Born into a very humble Christian family of seven children, (4 girls and 3 boys) as a first child a few decades ago in Agbor, Delta State, Nigeria, to MR. and MRS. FESTUS ASHIBUOGWU (Both living) from communities in Delta North, Nigeria, ONYEKAAH grew up in a very strict Christian home in a quiet environment as both parents are Jehovah’s witnesses and would take no nonsense from her and siblings due to their Christian heritage which they - parents are known for and would never compromise then and now: “this has to a great extent helped shape my life from the beginning as to which path to thread while I was growing up as a child and later on in life. Even though we didn’t have much then, we were happy as a family and my both parents worked so hard day and night to see us through elementary school. Although we are not from Agbor like many people think we are, Agbor became home to us for the greater part of our lives and as a small town, it had its own major challenges, one of which was oppression from the so called wealthy: this later informed my going to the university to study law and today am glad I took that decision because no one would dare steal part of my father’s land again like they did back then”, (Smiles) ONYEKAAH spilled out. “All glory, power and might be to God Almighty” she stated excitedly!
Today, this training though very tough then has imbibed in her principles that help guide and sustain her through life’s challenges especially as it concerns her business which she works day and night to grow into a thriving business empire that can provide inspiration and shelter for many people globally!
ONYEKAAH despite being raised in “the house” by her parents as her peers would always say and mock her back then because “while I was growing up, my parents never allowed my siblings and I mingle freely with non witness families as they were seen as bad influences then, but I knew from the start what I wanted to do with my life and that is to pursue a life of ADVOCACY FOR POSITIVE CHANGE” which today she lives through her vision of NETWORKING WITH GREAT MINDS TO TOUCH LIVES POSITIVELY AND HELP PEOPLE BRING THEIR DREAMS TO REALITY with her brainchild and passion: KARIFEST; this she defines as “Take The Lead”!
ONYEKAAH is waxing stronger daily. “I am not rich materially for now but I have hope toward God that I would not go hungry no matter how much of my time, energy and resources I give out to increase others and most importantly is the joy of knowing that I have a very good relationship with my happy God Jehovah; this gives me peace of mind and joy and its worth more than billions of material possessions to me in this morally decadent world that is to pass away soon”!
When asked what makes her thick, she has this to say “I don’t believe in that–joy–stealing–ugly–stinking-limiting–word– impossibility, I’d rather take the 'Im' away and have POSSIBILITY than think of challenges which in themselves actually exists”!
“All I am saying is, I don’t believe in closed doors and won't take no for an answer; when I find a door closed, I devise ways to create another door even if those doors can’t fit properly, I should have a passage route”.
Beyond this, “I know and I can feel God’s special favour on me and I want humanity to benefit themselves from that favour of God in my life no matter how little they may get of it but if that little is sufficient for them to see the light in their lives, I would have made a difference that way!
As my name goes, ONYEKAAHCHUKWU, there is no one greater than God and that is the reason God’s favour and grace is sufficient for me, for us all” she further enthuses.
She continues “Now am focusing on building my Brand KARIFEST, raising my lovely kids who inspires me to do great things with their smiles and words, “Mommy Kaka eme” (Mommy how do you do), “Mommy I love you” and finally, networking with people who share my dreams.
But most importantly, I engage in the house to house ministry to help win people for God as we await a new world in which righteousness is to dwell.
Her elementary school and high school was in Agbor, after which she proceeded to Nigeria’s Premier University, the University of Ibadan where she bagged a Degree in Law, graduating with good grades to the admiration of so many of her classmates, lecturers and others who knew of her challenges and daily activities while in school, in the quest to live her dreams; these applauded her for her diligence at school despite having to run her growing business KARIFEST which she started during her undergraduate years.
“With modesty, I hold an LLB from Nigeria’s prestigious Premier University, the University of Ibadan amidst other academic qualifications and professional training to mention a few”.
She continues, “ I could have ventured into Law Practise if I wanted but that way, I won’t be able to reach people and touch lives like am doing now with KARIFEST so I think and honestly believe that advocating positive through KARIFEST IS THE BEST WAY FOR ME TO LIVE OUT MY DREAM”.
ONYEKAAH is highly resourceful and would never take no for an answer, as she believes that there must always be a way out of every challenge one faces in life, taking good advantage of her strength from ‘power beyond what is normal’, which is from God.
Known for her simplicity, infectious smiles, good humour, kindness, strong will and love to help out in the best way (s) possible, these she brings to bare in her business dealings with individuals and groups generally and for these, she conquers where others fail. “God and family is everything to me” ONYEKAAH would always say to those who care to listen. “I don’t sleep when others sleep, I work when others are resting and I brainstorm even while I am eating, bathing and when I lay down to sleep, KARIFEST is on my mind and when I awake in the midnight, I quickly scribble something down, sometimes I don’t remember to have my breakfast until my father or mother or some other person close to me calls me to ask if I remembered to eat and then I would say oh! It’s 5pm and I don’t even remember that I have not heard breakfast, Thanks for the reminder and that person would sigh at me, now tell me why God in his infinite mercies would not bless my efforts”? She asked smiling.
