ADEFUNKE OLUBUNMI SHINABA: Striking a balance between public service and humanitarian activities
Adefunke Olubunmi Shinaba

By Josephine Agbonkhese

An Assistant Manager at the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC, Ikeja Local Government Enrollment Centre, Lagos, Adefunke Olubunmi Shinaba isn’t your regular public servant but one with a heartbeat for service to humanity.

Since 1998 when she joined the International Innerwheel, one of the largest women’s service voluntary organisations in the world, her zeal for extending a hand of love and support towards vulnerable members of society has only grown more indestructible.

Having served through the ranks at the Innerwheel Club of Oregun, Lagos, her commitment got her sworn-in recently as Chairman, Innerwheel District 912, to oversee Innerwheel Clubs in parts of Lagos and Ogun states from 2021 to 2022.

Shinaba, who holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration as well as degrees in Accounting and Business Administration, spoke to Sunday Vanguard.

Congratulations on your new role. How does this make you feel?

I am truly honoured to be able to take over the mantle of leadership for a cause as important as service to humanity. I am happy to be the District Chairman and by the grace of God, I look forward to the many projects we’ll carry out to benefit locals in our community; which covers different parts of Lagos and Ogun States.

In clear terms, what plans do you have to affect lives in these communities?

The overarching plan is to improve lives of women and vulnerable in communities within our District.

To this end, our star project for the year is the training and empowerment of women and youth in several areas like ICT, fashion designing, cake and confectionery production, make-up, hair dressing and for the first time ever, home farming.

We also have other projects like donation of boreholes to communities, donation of furniture to primary schools, blood drive for sickle cell patients, free health symposiums and screening amongst others.

The economy is staggering; how do you hope to achieve these plans financially?

We are also aware of that fact. However, we are still banking on support and donations from well-meaning individuals and corporate bodies who are also dedicated to the cause of the underprivileged.

READ ALSO: Everyone benefits when women are empowered, says Shinaba

What do you perceive might be your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge I foresee in the discharge of my duties and execution of projects will most likely be funds. If the funds are limited, then of course, we won’t be able to achieve all we’ve set out to do.

How do you combine public service with service to humanity?

It hasn’t particularly been an easy task combining my job as a public servant and my commitment to service to humanity due to time constraints and demands of my job.

However, over the years, I have been able to find a comfortable balance that allows me to work and still carry out humanitarian services; and even the opportunity to travel across the globe for conferences on how to carry out more humanitarian activities.

I have also been a staunch advocate of proper treatment of people. In the line of my job as a public servant, I constantly deal with a lot of crowd and learning to manage them while still keeping their dignity as humans intact is one of the ways I pride myself in my ability to merge public service and service to humanity.

This might not be the most obvious form of service to humanity, but in my heart, I believe when people are spoken to and treated with respect and dignity, it is also a form of service to humanity; especially considering our Nigerian clime where a lot of public officers are known for speaking to and treating people without basic dignity.

From your experience, do you see a nexus between both?

Well, there is a general nexus in both of them being service to people; though the services are different. I however believe that one can combine both. That is, you can still be executing different services to humanity in the course of public service.

What gives you joy about what you do for humanity?

The fact that I am able to put smile on the faces of people in need and ease their burden a bit gives me the biggest joy.

Has service to humanity always been a lifestyle for you or is it something you were pulled into by Inner Wheel?

It has always been a lifestyle for me. Way before Inner Wheel, I have always been committed to improving people’s lives and living conditions; and with the involvement of Inner Wheel, it has helped me to achieve more in this regard.

Let us talk about your childhood; what was growing up like?

Growing up for me wasn’t the easiest as, at some point, my parents got separated and we the children were “shared” between both parents.

I experienced my fair share of maltreatment as a result of the broken home but I am thankful that I didn’t let that affect who I grew up to be.

I was born into the Atewogboye royal family of Ado Ekiti Local Government, Ekiti State, to late Prince Adekola Adewumi, a prominent building contractor, and Mrs. Taiwo Grace Adewumi-Jegede, a seasoned trader. I am the second child in a family of seven.

Were your parents any form of inspiration for a life of service?

I grew up seeing my parents do the little they could for struggling families in our neighbourhood; especially with food, clothing and even money.

So, yes, I can confidently say my parents were an inspiration to a life of service as I grew up with the love to help people in my heart in spite of my experiences after their separation.

Which humanitarian inspires you internationally?

One of my biggest humanitarian inspirations is Mother Teresa. Though late now, I’m forever inspired by how she dedicated her life to caring for the destitute and dying in the slums of Calcutta.

When you are not working or serving, what takes your time?

When I’m not working or serving, I enjoy spending time with my family: my husband, children and grandson. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends as well as travelling the world.

In few words, what legacy do you hope to leave behind?

The legacy I hope to leave behind is aptly contained in the famous words of Emeasoba George which states that “The greatest legacy anyone can leave behind is to positively impact the lives of others.

“Yes, whenever you add value to other people’s lives, you are unknowingly leaving footprints on the sands of time that lives on, even after your demise.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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