There is indeed a time for everything, as the good book says. A time to plant, and a time to reap. A time to labour, and a time to celebrate. For Her Excellency, Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, the first democratically elected female deputy governor in Ekiti State, South West Nigeria this is indeed a season for stock taking and thanksgiving.
There is no gain saying the fact that Mrs Olayinka has more than enough reason to thank her creator for affording her the opportunity to be able to look back, as reached the golden age of 52, and marvel at what God has enabled her to achieve within the very short, but highly eventful period of her life.
For this enigmatic professional banker turned politician, life actually begins at 52. With a carriage that depicts that she had worked very hard as both a technocrat and successful money merchant, who is now bent on proving a point that politics is actually about making life better for the people, she is like a chameleon adapting with ease to whatever situation, and making the best out of it all the time.
Her God given gifts are more than enough to be thankful for. The Ekiti deputy governor enjoys robust health, prosperity, intelligence, beauty and candour packaged into one personality. Her benevolent Maker has caused her to find success in whatever she puts her heart to. It probably explains why she, like the proverbial elephant meaning different things to its beholder depending on where it is being viewed from, makes varying meaning to people that come her way.
Whether you are her admirer or detractor, one thing you cannot but give to her that she is never a push over in the pursuit of deepening the course of humanity. To some of us who have had the rare privilege of passing through her anvil, she is a highly benevolent mentor, trainer and a no nonsense individual who, in her quest for perfection, could be highly demanding and persistently assertive. Some people will describe her as being high handed, tough and in some cases heady.
Though highly ambitious to the extent that she wants the best for her people at all time, Funmi will never place her personal interest above the fate of the generality of the people. A workaholic and dependable wife to her husband, Architect Lanre Olayinka; and loyal to a fault deputy to her boss and political leader, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, she radiates confidence wherever she is found.
It is this sense of self worthy and dedication to duty that has seen her discharge her constitutional duties as a deputy governor most satisfactorily, in all the assignments given to her, without being puffed with the kind of arrogance that has seen others before her arouse the anger of their bosses. Her carriage as a dependable ally, who is quick to understand the body language of her co travelers in the train of Ekiti’s progress, has seen her transform the perception of deputy governors as spare tires confined to history.
Born on June 20, 1960 to the family of Chief & Deaconess Famuagun in Ado Ekiti, she grew up within a family background that could be described as average by whatever standard; the dad was one of the few civil servants who could afford an automobile and still ensure that his family lived well, while the mum was a successful textile dealer.
A proven technocratand professional banker, Funmi attended Holy Trinity Grammar School, Ibadan where she obtained her secondary school leaving certificate with distinction. She subsequently proceeded to Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo in Oyo State where she obtained her Higher School Certificate (HSC).
She holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration and a Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing) from Central State University, Edmond, Oklahoma, United States in 1983 and 1981 respectively. She was three times winner of the Dean’s Honour roll during her stay in the school.
A Marketing Analyst & Strategist who started her career in Banking with First Bank of Nigeria Plc in 1986, she later worked as Relationship Manager for Corporate Accounts in Access Bank, the now defunct Merchant Banking Corporation (MBC) and United Bank for Africa Plc.
She made a detour from core banking into Corporate Communications in August 2002, and proceeded to Head the Corporate Affairs Division at the United Bank for Africa. She later became Head, Brand Management & Corporate Affairs of the bank, thereby leading the Team responsible for delivering a compelling Brand proposition and re-branding of the institution and helping to drive the bank’s business strategy while adding value to the total image of the Brand.
She was also the 2nd Vice President of the Association of Corporate Managers of Banks between 2002 and 2004.
She played notable strategic roles during the Merger process of the erstwhile United Bank for Africa & Standard Trust Bank, where she co-chaired the Branding Sub-Committee. She also served as a key member of the Media Relations Sub-Committee.
Until her election as the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, she was Head of Corporate Services, Ecobank Transatlantic Inc where she was responsible for communicating the bank’s activities to the public, relationship management with the Public and providing feedback to management as it relates to the total image of the Bank. In addition, she also oversaw the General Internal Services Unit with responsibility for overall co-ordination of administrative services for the entire bank.
A woman with a man’s heart, the Moremi of Ekiti, as she is fondly called by her people, held firm to a shared conviction in the rule of law and stood her ground to fight along with Dr. Kayode Fayemi in challenging the highly flawed election processes that saw their political victory in the 2007 political experience stolen by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) cabal in the state.
The duo of Fayemi and Olayinka went to court to challenge what has being recognised as the day light political robbery and on the 14th of October 2010, after a three and a half year prolonged re-election process and court battle, an Elections Appeal Tribunal sitting in Ilorin, Kwara State declared them as true winners of the peoples’ mandate.
Funmilayo Olayinka, a strong believer in God and humanity is a lay reader of the Anglican Communion who holds tenaciously to the belief that whatever position you occupy is ephemeral to your service to God and the people around you. She is happily married with three lovely children.
Lekan Fadeyi is Special Assistant (Media and Communications) to the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State
Last modified: June 20, 2012