Sunday, 13 March 2016

Ten Nigerian women that should be emulated

'Women should be seen not heard.' This was one belief that ruled Nigeria back in the days. A belief that made a lot of women give up on dreams. Some women never bothered to dream at all. But, some Nigerian women notwithstanding the challenges, remained undaunted, pursuing their dreams, treading parts not treaded by men let alone other women. These women set themselves apart in their endeavours. These women are nothing but role models to other women, to female children and of course to the male gender.   

In commemoration of the International Women's day which was few days back, I list out ten out of these great Nigerian women. These women have involved themselves in business leadership and management, politics, entertainment and humanitarian services. In no particular order these women are :   


1.  Folorunsho Alakija : In 2015 she was named second most powerful woman in Africa following Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and  the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Folorunsho Alakija is a business tycoon involved in the oil, fashion and printing industry. Alakija is the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of 2.1 billion dollars. Alakija is also involved in philanthropy as she owns Rose of Sharon Foundation, a foundation that empowers widows and orphans. Alakija is a mother of four children from her marriage to Modupe Alakija. She has proven that women can lead in the business scenes also. She is one woman that our young girls should look up to.   

2. Mo Abudu : She has been described by Forbes as 'Africa' s most successful woman'. Mo Abudu worked in the human resource unit of Esso Exploration and Production Nigeria Limited (now ExxonMobil) before opening her private human resource development company, Vic Lawrence and Associate Limited (VLA). Abudu is the Executive Producer & host of a TV talk show, Moments with Mo, which is the first syndicated daily talk show on African regional television. On July 11 2013, Mo Abudu launched Ebony Life Television, which is 'Africa's first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network'. She was also named by Forbes as the first woman in the African continent to own a pan-African TV channel. Abudu is a mother of two children.   

3.  Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala :  Okonjo-Iweala has served as Nigeria Minister of Finance for two different governments. She also served as Minister of Finance in the Olusegun Obasanjo tenure. Okonjo-Iweala was considered as a replacement for President of the world bank in 2007. In 2012, she was unsuccessful in her bid for the Presidency of the World Bank. She is married to Ikemba Iweala, and has four children.   

4. Ita Giwa : She is about the most successful female politician in Nigeria. She was in the House of Representatives and later became a member of the Senate. After she left the senate house, she was appointed as special adviser on National Assembly Matters to the former president Olusegun Obasanjo. Ita Giwa is popularly called 'mama Bakassi'  for her involvement in the Bakassi issue. At 70, Ita Giwa remains alluring and the delight of many fashion designers. Giwa is a mother of one and was married to late Dele Giwa.   

5. Linda Ikeji : She runs the most popular blog in Nigeria and Africa. Linda Ikeji started her blog in 2006, and ten years on, the blog is one of the most visited sites in Nigeria and Africa. Ikeji is also into humanitarian service with her 'I'd rather be self made' programme. She is a role model to many young bloggers.   

6. Genevieve Nnaji : She started her career at the age of 8, featuring in 'Ripples', the then television soap opera that ran on NTA network. At 19, she made her Nollywood debut with the movie, 'Most Wanted'. Nnaji is one of the few female Nigerians who has been interviewed on CNN. She was referred to as 'Nigeria's Julia Roberts' by Oprah Winfrey. Nnaji runs a clothing line, St. Genevieve which donates the proceedings to charity. She is a mother of one and has won several awards for her contribution to Nollywood. Genevieve Nnaji is a role model to many upcoming actresses.   

7. Asa : Bukola Elemide popularly known as Asa is one of the biggest music artistes from Nigeria. Asa started her career with the release of her song, Eye Adaba. She has four album to herself and has won several awards.   

8.  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie : She has made the feminism move popular in Nigeria. She has won several awards for her works. Adichie was featured in Beyoncé' song, flawless. She is married to Ivara Esege. She has been described as bringing back the youths' interest in reading. Adichie is a role model to many young writers.   

9. Bukola Oriola : She is a Nigerian American Journalist. She was a victim of human trafficking. After her experience, she took it upon herself to advocate for victims of human trafficking. She is the author of the book, 'Imprisoned : The Travails of a Trafficked Victim' which reveals her own experiences with human trafficking. Oriola runs a non-profit organization, The Enitan story. Last year, she organised a one week programme, Bringing the Story Back Home, with which she reached to youths in different higher institutions in Nigeria to raise their interest in the fight against human trafficking. She is a mother of one. 

10. Agbani Darego : Agbani Darego is a role model to many young models. She is the first ever African person to win the Miss World pageant, which she won in 2001. She has worked with Avon, Christian Dior, L'Oréal, Naomi Campbell and other international brands. Agbani Darego has served as a judge in several pageants. She runs a denim range, AD by Agbani Darego which includes, dresses, jeans, sunglasses and bags.

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