HOTONU: THE FEMALE OFFICER THAT BUILT 460 HOUSES FOR THE NAVY
Even though she finds herself in a male dominated profession, Commodore Itinu Hotonu, has not allowed herself to be intimidated or pushed around. She has worked hard to earn every appointment and promotion that she has held since she joined the Nigerian Navy in 1985.
She is one of the women who have further stretched the notion that women are as fit as men in so many professions. The pace of merit she set from her training days has remained with her till today. Hotonu graduated as the best all-round student in a class of 73 students at the National Defence College, formerly National War College, Abuja between 2003 and 2004 as a member of Course 12.
Hotonu, who is also the first female military officer to attend the National Defence College, also attended the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, between 1995 and 1995 where her outstanding performance got her the recommendation of becoming the first female officer to be recommended as a Directing Staff. She won the award for outstanding performance as Managing Director of the Nigerian Navy Post-Service Housing Scheme (NNPSHS), when the Navy celebrated its 54th anniversary.
The award was presented to her by President Goodluck Jonathan, who was represented by the vice president, Namadi Sambo, at a dinner held at Thisday dome in Abuja to mark the celebration.
As managing director of the NNPSHS, a position she was appointed to in 2008, Commodore Hotonu has not just printed the Navy's name in gold, but also proved to the generality of Nigerians that apart from its primary role of protecting the nation's territorial maritime environment, the Navy is a reliable organization to do business with.
In just 12 months, June, 2009 when the commissioning of the foundation laying ceremony for the Navy Post-Service Housing kicked off in Karshi, Nassarawa State, Hotunu, has within a period of 12 months, built and completed a total of 460 houses comprising two and three-bedroom twin bungalows, three-bedroom detached bungalow, four-bedroom detached (standard) bungalows, four-bedroom detached (luxury) bungalows and four-bedroom duplexes.
The 460 houses exclude the six prototype houses that were on ground during the commissioning in 2009.
Apart from building and completing the 460 houses, Commodore Hotonu, popularly called 'mama' by her staff at the NNPSHS, has also built and completed the NOWA secondary school which will take off in August. She has also increased the water reserve capacity of the estate, which stood at 60,000 litres in 2009 to 600,000litres.
While giving a history of what the estate looked like when they first moved to the site in her address during the commissioning/foundation laying ceremony of Navy Estate Phase II, Hotonu said the estate which had just one 3.5MVA transformer and one kilometre of paved internal road in June 2009, now has three units of 3.5MVA transformer and eight kilometers of paved internal roads, drains and walkways, while stone pitching and channelization of the rivers in and around the estate is 70 per cent completed. He agency also installed a VSAT for the estate, which is fully functional.
The architect naval officer has been able to pay back the loan she took to kick off the building of the estate in just 10 months as she revealed in her address. Today, she can beat her chest to say that the NNPSHS is completely debt free.
Hotonu, is now resident in the estate since 2009 with all her staff to ensure that things go smoothly as planned in the execution of the building project.
To make her dream come true in actualizing the estate development project, she somehow dropped her high status of a one-star general to act as a labourer, foreman, site engineer, carpenter, mason, painter, you just name it because of her passion for the job notwithstanding that she is the MD. She had to literally take part in every aspect of the work to ensure her supervision is total and a success.
Hotonu took the pains to travel and get her workers because she does not want to fail and she also takes the pain to go round and inspect every project on site and knows when a particular worker is performing below standard and bring him to order.
Hotonu bagged her degree in Architecture from the University of Nigeria, Nssuka in 1982 before enrolling in the Navy.
The outstanding female officer told Saturday Sun she joined the Nigerian Navy because she wanted to do something different.