IWD: Women Who are Breaking The Bias

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The International Women’s Day, IWD, is a global day commemorated every March 8 to celebrate the social, economic, political, and cultural achievements made by women. For many, it’s also time to reflect on growth towards gender equality, call for action while celebrating acts of courage and determination by women who break the glass ceiling in different endeavours. 

This year, to commemorate the 2022 International Women’s Day, the theme was centred on “Breaking the Bias” because whether deliberate or unconscious, the bias makes it difficult for women to move ahead. However, knowing that bias exists isn’t enough; action is needed to level the playing field, which is why Chiemelie Ezeobi, Mary Nnah, and Vanessa Obioha profiled some Nigerian women who are breaking the bias in their respective fields 

Oluwabunmi Amao: Repositioning the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation 

Hon. Oluwabunmi Amao is the Director-General, Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation  (CBAAC). At CBAAC, the DG has repositioned the agency to be a vibrant cultural centre.  But before her appointment, Amao was once a Special Adviser on Culture and Tourism as well as Special Adviser on Establishment and Training under the administration of the erstwhile Executive Governor of Oyo State from  2011 to 2015. 

With her educational background which spanned through England and America, where she obtained B.Sc (Business Admin and Accounting), MBA ( Business Admin and Finance), Amao has vast experience in different capacities in various fields. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Tourism Professional  (FITP) and was also a co-founder of the House of Furniture and Designs Ltd in Nigeria.

Since assumption of office at CBAAC on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, she has rebranded the image of the agency while reviving Africa’s Rich cultural heritage. Recently, she set up a Hall of Fame in Abuja, a rich cultural and historical treasure that celebrates black personalities and professionals that have played prominent roles in the emancipation of Africa and contributed to the development of the continent in diverse fields.

She has also refurbished CBAAC offices in Lagos and Abuja, thus reviving the spirit and morale of its staff while placing premium on their welfare too.

But aside all these, she is also putting measures in place to recreate FESTAC’77, a move that has been hailed in many quarters. In shattering the glass ceiling, the DG CBAAC has shown that to educate a woman is indeed to educate a nation. 

Dr. Dolapo Fasawe: Making Case for the Environment through LASEPA

For the first female General Manager of Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) in its 25years history, Dr. Dolapo Fasawe, the responsibility of protecting and improving the environment of a megacity like Lagos State, although enormous, is one she is bent on doing with passion. 

Aside building a portfolio of sound environmental management programme and projects, Fasawe, who is a medical doctor, public health physician and environmental advocate all rolled into one, has taken up the gauntlet to ensure the development of sustainable environment in conjunction with other arms of government. 

The Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency (LASEPA) is charged with the responsibility of being the environmental regulator for Lagos State in charge of assisting the public and private organisations, industries, businesses and non-governmental organisations to achieve compliance by providing environment friendly solutions to varied environmental challenges, is one task to be taken seriously.

With Dr. Dolapo Fasawe  as the general manager, the agency has grown in leaps and bounds since she assumed office on August 19, 2019. She is saddled with the responsibility of implementing policies, aimed at protecting and improving the environment in Lagos.

Fasawe, an award-winning Public Health Physician, played a very pivotal role in engaging state governments and non-governmental organisations towards improved healthcare service delivery, innovations, and initiatives across Nigeria.

Among her track record was her coordination of the State Emergency Public Health Information Strategy for the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in Lagos State in 2014.

Prior to her current appointment, Dr Fasawe served as the Coordinator of the Lagos State Special Health Programs where she pioneered and coordinated the Eko Free  Health Mission, serving across all local governments in Lagos State. She was also the pioneer Desk Officer for Mental Health Programs, facilitating the promulgation of the Mental Health Bill for Lagos State, which was passed into law in January 2019.

As the General Manager of LASEPA, Dr Fasawe has driven a number of environmental and sustainability projects with success including the Noiseless Lagos Campaign and Ban of Single use Plastic Bags Campaign.

She is a member of several local and national committee including the National Committee on the Study on Available Sustainable Alternative Materials to Plastic and innovative Packaging and Recycling Technologies Sponsored by United Nations industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

She is considered one of the foremost experts in Nigeria on exploring the nexus between public health and environment for building resilient urban cities for the 21st Century.

