PEFON honours professional ‘first ladies’ at induction

Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri

Professional Excellence Foundation of Nigeria (PEFON), a body that celebrates first class professionals in all fields of professional endeavour, has honoured and inducted professional first ladies presidents of institutes and chosen careers.

The investiture ceremony, which held recently in Lagos, honoured living female legend of the institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN) Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri; first lady president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Barr. Juliet Adaobi Madubueze; first lady Director of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mrs. Osaretin Afusat Demuren; first lady Real Admiral in the Nigerian Navy, Itunu Hotonu.

Others include first lady cabinet minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mrs. Adenike Oyagbola; first female civil service engineer and first female head of service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Engr. Ebele Okeke; first female to hold a Ph.D in Engineering and first female structural engineer in Nigeria, Engr. Olatokunbo Somolu; first female town planner in Nigeria, Mrs. Catherine George and living legend of the Chartered Insurance of Nigeria (CIN), Mrs. Oluseyi Ifaturoti.

Speaking at the event, Founder and Chairman of Council, Dr. Dipo Bailey, noted that achieving excellence in any field entails giving up a lot and going through a lot of pains to excel in an environment plagued with corruption and malpractices. “We want to be able to identify those elders in the professions who have kept a gap, so that we can showcase them and tell Nigerians that no matter what it takes, there are still credible people and that is why we have honoured these phenomenal women. They have become the reservoir of knowledge for us and we hope to tap into it.”

Chairman, Board of Trustee Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi, however, noted that although there are good people in Nigeria, unfortunately, they are pushed to the back stream and so PEFON seeks to identify people who in very difficult environment still try to be professional. “They may not be wealthy, but they are happy giving service. Just as we have people who are good at the older generation level, there are many good young people who are coming up and need to be reassured that towing the path of ethical behaviour is right.”

Guest Speaker and first female Chartered Accountant in West Africa, Mrs. Olakunri said: “Significantly, fewer women today are choosing to stay at home because we no longer have to. I am pleased to see that there are proportionately more of us women out in the field today. While we do not yet have full agency in our work choices particularly in Africa, I can 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 organization and retire 30 years later from the same organization, are no longer the norm. Today, the trend is towards work environments that value individualism, personal fulfillment and ‘work-life balance’. Individual needs and objectives are just as important as those of the organization. The challenge before women now is to keep pushing, until you have craved and even better model for work.”

Continuing Olakunri noted, “In my case, I firmly believe that a lot of success I have enjoyed in my career is rooted in the fact that I chose a professional career, which forced me to being organized and disciplined. It also gave me a distinct peer group against which I could judge my own accomplishment.” She however advised women to seek practical ways to help more women embrace professional careers as well as thrive.

Reacting to the honorary induction, Mrs. Oyagbola thanked the foundation for deeming it fit to remember them for their works while in active service. While reminiscing her time in active service as well as raising her kids.



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