Entertainment

HOW GENEVIEVE MAGAZINE PUBLISHER BETTY IRABOR MET HER HUSBAND SONI 34 YRS AGO

THEIR LOVE STORY REVEALED
+DETAILS OF HER 60TH BIRTHDAY PARTY IN LAGOS

Best described as power couple, Nigeria’s seasoned broadcaster Soni Irabor and his gorgeous wife Betty Irabor who is a, writer, publisher and founder of Genevieve magazine are the among the most respected couples in Nigeria .Their 34 year old union is worthy of emulation and their love never wanes. Their affection for each other is always evident each time you spot them together at any event; they still cut the picture of Romeo and Juliet despite having been together for more than 3 decades. Mrs Irabor whose magazine, Genevieve is one of the leading brands in Nigeria is also a philanthropist, mentor and champion for breast cancer awareness, a cause she has diligently created awareness for with her famed Pink Ball event, one of the biggest of its kind that holds annually. She is happily married to Soni Irabor, a seasoned broadcaster, marketing communications expert and public speaker, they are blessed with a son and a daughter. 

Last week, the media icon and ageless diva clocked 60 ,and celebrated her new age in grand style. Betty who looks 20yrs off her real age, was celebrated by all and sundry with many well wishes flooding the social media, this goes a long way to show how well she is loved and how much she has impacted in the lives of many. One of the key well-wishers was her dashing husband, Soni Irabor who reiterated on his first meeting with his damsel and how it was love at first sight for him. In his words “It was one July evening, in 1982, at a party she organized for her company, when I met a lovely, cool looking young lady, whose eyes sparkled and radiated such genuine beauty that took my breath away! When I found my breath back, I blurted out to my friend: “That’s the girl I’m going to marry!” Today it is that same breath that I use to say to her through you all, who behold this picture: “Thank you for sticking with me, Bettina dear!” You have maintained your beauty and our love that I am immensely grateful to God for making you my life partner. HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR! Yes you are 60 today, you are still my sweet sixteen. The children and I cherish you. God bless and keep you with long happy, healthy, prosperous and spirit filled years ahead”.Soni Irabo is an award winning media icon; broadcaster, advertising practitioner, media manager, communications consultant and speech trainer, talk-show host and toastmaster of international repute. He airs one of Nigeria’s most popular Radio and TV talk-show, ‘Soni Irabor Live with a career of over three decades spanning radio and TV broadcast and Film. He started his broadcasting career at Radio Nigeria and rose to the position of Acting Director Marketing, after over 24 years rising from the post of Announcer,Presenter,Newsreader to Controller Presentation Trainer before he was seconded to the Marketing department and was appointed to the Advertising Standards Panel of APCON representing the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria, BON, 1993 to 2000. Irabor has trained over 1000 broadcasters from different parts of Nigeria and Africa. He is currently the Chairman of Ruyi Communications Ltd, an integrated marketing communications company. He is also a Director at Sonia Publications Ltd, publishers of Genevieve Magazine and recently retired as the CEO of Amazing Inspirations Media Ltd, the number one Family Radio Station, 92.3 Inspiration FM in Lagos and Inspiration 100.5FM, Ibadan. The veteran broadcaster got married to his adorable wife Betty in 1982 and the beautiful union is blessed with two children. For the ever bubbly celebrant who is a formidable force to reckon with, she had every reason to celebrate her new age with relish and she rolled out the drums to make it a worthwhile celebration. She kicked off with a mind blowing photo shoot rocking custom made lovely outfits by celebrity designer Toju Foye ,and editorials on where she reflected on her journey so far .Prior to her big day, she held a boat cruise birthday party with very close friends in attendance. The all women affair cruise was replete with mouth-watering refreshments, finger foods and good music. The likes of Ndidi Obioha, Ifeoma Williams,celebrity make-up artist Banke Meshida Lawal of Bm Pro,Folaker Coker,Veronica Odeka,Bola Balogun, Ezinne Chinkata and a few others.The classy soirée was packaged by Victoria Roberts Solution events. The grand finale of the splendid birthday gig was a soul train old school themed party held at Villa Medici located on Victoria Island, Lagos. The celebrity studded party was lit ,as virtually every woman of class in the entertainment and social scene graced the glamorous event, garbed in different old school attire. Hosted by comedian Bovi, the party had an overwhelming dose of music ,comedy ,entertainment, first class refreshment and dance galore. Betty who arrived with her better half, stole the show. She dazzled in a shimmering jumpsuit designed by Toju Foyeh, that sat well of her sleek body. Her ageless face was transformed in a face beat by the make-up queen Banke Meshida Lawal, the brain behind popular Bm Pro Make up. She complimented the look with a beautiful afro wig .She was simply the belle of the night. On the band stand was popular Dj Jimmy Jatt and he serenaded all guests with nonstop jamz.He ensured there was no dull moment as the celebrant beat many younger guests on the dance floor with her energetic dance moves. The event was also packaged by Elizabeth Elohor’s Prive Luxury events. One of the highlights of the event was the lovely tribute from the celebrant’s friends and families presented by the celebrants two kids Maverick and Sonia. Betty was filled with emotions as tears of joy rolled down her cheeks. The star studded party recorded the presence of media icons, movie stars, music stars, celebrities from all works of life. In attendance were the likes of Florence Ita Giwa, Prof Pat Utomi,Olu Jacobs,Joke Silva,Dele Momodu,Rita Dominic, Stephanie Linus, Michelle Dede, Monalisa Chinda, Eku Edewor,Dolapo Oni,Ndidi Obioha,Tony Rapu, Nkoyo Rapu, Florence Ita Giwa, Hakeem Belo – Osagie, Mo Abudu, Ruth Osime, Tara Durutonye, Lanre Da Silva,Chief Medina Ibru, Jimmy Shonuga, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Victor Okigbo, Funmi Victor-Okigbo, Nkiru Anumudu ,Ozzy Agu, Meg Otanwa among several others.

