Perhaps there is no better time than on the occasion of her birthday and retirement from an active service in the civil service of Kwara State, to pay tribute to a woman who has for me, become a legendary tributary that has watered and nurtured the blossoming of many young people and touched countless lives in very impactful ways.
The above preamble, actually inspired this very deserving piece to identify with the Director of Information (DoI) Kwara State Ministry of Communication, Mrs, Olufunke Oludipe, who just retired from the civil service of the state with her head high, evidently from the rains and showers of encomiums she has been receiving from many of her well wishers. Call her “Iya Oludipe”! You’re right. Call her “DoI”. You’re not still not missing the point.
Going down the memory lane, I recall that my path providentially crossed that of Mrs, Oludipe for the first time over nine years ago at a time some of us were redeployed from Radio Kwara, Kwara State Television Authority and the Herald Newspapers to the mainstream of civil service, specifically to the then Ministry of Information and Communications, now Ministry of Communication. In the intervening period between then and now, the relationship has grown deeper and I have had the uncommon privilege of relating closely with her in a sort of a mother, boss, mentor/mentee relationship that has greatly impacted my life.
Ever since I met this amazing woman, she has always shown interest in many of the things that has to do with me, especially my study and career. So also is her relationship with others too. Mrs, Oludipe eminently stands out as a colossus, a human diamond and a phenomenon of some sorts.
Throughout her service years, she has demonstrated unalloyed loyalty, passion, commitment and dedication to the state, particularly, the Ministry of Communication.
The Oludipe that we all know has always stood tall and true to her noble convictions amidst a discomforting and frustrating society like ours. Even with that, many, especially the press secretaries can attest to the fact that, the fear of Iya’s constructive criticism is the beginning of wisdom. Give it to her! Iya Oludipe, as many of us do call her, of course behind her back, is a no nonsense woman. What! Don’t even try it.
For me, her enviable personal nobility and impeccable records of honest service actually earn her a good measure of public esteem as she is considered by some of us, as an uncommon inspirational public figure, articulate, outspoken, fearless and a role model in a society of pretenders and half-baked intellectuals.
The Funke that all of know and whom I am personally proud to be associated with is someone from whom many of us have derived much inspiration and mentorship on our studies and career. As it will turn out, her tenure in office actually produced two Ph.D holders among the officers directly under leadership, namely; Dr. Mrs, Amuda and Dr. Sangodare Ayinla, as we also have other well accomplished officers too who will forever be grateful to Mrs. Oludipe for giving them one opportunity or other while in active service.
While I do not wish to bore you with my personal encounter with this Amazon of our time, yet I strongly believe that time and circumstance decides who we actually meet in life. Our hearts decide who we want retain in our lives, and people’s behavior at times determined whether we want them to remain in our lives or not. Mrs, Funke Oludipe is a jolly good fellow.
With the above in mind, perhaps since retirement in itself could be viewed as a stage in life when one closes to permanently leave the workforce behind, it is important, especially being an asset that should be treasured by any given society, humbly call on the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Mallam Abdulrahaman Abdulrasaq to quickly engage the service of the retired Director in another capacity under his government.
This is because she has been tested and found to be trusted, loyal, focused, dependable and reliable. She is friendly, yet firm. She is humble, yet resolute, sure and steady. With her rich profiles and intimidating credentials, Your Excellency can at all times, rely on Mrs. Oludipe for higher quality service delivery. She is above anything else intellectually gifted.
To the glory of God, she is no doubt one among the accomplished, distinguished and celebrated Directors of her generation and this era. The essence of Oludipe is beyond what one could sufficiently capture in a few paragraphs. Have I mentioned how she had helped tremendously in repositioning the Information Division? Have I mentioned how she played some leading and prominent roles in bringing back the lost glory of the Information Division? Have I even mentioned how she played her part in repositioning the Ministry of Communication into a much more respected voice in the Kwara State scheme of things and even beyond? My dear Governor A.A, this resourcefulness should be further tapped! Mrs, Oludipe will be doing a great disservice to my generation if she didn’t present to us an autobiography which I will be looking forward to seeing in a no distance time.
Therefore the pertinent question is; how many people can we truly identify with their faith in words and indeed? That one, a junior officer like me, can write about Mrs, Olufunke Oludipe is because she live her life in a manner that put no one in doubt that there is no compromise when it comes to the matter of her God.
Her faith offered meaning to her lifestyle and she demonstrated the fact that when our beliefs are invested in something above self, then we will find fulfillment in life.
Considering the values she espouses, the lesson I think we can learn is that, religion or faith can never be a part-time conviction for any true believer since there is also the need for people to practice what they preach.
As we, therefore, celebrate the honorable exit of Mrs, Olufunke Oludipe from the civil service of Kwara State without any blemish or scandal to her name and integrity, those of us still in the service should always learn and reflect on her legacies of the deep sense of tolerance, simplicity and a form of self-respect that did not in any time seek self-advertisement.
Unfortunately, this enduring virtues are conspicuously absent in the official profile of most people today.
Wishing Mrs, Olufunke Oludipe a wonderful and prosperous retirement life. Please accept my congratulations!
Ishola Gbenga Works with the Kwara State Ministry of Communication