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Yeye Olufunke Daniel: OGD’s Priceless Jewel at 51

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. She openeth her mouth with wisdom and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Her children arise up and call her blessed; her husband also praiseth her…” – Proverbs.

Chief (Mrs.) Olufunke Daniel, wife of former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, has been described variously as kind hearted, fashionable, resourceful, intelligent and very beautiful. For her, greatness, nobility and personage are a perfect mix. She is indeed an exemplar of the ideal wife and an archetypal mother.

Born into the family Pa Samuel Ajibola Opawole and (Mrs.) Ibironke Opawole (Nee Osoba) on 27 November, 1963, she began to show, early in life, unmistakably signs of a woman destined to live in the dormitory of the kings. She demonstrates unequalled diligence at whatever she has to do and this quality did not only stand her out among her peers, it equally distinguished her in her academic career.

Yeye, as she is fondly called, had her post primary education at the Baptist High School, Iwo where she yielded to the discipline and the scripturally sound Baptist education which further moulded her vision of life and sharpen her mission of human existence. Etching her nibble footprints in the sands of time, the school authorities were quick to notice her leadership qualities as she was made the School’s games and athletic prefect in her final year. The Daniel’s love for sports still continues till date as manifested in the array of ‘keep-fit” gadgets available at the swimming pool side of their residence.

For someone who believes in the might of education, she enrolled at the school of Basic Sciences at the Ogun State Polytechnic now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta for her Advanced levels course and later proceeded to the nation’s premier University, the University of Ibadan where she graduated in flying colours with a Bachelors of Science degree in Agricultural Biology. At the University, the school authorities acknowledged her exemplary qualities and made her the Health Minister of Queen Elizabeth Hall in 1985.

After graduating from the ‘great UI.’, she served her fatherland through the mandatory one year National Youth Service Corps programme. She thereafter worked with Lever Brothers (Nigeria) Limited and, after years of meritorious service, decided to go into private business. She then established Laurel Fashion, a high-riding outfit of which she is currently the Chief Executive Officer. Yeye also designs what her husband, OGD, wears. Hear her: ‘…I’ve always loved fashion. I design what I wear and what my husband wears too. I do all the designs in my shop…” Although fashionable by all standards, Chief (Mrs) Daniel has perfected the strategy of being fashionable in a non-gaudy and simple way – she loves good cloths and dressing well but she prefers wearing pearls and beads rather than gold.

Yeye Olufunke is personification of humility, a feature sometimes missing in some other women of achievements. As attested to by friends, staffers and domestic workers, they unanimously agreed that she is a paragon of virtue, unobtrusive and accommodating.

As an exemplar of the ideal wife and quintessential mother, little wonder that she loves her family most devotedly and passionately. “…My husband is my best friend and I love to be with my kids always…” she said during in an interview. For her, being a housewife has been very wonderful as it gave her the ample opportunities to take care of his husband and cater for the children. Despite the fact that there were good cooks at the government house during his husband’s reign as the governor, Yeye still finds her way to the kitchen which she revealed in an interview: “Let me point out clearly that there are still some delicacies he would want me to prepare for him. For example, he will never allow anybody to prepare his ‘Ikokore’ (Water yam porridge) and ‘Efo riro’ (Vegetable soup). So, I still go to kitchen to prepare his meal!”

Like Mama H.I.D. Awolowo, she accompanied OGD on his campaign efforts prior to 2003 election in Ogun State. Together, they visited all the 236 wards in Ogun State as she coordinated all the women groups in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). While in Office as the First Lady between 2003 and 2011, she touched the lives of many people most especially Ogun State indigenes through the activities of the Gateway Front Foundation – a socio-economic programme aimed at alleviating poverty in the society. The activities of the Gateway Front Foundation includes Micro-credit schemes, Free Medical Services, distribution of educational materials and trade empowerment tools and support for the physically challenged.

She is the matron of Webic Chior and holder of a number of chieftaincy titles among which is the Yeye Fesojoye of Ile Ife, Yeye Fehintade of Omu Ijebu, Yeye Obalofin of Ijebuland, Yeye Asoludero of Makun, Sagamu, Suada of Ifo, Yeye Atunluse of Ogbere and Yeye Akogun of Okun Owa.
At her leisure, she enjoys watching TV and ruminating on how to improve on whatever she does.

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