Isaac Odeyemi Opakunle ( May 1951- June 2019)
• Seasoned Chartered Accountant
Isaac Odeyemi Opakunle was born in Ita Egbe, Egbado in Yewa Local Council of Ogun State, Nigeria on May 10, 1951. He was the third born child of the late Joseph Iyanda Opakunle and Esther Adetoro Alake. On Sunday, June 16, 2019, the Lord called him home after a brief illness.
In this tribute written by one of his children, Cynthia Opakunle-Hemuka, Isaac Opakunle spent most of his childhood in Ita Egbe and Ilaro, Ogun State. In his secondary school days, after the death of his father, his uncle and mentor, late Rev. Amos Oyeyiola Olaniran (a strict disciplinarian) instilled a strong sense of work-ethic and discipline in him. He taught him the importance of education. It was this same work-ethic that led to the successful completion of his A-Level exams in Egbado College, Ilaro between 1969 to 1971.
After his secondary school education, he went on to work as a clerk at Barclays Bank now Union Bank of Nigeria in Lagos. There he developed a love for numbers and accounting. The lessons from his mentor about the importance of education lingered in his mind and drove him to further his studies with the help of his mother in the United Kingdom (UK). He always spoke of his mother with great admiration and respect. He would recall how she sold kolanuts and her clothes in an effort to raise funds to send him to further his studies in the UK.
Upon completion of his studies, he became a certified Chartered Accountant. He later took a job as an auditor with Coopers and Lybrand. He later went on to work for International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), which allowed him to move to Kenya in 1989.
His job at IPPF allowed him to travel all around Africa. I remember how much we always looked forward to him returning from those trips because we were guaranteed to receive chocolates and other goodies. In his spare time, he enjoyed reading about current events and politics. He also enjoyed listening to music, particularly Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and Bob Marley’s music. You could always hear these two musicians playing in the Opakunle household on Sunday afternoons.
I remember how he would plan family brunches at Carnivore for nyama-choma or Chinese food at a local spot downtown. I remember those Sundays where we would return back home stuffed from consuming large portions of food and couldn’t eat dinner that night. Or when African Cup of Nations was on, as he was an avid football fan, he would cheer on the Super Eagles but bitter with disappointment whenever the outcome didn’t meet up with his expectations. Or when he decided not to go to work that Sunday and spend time with mummy in the living room watching Africa Magic. All these moments brought joy in our hearts knowing that he was a loving, caring man.
In all, our father was God-fearing, humble, hardworking, loyal and selfless. He loved his family, but above all he loved God. He put God first in all things and this allowed him to make decisions with the best judgment. He was gentle but stern, strong, but diplomatic. He always did what he thought was right and raised us all to do the same. Most importantly, he instilled the discipline of professionalism and competence through formal education which all his children can attest to. We can only pray now that we continue to make him proud.
Our father was a Chartered Accountant with over 25 years of post-qualification experience, with strong core competencies in financial management, financial planning and analysis, taxation, preparation and monitoring of budget, internal and external auditing, performance
measurement, project management and administration.
He had a knowledge of the reporting requirements of various donors including USAID, DfID, the EU, SIDA and the UN system. He had managed over US$20 million yearly budget for Member Associations (MAs) of IPPF,
Africa Region (IPPFAR) and the Regional Office. In addition, he had competencies in project
management, grant management, people/general management, and business development advisory services.
For over 10 years, he worked with MAs in 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve their (computerised) financial and management systems, affording him in-depth knowledge of the general as well as health and development situation and needs in these countries. He had experience in conducting pre-awards assessment of grantees, preparing award agreements and building of capacity of these Grantees.
He had experience in institution building, building MAs into strong, credible and viable Reproductive Health (RH) and HIV& amp; AIDS organisations.
He had knowledge, understanding and application of good corporate governance principles. This had contributed to his experience in developing turnaround strategy for MAs in crisis resulting from poor leadership, governance and financial and general management.
He was a Fellow, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, England (FCCA), Associate-Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ACA-N) and Associate-Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (CPA-K)
He attended sustainability workshops in IPPF International Office (London), to acquire skills to enable him to provide technical assistance to IPPF MAs in developing sustainability Strategies and regularly participated in Continuing Professional Education/Development organized by both ACCA and ICPAK respectively to be technically up-to-date in finance, accounting, management and remain relevant.
He managed a grant of GB£1.9 Million (US$3 Million) awarded to Reproductive Health Association of South Sudan (RHASS) by Crown Agents Limited for Scaling up of Family Planning in six States in South Sudan.
He carried out organization assessment, crisis management and supporting IPPF Member Associations in Malawi, Ghana and Rwanda to prepare and implement turnaround strategy to be able to achieve their objectives.
He also reviewed and developed accounting, administration, financial, Procurement and Human Resource Management manuals for some organizations. He developed Management and Governance Reference Manual for IPPFAR Member Associations Executive Directors, among his many achievements.
He is survived by his wife Felicia Opakunle and their four children, Cynthia Opakunle-Hemuka, Kayode Opakunle, Oluwasola Opakunle, and Tayo Opakunle.
He is a brother to Mrs Janet Oladejo, Mrs Maria Oyelade, Mrs Meriani Anike Ayoola, Mrs Dorcas Ajike Oyedokun, Mr and Mrs Joel Opakunle , Mrs Grace Abike Ojo, Mrs Victorial Amosa-Ajayi, and Dr. Jossiah Odelowo Opakunle. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held at the Nairobi Baptist Church, Ngong Road on Wednesday July 3, 2019. The final burial service would hold today at Baaki Baptist Church, Ogbomoso by 11:00am. He would be laid to rest in his residence at EWE area in Ogbomoso.
Oriki: Isaac Amole ogun, omo ologun mo so, mo ja sere. Ayeronfe omo ologun oko, aiba oko mi nibi ole jija ibi orire la a ba won. Isaac Amole ogun Sun un re o. Adieu Baba Kenya.