Saturday, 15 July 2017

Nigerian Women: Redeeming the Times

All over the world African women are making history by saving the world and portraying the African continent in a positive light, highly educated and intelligent women are for instance making their presence felt in a wide range of professions and industries. 

The current Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and a former Minister of Environment of Nigeria Amina J. Mohammed is one unique persona that one can attribute her passion and drive for the MDGs success in Nigeria because in 2005, she was charged with the coordination of Nigeria’s debt relief funds toward the achievement of the MDGs. She acted as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals after serving three presidents over a period of six years.

Mohammed served as Founder and CEO of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and as an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice program at Columbia University.
Another world changer making a difference is Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria and was previously Managing Director of the World Bank. She currently chairs the Board of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and the African Risk Capacity (ARC), she is also a Senior Adviser at Lazard.

One cannot help but remember significant impact that late professor Dora Nkem Akunyili the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) of Nigeria who was also  Nigerian Minister of Information and Communications from 2008 to 2010. She was a pharmacist and governmental administrator who gained international recognition and won several awards for her work in pharmacology, public health and human rights. These are few Nigerian women among several who are making efforts or had made efforts in redeeming the times.

Raising global awareness on the atrocities carried out by Boko Haram, of which 276 female students were kidnapped from the Government Secondary School in the town of Chibok in Borno State, Nigeria is Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, with the world wide campaign of #BringBackOurGirls movement. The former Minister of Education has continued to fight to ensure no one forgets these girls, who are held captive the night of 14–15 April 2014. The organization stands ready to offer compassion and care to all those who manage to escape their captors or who are freed by the military. 57 Escaped, 4 Found, 106 Released, 4 Infants with the girls, 19 Parents dead, 113 still missing.

Looking at arts and entertainment industry in Nigeria, one cannot ignore the amazing impute of the creative entertainers in NOLLYWOOD who are working hard in promoting human rights and protecting the girl child and creating awareness on gender based challenges. One of the advocates is Stephanie Linus Dry which is a 2014 Nigerian drama film directed by Stephanie Linus .The film's theme focuses on Vesicovaginal fistula (VVF) condition and underaged marriage among young women. Creating awareness on the dangers of early marriage that exist.

A Social Entrepreneur and a Philanthropist with international recognition is, Nike Okundaye who had no serious formal western education. She stopped schooling at primary 6 school level at her village at Ogidi-Ijumu in Kogi State of Nigeria. However, Nike went ahead to teach herself English at home. She never went to school to study art which had brought her to global spotlight. Vocational training in art was passed down to her by her great grandmother, who was an "Adire" textile maker and a dyer of fabric during her days in the village of Ogidi-Ijumu, offers training in various forms of arts.

 The centre was established in 1983, with 20 young girls who were marching the streets in Osogbo aimlessly and who had no hopes for the future. In their tender age, Nike withdrew these girls from the streets and provided them with free food, free materials and free accommodation at her residence at Osogbo and taught them how to use their hands to earn decent livings through the art. According to her, So far, over 3000 young Nigerians have been trained in the centre and who are now earning their decent livings through art and many African countries now send their students to study textile art at the centre.

Turning her ashes to beauty is another unique persona Madam Ene Ede, Gender Advisor Search for Common Ground Nigeria’s, she was a child bride but became gender activist. At the age of ten she was married to a man three time her age, Ene was both psychologically and physically imprisoned and made a decision of leaving her husbands. She did not end there. She is giving her story with every sense of responsibility to the world so she don’t become part of those who encourage a conspiracy of silence. She is a strong advocate of breaking the silence on Violence against women, and to see how many women she can free.

It is on this note that she has spent the last 20 years advocating for women from the highest political offices to the grassroots level and she makes sure women are empowered in politics, media, business, and the home through advocacy, designing programs, and training local partners.

These women are a few among several of individuals with global, national and local vision who are serving nations, communities and localities with their given potentials.