Shade Okoya, Razak Share the Secrets to Their 25-Year Love Story with THISDAY Style Magazine

Shade Okoya and Razak

Twenty-five years ago, Razak and Shade Okoya embarked on a journey that would redefine their lives.

A union that has blossomed into a powerful partnership in love and business. Through changing times, theirs is a love story etched in unwavering commitment, respect, and a shared vision.

For Razak, the key to their longevity lies in mutual understanding and a commitment to making things work. “A marriage is a union that is meant to last a lifetime. One should understand that before they go into it. You must do your best to make it work.”


They are not only a couple in love but a couple in business. Razak, the billionaire industrialist, owner and founder of the Eleganza group of companies, with a market spanning Western Africa, finds a partner in Shade, the company’s managing director.

Shade Okoya credits her ability to manage the business effectively to her husband. “I have learned so many valuable lessons from my husband. The most valuable lesson I have learned from him is how to successfully run the business on a daily basis,” she says. 

In this interview with THISDAY Style, the couple answers questions on love, their marriage journey, family, and the unique dynamic of running a business together.


Read excerpts from the interview:

On the staying power of their marriage:

Razak: A marriage is a union that is meant to last a lifetime. One should understand that before they go into it. You must do your best to make it work.

Shade: I give all the glory to Allah the Almighty for the grace to be married to my husband, and I’ve committed my marriage from the very beginning to His will. With God as the foundation, it has been good. The importance of compromise and, above all, patience cannot be understated; every single day, patience must be put into practice. My husband has a broad range of experience, and in respect to this, I have learned not to be in a hurry to respond during any disagreements we have; rather, I listen carefully to be sure I properly understand his point. This way, I find myself learning from him while recognising my own mistakes.


A strong determination to succeed in my marriage has always been a priority for me, and patience and humility have seen me through to date. I see my husband not just as my lover but as a friend and role model. I believe his love for me and his protection of me have also really helped our marriage.

Can you tell us what about him still endears you to him?

I have always loved the fact that he is a very intentional, tenacious, mature, and generous man. Up until now, everyone who knows my husband has said these qualities are true about him, and they are still very much there. This is one of the major things I have loved and still love about him. He has also always been very caring and hardworking, always finding things to do to keep himself occupied.

For 25 years, you have watched your wife immerse herself to fit into your lifestyle and grow into the woman she is today. Tell us what you are most proud of about her having gone through all she did

Shade has made me incredibly proud. She is very intelligent and is always eager to learn; she constantly sets new goals for herself and keeps doing all she can to meet those goals. In this respect, she is very much like me. She reminds me of myself in my younger years when I couldn’t stop moving. However, when you work together, plan together, and strive together, the work keeps you moving and keeps your love going.


Their advice for couples planning to get married


My advice will be to fully understand that marriage is a commitment that you make to the other, for better or worse. People should think about it deeply and be ready to adjust to the home that they find themselves in. They must also be prepared to go the extra mile to be good and make compromises for the sake of their whole family structure. In life, there are trials and tribulations that one will go through with his or her partner, and one should be prepared for these challenging moments because they will come. Also remember, during those challenging times, the reasons you love your spouse and be actively committed to preserving the marriage.

Shade Okoya reveals God’s role

Shade: Put God first in everything you do. Learn to pray together, because a couple that prays together stays together. They must be good friends and be able to sustain their marriage by enjoying being in each other’s company and loving each other sincerely. Considering that I married a much older man, I have had to remember to be respectful and loyal at all times without obviously losing my identity. I have to make sure he is assured that I am fully committed to him the way he is committed to me.

Read the full interview here.



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