Beginning her broadcast career with sports journalism, she went on to become one of Nigeria’s most-watched and revered TV personalities.

 Being on-screen is not a popularity stunt for her, even though her intelligent interview style easily achieves that for her.

 However, what has made her most loved by the people is her consistence use of media to advocate for the vulnerable and less privileged over the last two decades.

Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda, better known as  Funmi Iyanda is an award-winning talk show host, broadcaster, journalist, and blogger.

Funmi Iyanda produced and hosted a popular talk show New Dawn with Funmi, which aired on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) for over eight years.

Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda was born to the family of Gabriel and Yetunde Iyanda on July 22, 1971, in Lagos. She lost her mother at the age of 7 and so grew up with her father and brothers. 

She attended the African Church Princess Primary School, Akoka and Herbert Macaulay School in Lagos, for her primary education; the International School Ibadan for secondary education and wrapped it up with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography from the University of Ibadan.

Funmi’s foray into television began when she started producing and presenting Good Morning Nigeria, a breakfast magazine television show. The show became a hit, with its “Heroes” segment, which exalted the achievement of deserving members of the society, and “Street Life”, which unlike many shows at the time went out on the streets in search of compelling Nigerian human-interest stories.

The show focused on the injustices suffered by Nigerians, particularly the vulnerable members such as women and children. The show was syndicated on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA)

She first anchored MITV Live, a sports show produced by Segun Odegbami and Tunde Kelani. She was a member of the Nigerian Football Association between the years 1995 and 2003. She covered the 1999 female Football World Cup, the All Africa Games in Zimbabwe, as well as the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games in Sydney and Athens. In 2006, she worked on a documentary for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations.

Armed with the experience gained during the era of Good Morning Nigeria, Funmi sought a bigger platform to reach people and in 2000 she began producing and hosting the programme New Dawn.

New Dawn with Funmi started in 2000 and ran daily on NTA 10 Lagos. The success of the show made it the longest running independently produced show on NTA. The show used its influence as a vehicle for social change and transformation by advocating the cause of the vulnerable members of the society, particularly women, youth and children. 

New Dawn gave birth to the “Change-A-Life” social intervention project. Over the years, Change-A-Life has affected the lives of many children and people through its scholarship, healthcare, counseling and micro-finance intervention scheme. The scholarship scheme supports 98 children.

Funmi has also written regular columns in Tempo Magazine. On occasions, she still serves as guest columnist for Farafina Magazine. She has also written for PM NEWS, The Punch, Daily Trust and Vanguard Newspapers.

In 2008, Funmi took a two-year break from the screen, returning in 2010 with “Talk with Funmi (TWF)”, a television show that captures conversations with people around the country. The show was directed by Chris Dada. The duo also worked on and released Chopcassava.com, a web series covering the January 2012 fuel subsidy protests in Lagos. The web series was a hit, and got nominated in the non-fiction web series category at the 2012 BANFF World Media Festival, in Alberta, Canada.

Funmi Iyanda’s 2010 production on My Country: Nigeria, a three-part documentary to celebrate Nigeria’s 50th anniversary of her independence, was aired on the BBC World Service. The episode titled Lagos Stories was later nominated in the category for “Best News Documentary” at the 2011 Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco.

In 2020, Funmi premiered another talk show Public Eye, but this time the show would screen on Instagram Live instead of on television. The show has hosted several notable voices across different sectors, as it continues to spot the light on socio-political issues others dread to talk about.

The award-winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist, and blogger, Funmi Iyanda is a member of the African Leadership Institute, a Tutu Fellow, and a participant of the ASPEN Institute’s Forum for Communications and Society. She served on the Board of Farafina Trust and Positive Impact Youth Network. She is the CEO of Ignite Media now OYA Media.

Funmi Iyanda’s accomplishments and advocacy at different levels have not gone unnoticed. In 2012, the then Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola honoured her for her commitment to gender advocacy as she returned from a five-day UN advocacy trek up Mount Kilimanjaro to raise global awareness on its campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls.

In 2011, Funmi received the award for Young Global Leader (YGL) by World Economic Forum, and was also honoured for her web series. Forbes also listed her among the “20 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa”.