The world marks international women’s day, and the 2022 theme advocates for policymakers to #BreakTheBias. At NewsWireNGR, a platform founded by a woman, we have decided to curate a list of the ten most influential women in Nigeria IN 2022.
IWD sees several MISSIONS to help forge a gender-equal world. Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility while calling out inequality is critical in raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.
Many of these women profiled here are well known. Others, public members, are not so familiar with their outstanding work. Still, their understated approach is often the source of their power and longevity.
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” – Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist, journalist and activist, once explained.
Hon. Justice Amina Adamu Augie earned her place as the Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 7th of November, 2016. In 1988, Hon. Justice Amina Adamu Augie was appointed Chief Magistrate in the Sokoto State Judiciary. While serving at the Bench, her love and passion for academia propelled her to accept part-time employment as Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto, from 1989 – 1992. Hon. Justice Amina Adamu Augie earned her place as Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria on the 7th of November, 2016. In 1988, Hon. Justice Amina Adamu Augie was appointed Chief Magistrate in the Sokoto State Judiciary. While serving at the Bench, her love and passion for academia propelled her to accept part-time employment as Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Uthman Danfodio University, Sokoto, from 1989 – 1992. She also served as an Associate Lecturer in the same University from September 1999 – to September 2002. She also served as an Associate Lecturer in the same University from September 1999 – to September 2002. Hon. Justice Augie was elevated to the Court of Appeal Bench in 2002. While at the Appellate Court, she served in various Divisions and rose to become Presiding Justice, Benin Division from July 2009 – September 2010; Presiding Justice, Enugu Division from September 2010 – September 2011; Presiding Justice, Kaduna Division from September 2011 – September 2012; Presiding Justice, Lagos Division from September 2012 – November 2016.
Amina Jane Mohammed, she is the deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (2017–present), In January 2017, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced his intention to appoint Mohammed Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and then reappointed her again in 2022. A versatile and accomplished mobiliser and Project Coordinator, Mrs Amina Mohammed had served as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs between 2005 to 2010. She has also served as National Commissioner, Human Rights Commission of Nigeria from 2005 to 2007. Mrs Amina Mohammed also served as minister of environment before proceeding to the United Nations.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the seventh Director-General of the WTO. She took office on 1 March 2021, becoming the first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. Dr Okonjo-Iweala was formerly Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Since its creation in 2000, Gavi has immunized 760 million children globally and saved thirteen million lives. She was previously on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc.
Ibukun Awosika was the Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc. She is a businesswoman, author and motivational speaker. On September 7, 2015, Ibukun became the first woman to be appointed Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria following the resignation of Prince Ajibola Afonja. She is member of IESE’s International Advisory Board (IAB) and also sits on the board of Digital Jewel Limited and Cadbury Nig Plc. Ibukun Awosika is a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, member of the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and former Chairperson, Board of Trustees of Women in Management, Business and Public Service.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
44-year-old Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer whose works range from novels to short stories to nonfiction. Se has emerged as one of Nigeria’s biggest brands outside the shores of this nation and she continues to break boundaries. She is an advocate for gender equality in Nigeria and across the world and an unapologetic feminist true and true. Her TedEx speech ‘We should all be feminist ‘ was sampled by American songstress, Beyonce in 2012 – she wrote the following the novels Purple Hibiscus (2003), Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), and Americanah (2013), the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck (2009), and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists (2014).Her most recent books are Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (2017), Zikora (2020) and Notes on Grief (2021).In 2008, she was awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Stella Adaeze Oduah:
Stella is a two time serving Senator, Princess Stella Oduah. She is as vocal on bills on the floor of parliament as she was as Minister during the Goodluck Jonathan era when she did serve as Aviation minister. As at 2021, Senator Stella Oduah topped the chart with 36 bills to her credit at the National Assembly. She was also active in the political campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan, where she served as his campaign’s Director of Administration and Finance, she was credited to have been the brain behind the entire campaign and the neighbour-to-neighbour movement that led to Jonathan’s emergence as President. She has been involved in numerous controversies ranging from highly inflated purchase of BMW bullet-proof cars without following due process, while serving as Aviation Minister, she went on to overhaul and remodel 22 federal airports in 18 months.
Omobola Olubusola Johnson:
Dr. Omobola Johnson is the Board Chair of Guinness Nigeria Plc. An alumnus of the prestigious University of Manchester, University of London and Cranfield University, Dr. Johnson started her professional career in management consulting in the London Office of Arthur Andersen/Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) in 1985. In 2005, Dr. Johnson was appointed as the Country Managing Director for Accenture. In March 2010, she sought early retirement from Accenture to enable her to pursue other interests. She was appointed as a member of Nigeria’s Presidential Advisory Council in 2010 providing support to the Acting President Goodluck Jonathan. In 2011, she was appointed as Nigeria’s pioneer Minister of Communication Technology. During her four-year tenure at the Ministry, she oversaw the launch and execution of the National Broadband Plan and the pioneering involvement of government in a local VC fund and a network of start-up incubators.
Mosunmola Abudu, also known as Mo Abudu:
In 2006, Mo Abudu, a Journalist, started Ebonylife TV (ELTV),a network airing in more than 49 countries across Africa, EbonyLife TV transmitted its first broadcast on 1 July 2013 on Multichoice’s DSTV Channel 165. She has now emerged the frontline producer in nollywood and notable among TV drama series executive-produced and/or produced by Abudu, and aired on ELTV, include: Desperate Housewives Africa in partnership with Disney, Sons Of The Caliphate, Castle & Castle, On the Real and The Governor. According to Forbes, “Media mogul and EbonyLife founder Mo Abudu is on a mission to bring Africa’s stories to the world and upend Western misperceptions of the continent. The entertainment industry is looking beyond Hollywood to source local stories that resonate with a global audience. It’s a formula that Abudu has been championing all along, culminating in her signing Netflix’s first multi-title deal with an African production company.”
Yemi currently serves as the executive director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a non-partisan network of individuals and organizations committed to building a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. Yemi is also a senior associate in the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Yemi has a 20-year diverse career spanning the public and private sectors in the United States and Nigeria. She volunteers for Kaleyewa House, an NGO founded by her late mother focused on the elderly. She’s also on the boards of Make it Happen Productions and the After School Career Development Centre, Calabar. In 2018, she was named as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), endorsed by the United Nations in the Humanitarian & Religious category.
Chief Mrs Felicia Sani
President General of Association of Commodity Market Women and Men Association of Nigeria, Chief Mrs Felicia Sani, is not just a mobilizer but has led market women in Nigeria over the years in advocacy and high-level political negotiations across Nigeria.
Mrs Sani was here in 1999 during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
She not only mobilises women who form a significant % of Nigeria’s voting bloc, but Politicians in Nigeria know too well not to ignore her influence. She sure knows how to wield her powers when it matters most. Recently conducted February 12, 2022, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Area Council Elections, Madam Felicia Sani urged Nigerians to shun violence and get their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) to participate in the election actively.
Sani, who made the call on Tuesday at an Enlarged Stakeholders’ Forum organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, said she has urged market women to advise their children not to indulge in violence and also to vote massively. “Don’t kill yourself; there is life after the election. If you don’t control what you have and say you will fight, who do you want to fight? There must be life after the election, and you don’t die if you don’t win”, she emphasized.