APWEN, Family members pour encomiums on Ojelade at funeral
Practising women engineers, recently, paid glowing tributes to the late President of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade, at her funeral.
The Deputy National President of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mrs. Margaret Oguntala, spoke at a service of song organised by the South West zone of APWEN in honour of Mrs. Ojelade in Lagos. The forum attracted her friends and family.
Eulogies poured in from APWEN chapter chairpersons, including Ota, Ilesha, Ibadan, Abeokuta, Osogbo, Akure, Ikorodu and Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) chapters.
Ojelade, who was the immediate past president of APWEN, a fellow of Nigerian Society of Engineers and member of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers, died on March 22, 2023 after a brief illness.
Born on October 15, 1967 in Ibadan, Oyo State, she hailed from Ife-East Local Council of Osun State. Ojelade had her first degree and Master degree (M.Sc.) in Chemical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and University of Lagos, Akoka respectively. She also had another M.Sc. degree in business and management (finance track) from University of Wales, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Popularly referred to as ‘our digital president’ by colleagues, she was a women-in-tech-role advocate, a certified engineer by the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). She served as the 16th president of APWEN, a non-profit organisation that promotes women’s participation in the engineering profession in Nigeria.
During her tenure as APWEN President, she introduced the APWEN “Town & Gown”, a mentoring programme and an avenue through which engineering graduates could build employability and entrepreneurial skills required for engineering industry and workplace.
She was in the employment of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc. until her demise. Ojelade was part of the specially drafted task force mandated to produce the target volume of the restructured banknotes required to launch the nation’s new currency in 2006, and also headed the Industrial Waste Management Unit of the company.
In her tribute, Mrs. Oguntala described the late Ojelade as a diligent woman, who strove for excellence at every task she was saddled with. She added that Ojelade was APWEN ambassador, who worked hard to improve the fortunes of professional women engineers in Nigeria.
Oguntala said the former APWEN’s president exit is “a lesson to everyone, particularly those in the profession to re-examine their conducts, promote the ethics of the profession as exemplified by Ojelade and be good to one another.” She advised practitioners to leave the profession better than they met it.
“She was a woman, who represented engineering profession very well. She was passionate about the profession and ready to stand in gap whenever she was called upon,” Oguntala said.
The 15th president of APWEN, Dr. Felicia Agubata in a tribute said Ojelade brings out the best in people and was always ready to assist others to achieve their goal. According to her, Ojelade lived a good life and served humanity with all her strength. She challenged professional colleagues particularly young engineers to continue the good legacies she left behind in the profession.
A senior member of the association, Mrs. Idiat Amusu, noted that Ojelade was respectful, industrious, focus-driven and an achiever, who also prioritised God in all activities. She described her as a woman who ran her tasks in flying colours.
Immediate past APWEN South West coordinator, Mrs. Bose Oyekunle, said Mrs. Ojelade’s demise was a huge shock for the association. She described her as someone who showcased others as the best, accommodative and gave room for people to excel.
In a sermon, the Conference Editor, Methodist Church, Nigeria, Very Reverend Olusola Makindipe, charged her family members and colleagues to rejoice and not to mourn as her death coincided with the Passion Week in Christianity.
Reading from the bible in Psalm 23, Reverend Makindipe urged the gathering to develop friendship with God who provided all things and died for the sin of mankind.
He said the Mrs. Ojelade did not disappoint her primary vocation and profession during challenging period of COVID-19 pandemic as she championed the use of technology to carry on with activities of the association. He explained that she used what she has to ensure intimacy among APWEN family and fulfilled biblical prophesies as captured in Philippians 4:13.
In her speech, a family representative, Mrs. Yetunde Adebisi (nee Jekayinfa), in an emotional voice recalled that late Ojelade carry out her role with all sense of responsibility, strict but gentle and kind.
“She was a great influencer and a mentor. I’m proud as a family for what she was able to achieve in her lifetime. She stepped out and valued learning and never limited herself to engineering profession. As a family, we are grateful and comforted by the impact she made,” Adebisi said.