Chief Mrs. Victoria Folashade Thomas-Fahm is a force to reckon within the fashion industry. Aside from being the first indigenous fashion designer and the first to own a boutique, Shade’s Boutique, in Nigeria, she is also a very strong advocate for the empowerment of the girl child.
The renowned industrialist in a chat speaks on giving back to her alma mater, women in governance, and mass unemployment.
Tell us your experience is one of the oldest students of New Era Girls Secondary School?
The school was formed in 1948, and I am one of the first students. At that time, there was no junior class, it was West Africa Examination Council, WAEC then. The school was supposed to groom us to enter Queens College and others. But we stayed on, while some of us moved to England.
What was the standard of education then compared to now?
The standard has been going high and high. As I mentioned earlier, it was established to groom us for Queens College and the new breeds have even expanded the standard as they are bringing modern techniques. The students are doing very well, and they have morals. They are in the class of high schools the likes of Queens College now, among others.
What can you say about the donation of the new alumni building by the old girls of New Era among other donations?
Anybody entering New Era today and seeing what the Old Girls have put in will realise that the association is of very high class and that they are putting the students in mind. They are not doing all these for themselves but to make the present students become comparable with their counterparts abroad.
Are they filling the gap?
Yes. It is obvious that they are being trained. And when you look at them compared with some other schoolgirls, they have the discipline that they maintain.
How do you perceive the Nigerian woman?
First of all, you can see that the well informed, educated women in Nigeria are really putting their feet on the ground. They are matching any woman in any part of the world. They can hold themselves; they are more thorough in whatever we do. Also, because we are mothers by nature, we think well of the children, the men included. Nigerian women have really achieved a lot because we fought for it and are achieving it.
Do you subscribe to a Nigerian woman becoming the President?
What is wrong with it? It will be good for all of us. I can tell you, I am not a politician, but they say that politics is in every one of us. I can tell you that some of the men have failed us except one or two.
The Nigerian woman will think of the hope of the children and the entire people. She will never do what is being done. For example, look at what is being done, amassing such wealth and spending it. Some of them even bury money in the ground. Can you imagine?
I cannot see any woman being involved in that. We will use the money to train. Burying money in a hole is worse than an illiterate. Because a farmer will not bury money and seal it in one place. A woman would not do that.
Will a woman be able to solve the social problems which are resulting in insecurity, especially in the present lockdown?
I am looking forward to one day when the Nigerian woman will run this country and I have a feeling that we will have a better country.
Let us face it, people are crying, people are suffering. We have travelled to so many countries, we have poor people there, but never like this. And I hope, they will wake up from their slumber and put the money back. Let people be able to trade, let people be able to work.