Oladunni Odu : The Ever Relevant Political Amazon
The uncommon grace of a sweetened, glorious and long lasting existence can only be gotten from the Almighty God. This aphorism is most apt when the public service record of Princess Oladunni Catherine Odu is objectively subjected to public scrutiny.
Princess Odu as she popularly known is definitely a household name within and outside of Ondo State. The name readily commands respect and open doors on account of the ever consistent patriotic and outstanding public service performance of the Okitipupa born princess in the last thirty years. To a very large extent, this name Princess Odu has become synonymous with hard work, sterling performance, intelligence and honesty.
The highly cerebral lawyer is clearly an epitome of loyalty this has always been her watchword in all the politics offices she has held thus far. She firmly believes that loyalty must be total to one’s principal while in a public office. Without doubt, she has bountifully reaped the fruits of loyalty in her public service trajectory. She is today the first ever female Secretary to Ondo State Government on account of her unalloyed loyalty and long years of meritorious service to the state.
The trailblazing Princess Odu has impressively distinguished herself thus far in all the public office assignments she had been saddled with. She has gathered sufficient and invaluable experiences in public offices. She has consistently been deemed qualified for public office within and outside of Ondo State because of her exceptional brilliance, commitment and innate abilities to deliver desired results.
Behind the facade of being a
female politician, there are lot of other invaluable qualities that has made Princess Odu very relevant as public office holder in the last 30 years. She is extremely resilient,
a goal-getter, result oriented and passionately committed to the growth and development of Ondo State. She has always been known to be a very diligent, meticulous, and knowledgeable person.
The grassroots politician has always been an integral part of Ondo State public service, even before she was appointed the Secretary to Ondo State Government on March 22, 2021. Before this time, the Idepe princess had served till March, 2021as the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, (SUBEB).
The second stint of Princess Odu as SUBEB chairman proved most important for the educational sector of Ondo State. As SUBEB boss, she did the needful by repositioning the Board and equally
brought value into the state’s education system. She likewise succeeded in accessing the counterparts funding in the Universal Basic Education Board (UBEB) that could not be accessed by all her predecessors as SUBEB chairman.
As the Chairman of SUBEB, the goal-getter embarked on and completed more than 518 projects across the 18 Local Government Areas of Ondo State in 228 primary schools. Some of the projects delivered by Princess Odu as SUBEB Chairman include the construction of new building and supply of furniture items to schools that needed them across Ondo State. Renovation of dilapidated primary schools were also carried out in addition to the construction of perimeter fencing for schools to guarantee security and safety of the pupils. She equally delivered Information Communication Technology as well as playground equipment to the targeted primary schools across Ondo State.
In line with the best global practice, Princess Odu also delivered containerised toilets for primary schools across the Sunshine State.
The brilliant Idepe princess ingeniously embarked on this project to make more pupils have access to the school toilets at the same time.
Interestingly, the containerised toilets can easily accommodate not less than 15 pupils at the same time; unlikely the old styled toilet that can not only allow 5 pupils at the same time sanitation activities. Remarkably, the containerised toilets are very safe, clean and also user friendly. The toilets are also movable in case of change of location. It can also be used as safety nest by the pupils in situation of kidnapping attempt. The containerised toilets were constructed in 78 primary schools located across the Sunshine State.
The beautiful politician was in 2013 appointed and served as the Director of Federal Medical Centre, Asaba. Odu held this position till 2015 when she was again appointed a Federal Commissioner for Public Complaints Commission in Akure. Earlier, she had served under the military as Ondo State Commissioner for Education from 1995 to1999. Also, she equally served as Ondo State Commissioner for Women Affairs between January 1999 and May 1999.
Despite her initial decision not to get involved in partisan politics, Princess Oladunni was lured into politics by her uncle. She was admitted into the Okitipupa Local Government chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party by the late Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu. She was subsequently appointed the Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) by the same Agagu and Odu served in this position from September 2003 to February 2009.
The septuagenarian Oladunni Odu is robustly educates and supremely experienced to hold higher elective or appointive position in Ondo State and Nigeria. She is a distinction holder of Master of Law (LL.M) from the University of Lagos. She had earlier bagged a Second Class Upper degree in Law (LL.B) from same University of Lagos before she bagged a second class upper division degree in Bachelor of Law (BL) from the Nigeria Law School.
The quintessential personality is also a holder of Master of Science (M.Sc) degree in Industrial Sociology form the University of Calabar. She equally holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Sociology (Second Class Upper Division) form the University of Benin.
Princess Odu equally had academic stint at the Polytechnic of Ibadan where she obtained Ordinary National Diploma (OND) in Secretarial Studies. The Idepe born princess also attended St. Louis Secondary School in Ondo where she obtained her West African School Certificate in Grade 1. Meanwhile, the young Catherine had her primary school education at St. Mary’s RCM Primary School in Okitipupa where she obtained her First School Leaving Certificate.
The beauty, brain and advocacy of this great advocate of women truly belie her 70 years of existence. Also, the highly reliable, trustworthy and dependable Oladunni Odu readily describes her unique selling points as hard work, honesty and loyalty. She always take advantage of every opportunity to encourage educated women in Ondo State to summon needed courage and step into the political ring. She firmly believes that the male folks may not give what is politically due to the female folks unless the women participate in partisan politics.
The tested and trusted Oladunni Odu has won several awards in the cause of her contributions to public service within and outside of Ondo State. A few of the awards include the Positive Leaders Award by Positive Organisation, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); Ondo State Female Role Model Award, The Heros Magazine;
Merit Award by National Union of Okitipupa Local Government Students (National Body) and
Award of Excellence, by the Law Students Society of AAUA.
She has also won several academic awards that include Jaja Amachree’s Award of the Faculty of Law, University of Lagos;
Chief C.E. Abebe prize for the Best All Round Final Year Student in University of Lagos; National School Fund Prize by University of Lagos; Vice Chancellor’s Prize for Best Performance at the Degree Level in University of Lagos.
Other laurels of honour won by Princess Odu also include Award of Distinguish Philanthropist by Nigeria Bar Association, Okitipupa Branch; Award of Excellence by Universal Learning Solutions;
Distinguished Long-Term Promoter of Education Development by Nigeria Union of Journalists, Ondo State Council. Others are the Award of Excellence by National Council of Women Societies; Outstanding Leadership Award given by Niger Delta Students’ Union Government (NIDSUG); Outstanding Supporter Award given by Methodist Church of Nigeria, Diocese of Igbobini; Trailblazer Award by Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Akure;
Special Award by Nigerian Baptist Convention.
The reading, swimming and traveling loving Princess Odu has indeed garnered all the experiences needed to aspire to the next level of public office in Ondo State and at the federal level. It is also worthy of note that the trailblazer possesses all the excellent qualities of a great leader. She is indeed a leadership asset for Ondo State and Nigeria at large because highly cerebral, disciplined, hardworking, innovative and honesty leaders are not easy to come by. The Idepe princess is undoubtedly fully prepared to offer greater leadership services to her state and nation in the immediate future.