In this rare interview he granted to Oluwatoyin Amao, top businessman, Chairman of ENL Consortium and the first elected Deputy Governor of Osun State, Prince Clement Adesuyi Haastrup, speaks glowingly of his wife, Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup.
How would you describe your wife?
She is full of wisdom, has the fear of God and very intelligent.
You talked about fear of God. How do you mean?
Her fundamental principle in life is that she acknowledges God as her saviour. The pivot that guides her life is: One didn’t bring anything into this world and you won’t go with anything when you are called home by your maker. She doesn’t pray to have the best of the world and lose heaven. These have helped her a lot in her relationship with me as the husband and with other people. This embodies her to be a God-fearing woman. For example, in our lives as married couple, I can say we have the best of relationship though that does not mean we do not have our differences.
We have divergent principles to life. I like taking risks. I use to have a Managing Director who is much older that says one thing he has observed about me is that when anything drops in my hands, I don’t look back, I just move on but for him, if anything drops in his hands, he will want to look back and analyse it but for me, I don’t have room for lamentation because there is limit to our days on earth. You don’t see me with small projects, I go for big projects and sometimes it amazes my wife.
Also, I am an Ijesha and a very proud man. As quiet as I am on the outside, if you are close to me, I am a bit difficult to manage but because of her God-given wisdom and philosophy about life, she is able to cope with me. She is a kind woman that wants to enjoy life but not at the expense of her salvation. So, as a result of this, she does not hold anything too tight and she endeavours to maintain good relationship and keep the family going. Thank God, I am not insensitive to who she is.
She is selfless. In anything she says or in any decision she makes, her intentions are good. She is never after her own personal gain. For example, she thinks I am 72 that I should slow down and take things easy by not running around doing so much activities and I always tell her that at my age, I don’t want to be a man who sits at the balcony reading newspaper all day or watching television. I am handling many projects presently. None of the people that I put in charge of the projects know about these projects more than I do. How do you expect such a man because he is 72 years in age and God has blessed me with good health to be sitting idle at home doing nothing? I cannot. But I know she is selfless, not self-centered and I know she has good intentions towards me. She too knows I am a selfless person, very generous and I care for her and our children. She knows that whatever excesses I have are just things that are fundamental but also with good intention.
Were you comfortable with her running the terminals at the port at the beginning?
You know I told you she is very intelligent. She is full of wisdom and selfless. I had an uncle. When I was Deputy Governor, his two wives approached me that I should plead with their husband to empower them so that they can be running their business and make money. I went to him and I discussed the need for him to empower his wives because he cannot satisfy all their needs and that if the wives are comfortable and he is also, the wealth are all for the children. He said if you empower a woman, they will override you. But for me, I have a different opinion. I don’t like an idle lady as a wife, I want my wife to be enterprising – to be a man – because I have no hidden agenda and I don’t have to keep her away from my resources or my business and I also believe that if you have a wife that is loyal, dedicated and diligent and you work together, you are both building common wealth for the family. As a result, I felt the best thing especially when you are diversified like we are in ENL, somebody has to take control. By the time I took that decision, friends and families were saying I am stupid that how can I ask my wife to take charge but the reality is, we struggled and prayed together, we both put our resources into the business and now that we are successful, should I say because she is a woman and I should not empower her? No.
Also, I believe that men that do that are men that have inferiority complex and that is the reason you will not want your wife to shine and to be the best.
I have confidence in myself and in my wife and I am not regretting it because another thing is that I can’t do a sedentary job and I can’t do something monotonous, I believe in diversified challenges. We are into properties, hospitality, road, construction and power and all these things task one differently but I enjoy it. So, it suits me for her to be there and be going round as I am doing and that is really what expanded our scope of business because I feel comfortable she is doing well at the port and infact, I can tell you that sometimes in a year, I won’t be at the port. It is only the report she gives to me about the activities going on and if there are issues, we tackle it together and we move on.
Would you say you are satisfied with the way she has managed the terminals?
Fantastic, I couldn’t have had it better and I must say she is making me proud. She is flying the flag of the Haastrup family high and I am proud of that and I thank God that she is taking good decisions.
How about her role as the Chairman, Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN)?
They say charity begins at home. She is managing the home front and the company well especially the concession. I am not surprised she is managing that position well to the appreciation of her colleagues who continue to sustain her in that position and I am sure that if you ask them, they have no regret having her as their chairperson and that also makes me very proud of her. That is why I said she flying the flag of the Haastrup family high.
On this occasion of her birthday, I wish her longevity, good health, strength and more wisdom to cope with the challenges of life. And I pray we both live to see our children becoming successful and getting married in good health and when they start having children we will both be alive to support them. I pray that we will live to pass the baton to them at old age.