Prof. Wole Soyinka, the literary guru in one of his works said that ‘There are eggs and there eggs’. That can be likened to the qualities of a rare gem, Princess Kofo James of the James Kingdom of Badagary, Lagos State. In her case; there are philanthropists and there are philanthropists.
Princess Kofo James was born in Lagos. Her father was a businessman before he became the king of his Kingdom. Her mother, who she gave a lot of credit for her strictness in making her what she is today, was a nurse and retired as a matron. Most of the early knowledge she gained from her mother lives with her that she can say them anywhere any time. “My mother made me to know God and taught me how to pray, which is one of my greatest strengths. I can confront anything with prayer”, she said.
Princess Kofo started early in life, according to her. She attended St. Theresa College before proceeding to Yaba Tech where she read Accountancy. She also studied in Unilag where she read law.
The Princess spoke about how people misplace values on things that do not touch on human wellbeing. She observed that people now focus their attention on irrelevant things. “These days, people are losing focus. When we were growing up, our parents will tell us to always remember whose children we are. You see parents selling things and from there they train their children. They will tell their children, ‘I will sell this leave or pepper and you will go to any level’. They give their children home training both formal and informal”, she said.
Kofo has worked under Sen. Bola Tinubu where she gathered a lot of experience, especially on how to care for people passionately. She said that Tinubu would not like to see anybody working under him feeling sad about live, he must find out what the problem is and offer solutions.
On things of faith, Kofo will tell you that she has always been a Christian. This was why she had to wait on God to speak to her before opening the Abuja branch of her business. “I have always been a Christian by the Grace of God. When I wanted to open Abuja branch, I waited on God for direction. When I came to Abuja I joined Family Worship”, she said.
“I started doing community service ten years ago. One of the things I learnt from my former boss, Ashiwaju Ahmed Tinubu. He was caring for people. He will not like to see you starve. When he notices unusual look, he will call you and ask if all was well”, she started another topic about her service to the people. “I love to make people believe that they can be better than what they are. You can be brought up with wooden or molded spoon, and you can still become great. My pastor will tell me, ‘Improve on what you are doing for perseverance works for those who have faith’”, she said.
Community Service Partnership (CSP), according to her was established last year with the aim of protecting female gender, fighting injustice, knowing your environment and making your environment secure in partnership with the police. She is the chairperson of CSP, Garki chapter. She and her members have been able to introduce many chapters of CSP in Abuja. There is a branch in Gwarimpa. They have a branch in Minna and many parts of the country. She revealed that the bomb blast of last year made them to do something about the environment and its safety. “When the issue of the bomb blast happened we realized that people don’t know their environment. We have nonchalant attitude about our environment. We don’t even know our neighbors. When you know your neighbor, you talk to them, you go to their compound, you know what they are doing, but we are not doing that. So CSP is trying to introduce a new way of relating with the police” she revealed.
CSP in a new concept in Police community relationship that makes the common man feel free to relate with the police whenver he feels his right is infringed upon. Princess Kofo, after undergoing series of training with police was made a Lay officer at Garki Police Station. Her duties include making sure that nobody is unjustly detained. “I have had so many trainings with the police and I am their Lay Officer at Garki Police Station. As a Lay Officer, I go to their station, enter the cells. I will interact with the inmates and ask them if somebody is standing for them. I make sure they don’t stay in the station beyond 24hrs. I have been doing that for over 3months. If you are taken to the police station, and if they cannot finish investigation with 24hrs you will be taken to the court”, she said.
The international business lady defines business success as hard work and contentment. She believes that for one to succeed in business, that person must love what he/she is embarking on. According to her if one is going into a business he does not love there is likelihood of abandonment. She is of the opinion that people should start small and improve on that with time instead on going to the market with large sum of money and end up buying rubbish. “When I had the idea of business, I asked myself; what do you love? When you deal on what you love, it will be successful. Any time there are ups and down you will hold to it” she advised.
“I started small and I am doing it big now, by special Grace of God I will be better than this”, that is vintage Kofo for you. She has put smiles on faces of many people starting from her first manager. She gave him one of her branches. She gave her driver one of her cars and gave the wife two hundred thousand naira to start business. She among other things gave scholarship to ten people. “At CSP I gave scholarship to ten people. I divided it into ethnic groups. I only gave one to an outsider; 3 to Yoruba, 3 to Hausa and 3 to Igbo. The Igbo is not only Enugu. I want Ebonyi, I want Delta, I want South-South. For Yoruba I want Edo. For Hausa I want Adamawa, the Middle belt. I want everybody to be involved” she said.
She believes that giving attracts more to ones pockets. “When you give to people you gain more, you gain more prayers. When you care about people, your pocket become fuller but when you care about your pocket, it ends up being empty” she posited.
Princess Kofo has once tried the murky waters of politics and has vowed to maintain her Christianity when in politics in order to show example. “I want to be a Christian in politics. I will tell people that you can be a politician without being diabolic. You can be a politician without killing people. That was my aim when I entered politics” she added.