ONYEKAAH is self inspired, highly innovative, dreams big and never tires out; gifts she considers are directly from God! She is very good at multitasking, a skill she terms “my sword” and she takes great delight in putting smiles on people's faces generally, a routine she considers her calling as she strives hard day to day to make a huge difference.
ONYEKAAH is versatile in her own special way and she gladly gives credit to God for this privilege of service in a chaotic world.
“My humble, Strict, Christian background, life’s weighty challenges, self motivation, inspiration from my kids, academic and professional training has helped in preparing me for the highly competitive Media/Entertainment/Advertising/Academic industries I find myself in, which today, is helping me build my brand KARIFEST as one of the best and fastest growing brands in Africa”.
Trained in fields that help promote an individual’s innate abilities and chosen profession, she would love to serve where the need is greater. “I love my country home Nigeria and would never give up my identity for whatever benefits no matter where I go to serve, Nigeria would always remain my FIRST AND ONLY LOVE while other places can be MY OCCASIONED LUXURY SPOTS”!
Currently she is the FOUNDER/Chief Operating Officer and Group Managing Director of the KARIFEST GROUP though still in its formative years, but fast growing, ONYEKAAH is hopeful that the teething period will be over soon.
As she stated, “I have ventured into and diversified in areas where ordinarily people will be scared to attempt at my age but am confident that the teething period for my business will be over soon, especially following the fire incidence that gulped down my finances! Each new penny that I make always finds its way into developing, and growing either existing or new businesses as my God or my spirit LEADS”.
ONYEKAAH is also into consulting, reputation management and runs a number of online promotions sites both charitable and business.
“At this point you may wonder how I cope with and balance all these with having a happy family life. Personally I don’t know where I get the strength from but one thing I don’t joke with is being a good mother to my kids and sustaining my family life”!
“I prioritize and multitask. I must never be idle!
Lol - My nature still”.
ONYEKAAH considers her greatest achievement as being a mother.
She sparkles and beams with smiles whenever she gets that special call that ends with “Mummy I Love you” or receives text messages that ends with “I LOVE YOU MY DEAR MUMMY”!
“When I receive that special call with a young, smooth, unique, loving and reassuring voice that says “mummy when are you coming back home?”, the joy I feel knows no limits at that point!
She considers motherhood a turning point in her life; a source of major inspiration as she puts it “to me, motherhood is my greatest achievement in life so far and am eternally grateful to God my maker for this wonderful privilege, I couldn’t have asked for more”.
ONYEKAAH is widely travelled as her work takes her to different parts of the world. She has been to several places through which she touches lives and put smiles on faces.
ONYEKAAH was born into a Jehovah’s Witness family and still practises as one till date.
She believes that God’s kingdom is the only permanent solution to mankind’s unending problems and to that faith, she holds on tenaciously as her faith can never be compromised even in the face of opposition. "One thing I must never do is compromise my integrity; that am determined to keep whatever the circumstance!
Every week, ONYEKAAH goes out with her family and Christian brothers and sisters to share her faith with people so as to help them get on “the road leading to life”.
HER BIBLE BASED BELIEFS
She believes that in the new world to come, Disappointments, Oppression, Bad Government, Poverty, Insecurity, Death, Pain and Sickness will be no more: Rev 21: 3-
But one place she would love to live forever with her kids, family, friends and well wishers is a paradise earth and this dream she holds on dearly to “This is what my whole existence depends upon and nothing else matters to my family and I than to run this race of life to a conclusive end with faith when God ushers in a new government where righteousness is to dwell forever”!
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I Do Not Believe In The word Impossibility. I'd Rather Take Away The IM And Have POSSIBILITY!
Besides being a doting mother, ONYEKAAH gets her inspiration partly by being herself, creating platforms for people with vision and wanting to make everyone around her happy by helping them succeed. So she works extra hard to reach as many people as possible with her “care and love”. But her greatest inspiration is remembering her background and roots!
“I have been through a lot of struggles! Too many challenges to mention but God has sustained me and kept me going through it all despite all! I have also learned selflessness and self denials through struggles to a point where I no longer live for myself alone but for others as well!”
“Recently, I had the privilege of unveiling my foundation, the KARIFEST DUCHESS ONYEKAAH FOUNDATION, a platform through which I intend to bring my vision and passion for the downtrodden to reality as a call to greater service to humanity, and this is a cause I intend to pursue and use as a channel to shape lives positively.”
"The foundation is very personal to me because through it I shall be helping people bring their dreams to reality. Right now am practically focusing on teenagers because it connects me to my roots and background while growing up as a little girl who had almost nothing materially but her dreams and vision to succeed."
“When I remember how hard my parents struggled to give me and my 6 other siblings a life and basic elementary education, I work 24 times harder so that I can help others succeed and reduce people’s frustrations in life to the best of my abilities” she says!
“Rendering selfless service to humanity is my calling but Giving is my PASSION” she says with a note of finality when asked what her passion was!
