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Ladipo: Living to empower youths at 60



The words of the holy psalmist that says “So, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” best describes the life of Mrs. Iyabo Elizabeth Ladipo, a lawyer, an etiquette coach, author and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Double Portions Nigeria who turned 60 recently.

Ladipo, a lawyer-turned-caterer had her life well laid out from a tender age. And at 60, she feels fulfilled in all spheres of life.

“I feel fulfilled in every sphere of my life,” she says smiling. “At 60, I can boldly say I am one of those who God has guided all through life in His wisdom.”


Ladipo, who had 20 years hands-on experience in the banking industry before veering into catering, graduated at a relatively young age of 20 from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Osun State, where she studied Law.

“I graduated at the age of 20 and by 30 years of age I have started my career and also started raising children,” she explains, stressing that at 60, she sees her life as a testimony of God’s grace “because it was planned out by Him.”

As a young graduate, Ladipo’s first worked briefly at the Federal Ministry of Justice before joining the United Bank for Africa (UBA) where she worked for 10 years in the legal department.

She later joined the Merchant Bank of Commerce, which was later acquired by the UBA and worked for another 10 years there before quitting the banking sector.

She went back to her legal practice and started going to court. According to her, the experiences she gathered as a lawyer has been a great asset to her especially in her present job of mentoring youths.

“My training as a lawyer made me be more articulate. Legally, I have a voice and I am trained to use it. Maybe this is one of the reasons I could flow freely in my campaign against social ills among the nation’s youths,” she enthuses.

An advocate of quality parenting, Ladipo feels very strong at 60 and believes she still has a lot to offer the society.

Her words: “I still have a lot of energy but I am just trying to slow down lately. I still move around a lot because I enjoy shopping and I run a lot of errands for many of my friends.

“It’s time to think for the next thing because I must not become a liability to anyone at this blessed age. So, the quest to sustain my lifestyle makes me continue working. I still sing as a hobby and I am an author. As a lawyer, I still handle some legal cases that come my way. There is nothing I want to do that I can’t do. I still dance like a youth but not your energy-sapping ‘Shakushaku.”


When asked what she would regard as the peak of her achievements, Ladipo said she is a fulfilled lawyer, motivational speaker and an ordained pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Nigeria.

“I am fulfilled spiritually, educationally, maritally and emotionally. I thank God for the spiritual connectedness and ordainment.”

Aside from the gift of longevity and a fulfilling career, Ladipo is also grateful for a successful marriage.

“By the grace of God, my marriage is 36 years old as I celebrate my 60th birthday and I am a mother of four and grandmother. I am grateful to God.

“Along the line, I resolved to establish my company, named Double Portions Nigeria, a bakery and catering firm which later metamorphosed into a vocational centre where youths are being groomed for the future. I figured that our cultural values have been severely eroded,” she notes.

Ladipo says she has resolved to be at the vanguard of re-orientating youths and younger parents she encounters, with a view to stimulate them for a better future.

Asked how successful her mentoring intervention has been, she recalls: “I established Double Portion because I realised I was doing more training for children on catering in 2002. During the holidays, parents would come to enroll their children to learn how to cook. Over time, I discovered that many of the children I encountered do not know how to do so many things simply because they haven’t been taught.

“So, I began to teach them from scratch. We would all go to the market to buy the necessary items together because a lot of them had never visited a market before. While training them on cooking, I use the opportunity to talk to them and change their perception about life.


“The truth is that there are so many things we are not teaching our children these days, including our native languages because we feel we are busy. Parents should stop saying their children don’t know anything when they fail to teach them,” she admonished.

On quality parenting, she says that as a lawyer who was raised by an economist mother, learning the essentials of life was a necessity.

“So, I learned most of the things I do today from my mother, including baking. She taught me all the skills from childhood and got me involved in the business when I grew up. Parents need to know that more intimacy is built during the process of working with the children,” she notes.

She reveals that she has expanded the training to accommodate parents, noting that she realised it was equally important to educate the young parents on the basis of quality parenting.

“In 2005, I started a parenting seminar which I called ‘Mum’s Tea Party’. From the seminar, a book titled ‘Parenting Without Tears’ evolved in 2009 when I celebrated my 50th birthday.

“Since then, I have continued to work with children and parents by speaking at schools, seminars, religious settings, etc. I was running seminars and from there I started getting an invitation to come and speak on various occasions. So, motivational speaking also became part of me because I have always had the desire to improve the nation’s value system.”

Speaking on the importance of good parenting, Ladipo says she believes parenting is not an issue Nigerians should take lightly. She believes that youth restiveness in some regions of the country is as a result of failed parenting.

On what she thinks about the get-rich-quick syndrome among Nigerian youths lately, the etiquette coach says: “I remember my experience with the young intakes in the bank where I worked many years ago. I asked them where they think thought they would be in 10 year’s time and their responses were disappointing. Many of them said they would have been on their own by then. And I began to wonder how that could be possible if they didn’t defraud a company. I pondered on what kind of money they would have made in 10 years that would be enough for them to stay on their own for the rest of their life. Though everybody wants wealth, we have to be sure of the source of wealth we get; it should be one we have worked for and not one from the blues. Life is in stages and our young people need to understand that.


“Both the poor and the rich youths need to go off their mobile phones, laptops, and other devices to face the reality of life. We were trained on how to weave hair, make soup and do some other home chores but now most young ladies and men don’t know anything,” she laments.

Ladipo strongly believes that success is a product of hard work. She, therefore, urges Nigerian youths to work hard, pointing out that youth restiveness and laziness are products of failed parenting.

“Many social vices we find in our society today is due to bad parenting. If we fail to train the bad children, the population of the bad ones will overrun the good ones,” Ladipo warns.

Ladipo has worked with many non-governmental and not-for-profit organisations like ARISE, Nigerian Women Foundation, CASO, Women in Business (WINBIZ) and Chosen Vessels Empowerment Foundation (CVEF). But she doesn’t have her own NGO. She believes running the race through existing organisations is the way to go.

“Now, I am joining a team to start talking to young boys because I have equally found out that there are very few people talking to the boys and they are getting lazy. We have found out that ladies are trained to multi-task while we fail to pay attention to the men. Grown-up men should also know how to support their wives and encourage them at home,” she says.

For the womenfolk, she advises them to love themselves and their families.

“They must be ready to teach and train their children. Women need to pray but they must learn to teach the young ones.”

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