Portrait Of A Rare Amazon

April 28, 2013

Eunice Oluwafunmilayo Adunni Olayinka (nee Famuagun), considered one of the most attractive and resilient women in Yorubaland, attained corporate and political prominence through commendable hardwok, commitment to excellence, courage and perseverance. She was a perfect fusion of ageless beauty and profound brains. All through her 19,268 days on earth, she radiated inward and outward beauty, and was unarguably an epitome of humility, fidelity, faithfulness, forthrightness, elegance, honesty and decency. A diamond vessel of honour she was; her commitment to humanitarianism and Ekiti transformation was quite legendary.

A native of Ado-Ekiti, ‘Funmi was born at precisely7am, on Friday 20th June 1960 in Ado Ekiti,to the noble family of Chief Festus O.Famuagun, the Agbaakin of Ado Ekiti and Deaconess G.A Famuagun (nee Faboro) from Ido-Ekiti.  Her ‘Dad’, as she fondly called him in many of her letters to him while she studied abroad, is a retiree of the Western Nigeria Cocoa Board, while her mother was a textile trader in Ado Ekiti. She is the first daughter of her parents. Her baptism and naming was performed on 20th November 1960 at the Christ Apostolic Church and she grew up beaming virtues, exuding wisdom andinspiring affection.

She was admitted and enrolled at Holy Trinity Grammar School in January 17th 1972 at the age of 12.During herstay at the Holy trinity Grammar School, she was consistently rated as an exceptionally well-behaved student, who displayed aptitude for French, mathematics and geography. She rounded-up her secondary education in 1976 and proceeded to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo, for her Higher School certificate (HSC) on November9th 1976. At Olivet Baptist High school, young ‘Funmi was again rated as a very well-behaved and dedicated student; her marital, social, career and political life bore the hallmarks of her long-standing good character and devotion.

Her combined academic performance at Holy trinity Grammar school and Olivet Baptist High School earned her the overseas admission into Central State University, Oklahoma, USA, to study BusinessAdministration.

She arrived at Central State University (CSU) on Monday, 12th September 1977 to commence her undergraduate studies. Upon settling downin her hostel on campus, she wrote a very inspiring and prophetic letter to her father. The second paragraph of that letter was deeply intuitive and discerning, it depicted her appreciative attitude, and faith in God. She prophetically and prayerfully stated:

“Infact, I’ve got to thank you a lot for the opportunity you gave me that am here today, while am thanking the Lord too, am not so surprised because you had been a father who always runs after the progress of your children. God too will surely recompense you and give you longer life so that you will eat the fruit of your labour. I also pray that you may increase your efforts to do the same to other brothers and sisters after me. More grease to your elbow.’

36 years after, these prayers and fervent wishes have come to fulfillment in many ways.

She was named to the Central State University honour roll and was consistently on the dean’s honour roll ‘as a result of outstanding scholastic achievement’. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in business administration (Marketing) in 1981 and proceeded to study for her master’s degree the same year. She completed her post-graduate studies in 1983 and was awarded an M.A. in Political Science (public administration).

She was nominated as a member of ‘who is who’ in American university in 1981. She was mobilized fornational youth service Corps (NYSC) in 1984 and posted to the National Cereal Research Institutein Ibadan, Oyo State, for her primary assignment. She completed her national service in 1985.

Her career life began while she was studying at the CSU. She seamlessly combined full time studies with part-time work. She served as Clerk at the Central State University Bookstore, as Supervisor in Sales & Marketing at Street Merchandise and as Cashier & Office Clerk at Sterr’s Foods.

‘Funmi returned to Nigeria after her studies abroad, and her first full-time post-school employment was with First Bank of Nigeria Plc as Supervisor in June 1986.She was at different periods appointed as Relationship Manager for Corporate Accounts in Access Bank, the defunct Merchant Banking Corporation (MBC) and the United Bank for Africa Plc.

In August 2002, multi talented ‘Funmi took up the Corporate Communications role and moved over to head the Corporate Affairs Division, UBA.  She afterward became Head, Brand Management & Corporate Affairs, thereby leading the Team responsible for delivering a compelling Brand proposition and re-branding of the erstwhile UBA which helped to drive the bank’s business strategy, increased its visibility and added value to the total image of the Brand.

‘Funmi was also the 2nd Vice President of the Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) between 2002 and 2004.

She was Co-Chairman, Branding Sub-Committee and Member, Media Relations Sub-Committee during the merger process of UBA & Standard Trust Bank.

Her last role in banking was Head, Corporate Services, ECOBANK NIG. PLC where she was responsible for communicating the bank’s activities to the public, relationship management with thepublic and providing feedback to management as it relates to the total image of the bank. Additionally, she also headed the General Internal Services Unit with responsibility for overall co-ordination of administrative services for the entire bank.

Her entry into politics and public service began in 2006 when she was deservedly nominated to contest as deputy alongside Dr. KayodeFayemi, present Executive Governor of Ekiti State under the Action Congress party ticket. At the expense of her personal comfort and risk to life, she was actively involved in the struggle to reclaim their mandate. For almost three years, she fought doggedly for their stolen mandate with uncommon bravery, valour and tenacityreminiscent of Princess Moremi of Ife and Queen Amina of Zaria.

As deputy Governor of Ekiti State, ‘Funmi assiduouslyperformed oversight functions over the Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board, Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board, State Emergency Relief Agency, Boundary Commission, Ministry of Local Governments and Chieftaincy Affairs, Urban Renewal Agency, Multipurpose Credit Agency, Fountain Holdings & Investment Limited and Community & Social Development Agency. Her skillful co-ordination of these MDAs enhanced their overall performance and service delivery. She additionally sat as chairperson ofnumerous State Executive Council-empanelled committees including the State Economic Management Team, Brand and Communications Strategy Committee, State Tenders Board, to mention a few.

She was responsible for the strategic re-branding of the State, culminating into a new and distinctive visual identity that has so far projected a coherent image and definitive slogan expressingthe core ideals and goals (political, economic, perception change) for the State.

Her loyalty, courage, transparency, commitment, devotedsupport for the Fayemi administration and constancy of purpose has led to uncommon transformation of Ekiti State across the broad spectrum of the administration’s 8-points agenda and delivering beyond election campaign promises.

This article was first published in The Nation

Last modified: April 28, 2013

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