At 50, Adetutu Funmilayo Nelson, could be said to be fulfilled, with all the trappings that life could offer. Due to a single challenge by her brother, she took up a career with security outfit, Corporate Guards, and subsequently rose to the rank of Captain. That job and her love for humanity also gave her the opportunity to join the prestigious Ikoyi Lions Club, where she rose to become president and is currently serving as Zone 2A Chairperson, overseeing several other Lions Clubs. She shared her story with us.
You rose to become captain as a security officer with Corporate Guards; that’s some achievement, especially for a lady. Tell us about your journey.
The journey started in the year 1995, when my late dad who was then with NMA (the National Maritime Authority), came home and mentioned it to my brother who had just finished secondary school. He said there was a security company with uniforms like the American police, and that he should join. As daddy’s girl, I supported the idea. But my brother would not hear of it. He threw it back to me, more like a challenge, that why couldn’t I join. That was how I took up the challenge and joined Corporate Guards.
What were your initial challenges at finding your feet on the job?
The training then was tough. I mean really tough. I had to leave Orile Iganmu where I was staying to resume at Ogba in Ikeja for training before 6:30am. There was a day that I almost gave up. That was in September 1995, when I was robbed inside a Molue bus. I had to beg for transport fare to get to Ogba. However, the Commandant, Late Major Imoni, on hearing what happened, gave me the needed encouragement that changed my life. After listening to him, I decided to continue.
As a female, how easy has the career been?
It was not easy initially. But my father was a retired soldier and I lived in the barrack. I went to Air force Primary School, Victoria Island, so I had all along been seeing women in uniform and admiring them.
What’s your advice to young ladies who may want to take up a career in security?
Take pride in what you do; there is dignity in labour.
There’s another aspect of you, the humanitarian angle; tell us about it.
Yes, I am a member of Lions Club International, the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, with over 48,000 Lions Clubs and over 10,000 members in Nigerian. I am currently the Zone 2A Chairperson, which means there are clubs under the zones. This position can only be assumed after one has been a club president. I am a past president of Lagos Ikoyi Lions Club International in 2019/2020. Lions Year.
What are your golden moments in the club since joining?
My first attempt was early 2012, but I stopped because I lost my mum; and the rule says you must be present at three meetings non-stop. I, however, went back in 2013. My first position was as Assistant Secretary, before rising to become president after six years. Some of my golden moments would be my investiture day; seeing my boss, Otunba Dr. Olawanle Akinboboye there, made my day. Another golden moment for me was the day the club’s core project was commissioned- a Pediatric Cancer Ward at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital. It was a total refurbishing with the help of all our donors and members of Ikoyi Lions Club; not forgetting the ever supportive Lion Alhaja Bintu Tinubu and Otunba Dr Olawanle Akinboboye for his encouragement in that difficult time of Covid-19.
Tell us more about yourself.
I am the first of nine children from my parents, Mr. Anthony Kayode and Mrs Amele Ibidun Nelson. I had my primary education at the Nigerian Air Force Primary School, Victoria Island. Secondary school was also in Victoria Island and then the University of Lagos. I also have an Advance Diploma in Security Operation and Management from the University of Lagos.
How do you cope combining your work with the home front as a mother and wife?
I try to do check and balance here and there.
And the challenges of social life – parties and club activities?
All work and no party will make Captain Adetutu a dull girl. So I flow with the social life, just like I flow with work at my work place.
Do you have any advice for young mothers who may want to veer into social club?
They should not be distracted by the social life, and bear it in mind that they are there to serve the needy.