Lesson To Learn From Nigeria’s 1st Female Chartered Accountant (PHOTO)

Chief Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri OFR 
There are great personalities and living legends in the entity called Nigeria. Unfortunately, they are hardly celebrated. I managed to bump into a number of them, still looking radiant and bubbling with life, at an occasion.
The event was 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. 
One of such personalities I wish to extol in this passage is 80-year-old Chief Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri OFR.

Her Journey From Cradle To Date

Born in Lagos in 1937, the matriarch had her primary education in Nigeria. Her
secondary and tertiary educations were however completed in England.
qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England
& Wales in February 1963; being then the only female to have such
qualification in Nigeria and indeed in Africa south of the Sahara. She was a foundation
member and the only female member of ICAN when it was chartered in 1965.
enrolled as a Member of the Institute of Directors Pall Mall in 1969/70 when
she was a staff of the NIDB. Even when Chief Guobadia decided to establish the
100 in Nigeria, Olakunri was amongst the foundation members.
is Fellow of the Institute of Directors UK (President of 100) from 1991 to 1993,
Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales and President
of ICAN 1993/1994
She is
one of the earliest Distinguished Fellows of 100.
She is
currently Chairman of the Elders Committee of 100.
She has
been an industrialist, a banker and stockbroker, and has been on the Board of
many companies both representing her employer, the country, her state and her
personal interests.
She was a
Nominated Member of the Nigeria Constituent Assembly 1977 – 1978. Chairman of
the Lagos State Transport Company Limited and the Lagos State Ferry Service
Limited 1986-88. She was one of the pioneering Directors of Nigeria Liquefied
Natural Gas (NLNG) for 8 years (1989-97). First female member of the Board of
the Nigerian Stock Exchange and a pioneer staff of the Nigeria Industrial Development
Bank (NIDB) now Bank of Industry (BOI).
She was
·   Chairman,
Education Trust Fund (ETF) now Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) 1999 to
2007.  TETFUND is a Federal Government Institution funded by the Taxes
collected from private sector companies and made available for the provision of
needs at primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education.
of the Electoral Reform Committee 2007-2008 which reviewed the Electoral Acts
to eliminate anomalies found after the first 9 years of democracy (1999-2007).
International Bank – initial member Board of Directors.
She has
received many awards and recognitions throughout the country for services to
the country, to her state and the accountancy and education sectors.
these are:
*          Officer of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(OFR) in 2002
*          ICAN – for the Upliftment of the Accountancy
Profession (April 2002)
*          ICAN – Merit Award for Services to the
Profession of Accountancy
*          Ogun State Government Award 1988 -A
Distinguished citizen of Ogun State
*          Yaba College of Technology – For
distinguished and meritorious services to the Nation on the occasion of the
40th Anniversary of the College in November, 1988.
*          Doctor of Business Administration by
the University of Ado-Ekiti in 2004
*          Fellow of the Oyo State College of
Education in 2005
*          Fellow of the Lagos State Polytechnic
in 2005
*          Director of Science by the Lagos State
University (LASU) IN 2007
*          Honorary Doctorate by the University
of Nigeria, Nzukka in 2008
On Why She Chose Chartered Accountancy
In The First Place

Actually, the idea came from my
father. For a long time, I was an only child. And in a time when it might have
been easier for him to dial back his expectations of his first child on account
of my being female, his approach to career counsel was instead very pragmatic. He
wanted me to excel, but he also wanted me to choose a path that would allow me
to be a wife and mother. Working in practice, my time would be more flexible. I
would not be beholden to the expectations of an employer.
Today, that kind of flexibility
extends across many fields that were not available at the time. Freelancing and
virtual working for example are established modes of work, even among
professionals. One of my grand-daughters, at 16, has just chosen her A-levels
and will be at university before long. She wants to be an engineer. I am quite
excited for her. 
The way in which she will work will be a lot more flexible
than if she had made a similar decision in my time. She will be a professional,
and she will enjoy the prestige, learn the skills and capabilities and benefit
from the discipline that come along with that, but she will have the latitude
to craft a way of working that is optimal for her own peculiar situation,
whatever that may be. She will not have to make many of the sacrifices that I
did. There has probably never been a more conducive moment in time to encourage
our daughters and grand-daughters to take up the challenge of professionalism.
Her View About Today’s Women

The dynamics of the world of work
today create opportunities that have been unprecedented before now. Work life
looks very different today compared to when I first qualified as a
Professional.  For starters,
significantly fewer women today are choosing to stay at home, because they no
Ionger have to. I am pleased to see that there are proportionately more of us
women out there in the field today. While we do not yet all have full agency in
our work choices, particularly in Africa, I am pleased to see that we are
getting there.
Nowadays, work and personal lives
also tend to be much more fluid – ‘jobs for life’, where you would join an
organisation and retire 30 years later from the same organisation, are no
longer the norm. Today, the trend is towards work environments that value
individualism, personal fulfilment and ‘work-life balance’. Individual needs
and objectives are just as important as those of the organisation. It is much
easier to be a working mother, for example, than it has ever been. But we
cannot stop there. The challenge before you women now, is to keep pushing. Push
and push until you have carved an even better model for work. One that
addresses all of the kinks that continue to exist in the system.
In my case, I firmly believe that a
lot of the success I have enjoyed in my career is rooted firstly in the fact
that I chose a professional career. Being a professional, specifically a chartered
accountant, forced me to be organised and disciplined. It also gave me a
distinct peer group against which I could judge my own accomplishments. In my
quest to run faster and harder, I think it helped that I had an eye on how fast
and how hard my professional colleagues – male or female – were running.
Quite inspiring, isn’t it?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the First Female Legend of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)
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