At the 17th edition of the Thisday Annual Awards for excellence, 3 Fellows and 1 Associate of the Nigeria Leadership Initiative were honoured as women of distinction. The award which was held on the 13th of February 2012, sought to celebrate women who have broken barriers and made a difference.
Mariam Uwais: Honoured for Service to the Vulnerable
Senior Fellow, Mariam Uwais who is currently the Managing Partner of the Law Firm of Wali‐Uwais & Co , is a staunch advocate for the rights of women and children in Nigeria. Prior to her engagement at Wali-Uwais & Co., she worked at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) from where retired from public service. A former prosecutor with the Kano State Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Uwais was also a member of the Nigerian Law Reform Commission. Amongst her numerous outstanding contributions, to the Nigerian nation and society, were membership on the Boards of several organisations and civil society groups, notably: the National Human Rights Commission (where she was a Special Rapporteur on Child Rights); LEAP Africa; Youth Business Initiative; Women in Successful Careers (WISCAR); the National Consultative Committee on Justice Sector Reform; the Working Group on Fiscal Responsibility Law; the Justice Research Institute; Coalition Against Tobacco; Nigerian Investment Climate Advisory Council; Technical Committees of the Constitutional Reform Dialogue Mechanism and the Gender and Affirmative Action Coalition; and the African Union Committee on the Rights and Welfare of the Child.
Mrs. Uwais was also a founding member of the Nigerian Chapter of Musawah, a Global Movement for Equality and Justice in the Muslim Family. Moreover, Mrs. Uwais, through consultancy work, has lent her technical expertise of various issues and projects on children & women’s rights, entrepreneurship, education and justice sector reform. She has consulted for Open Society Initiative for West Africa [OSIWA], the United Nations Children Education Fund [UNICEF], the World Bank, and UK’s Department of Foreign Investment and Development [DFID]. Some of her writings included several papers and articles on rights (economic, social and cultural), child justice administration, children and women’s rights (especially on the misapplication of Sharia law in Northern Nigeria), and interfaith dialogue.
Ngozi Okonjo-Oweala: Honoured for being Nigeria’s Global Champion
Senior Fellow, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, since her appointment as the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance, has introduced measures that will help put the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.
Before this appointment, she was the managing Director, World Bank, Washington D.C; Economist. Distinguished Fellow, Brookings Institution, United States.
Dr. Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Harvard and has a PhD in Regional Economics and Development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is fluent in French, Ibo and English with working knowledge of Yoruba. She has received numerous awards, including Honorary Doctorate of Letters from University of Dublin, Trinity College, 2007, Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Colby College, 2007 and Brown University, 2006, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica, 2005, Time Magazine’s European Hero of the Year Award, 2004, for her work on economic reform in Nigeria, Euromoney Magazine Global Finance Minister of the year, 2005, Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister of the year 2005, This Day (Nigeria’s premier newspaper) Minister of the Year award 2004 and 2005.
Omobola Johnson: Honoured for Life of Service to Good Governance
Mrs. Omobola Johnson is the Minister of Technology and Communications. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester and a Masters degree in Digital Electronics from King’s College, London.
Before her appointment as Minister, she served as the Country Managing director at Accenture.
Toyosi Akerele: Honoured for Standing up for the Youth
Twenty-eight-year-old Toyosi Akerele is a youth advocate and education expert.
A University of Jos, Nigeria trained Lawyer, she has pioneered countless youth/ professional initiatives and is a very intriguing and most sought after speaker, trainer, panelist and facilitator at several Youth and Professional programs. Partnering several Frontline Corporate Organizations and Multi-Nationals, she is the Convener of what has now undoubtedly become the most attended youth event in Nigeria with about 50 000 participants in 12 Nigerian States; the annual RISE Interactive Youth Forum
She has been actively involved in Local, National and Regional projects and processes on the need to provide a platform for youth inclusion in policy formulation and project implementation. She is a role model to many youths in Nigeria with her ability to initiate and implement youth-led, youth-focused projects aimed at developing the potentials of young people in Nigeria.
Partnering several frontline Corporate Organizations and Multi-Nationals, Toyosi, the phenomenal CEO of Nigeria’s first and most prominent youth interest organization, RISE, is a consummate young professional and an outstanding Manager. RISE itself has become a fast growing driving force and skill providing concern for several young people in Nigeria. She is the major driver of Nigeria’s leading Online Youth Interaction Centre. Click here to visit the RISE website.