Segun Oladipupo |
Mrs. Oluwafunmilola Hannah Fasan is the Vice Presidebt General (VPG), the highest ranking female executive of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
She is beautiful as well as intelligent. She joined the union as a unit executive in 1993 and she has since risen from ranks up to the present level. Her smiles are infectious but measured.
She relived her experience and life as a single lady when all men wanted to have her because of her charming look.
She said self respect made her beat all the traps of love set by men at the time, even now that she is happily married. It will make a good read for your relaxation this weekend. Enjoy it.
My Early Life
My name is Mrs. Fasan Oluwafunmilola Hannah. I am from Abeokuta in Ogun State but my husband is from Ondo state.
I was born in Mushin in Lagos. I attended Trinity Nursery and Primary School, Abeokuta. It is a boarding house.
I came back to Lagos when I was in primary five because Jakande said then that you could not enter a secondary school if you did not attend his primary school.
I went to L.A. primary school and PWD. It is called Ikeja Primary School now. From there, I went to Omole Grammar School at Omole. After that, I went to Yaba College of Technology where I studied Accounting. My favourite food is rice and fried stew. We Egbas love Ofada rice with sauce.
I have various colours but I love sky blue. I just love the colour not for any particular reason though.
I was a sport person when I was in school but I could not continue because I realised that my heart was beating faster and I was advised to stop.
Q. How did you meet your husband?
A. We were street friends and from friendship, we got intimate and that was how we later got married.
Q. What attracted you to him?
A. Apart from the fact that he is handsome, he appreciates me a lot. He compliments me anytime I put on any dress and whenever I make my hair. He notices every little thing about me and I do acknowledge and appreciate that.
Even when we were friends, he would always ask me what happened to my face and such.
Q. How did you get into unionism?
A. Actually, I was working with Trans Atlantic Shipping Agency Ltd in 1991 and in 1993, I became one of the unit executives and then it was Union of Shipping Clearing and Forwarding, the merger had not come and i was the unit Assistant Secretary.
I like talking for people when they have something they cannot say. I like to say things as they are, I don’t like being diplomatic. My contributions those days at the unit meeting encouraged me because I worked in male dominated environment. I was the only woman in the midst of over a hundred men.
They kept on encouraging me and I became happy and wanted to do more. That was how I got into unionism.
Q. How do you cope in a male dominated environment?
A. May be before now because I have been in the system for a long time. I no longer see any difference between male and female. The male folks want to see what you can do and they appreciate you. It gives me more confidence among them.
Q. Have you ever been intimated by police or security agents at rallies as a unionist?
A. It has never crossed my mind that I can be beaten up or harassed. The maritime of today is a reformed one but before now, I am from the shipping branch of Maritime. I remember we had a picketing then with John Holts and I was the one that led them in Apapa. The rest of my colleagues were in Ijora. So, mobile policemen came and began to shout and I simply told them we were not destroying things and that we were only dancing and we continued to dance and the men was like this woman was not even afraid.
Q. Do men still beckon at you despite that you are married?
A. Of course, you can’t rule that out. I joined the union when I was single and everybody from every angle even from other unions whenever we went out for rally made a pass at me.
Almost everybody would be saying this fine girl but I believe within me that as a girl, I needed to respect myself if I had gone for this and that then, how would they be seeing me today? That is what still earns me my respect.
Even when I am married, some would say afterall your husband is not here but took all these advances in my stride.
Q. Has there been any time a man tried to lure you into bed with money?
A. I experienced that a lot when I was single. There was a man who I didn’t know was always watching me anytime I was going to work and coming back.
So, he sent a lady to meet me and that one said I love you and I want us to be friends. The lady sometimes would come to my office and invite me for lunch and all that.
For a very long time, i never knew she had a mission and at a point she asked if I won’t come and visit her in her office, saying afterall I come to visit all the time and I agreed to go to her office.
As we were talking, she said why not meet my boss and I said ok. We went in and she introduced me and the man gave her money to entertain me and when I was leaving, I nodded the boss farewell and he dipped his hand in his pocket and gave me N10, 000.
That was in the nineties even when I was earning N1,000 as salary then.
The following day I went to thank him for the previous day and he said I should always stop by anytime.
Sometimes if I didn’t go, he would send the girl to come and visit me and come with big envelope and would say the boss said she should greet me.
It was later the lady confessed to me that it was her boss that sent her.
I see that a lot, somebody could just walk up to me and said he wanted to be my friend.
Q. Do you think the time is ripe for women to take over the leadership of this union?
A. We are striving and we don’t want this to be the highest level for women anymore. We want to be there and we are sure that the men will give us the opportunity.
Q. Are you a Christian?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. What’s your perception about Christianity?
A. Well, it depends on individuals anyway. For me, I am happy with my religion because it gives me peace of mind and helps me to respect others.
To see others as one with me and I believe it is this Christianity that doesn’t make me keep malice. I get angry though, I don’t keep people in mind.
Q. What music genre do you listen to?
A. My music is the local music apart from when we are in church. If I want to dance for myself, I listen to Fuji because I love Wasiu Ayinde and Ayefele.
Q. What is life to you?
A. Life is nothing. Before now, whenever somebody died, I would cry and missed the person and feel like why would it happen but at a point, when somebody dies, I don’t really cry that much because I know that this life is a temporary place.
We will all leave one after the other. When I see people siphoning money and embezzling funds, I say what are all these things for. When such a person does, that is the end of him or her. I always tell people that if I have a house that I can sleep in, I don’t need to have ten houses. I don’t want them, you want me to leave them for children? For What? Let them work hard because I have given them what I need to give them which is the education.
Let them work and get theirs so that they can know the value of life.
Q. How would you describe the President General of MWUN?
A. I have worked with PGs that came to maritime from Ikamuna and co. They have all done well. God has really blessed maritime with leaders. Is it Irabor, Tony but the President General now, carries everybody along, he wants everybody to be part of what He is doing. He believes everybody is important. He doesn’t throw away anybody’s opinion. When you have something to say, he wants to hear you, he wants to know the angle you are coming from.
I know with that, he will go places because he appreciates everybody. When he is talking, you will hear him my executives.
That means he wants us to work together.
We eat together, he comes with food and you will see every one of us eating. He is happy when he sees us in that togetherness.
He has the spirit of bringing everybody together and he doesn’t want to see anybody lack.
He reads faces every morning, he looks at your face and say madam you are not eating here, what happened. He takes us as sisters and brothers. When you have issue, he doesn’t say go, it is your problem, no. He gets involved, he wants to see how he can solve it.
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