She received her MBBS Degree in Medicine and Surgery from Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-ife on Honours roll. She was also adjudged the House Officer of the year at the end of the housemanship at the same university.

Dr. Fasawe holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from the Lagos State University College of Medicine, in addition to Diplomas in International Health Consultancy from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and Global Mental Health Management from Kings College London.

CSP Oriyomi-Oluwasanmi: The Face of Traffic Policing in Lagos 

CSP Titilayo Oriyomi-Oluwasanmi, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), is the Lagos State Police Traffic Officer  (Motopol).

As the Motopol of the Lagos Police Command, the CSP is in charge of  clearing Lagos roads of traffic which requires grit and wit to tackle, thus earning her the sobriquet as the ‘Face of Traffic Policing in Lagos’.

Since assumption of office from Ilasa Police Division where she was the Divisional Police Officer, she has faced the task of decongesting Lagos, a herculean task.

From ensuring her officers understand that their primary assignment is to decongest traffic, to making sure they dress smarter in their uniforms and are more cordial in their dealings with motorists unlike the situation before, Oluwasanmi has also ensured that they are always on their duty posts to avoid giving false reports.

Oluwasanmi, who has bagged over 32 awards, both internationally and locally, was born in Lagos. She is a graduate of Philosophy from Ogun State Univeristy, now Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye. 

She also has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Management from the London School of Management. In 2015, she also attended the Police Officer’s Course in Management in Guandong Police Academy, Guangzhou, China.

After her NYSC programme she enlisted into the Nigeria Police as a cadet ASP in 2002. She was trained at Police Academy, Wudil, Kano. 

Nonny Ugboma: Championing Social Development 

With over 25 years of professional experience, Nonny Ugboma is one of the Nigerian women breaking the bias. She has successfully merged her passion for social development with her expertise in finance and strategic business management. 

For 13 years, she headed the top corporate Foundation in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria Foundation where she spearheaded campaigns such as the Anti Substance Abuse Programme (ASAP) targeted at youths across the country.

Ugboma has a proven track record in commercial and policy issues in the telecommunications industry, corporate social investments in healthcare and education, and the energy sector.

She was awarded Distinction by the University College London (UCL) in MPA Innovation, Public Policy and Public Value in 2020. She is currently a PhD researcher at the UCL in Innovation and Public Policy, towards improved outcomes in public sector capabilities and capacities in innovating for youth development.

Through her policy and project management firm, Nonny is recognised as a global development consultant. She is the lead consultant for Lagos State government as it plans to transition to a circular economy. 

Eunice Iferi Chukwuemeka: Philanthropist Extraordinaire 

Eunice Iferi Chukwuemeka is a life coach, talk show host, producer, Tv personality, human resources management consultant, entrepreneur,  philanthropist, CEO of Eagle Group of Companies.

Eunice is the president of Stop Hurting People Foundation (SHPF), a non-governmental organisation that caters to street children widows, abused women, and rehabilitates youths. At the advent of COVID-19 SHPF gave over 5000 people N2000 each via social media for food. She also provided relief materials for over 8000 street people in Lagos.

This singular act earned the NGO and Chukwuemeka an award from the Sapele Okpe community in Delta State, a community she physically knows nothing about, only by the spread of her philanthropy.

Chukwuemeka via her pet project SHPF organises free medical outreaches, a few are free eye checks and free glasses for the people of Awoyokun at Onipanu, Lagos.  As a matter of tradition, Chukwuemeka carries out a charity on Christmas, valentine, Easter seasons and has a monthly kitchen for the street children.

Chukwuemeka is the convener of DMWE fixing the woman, an enlightenment arm of SHPF, this platform is a mentorship set built to create a holistic paradigm shift in girls and women by bringing obviously successful women in their various fields of endeavours to enlighten women and girls.

At the advent of COVID-19, this platform went virtual as a global conference inviting notable women from Nigeria, the UK, the USA, and Canada to share their views in the spirit of mentorship as panelists at the conference.

Asmau Benzies Leo: Public Policy Analyst

Asmau Benzies Leo holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology, a Master’s degree in Conflict Management and Peace Studies, with a specialty in Gender, Conflict, and Development, and a Certificate in Global Executive Leadership from Howard University, School of Business from the United States of America.

