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Why I Am Not Throwing A Party To Celebrate My 54th birthday – London Celebrity Lady, Baroness Olajumoke Ariyo

Popular London celebrity lady, Baronessj Olajumoke Ariyo is 54. And she is in a happy mood. But she won't be celebrating it big for many reasons. Read her birthday interview below with CityPeople Publisher SEYE KEHINDE.

How do it feel as you prepare to celebrate your birthday?         
I always feel excited and happy when any of my birthdays is approaching. Basically I start celebrating from the 23rd of May by posting memories from the previous year. The entire month of June is also special to me. However, becoming 54 is a great deal and I finally feel I am growing up. I have always been the playful and carefree, laidback type but each time I allow myself to think "Jumoke, you are going to be 54, almost 55" - its like a voice says to me "come on girl, you are an elder now. Its time to start acting elderly.." But that is going to be a terribly difficult thing for me. I just don't know how to do serious. Having said that, I recently lost my close cousin Bukonla Okuboyejo who was also 54. Too young to die. We are burying her on Thursday so as you can imagine, that does add some bitter-sweetness to things...

How have you coped living and adapting to live in London? It’s been how many years now?
I came to the UK as a returnee citizen in 1989. Frankly, it wasn't much difficult for me to adapt. I was born in the UK and taken to Nigeria by my parents when I was almost 10. At that age, you are already much ingrained in the English way of life so when I returned some 13 years later, I very quickly readapted.

Everyone calls you Barroness, how did get the prefix?
That is actually a very funny story. I was giving a talk at a women's conference in 2012 and the room was full of Pastor Mrs, Chief Mrs. Oloris, Otunbas, Princesses, Drs etc. So I cracked this joke of my need to get myself my own title since it looks like a given right as a Nigerian to have one. And since I was not married to a Pastor or a Kabiyesi and my Awujale was not forthcoming with an Otunba or Yeye, I might as well as my give myself one. I thought Princess is too common and as I am not married to a king, I cannot be Olori. So I said maybe I can be a Baroness. And it stuck since then. Funny enough, a lot of people who know me simply know me as Baroness but not my real name. Even my Pastor and my mum call me Baroness. All I am waiting for now is a confirmation from Her Majesty the Queen making it legal… although I can just buy it for about £150!

Tell us about what you do on a day to day basis
Up till recently, I was working as a frontline operative in the health and social care sector. But I resigned due to the pandemic. Besides, I am in the middle of a full time MBA Health & Social Care program and I need all the focus I can get. That was really difficult when I was still working. On the other hand, I coordinate CASSOGI UK (Central Association of Ogun State Indigenes in the UK). I am also a co-founder of the Nigerian Events Awards UK (NEA UK) and CEO of Sistas & Divas Ltd - a socio humanitarian organisation caring for women, family and the community. We played a major role during the detention of the diasporan woman Susan Lawani that recently made the news. I have a Consultancy Services business in the pipeline but that is still in the planning stage. I'm sure you'll hear about it at the right time.

How do you plan to celebrate your birthday tomorrow?
Oh it’s going to be a quiet one with my kids and my partner. Like I said, I lost a very dear and close cousin who is being buried this week so any celebrations will be kind of muted and quiet. But I'm sure it will still be a memorable day.

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