Woman's Own

June 19, 2024

You can be successful without cheating — Victoria Samson, co-founder, Bovas Group

You can be successful without cheating — Victoria Samson, co-founder, Bovas Group

By MORENIKE TAIRE

After almost five decades in the downstream oil and gas industry where she broke all barriers and recorded outstanding success, Mrs. Victoria Adunola Samson has clinched a Lifetime Achievement Award from Vanguard Media Limited for the year 2023. She joins a very small coterie of women who have been bestowed the honour.

In this interview with Morenike Taire at her Ibadan, Oyo State office, she speaks on various issues while accepting the award. Excerpts:

You gained fame nationwide and outside the country for your integrity in the industry, when Bovas was the only marketer selling transparently. What informed your position? Were you surprised at the reaction of Nigerians who are generally prone towards corrupt practices?

In Bovas, we try as much as possible to do what is right. We think of our business and people first and we sit down and ask ourselves ‘what is the right thing to do to make people feel like coming to us?’ When they think of fuelling their car, we want Bovas to be the first name to come to their mind.

You have been one of the most innovative players in the industry despite having a simple touch. I was privileged to listen to you at a women conference many years ago and the amount of innovation that you brought into your industry has produced results. What drives your spirit of innovation?

We always brainstorm. I sit down with my team. At times you look at things as very complex. We think how we can make sure it becomes less complex. What can we do? We make it so simple that anybody can understand it. We are in a very competitive market, we need to be innovative.

As a philanthropist, you have given so much back to the society. It appears you have a soft spot for the educational sector. Why is this so?

Yes, we give back to the society in appreciation for what we receive from GOD and the society. Our giving is not limited to Education alone, it covers Economic Empowerment, and Health concern, including Environmental Awareness but because of the cost, our activities in these areas are community- based. This is to say that we do all these for groups of less privileged ones according to Bovas charitable foundation’s yearly plans and programmes.

As a wife and mother in a male-dominated space, how did you cope? Do you have any anecdotes to share with us?

As a wife and mother, you must be focused and disciplined. Many times, you  have to sacrifice many things that are not very important, like socialising and having so many friends around. These divert your focus and plans to grow and benefit others. 

Unnecessary socialising eats deep into your energy and destabilises your focus spiritually and otherwise. It does not help your home and business. This does not mean you should not have friends, friends are necessary and inevitable but as you grow older, you find that some friends are not worth having.

Some men only want their wives to prepare their food not house help, not the children.

Yes, every man wants that and that is why you are his wife. As a wife, who wants to go into business, you must be ready to give to your home. You wake up very early in the morning and sleep vary late as may be needed. You also make sure that the inner room is not neglected because that is one of your priorities as a wife.

You ask yourself: “Do I want to be a complete house wife or a complete businesswoman? Do I want my children to be  successful too? So it all depends on you and your focus.

Coming back to your question, No husband will want to eat food cooked by a housemaid. No husband without deep understanding will. When you were young as husband and wife, you must build that understanding if you intend to go into business in future.

This is why you are called Mama Bovas. You are the mother, the MD, the Counsellor, the everything. Do you have time for yourself?

Yes I have, I create time as much as I need for myself and the home. I study my children. If I know you like this game, I try as much as possible to develop myself in that game you like.

The children know that when it comes to my husband, they have their own time; we have our time. As a family, we have times we share together.

What can you say to the government regarding the crisis in the energy sector towards energy security in the country?

The best thing the Government can do is the deregulation which they are doing now.

Yes people have not seen the effect but the effect will come. They have done their best and with all these refineries around, I know very soon things will get better.

The Government must mix other resources for energy which they are doing now like this gas which the government is trying as much as possible to encourage people to start investing in. With this gas innovation, when it starts fully, prices will go down and in fact, when everything becomes stable, suffering for energy will be a thing of the past.

The introduction of gas does not mean fuel will go totally but there will be an alternative, there will be light always.

But the requisite policies for this to happen, are they in place?

The government is trying their best. For us as a company, we are doing CNG now. We want to start with about eight stations. Other marketers are doing the same so by the time all these come into being, you will see that we have enough. In a very short time, suffering on energy will be a  thing of the past.

Does the competition see you as a threat in the industry because you are seen as the saver of the people, especially seeing you as a woman?

I am not the saver of the people, GOD saves. I am only doing my best to the will of GOD. It is normal to see your competitor as a challenge in business.
Whether you are a man or woman, once you are in any business, this is what you are going to face. To succeed, you need prayer, focus and consistency. Above all, do unto others as you want them to do to you.

Can you share the Bovas story with us? 

It is very simple. My husband and I have been friends with understanding all along. As we were thinking of having a family company, he suggested we have our initials for the name of the company.

I agreed and we came up with BOVAS. That is Bamidele Olusegun Samson, Victoria Adunola Samson. My husband is a very simple man.

What do you want to be remembered for in the industry and generally?

People should try as much as  possible to imbibe culture of discipline and godliness in their homes. If you serve GOD, serve HIM in truth and with faith.

Once you have GOD as your help, you have everything.

They usually say Mama Bovas, Mama Bovas. I always tell them that in this industry, you don’t need to cheat. I want to be remembered for that. We do not cheat and that is the reason we are where we are today.

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