Nigeria First Female Engineer, Maduka Celebrates 80

By Funmi Ogundare

The first female engineer in Nigeria and pioneer President Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Mrs. Joana Olatunmbi Maduka is 80.

An Oak Jubilee Zoom party was organised by the association in her honour with family members, friends and colleagues in the engineering profession in attendance, to wish her well.

Some of the dignitaries that turned out to celebrate the woman who had impacted the field and done a lot in mainstreaming gender were; renowned industrialist and investment expert, Chief Mrs. Onikepo Akande, first female President of the Association of Consulting Engineering of Nigeria ( ACEN), Mrs. Mayen Adetiba, pioneer Vice-Chancellor, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and Crescent University, Abeokuta, Prof. Fola Lasisi, President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Babagana Mohammed, other founding members of APWEN, among others.

Speaking during the commemoration of the birthday celebration, the President of APWEN, Mrs. Funmilola Ojelade expressed excitement about it.

She recalled that the six founding members, who started the association with Mrs. Maduka in 1983, are still very active saying, “All of them are still alive and active in the association which tells you the kind of leadership that Maduka has put in place. They are still playing one role and another to make the association great and we are very greatful for that.”

She recalled that in January 2020 when her tenure as president of the association started, she promised Maduka that her 80th birthday would be grand in her hometown in Ilesha, Osun State, which would also be an opportunity to hold the annual Olu Maduka annual lecture ( OMAL), but the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020 had affected the plans.

“In 2021, we went ahead and planned for the event and booked Oriental Hotel, Lekki, in January, but as it is, we saw that the older ones are at risk of contracting the infection as far as the Covid-19 is concerned, so rather than having a large event at the venue and putting her life at risk, we said we will not allow such a day to pass without doing anything. So together with the EXCO, we decided that we are going to celebrate mummy by gathering many people virtually.”

President of Women in Energy, Oil and Gas (WEOG), Mrs. Oladunni Owo, also expressed excitement about the celebration while describing Maduka as a game changer who had impacted women from across the world.

According to her, “Our generation is blessed to have you. We say thank you for impacting our world, being a part of the development of this nation and womanhood at large; and sharing your dreams against all odds.”

Other guests also sent in their goodwill messages while describing Maduka as a great woman and one of the best the engineering profession has produced.

The pioneer engineer’s daughter, Dr. Ifeoma Nwogu also congratulated her mother saying, “When I think of mummy, I think of her versatility and projects. She is a people person, a wife and mother. I admire the way she puts her heart into people-projects and she is very visionary. We have all being so privileged to witness the instructions that comes from her. We all are so lucky to have her.”

Her husband and first Director General of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Vincent Maduka congratulated his wife for attaining the age of 80 and her service to humanity.

In her response, the celebrant thanked everyone including members of the association, who had come to honour her on her day, while promising that she will continue to call for more woman participation in the profession. .

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