Home news The Amazing Story of Nigeria’s 1st Female Minister, Now Yeye-Oba of Ketu

The Amazing Story of Nigeria’s 1st Female Minister, Now Yeye-Oba of Ketu

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Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola

As I
pledged in the last article on Nigeria’s first female chartered accountant, another
enviable personality that caught my fancy is the first lady cabinet minister of
the republic.
Just as
the latter, I also bumped into Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola at
the induction and investiture of new Fellows under the auspices of Professional
Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON) held at Victoria Palace Hotel,
Victoria Island, Lagos on February 23, 2017.

Early Life

Born on
5th May 1931 in Igan Alade (in what is now Yewa North Local Government of Ogun
State), Oyagbola’s parents, Chief Akinola (The Aro ofIgan Alade) and Madam
Akinola (Iyalode of Saint Peters Anglican Communion, Igan Alade), were highly
respected citizens of this small but highly significant town on the Yewa River.
Her mother, in particular, exemplified all that is worthy and all that is
uplifting about Christianity. Little wonder that Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola was
brought up in the best traditions of the protestant faith, to personify the
values of discipline, hard work and thrift.
She got
married in 1955 and, after a sojourn in Oke Odan where her husband was local
government treasurer and where she had her first child, they moved to Mushin
where he was the Secretary of Mushin Local Government and she was head teacher
of a school. After one more child, the couple proceeded to the United Kingdom
in late 1959 to further their education. She attended the Balham and Tooting
College of Commerce and studied accountancy.
Upon
their return to Nigeria in 1963, she joined the Accountancy Cadre of the
Federal Ministry of Finance. Over the course of her career in the Federal
Ministry of Finance, she served as internal auditor in several ministries
including in the Ministries of Establishment, Defence, Transport, Trade,
Culture etc. She was promoted several times but opted for voluntary early
retirement in 1977 to pursue her private commercial aspirations. She opened a
supermarket and a bookshop that also dealt in office stationery supplies. She
attended several book shows around the world in pursuit of her dream of
encouraging the culture of qualitative reading in the Nigerian Youth.

Her Journey Into Nigerian Politics

With the
removal of the ban on political activities in 1978, by the then Military
Regime, a delegation was sent by from her constituency to encourage her to
contest for political office. She was one of the two women, both in Ogun State,
who contested election into the Senate in the 1979 elections. She did not
succeed in her bid for election into the senate but her capacity for hard work,
stamina and political imagination did not go unnoticed. She was appointed the
Federal Minister of National Planning by President Shehu Shagari, thus becoming
the first and, during President Shagari’s first term in office, only female
minister of cabinet rank in Nigeria. She served with industry, loyalty and
integrity for the entirety of President Shagari’s first term in office between
1979 and 1983.
Chief (Mrs.) Adenike Regina Ebunoluwa Oyagbola being as 
Fellow by Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, PEFON chairman at the event
After her
service to the nation between 1979 and 1983, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola involved
herself in several initiatives to promote the arts, cultural exchange,
education, moral revival and the empowerment of youth. It is of significant
note that she was the foundation president of the International Delphic
Council, set up to initiate and promote the Delphic Games and thereby showcase
and promote cultural and artistic exchanges between peoples and cultures.

Her Role As Nigerian Ambassador

Between
1999 and 2003, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola was the Nigerian Ambassador to the
United Mexican States with concurrent accreditation to Panama, Guatemala and
Costa Rica. She carried out her ambassadorial duties with her customary vigour
and industry and made many friends and enduring connections for Nigeria.
After
ambassadorial service, Chief (Mrs) Ebun Oyagbola has spent a great amount of
time contemplating and analysing the causes and effects of many ethical and
moral failings in Nigerian society. She has been a promoter and advocate of the
principles of Attitudinal Healing in the hope that a radical and revolutionary
change in the mindset of the citizenry, and especially in the youth, will
greatly improve our society and supply that much needed boost for moral
revival, collective harmony, peaceful co-existence and economic revitalisation.
She lives by and promotes the 12 principles of attitudinal healing as espoused
by Attitudinal Healing International. 
They are:
i.          The essence of our being is love;
ii.         Health is inner peace, healing is
letting go of fear
iii.        Giving and receiving are the same
iv.        We can let go of the past and of the
future
v.         Now is the only time there is and each
instant is for giving
vi.        We can learn to love ourselves and
others by forgiving rather than judging
vii.       We can become love finders rather than
fault-finders
viii.      We can choose and direct ourselves to be
peaceful inside regardless of what is happening outside
ix.        We are students and teachers to each
other
x.         We can focus on the whole of life
rather than the fragments
xi.        Since love is eternal, death need not be
viewed as fearful
xii.       We can always perceive others as either
loving or fearful and giving a call of help for love.
She has
been an ardent advocate of the introduction of the broader principles of
attitudinal healing into schools and all levels of government.

She is a
holder of several chieftaincy titles and, perhaps most significant of all, she
is the Yeye-Oba of Ketu
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Adebayo Folorunsho-Francis is a communicator, Journalist, blogger, business coach and, of course, a prolific writer. He has Dip (Journalism) and B.A. (History & International Relations) from the Lagos State University (LASU). The self-effacing young man has worked for national, regional and local newspapers. He had worked with THISDAY covered community news for ISLAND NEWS and corresponded with P.M. NEWS (evening tabloid). Presently, he is the editor of CITYPULSE MEDIA and senior correspondent of PHARMANEWS, West Africa foremost health and pharmaceutical journal.

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