The Okoyas are without doubt one of the most prominent families within the Nigerian social establishment. They have very visible and conspicuous landmark projects across the length and breadth of Lagos. But in recent years, they have made more headlines purely because of their social lifestyle than for their economic significance.
Over a long period of time, there have been the emergence and dethronement of powerful forces within this multibillion naira household. The power struggle is always between the wives, his only sister Wosilat and his one-time favourite daughter Biola.
But like in a highly tensed chess game, 35-year-old Sade Okoya, his youngest wife has emerged the most formidable force within the Okoya clan. Not only is she 150 per cent solely entrenched in the heart of the Aare of Lagos, she practically calls the shots in that kingdom and therefore the fear of this young lady who is looking more like a surgically enhanced Barbie doll is the beginning of wisdom for all members of the Okoya household.
But now the big question: who is Sade Okoya and how did she attain this gigantic feet? We can tell you that Sade is the very ordinary Ojuelegba girl whom mother luck smiled at with her chance meeting with the Aare Eko, Alhaji Akani Rasaq Okoya during the dying days of his marriage to the beautiful Ajoke Okoya. If you remember, Ajoke was his official No 2 wife after Kuburat, the first wife. Okoya loved Ajoke so much that he gave her anything she wanted. He also spoilt her silly with the luxuries of life. This of course caused a lot of fight between Ajoke and her husband’s very powerful sister, Wosilat Okoya. Wosilat was part of the family business, Eleganza Group and was obliged by her brother on all things. So there was a huge power struggle between these two ladies as Ajoke wasted no time in always reminding Wosilat that she (Ajoke) was rightly in her husband’s house and was entitled to any power that has been bestowed on her. So when cracks began to surface in Ajoke’s marriage to Chief Okoya especially, it was easily exposed that one of her son is bastard.
Wosilat was not only joyous but went into an overdrive of high-wired plotting. It is important to note that Ajoke’s separation from her husband and the emergence of Sade as the newest wife was played out in the media with a ferocious intensity. The details were lurid, sordid and unimaginable. Let’s remind you of some: Ajoke was said to have stopped having sex with her husband due to what she termed his continuous flirting with ladies of easy virtue. It was widely reported in most tabloids then that she had told a few confidantes that except with the use of condom, she is not going down to sex route with her husband. It was alleged then, that her husband in turn found this position very atrocious and contemptuous and so swung into action by terminating the marriage and officially taking in Sade. Wosilat welcomed Sade openly and became her unofficial chaperon, fashion consultant, jewelry supplier and even tying Sade’s ‘geles’. Sade in turn realized how powerful Wosilat was and the strategic love that existed between Biola and her father so she smartly ’embraced’ the duo and it looked like a relationship made in heaven. But it did not last for long because Sade had learnt from the fall of the ‘almighty’ Ajoke Okoya that she had to spread her tentacles very fast. Before anyone could say Jack Robinson Sade tactfully and very smartly disengaged Wosilat on all her ‘chaperon’ services and took full charge of her looks, style, image and above all destiny.
Before Wosilat could understand what hit her, Sade took over the buying of jewelry for parties and other family functions by contacting and accessing reputable jewelers both in Europe and Asia. This was a responsibility hitherto exclusively for Wosilat. She used to travel abroad to Dubai and Italy to procure jewelry for everyone all funded by the patriarch of the family. Even Biola was also displaced as the attention she used to get from her dad waned seriously and it was also reported that she began to owe a lot of luxury dealers on the Island. As theirs was going down, Sade’s meteoric rise was very inevitable. She went straight up the best dressed list and remained there permanently. She made it a point of duty to wear very dramatic jewelry to all society functions. Whether gold, platinum, white gold, coral beads or diamonds, modesty was never in her style bible. Sade persistently and ferociously attracted the attention of all the powerful society women on account of not only her style but her foxiness and dexterity in the art of acquiring jewelry. She knew that in a very competitive fashion climate, jewelry sets you apart from the crowd and also makes you a reference point among the ever fashion enthusiastic women of Lagos. She had a super duper colourful wedding with Akanni Okoya that saw her taking not only her rightful place in the scheme of things but also emerging The Wife. According to those very close to the Okoyas, Wosilat knew the game was up so in order not to look foolish, she hooked up with her brother’s very good friend, billionaire businessman Tunde Badmus and joined as one of his numerous wives. Within the social circle, many people expected Wosilat to now begin to shine as Mrs Badmus by taking charge of her new hubby’s life just like she controlled things in her brother’s home front. But that was never to be as she was completely subdued in Oshogbo where the Badmus reside. It is a known fact that Alhaja Ganiat Badmus is the most prominent wife of Tunde; rich, industrious and very connected within the entire Yoruba social establishment so she never allowed Wosilat to go pass her limit. In fact gist on the lips of most society women is that Ganiat made the atmosphere so hot for Wosilat that as soon as her ex-beau became a federal minister, she immediately hooked up with him and eventually dumped Badmus for him. We are talking of ex-minister Demola Seriki.
Biola on her part, in order to save face, chose to relocate abroad as there was no room for two queen bees. As they all disappeared from the scene, Sade was said to have consolidated her tentacles. She also smartly turned the initial aggression towards her by other society women to acceptance. For, when she initially became Mrs Okoya, the few early years were turbulent for her at the social scene. Most women saw her as a usurper who was reaping where she did not sow They were unfriendly at parties, there were instances where she got turned down from sitting on a table at parties; but rather than fight back, she resorted to respect and playing the more mature one. At the end, Sade clearly won. Sade who is never one to be caught being loud at parties, prefers to allow her looks do the talking, for she revels in the attention.
She celebrated her 35th birthday months ago with a very dramatic swimming pool photo shoot splashed across the cover page of a prominent style magazine.
It is alleged that she has since relocated her family from their Ojuelegba downtown suburb to the super plush confines of the wondrous Okoya estate. With her mother living with her, she could definitely not go wrong in this risky chess game otherwise known as polygamy
The first wife Alhaja Kuburat has since moved on in life by giving and dedicating her life to God. She is now a born-again Christian as she is a prominent member of Mountain of Fire Miracles Church on the Island. Her kids too are born again as Taofeek her second son has been a church worker for long at RCCG, City of David parish. Biola too is also a Christian. At most functions where they all attend, Alhaji sits with Sade in a lovey-dovey posture while his first wife Kuburat sits in a hidden corner of the same party. It is hard to believe she is the eldest wife.
Society ladies whisper, talk, gossip and even stare at them unrepentantly but it is what it is. The situation has changed from what it used to be many years back. Wosilat, Biola and every other member of the clan is said to defer Sade who is the undisputed numero uno of Alhaji’s heart. It is not the very obvious fact that this is the new situation that baffles other prominent society ladies but how a girl from a relatively downtrodden background was able to pull this off.
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