She had been honoured globally with several Ambassadorial titles for her leadership roles and humanitarian activities among which are Global Goodwill Ambassador for Peace and Humanity, an Ambassador for Female Wave of Change, a Global Youth Ambassador from the National Youth Network of Nigeria, Ambassador of Peace and Humanity from YELI, Integrity and Leadership Award as Icon Of Nation Building and Women Emancipator by the Young Youth Network of Nigeria, currently an Ambassador for the Federation for International Gender and Human Rights,  USA.

She is a Vital Voices Fellow, the Founder of the Centre for Nonviolence and Gender Advocacy in Nigeria (CENGAIN), a non-profit NGO that works towards the Achievement of Peace, Gender Equality, and Sustainable Development. She had worked with women and youth groups in Jos – Nigeria on interfaith mediation and peace building for over 10years.

She has worked with the Academia and has consulted for the World Bank, UN Agencies, and Development Partners.  She was the pioneer Head of Gender and Vulnerable Group Care Unit, with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) where she worked with Internally Displaced Persons specifically women and children affected by conflict and disasters, and was instrumental to the development of the Gender in Disaster Risk Management Policy for Nigeria and was involved in policy engagement within the public sector on Gender, inclusion and social protection.

An International Conference Speaker, a  public policy analyst who had appeared on several media platforms both locally and internationally and have represented Nigeria in many United Nations fora and other international organisations. 

A Transformational Leader and a Mentor to many young Nigerians. She is the convener of Peace Hub-Nigeria’ a global campaign on the engagement of young people in building a culture of peace and nonviolence in Nigeria and Women in Public Service Initiatives (WIPSI).

She had worked on several committees including as a member of the Technical Working Group on the Draft of the Nigerian National Development Plan 2021-2025 and Agenda 2030, Advisory Board Member for the Implementation of the National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 and a member of the National Steering Committee for the implementation of Women in Agriculture Policy for Nigeria, Regional Women’s Network on Security Sector Reform and Governance among others

She is a recipient of many international awards including the GLOBAL PEACE AWARD 2020 for Nonviolence in WPS from the Federation for International Gender and Human Rights, USA, Listed among 100 African Women in Development by Donorsfor Africa,  honoured as one of the 50 most Inspiring Women in Nigeria 2021 in the same category with the Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Business Day Newspapers and one of the 100FemiList in the Global South by Gender and Security Project and 2021 award recipient for Women Activism by Women Hub – Business News Paper with Women as Ibukun Awosika and Tony Elumelu as awardees.

Kemi Ogunkoya: Leadership Development Strategist

Kemi Ogunkoya FIMC, CMC is a renowned Leadership Development Strategist, Management Consultant, Author, Creator of The Dozen Model Leadership Framework and a member of the prestigious Forbes Council. For close to a decade, she has conducted and facilitated high-impact leadership development interventions across; Africa, North America, and Asia.

Ogunkoya prides herself in the ability to help business leaders and organisations enjoy seamless leadership transitions and executive onboarding to eliminate deficiencies that invariably minimise their costs and let them focus on growth. 

She has helped over 90 organisations nationally and internationally creates amazing results equipping businesses and their leaders with the appropriate leadership competence to effectively perform their jobs and businesses.

Ogunkoya has rich experience across industries including but not limited to; Oil & Gas (Downstream), Aviation, Financial Services, Educational Sector, SMEs, and the public sector. She has created some of the most remarkable transformations for her clients.

She is an alumna of The Said Business School, University of Oxford, She is a Certified Management Consultant, a Masters Neuro-Linguistics Programming Practitioner certified by the INLP Centre in California, USA, and an Emotional Intelligence Certified Specialist. 

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education & Economics from the University of Ibadan and has an MBA in Management Consultancy from the University of Wales, Cardiff UK.

Ogunkoya is the creator of The Dozen Model Leadership Framework, a model that has been adopted by numerous corporate organisations and political structures for effective leadership development.

Kemi is the Founder of Rellies Works, a leadership consultancy firm, and CoFounder of SpeakersHQ. She is the Chairman board of trustees of The PowerWoman Network and The Lead Africa Now Initiative. 

