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Funke Olakunrin: The Courageous Woman With Grit, Humility That I Knew – Bayo Adeyinka

The Oasis Reporters

July 13, 2019

File photo of Funke Olakunrin and Bayo Adeyinka (left), on Jersey Day at work, about 5 years ago. IMAGE CREDIT: Bayo Adeyinka.

I met Aunty Funke Olakunri when I joined the erstwhile Enterprise Bank Limited. She was our Company Secretary while I was the Head of Victoria Island Region. As someone whose responsibility included the Head Office Branch, our paths crossed almost daily.

One event I will never forget was when I had a particular transaction I considered a game-changer but I knew it would be difficult to get it approved due to the unusual transaction dynamics. I went to her office and convinced her. It was a transaction that would get to the Board. She took it upon herself to explain the merits of the transaction. I recall it was her suggestion that assisted in getting the final Board consent. She suggested to the Board to nominate two people to see the project physically before any further decision is taken. That suggestion got me the deal as the visitation report was outstanding. That deal transformed my Region and I ended up getting 2 commendation letters from the MD. Aunty Funke was the architect of that transformation.

Curiously, she never flaunted her background. While we worked together, I never knew she was Papa Fasoranti, the Afenifere leader’s daughter. I never knew she read my articles which were very regular then.
It was when I left for another organization that I knew who she was. That was when I graduated from calling her Mrs Olakunri to Aunty Funke. We got closer after we both left our former employment. I now became her aburo. She shared so many personal struggles with me.

When I wanted to see Papa Fasoranti in Akure a while ago, she facilitated the visit – though she was in Lagos. Papa was sleeping but she called the domestic staff to open the house for me and made me comfortable. She must have called more than 10 times within an hour to ensure my visit was smooth. She already told Papa about me. That is one visit I will never forget in my lifetime.

Less than 2 weeks ago, she called me from the US. She wanted me to do something for her. She followed up with a text message. I responded that we will see when she gets back.
The next news I got was about her murder, at a time I didn’t even know she had come back. The news hit me badly. Losing two dear friends within a week is heavy for me to bear.

My prayers are with Papa Fasoranti and the entire family at this time. How will Papa at 93 cope? This is a great tragedy.

Aunty Funke was a courageous woman. Even in the midst of great personal challenges, she never buckled. She had grit. She had character. She was humble. She was a true picture of omoluabi.

This is a very personal loss to me. May the God of comfort, comfort us all. May her soul rest from all her struggles. May God heal our land.

Bayo Adeyinka is a banker, writer and public affairs commentator.

Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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