I don’t Step On Toes But I’m Not Intimidated -Olotu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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I don’t Step On Toes But I’m Not Intimidated -Olotu

Posted: Sep 13, 2015 at 12:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Mrs funmilayo Olotu may not be a household name, but her name strikes a chord as far as the history of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), is concerned. She was recently honoured with the prestigious fellow award by The Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered). Chinyere Abiaziem was at the ceremony and writes on the exclusive interview  where she spoke on the N27million debt she recovered for NPA amongst other issues. Excerpts:



How did you recover the N27m debt for your employer?

It was tough because some said I should call it bad debt. I had discussions with the clients and told them that I want to make sure that my organisation is not short changed, if not we will stop services to them.

I worked with fantastic people and they encouraged me, it was not easy as some came with offers of money.

I told them that I want to be a true Nigerian and stand out to show that there are some Nigerians that have integrity. I believe not all Nigerians are corrupt and I wanted to prove it. This happened in the 90s; imagine 27million naira of then to now? Though I felt bad when someone made a derogatory comment about me, but to the glory of God I recovered the money in full.  It sounds unbelievable and incredible but is the truth, naturally it should have been bad debt but it was recovered. Though the award I got in the office was N10,000  but I was not moved  as the recognition  that I  did something outstanding was all my joy.

 How do you feel receiving the NIM fellow award?

To be honest I feel honoured, it is a deep honour for me to have received the NIM award alongside some military personnel, vice chancellors and other professionals from various fields. I feel grateful to God almighty that has made it possible. It is actually the high point of my career, I have being in the civil service for 33 years and have been an executive member of NIM, Ikeja chapter. At one point I was a treasurer at another point I was the financial secretary.

I’m a Christian and the Bible says the race is not for the swift neither is the battle for the strong. So I believe this is an honour from God himself because I still have superiors and other people that truly deserve this, but I thank God that I got it at this particular time.

 To some who may not know, can you share the significance of the NIM fellow award?

The Nigerian institute of Management is an umbrella body for any other professional body you can think of. I’m a civil servant; we have engineers, chartered accountants, military personnel and other people from all fields of endeavour you can think of. When you become a member of NIM you are actually having the crowning glory of your career.

Stepping up to being a recipient of the fellow award, believe you me is not something that comes easy. It is not something to be toyed with. It is one of the laudable achievements anybody can have in his or her career. I am also a member of the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria.

 What are the principles that have brought you this far?

I’m a very bold person, I can be blunt to a fault and with every sense of modesty, I believe I am brilliant and I believe to be fair to everyone that I come across.

I can be friendly but when I have to take decisions I am firm and that is what I’m known for. At the home front or at the office front. I don’t step on toes but I’m not intimidated. I’m a kind of person that puts service above self. I like being fair to everyone, I don’t believe in basis and I don’t believe in cutting corners.

My conscience and my wonderful parents have being my guiding principles. Though my dad is late and my mum still alive, they taught me not to cut corners.

For my dad, 60percent was failure, 70 percent was pass mark, if I should get 60 percent in English and Maths, I will get six strokes of cane, so for two subjects that means 12 strokes.

The principles they instilled in me helped me to build myself up to where I am today and I will say God has being faithful. This principle I have passed down to my children, I teach them that hard work pays, to the glory of God my son bagged a first class recently.

 What is your assessment of today’s woman?

To me today’s woman has come a long way, we should no longer be timid, and we should no longer be afraid and wait for crumbs to be dropped. My late dad always told me to make my works to speak for me even if they don’t like my face.

They will still seek you because of your work. Let every woman put in all their best in all they do. She will be recognised, I don’t believe in those who say bottom power, I believe in putting in one’s best. Comments will come but when you know what you are doing people will be able to say no she has worked for it.

I love mentoring girls and young women, building their assurance that beyond the sky is the limit. After all we have things going up in the sky and the space. So once you put your mind in what you do you can showcase yourself, you can bring to the table what you have and somebody somewhere will recognise you.

What I tell people is that they should not use their home front as excuses to shy away from official responsibilities, I’m known for dedication.

I tell women not to use pregnancy as an excuse not to be dutiful; I have been pregnant for four times, it was never any excuse. I get to my table and deliver on my job and when I’m home I give my husband and my children their time. I don’t allow my home front affect my work vice-versa. I also make sure I’m always there at my children’s matriculation and convocation.

So I urge young women to harness their talents, shine in all that they do and have faith in God.