The respected media expert has revealed a lot about her marriage, husband and their love story in some interviews she granted in the past. Some of the excerpts read as thus “ There’s still a lot of sparks although I didn’t like him much when I first met him. I really wasn’t impressed by the fact that he came across as a ladies’ man; he always had girls dripping from his arms (even though I was never short of suitors myself), but I figured it had to be because he was a TV personality. The very first time I saw him, he had on a white suit and had bushy hair and I remember thinking, “really?” But again I thought, “not bad…” because he had a warm smile although I didn’t get to know him until a few years after I first sighted him.

He is kind, self-giving and tolerates my excesses. Honestly, only a tolerant man like him could have married me; I am too stubborn. I always tend to want things my way. If I hadn’t married Soni, my destiny perhaps would probably have been diverted; he got me interested in the media. When I met him, I was a rookie PR girl who was totally clueless about an assignment I needed to deliver. He just happened to have saved the day for me and it was like payback time when he asked me out. He was in a relationship but I charmed my way into his heart. That was the beginning of a relationship that ended in a marriage 9 months after that first date. I don’t know many men who believe in their wives’ abilities like Soni. He is my biggest cheerleader and my children of course. When I decided to go into publishing, he gave me all the support I needed even though neither of us knew what it entailed. When I feel I am hitting rock bottom, he would sweet-talk me into my strength. I am always amused when he goes: “Do you know who you are? You are Betty Irabor!” He would then begin to roll out my list of achievements until I am good to go again. Soni is not easily fazed by challenges; he is an optimist and I am learning to tap into his optimism. Recounting my story, I feel lucky and blessed; I’m always grateful for the way my life has turned out with my husband and my children. We had some anxious moments when we had to wait six years on that ‘street called hope’ for our daughter, after the birth of our son, Ruyi, but we never got to the stage of trading blames. I have a great relationship with my husband and it’s only getting better. We do have our roforofo moments but we work it out. A marriage where couples don’t communicate and bear grudges is likely to be an unhappy one. Talk it over and don’t keep digging up the past. Forgive…forgive…forgive. What I know for sure is that Christ is the foundation of a good marriage. Having said that, I would like to add that when the time comes for anyone to choose a life partner, choose a partner who is not embarrassed to say “I am sorry” when he is wrong and never makes you feel small so he can appear taller. Marry for all the right reasons and never for what you can get out of it when you haven’t put anything in.They say the future of a marriage lies in the hands of the woman but I say it takes two. Marriage is one of the world’s biggest collabo between two strangers. It has no manual; you learn on the job. It’s no surprise that given the chance I would choose my husband all over again”

VIVIAN ONUORAH

 

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