Saturday, September 19, 2020 7:19 pm
By Raheem Akingbolu
Depending on how and where you meet her, Yeye Bolanle Olatunde, is a woman of many parts and different persons to different people. Her different parts are as a Journalist, Public Relations practioner, Brand Promoter, Administrator, Culture Enthusiast and politician. She was in Tell Magazine, She was a Brand Manager at Toyota and Polo before stepping aside to run a consulting firm.
After her tenure as Vice Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), she contested against Nkechi Ali-Balogun to lead the chapter. I remembered telling this Ekiti amazon after the election at Muson Centre in 2005 that she would end up in politics.
Few weeks later, some Ekiti compatriots, home and abroad, who saw what I had seen convinced her to throw her hat into the ring. She contested election to represent Irepodun Ifelodun Local Govt in the state house of assembly. Though she was played out, she stayed put in Ekiti and made sure her party won the gubernatorial contest. For her loyalty and dedication, she was appointed twice in the administration of Engr. Segun Oni. Within a short period, she was able to showcase her worth as this PR practitioner quickly changed the administration’s communication achitecture. Same thing happened when she was appointed a Special Adviser to the Government on Ekiti in Diaspora. The first person to be so appointed. She hit the ground running immediately, selling Ekiti to indigenes in other states and beyond Nigeria.
However, these didn’t just happen. Anti Bola Olatunde (Nee Igbalajobi) was a born leader. At a very tender age in 1984, she was appointed Head Girl of Ekiti Baptist High School, Igede Ekiti. She left the school and insisted on pursuing Varsity education, when most of her contemporaries were celebrating addmisions into either Teacher Training Colleges or Colleges of Education.
As at the time she was admitted to Study English at the University of Ilorin, many of her mates were still struggling to pass their o-level exams. But she NEVER allowed the feat to go into her head. She remained focussed, humble, pleasant and supportive. Sister Bolanle was a rare breed.
Among Ekiti indigenes in Lagos, she was a rallying point until she relocated to Abuja after experiencing the other side of life in a quiet place like Ekiti and found Lagos setting unappealing any longer.
A gifted public speaker, sister wants the best for all and will do anything humanly possible to boost the careers of people around her. I’m a beneficiary of her benevolence.
In 2006, I was jobless, following my voluntary resignation from National Interest Newspaper. This big sis invited me one evening to her office in Ogba, Lagos and we both drove to Barr. Dipo Anisulowo’s WEMABOARD Estate’s office in Ikeja. The office then served as venue of Ekiti Collectives weekly meetings.
Under AOB, sister simply told her colleagues that the group had finally got a reliable Administrative Secretary that would be assisting Barr. Funminiyi Afuye, the association’s General Secretary, who was already neck-deeped in his campaign activities in Ekiti, where he was preparing to represent Ikere Local Government in Ekiti State House of Assembly . She presented me so well that none of those at the meeting could object. The rest is history.
She has always been there for me. She was at my wedding in Ado Ekiti years ago, she was at my parents’ burial at Aramoko Ekiti and she flew in from Abuja two years ago to attend a roundtable discussion I organised in Lagos on ‘Fake News and Future of the Media’.
As she adds another year today, I can only wish her the best of the moment and pray that she assumes that position where she can further serve humanity.
-Raheem Akingbolu, a journalist, writes from Lagos.