She is also the Programs Director for Women in Tech ® Nigeria, a global organisation with a presence in over 100 countries. She is the convener of the Business Edge Workshop, Leadership Guardian Summit, and the Aspire Conference. She is a mentor on The Cherie Blair Foundation.

She is the author of The Leadership Guardian, Goal Mastery Book, and Magical Pills and has delivered numerous keynote addresses and received several awards, most recently; the Role Model of the Year 2020 and The Eloy Awards Female Entrepreneur of The Year 2020,

She has been recognised by the African Chamber of Commerce and Industry for her role and contribution to youth development in Africa. 

Ogunkoya has been featured in multiple prints and also appeared in numerous TV shows.

Hon. Mojisolaoluwa Alli-Macaulay: Multi-faceted Politician, Astute Lawmaker

Honourable Mrs. Mojisolaoluwa Kehinde Alli-Macaulay is an astute lawmaker, women leader, wife as well as mentor, and mother to many. 

Born on October 10, 1977, in Surulere, Lagos State, Honourable Mojisola Alli-Macaulay is from Lagos Island which is located in the southwestern part of Nigeria. She is a confident, articulate, and multi-faceted politician who is well-respected by the electorate in her native ward and beyond. 

She is currently is a serving honorable member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Representing Amuwo Odofin Constituency 1, and also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Poverty Alleviation & Job Creation. 

With an unquenchable passion for social justice, making a tangible difference in the community, resolving people’s problems, and also sharing in the weight of the historical, political, and socio-economic burden of the people, she began her political career in the year 2010, with prior experience in handling leadership positions.

Hon. Alli-Macaulay is currently serving as a member of the 9th Legislative Assembly, Lagos State House of Assembly where she is the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Poverty Alleviation, and Job Creation.

She is a strong advocate of Gender Equality, Women & Youth Empowerment and has constantly inspired and empowered thousands of women, children, and youths through her numerous initiatives, motions, and projects. 

She also mentors a number of youths to build them up in order to become a force for positive change in society and nation building. By virtue of her office as a representative of the people, she has sponsored and co-sponsored numerous bills and motions charged towards the welfare and development of the people with a special interest in the female gender, children and youths, with the most recent BILL that was accented into law last year, “Establishment Of The Lagos State Domestic Violence Agency And The Establishment Of Sex Offenders Register.”

She believes the younger generations should be drawn closer, protected, encouraged, and empowered, and that she has over time exhibited in her many engagements with the people and at any slightest opportunity possible.

Dr. Ibilola Amao: Building STEM Capabilities 

Dr. Ibilola Amao is the Principal Consultant at Lonadek Global Services, a multi-award-winning, women-owned company that builds capacity, capability, and competence of STEM talent to deliver value in the energy, power, infrastructure, manufacturing, oil, and gas sectors.
Since its inception, over 5,000 Engineers have been trained, alongside a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project that has counselled and empowered over 100,000 STEM Talents. A fellow of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and a Co-Founder of the Women In Energy Network (WIEN), Ibilola sits on the board of other STEM-focused firms.
She is a Fellow of the Energy Institute (EI), a member of the EI Council and as well sits on the International Petroleum (IP) Week Board. She is equally on the panel of judges for the Royal Academy of Engineering United Kingdom (UK) Africa Prize and a member of the
Amao co-founded WIEN with Mrs. Patricia Simon-Hart and Mrs. Funmi Ogbue in 2020 to provide a platform for Women that work across the Energy Industry value chain to network and build confidence and links to progress their careers or businesses. It is a place where women are a majority in the dynamics of gender diversity in the energy value chain.

Hon. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim: Catering to the IDPS in Nigeria 

Hon. Imaan Sulaiman-Ibrahim is the Federal Commissioner, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI).

As an emerging politician, administrator and a strategist, Hon. Sulaiman-Ibrahim,  the Federal Commissioner is daily faced with the daunting task of catering for the millions of internally displaced persons across the nation. 

At the age of 21, Hon Imaan bagged two master’s degrees from Webster University in the United Kingdom and has relentlessly continued in her quest for excellence and self-development in different sectors as entrepreneur and an administrator.

Prior to her recent appointment, Hon. Imaan was appointed DG OF NAPTIP between December 2020 and June 2021 where she recorded several successes.