Chief Dr. Austin Izagbo is not only an achiever, but also a showman when it comes to looking good. At 60, the Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) of Caniz Limited, former Hockey Federation President and member of Nigeria Olympics Organizing Committee ( NOC), looks younger and fitter than most younger men. He revealed to Hi Groove the secret behind his good looks and dress sense saying his wife choses what he wears. He also opens up on his personal lifestyle and many more. Excerpts:
I came from a humble background. My father was both a carpenter and bricklayer at the Tin Mines of Jos and my mother; a petty trader. I was in class two at St. Anthony’s College, Ubulu–Uku, Delta state,when my father died during the Civil War. Things became difficult for us as we lived from hand to mouth.
Going to school was a problem. Later, I won a scholarship from the Catholic Church in my community to go back to school when Reverend Father Ossai was the parish priest. He took interest in my case and prevailed on the church to sponsor my education.
But that dream was short-lived as the Reverend father had problems with the community and was transferred. The new parish priest could not continue sponsoring my education instead prefered building churches at the detriment of my education. But God used my principal, Chief P.A. Dunkwu in helping me to complete my secondary education with the assurance that I would pay back after my graduation.
I did exactly that. After I left school, I worked as an Account Clerk at St. Anthony College, Ubulu – Uku between 1972-1976. But I was encouraged by my mother to further my education. Growing up was so challenging that it bruised my ego and brought out the best in me.
Venturing into sports (football)
My goalkeeping skill got me involved in sports, particularly football. I was the goal keeper both at my Primary, Secondary and uptil my University and finally at the state level.As a goalkeeper, I was nicked named Jagua- I guess it was because of my performances. Till date, people who knew me, especially team mates during my active days as a goalkeeper, still call me Jagua. It gives me joy.
But back then, goalkeeping did not pay off because there was no money in it. It was all about zeal, interest and passion for the game.I remember this match we played and in the first half, we conceded a goal. At half time, I was flogged and blamed by my Games Master with the impression that I caused the goal. After that, I was determined to keep a clean slate. I went back to the pitch to continue my goal-keeping for the second half of the game.
As a goal keeper at the secondary school level, the benefit I got was that, after a football match, students in appreciation, give us tins of milk and cubes of sugar.
At the University level, I had free accommodation off campus because I was the goalkeeper. I think these were the benefits that came our way as footballer, unlike today where players live exotic kind of lifestyles.
My Daily Routine
I wake up early on daily basis and start off my day with morning devotion, after which I go to the office. I stay up to 10-11am before going out to make my contacts and return to the office by 4pm. After the day’s activities, I return home to be with my family. I don’t go to night clubs neither do I belong to any social club. I have time only for the service of God. I also get involved in charity works.
The secret of my good dress sense
I have a very fashionable wife who dresses me up. She once owned a big fashion house here in Lagos; in the 80s but she dropped that for pastoral work. She dictates what I wear. For me, I don’t know what size of clothes or shoes I wear. When she goes shopping, she looks for the best for me, especially what suits me.
As a Nigerian from the Niger- Delta area, I like hats. I also wear red caps as a traditional Chief of Ide – Ibusa, Delta State. And because I love decent dressing, I always make sure that the caps I wear are of the same colour with my clothes.I don’t wear expensive things, instead, I prefer fitted attires of good qualities.
But if I can afford clothes worth N1million , I’d buy. I also like customized T-shirts with my name inscribed on them. They cost more but they turn out better on me. For shoes, they must be of good quality. I wear good perfumes and my wife choses them for me.
My mood and dressing
I dress to be comfortable and also to suit my mood. If I’m going to the office on Mondays, I dress corporate. On Fridays, I like to dress down, especially in jeans trousers.
For social gathering, especially when attending traditional events, I put on my Niger Delta attires. If I have to be with my Yoruba friends, I put on Agbada, Buba and Sokoto.
For my Northern friends, I wear Babariga. Mostly, it is the colours , the quality of the materials, designs and good shoes that appeal to me. I think it makes one look good. Sometimes my wife disagrees with what I wear.
My daughters also play the role of their mother whenever I dress wrongly. Because of the way I dress, people sometimes mistake me for an under 40.
My kind of car
My love for cars varies but my best car is Land Cruiser. That is the car I gave myself as birthday gift.