to perfection with palm oil, crayfish, pepper, salt etc. My mum is a constant reminder that there’s no place like home.
What do you value so much about your mum’s personality?
Her level of confidence, independent-mindedness, an unimaginable level of integrity and high sense of self worth. She has never needed external validation! She used these qualities to positively impact all those around her. My siblings and I are beneficiaries of these awesome personality/character traits. I’m actually like my mum in many areas, including being a workaholic and perfectionist, which I’m currently working on relaxing a bit on. Sometimes I want to do everything myself because I erroneously believe no one else can. I sometimes work till I break down. If I don’t get it all done, no rest for me. But like I said, I’m working on delegating more and allowing some things to be in their less-perfect states.
Why did you establish your NGO and the impact you have made so far?
Oh that came as my two-year reign as queen drew to a close in June 2017. I won the maiden Mrs. Nigeria United Nations title at the pageant which held at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja. Upon winning the national title as Mrs. Nigeria, I represented Nigeria on the world stage in Kingston, Jamaica, where I emerged as Mrs. Tourism United Nations World.
My activities as queen were predominantly about charity and tourism. As my tenure drew to a close, I didn’t want my charity activities to end with it. I therefore launched my NGO called WABIO Foundation, to serve as a vehicle on which future charity activities shall continue to run. WABIO is an acronym which represents Women Are Beautiful Inside And Out. The Foundation seeks to remind women and girls that beauty transcends the physical, and that they can be all (and more) they wish to be. Our maiden project was the breast cancer awareness campaign. To the glory of God, we now have a beauty studio called WABIO Place where we continue to remind women that they are queens, with or without a physical crown. Soon, we shall put together a skill acquisition workshop on makeup artistry to further empower women and make them more financially independent.