My wife maybe a celebrity, but a dutiful mom at home -Rufai Ladipo - Paul Ukpabio's Blog


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Monday, 14 August 2017

My wife maybe a celebrity, but a dutiful mom at home -Rufai Ladipo

Rufai Ladipo with wife Funmi
Rufai Ladipo is the President/CEO of Agile Communications Limited, a top advertising company located in Ikoyi. He left Nigeria in1979 and returned to STB McCann as an Accounts Director but left as the Chief Executive Officer. A known face in the society, and a big name in his profession, he is married to Funmi Ajila-Ladipo, a more popular face in the society, and President of Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).

Rufai Ladipo in this interview with Paul Ukpabio, reveals how he copes with a celebrity wife and also tells us about the beauty of his marriage.

You and your wife have recognisable names in public. How do you cope with your wife being popular with what she does?
As the saying goes, a good name is precious than gold and silver. It takes a while to build a good name; and this explains why it is very essential to show integrity in whatever one does. It's even more important when one's spouse is also in the public space. My wife, Funmilayo Ladipo is a celebrated name in the fashion industry. She is a woman of style, creatively talented with substance; not the mickey-house and wanna-bes you see nowadays. Before emerging as the President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) she made a mark in her chosen career via her fashion label, REGALIA and clothed several people, male, female and even children. So, how do I cope with the celebrity status of Funmi. Well, as I say whenever I’m asked, Funmi's public acclaim has not affected her role as a wife. To the outside world, she is a celebrity; when she enters the four walls of our home, she is a dutiful wife, mother and grandmother. So there's no clash of identity: Not at all.

So, how did you meet your wife, was it love at first sight?
I had always known her from a distance. So when we finally met through my niece, it was a meeting of like minds and today, the rest is history, which am sure your column cannot contain for now (laughs).

What attracted you to her?
It was her creativity, remember, I’m also in the creative business.

Would you say you have the same personality like your wife?
(Laughs) No two people are the same. But what's paramount is being able to respect each other at every turn. 

What can you say about your marriage now?
I believe my marriage is good. Anyone that is married will understand the usual ups and down in matrimony. But where real love exists, no challenge is too big to overcome. We have our moments like any married couple, but we respect each other's space. I think that's what is important in any union.

What kind of things appeal to you?
First of all, hard work appeals to me. Mediocrity is not in my books. I love success and failure is never an option. I do not quit whatever the challenges. Life will bring all sorts of situations, but a strong man or woman must be ready to face it squarely against all odds. I love the good things of life and the best way to achieve them is hard work. Nothing else!

What has been the success bedrock of your marriage?
I believe it is honesty and full disclosure, even if it hurts.

You are equally as fashionable as your wife. Where does it come from, is it from you or from your wife?
Looking good is good business. I’m in the brand building world, and I must present myself as impeccable as I possibly can. You see, people will address you the way you appear to them, and for me, everything communicates, from the way you speak, dress and indeed your body language. I see myself as a living brand that must be nurtured, and my appearance goes a long way in this sustenance effort. When it comes to my dressing, I don’t settle for less. It's always been part of me; and marrying a fashion expert has enhanced my outlook. I won’t take that away from the nation's No. 1 Fashion Designer, Funmilayo!

What do you love about your wife?
I love her creativity in every aspect of life. I think I’ve said this before on several occasions.

So what do you do these days?
What do I do? Of course work. I have not fully retired, I’m still agile. As CEO and Head Consultant at Agile Communications in Ikoyi, I direct the affairs of the agency and spend more time in business acquisition and development. The terrain is tough nowadays with the economic recession that has refused to go. But we have a crop of young talents in our work force, who are strategic thinkers. Part of my job is also to train them and raise their professional profile. We are all dynamic and agile at Agile and concentrate more on helping small and medium size businesses attain prominence in building their brands which is a success index. We are currently planning a conference for SMEs in November, 2017. I must also mention that we have a hardworking Board under the leadership of Dr. Segun Aina, an astute administrator, banker, and boardroom guru. 

How about Chieftaincy titles, have you taken any, if no, why not?
No. I have not taken any. I’m a native of Ibadan, and a prominent member of the highly respected Jericho Businessmen Club with membership limited to Ibadan indigenes both at home and in diaspora. The traditional culture and chieftaincy hierarchy of Ibadan is highly respected and well reserved. We don’t throw titles away like candies. It must be earned. However, am not cut out for a chieftaincy title. I just want to engage my community in any useful way and contribute my quota in empowering the less privileged. So if that implies a title, maybe you can then unofficially call me "Atunlushe" of Ibadan. 

Where did you grow up?
Interestingly, as an Ibadan native, I really didn’t spend much time there after my elementary education. I spent a chuck of my time working and living in Lagos before I travelled to the USA in 1979, where I also lived and worked for many years. I was recruited from my base in Chicago by Sir Steve Bamidele Omojafor, Group Chairman, STB-McCann Lagos, where I rose from a Deputy Account Director to CEO. I left the agency in 2014 with sterling records to explore other options. Also, I had a stint at Scanad Nigeria as CEO.

If you have to describe yourself, what will you say?
I am a hardworking, simple and fun loving gentleman.

What was growing up like?
Growing up was quite interesting, especially in a polygamous setting: But we all got along well, and still do as grown adults in our respective callings!

Who influenced you most?
My late mother, Alhaja Asimowu Odunola Ladipo, a highly celebrated textile trader, and one of the big names in the old Gbagi textile corridor in Ibadan, my mother was a strict disciplinarian who trained her children and those of her siblings who lived with us. She instilled in us hard work as the only life meal ticket. The polygamous environment was competitive and it was a survival of the fittest. I am happy and fulfilled today and passing to our children the same message of hard work and prayers in that order as the only way out. Nothing else!

What can you recall about your early days?
It was very interesting. Our dear country is the only place where the past is better than the present. Growing up both in Ibadan and Lagos was fun. No armed robbers and the streets were safe. No high fences and we hardly lock our doors at night. Of course there were petty light fingers, and we knew them. Nigeria was liquid. Too much money in the system, but our leaders then lacked the vision to safe for the rainy day, which explains our predicament and economic imbalance of today. Nigeria has never been this bad considering it was the same country that in the '70's had so much money and didn’t know what to do with it. The Udoji largesse was a case in point and an example of bad leadership and lack of forward planning. 

On the social front, going to parties, even without a ride was jolly well good. University education was smooth. No cultism. Streets were safe and less congested. Girls and boys played freely. No abduction. Girls were well behaved. No runs. No aristocrats. Values were held in high esteem across our ethnic divide. The social order was excellent. Wish we can turn back the hands of the clock. 

Which sports do you find interesting?
That is Table Tennis. But I hardly play it nowadays, but I still keep fit. And for hobbies, I watch movies, reading and writing.

We hear you are writing a book
Yes, that will be coming out soon.


  1. You both look really great together. And its really good to know that you've always supported her in her career. Seriously, made for each other!

  2. Thanks for sharing the post.. parents are worlds best person in each lives of individual..they need or must succeed to sustain needs of the family. Verified Account Twitter


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