Today, through her CHARITY PLATFORMS, she empowers so many people in their productive years because “I ONYEKAAH didn’t have a helper or financier from the beginning till this day except God, but when you have God, you have it all. Every little thing I own today is from my labour and God’s blessings. So as a way of showing unreserved gratitude to God for all he’s done for my family and I, I always try to network the money bags with the less privileged or upcoming to see if they can assist and help them get on their feet. This gives me joy beyond compare, to help someone move forward”!
"While I am myself and would never want to be another person, I would still say on a positive note that if I were a Dangote of Nigeria, or Mrs Bill Gates of America, with all due respect, I’d give Africa a ROOF over its head in the area of education, youths and women empowerment and the world, in the area of fending for the impoverished and hungry children and still not run out of funds because it is God that gives and sustains wealth and he loves and blesses cheerful givers, though these I hear are doing their bits in their own special ways!”
“My name KARIFEST!”
“With all sense of humility, modesty and sincerity, I do not want to be remembered as the world’s richest woman but to be remembered as the world’s greatest philanthropist and a preacher of God’s word”!
I suffered a major setback on December 25th 2015, when my entire BIZ Empire and plaza got razed down by fire caused by a negligent fuel attendant in which I lost my multi-million naira biz empire as I watched my hard labour of several years go down in ashes right before my very eyes!
Although I didn't allow that decide which way forward as is my nature of ever forward, the scars from that horrible experience lives with me EACH and every day as it still remains my greatest setback in life so far because I had to start all over again except for my legacy which was left intact; to me I have decided that by God's grace, no fire can destroy that legacy even after am gone!
ONYEKAAH has so many books to her credit.
“I write a lot! My greatest talent is writing, or I should think so! Back in my university days, my colleagues call me a stenographer! I can bring down the world in seconds with my pen. ( Smiles). Now that’s on a lighter note. But my passion in creating and putting down thoughts on paper is unimaginable!”
"When I have to read, it must be Detective, Epic and Motivational books!"
"Something to make me THINK BEYOND BORDERS. Something ECLECTIC."
"Something to joggle my mind and set me thinking of possible solutions to challenges and life's puzzles. But unfortunately I am NOT passionate about reading, that’s a skill am working on developing because to succeed as a leader, you must be a voracious reader!”
"When I write, my thoughts and life experiences are evident in my literary works!"
"Something EXPERIENCE and DIDACTIC."
I love my mother’s African Cuisines any time, any day but most importantly, our vegetable and native soups! As a home girl, I too am an excellent cook, so they always say!”
“I live by the day. Wherever life takes me, I will gladly go each new day as it comes, so, Hakuna Matata, no worries”.
“AM overly trusting! I have gotten into several arguments and had several disappointments from those I trusted blindly but failed to live up to that trust! But I have a weakness, once my trust is broken, it can take a person another lifetime to get that trust back even when you get the forgiveness instantly!”
"I could spend my last kobo on a stranger and wake up the next morning with food to eat!"
"I could be SO BLUNT if that means to speak the truth!"
"I could tell a sitting president off and not feel an iota of regret or a shred of fear!"
“I could be very SECRETIVE, yet VERY OPEN, it depends on who am dealing with!”
“I HATE lies that it stinks more than a dead corpse to me! Don’t lie to me, tell me the truth even when it hurts because if I catch you lying to me, hmmmmm, well, a story may be in the making!”
"I have perfectionist tendencies. I want to get it right always. I don’t want to make mistakes! My work must be perfect! But ask me, is the person doing it perfect? Is ONYEKAAH PERFECT? That am learning to control gradually!"
“Nothing in particular; just the normal everyday life anxieties of someone who is bent on LIVING HER DREAMS TO THE FULLEST, HELPING PEOPLE and MAKING A DIFFERENCE GLOBALLY!”
“Beyond this, THE SIGHT OF SEEING SOMEONE UNHAPPY can make considerable impact and be of concern to me until the person puts up a smiling face even if it’s not genuine! Lol.”
"I have made mistakes that left scars on me but every experience I undergo is meant to teach me a bigger and better lesson and make me a better person and in every situation, I give glory to God because it may have been worse but with the gift of life, each new day, it could be better!"
*God will never allow that which I cannot bear come to me but in every tribulation, he would make a make out.
*Do to others what you expect of them.
*God is for us a shield in times of distress.
*Do not be anxious over anything but by prayers, thanksgivings and supplications, let your petition be known to God and the peace of God which excels all thoughts would guide your mind and mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.
* No greater GIFT as motherhood. This too, I have experienced and would gladly give everything for!
*Love your neighbour as thyself.
*I will not reduce my standard to make you accept me. It’s up to you to step up the ladder or take your exit for good, either ways; respect for each other’s values is maintained.
* As for me, determined I shall be, to walk eternally in my integrity!
“MY God, My Family, My Christian Heritage, My Ingenuity, My High Spirits, My Mouth, My Persuasiveness, My Business and my innate abilities!”
“Some may call it strength but my overly trusting nature and my inability to pretend when it’s needed!”
“AM highly emotional, that am learning to deal with, with each encounter, lesson or experience!”.
“God, My Ambitious Nature, My Background, Motherhood, Self Inspiration, Determination to Succeed and the Passion of HELPING OTHERS!”