Even in a world where some women strongly believe that it is a man’s world and are advocating for equal rights, a number of women are blazing trails and setting records therein. One of such is Africa’s first Rear Admiral, Itunu Hotonu.
The road to the top cadre of her chosen vocation was not a smooth one but strewn with obstacles and challenges, all of which she scaled by sheer determination, focus and wisdom.
A trained architect and expert in naval logistics, Itunu is the first woman to attain the rank of a Rear Admiral in the history of the Nigerian Navy.
Prior to joining the Navy, Itunu’s dream was to join the Nigerian Army, however, when she applied, she was told there was no place for women in its engineering corps.
Though sad at the turn of events, Itunu would not be stopped from the future she wanted for herself. She applied to join the Nigerian Navy where she was told that she would be accepted irrespective of gender.
Before she joined the navy, she worked in an architect office for two years after she graduated from the university before she took her professional exams.
Born on January 18, 1959, Hotunu studied Architecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and enlisted in the Nigerian Navy in 1985. She has served at various naval formations and in different capacities across the country.
She was among the first set of architects to be enlisted into the Nigerian Navy and it is on record that Hotonu was the first female military officer to serve as a Directing Staff (that is an instructor) at the famous Armed Forces Command and Staff College (AFCSC), Jaji.
She was also the first female military officer to attend the then National War College, now National Defence College, where she emerged the best overall graduating student and won the Commander-in-Chief’s prize as well as the Commandant’s prize for the best research.
Rear Admiral Itunu is married to Arc.Abayomi Hotonu and they have three children