Whenever her name is mentioned, various words come to mind but none seems apt to describe Dr Onikepo Olufunmike Akande, a successful industrialist and accomplished Management and Business Consultant, who has made great impacts in the society. YEJIDE GBENGA-OGUNDARE writes about the giant steps made by this icon in the business world and beyond.
When names of accomplished Ibadan women are being listed, Dr. Onikepo Akande’s name will be one of the first to be mentioned. This is not surprising considering her antecedents as a banker, a business woman and numerous achievements outside the business world; she is the first woman to be named Minister of Industry by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and honorary life Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture among many other feats.
Dr Akande made so much impact as an industrialist and economist that she was recognized across all sectors within Nigeria and outside the shores of the African continent. Former President Goodluck Jonathan described her as “an inspiration.” In 2003, the prestigious national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) was bestowed on her in recognition of her outstanding virtues and services to the country and a recipient of the national honour of the Commander of the Order of the Niger.
She has served in various capacities in her 72 years on earth; she is a board member of Union Bank of Nigeria and PZ Foundation, serves as the Director of the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Industrial Development Bank. She was appointed Chairman of the NEPAD Business Group Nigeria on December 8, 2015 and is the President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a position she holds since December 5, 2015.]
Her educational experience is vast; she studied at University Tutorial College London and also Studied Accountancy from University of North London from 1965 to 1968. Dr. Akande also attended Postgraduate programme from Harvard Business School Boston USA, management courses from Oxford University United Kingdom and management courses from Institute for Management Development in Lausanne Switzerland.
But clocking 72 few days back has in no way slowed down the beautiful the Ekerin Iyalode of Ibadanland married to another industrialist and business magnate, Chief Adebayo Akande, owner of Splash FM, Ibadan, as she still exudes poise and a beautiful mien. She continues to contribute meaningfully to the economy of the nation and her resume continues to climb to heights that scare the average woman.
Dr Akande believes so much in hard work and its commensurate reward. She had always been ambitious and from early in life developed a love for the corporate world. She never had to lobby for anything as her abilities opened doors for her and people always sought her out for her expertise.
She is also an advocate for the empowerment of women and believes that given the required opportunity, women can excel in any chosen field while their home remains intact. Dr Akande likes writing and is a strong believer in the Nigerian nation has been a Director of the Union Bank of Nigeria Plc since 2012.
Her style is inborn and she is always stylish whenever and wherever she is seen. This is not surprising however as she comes from a family of fashionable and stylish women. She frequently describes her grandmother, Madam Juliet Aboderin as a very pretty and wealthy business woman, who was one of the richest women in Ibadan at her time. She describes her grandmother as a source of motivation who prepared her well to compete favourably with men in every professional world.
Dr Onikepo Akande is indeed an icon whose footsteps continue to grow too big for many to step into.