Africa’s First Female Accountant, Toyin Olakunrin Dies At 80

Nigeria’s boardroom matriarch and woman of many firsts, Chief (Mrs) Olutoyin Olusola Olakunrin, is dead.

The veteran corporate Amazon died at 11:30am on Sunday, June 3, 2018, in Lagos.

She was aged 80.

Sources disclosed that the Gbagura, Abeokuta, Ogunbanjo State, born corporate titan slumped on Sunday morning while attending a service at her church, St Paul Anglican Church, Breadfruit, Lagos. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead on arrival.

It will be recalled that Mama Olakunrin celebrated her 80th birthday last November, with family and friends at a high-profile thanksgiving at St. Paul Anglican Church, Breadfruit, Lagos.

Late mama with husband and others at her 80th birthday party

Olakunrin was the mother of Derin Agbaje, the wife of Segun Agbaje, the Managing Director of GT Bank.
A woman of many firsts, Olakunrin was one of Nigeria’s most celebrated standard icons. She was Africa’s first female chartered accountant. Her intellectual capacity stood her out among her contemporaries-both male or female. She also served as the chairman of Education Trust Fund; and was a past president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

Olakunrin was the former president of the Society of Women Accountants in Nigeria (SWAN) She was involved in auditing account of major’s organisations.
A Chartered Accountant, Industry Captain & Administrator, Chief Mrs. Olutoyin Olusola Olakunri was born on November 4, 1937. She attended primary school in Nigeria, and completed her secondary and tertiary education in the United Kingdom.

In February 1963, Olakunri qualified as a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales; and became a Foundation Member the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria [ICAN] in 1965.

Olakunri was the first female Chartered Accountant in Sub-Saharan Africa and the second female President of ICAN. To date, there have been six female heads of ICAN, and quite a number of eligible women in line.
In 1978, Olakunri was the Chief Promoter of the Society of Women Accountants in Nigeria [SWAN], which she served as Chairman for over a decade. Among other initiatives, SWAN has supported women to realize their potentials in the fields of accountancy, mathematics and other numeracies. In 1997, in Paris, it launched the World Body for Women Accountants; and has been supporting women of other professions to set up similar organizations at the national, regional and global levels.

Olakunri had worked with Casselton Elliot & Co. as a Chartered Accountant and the then Nigerian Industrial Development Bank [NIDB], among others. She subsequently took a courageous leap into entrepreneurship and corporate management — owning and managing industrial outfits and venturing into stock broking.

The first female President of the Institute of Directors [Nigeria], former member of the National Revenue Mobilization Allocation & Fiscal Policy Commission, Vision 20:2020 Committee, & Council of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Olakunri was also a nominated member of the Constituent Assembly that generated the 1979 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Similarly, she was on the Finance Committee of Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), and for 8 years on the Board of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited.

mama and husband

Chairman of the then Education Trust Fund [now Tertiary Education Fund] for two terms, she variously served on the Council of Federal University of Ado-Ekiti, Redeemer’s University, Bells University of Technology, & Achievers’ University. She was Chairman, the Committee of Elders.

Olakunri was recognized locally and internationally for her varied contributions to the professions and societal development. Among the honours are:

Officer of the Federal Republic [OFR] of Nigeria.

The African Leadership Forum Foundation for Distinguished Contribution to Women Empowerment in Nigeria.

International Women Society for Meritorious Services to the Community.

Mama at 80

ICAN Merit Award for upliftment of the Accountancy Profession.

University of Lagos Law Society for Contributions to the upliftment of Women in the Nigeria.

Nigerian Library Association Award for Eminent Services Award.

Honorary Doctorate Degrees from University of Ado-Ekiti [in Business Administration], Lagos State University [the Sciences], and University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Chieftaincy Title Awards by communities in Owo, Ijebu-Ode, Abeokuta and Ijero-Ekiti

She was happily married to Elder Simeon Olakunri, SAN with seven children and grandchildren.