According to the organisation, most of the women on the list often shun the limelight, preferring to work behind the scenes.
“Some of the names may be debated, but this does not diminish their impact or the fact that they have clearly helped shape major issues in our polity.”
In the citation, WiJAfrica explained why they unanimously chose Nwogwugwu as the ‘Most Powerful Woman in Journalism’ out of the 25 female journalists they profiled.
WiJAfrica said: “Contrary to what many may think, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu is not the most powerful woman journalist in Nigeria because she is the managing director of Arise TV – even though this in itself, is a big deal.
“Rather, Ijeoma, through her weekly column in THISDAY and as editor of the paper, helped shape national policy and provide often sharp criticism of government since the days of former President Obasanjo.
“She is quick witted, highly cerebral, and resolutely holds the government of the day accountable. It is no secret that every leader in the field of business and national politics knows Ms. Nwogwugwu personally, but this has not affected her journalistic responsibility to the public.
“Ms. Nwogwugwu brings to journalism a wealth of experience across private and public sectors. She held the track record of editing all three titles under the THISDAY stable for the longest unbroken period of 11 years and is the second woman in the history of Nigerian journalism to be appointed Editor of a national newspaper, the first being Dr. Doyinsola Abiola of Concord.
“Based on her national and industry credence, the trajectory of her career and all-round professionalism, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu is the most powerful woman journalist in Nigeria.”
Others include Kadaria Ahmed, Christiana Anyanwu, Olusola Momoh, Bilikisu Labaran, Stella Din Jacob, Lady Maiden Ibru, Mo Abudu ,Funke Egbemode, Tosin Dokpesi, Toun Okewale Sonaiya, Ruth Osime, Toyosi Ogunseye, Ifeyinwa Omowole, Maupe Ogun Yusuf, Uche Pedro, Linda Ikeji, Morayo Afolabi Brown, Adesuwa Onyenokwe, Eugenia Abu, Stephanie Busari, Kiki Mordi, Ruona Meyer, and Adedoja Allen and Angel Emuwa.
WiJAFRICA is the annual gathering of women working in the field of journalism and the media across Africa. The program is organised by WiJAfrica, supported by local and international partners with “the aim of advancing conversations around the practice of journalism in Africa, promoting best practices and supporting innovation in the profession.”
The first WiJ Conference held in 2014 at the Civic Centre in Lagos, with the CEO of Thomson Reuters Foundation, Monique Villa as the Keynote Speaker. Since then, notable speeches have been delivered at subsequent Conferences by Rhodes University’s Professor Anthea Garman, Courage in Journalism Winner, Chris Anyanwu and award-winning international journalist, Anna Cunningham in October 2019.
WiJAfrica has also seen extensive collaboration with the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), UNESCO, the School of Media and Communication at the Pan-Atlantic University and the Mass Communications Department of the University of Lagos.
In 2015, WiJAfrica created a list of 50 Women Changing Journalism, which received wide attention. The 2015 Conference also saw leading global affairs journalist, Christiane Amanpour issue a statement of support for WiJ2015 and women journalists operating out of Africa.