#OnePerson: Women Making a Difference

March 20, 2020

As we celebrate women all over the world for bringing positive change to every aspect of humankind, we will take out time to appreciate Nigerian women who have made and are still making positive impact in the Nigerian society.

Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem

She is not just a Judge of the Court of Appeal in Nigeria, she also spends her free time controlling traffic in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria. She does this voluntarily, following the death of her son, Kwapda’as Dongban, by a hit-and-run driver in 2011.

She seeks to play a major role in changing the psyche of Nigerian drivers and ensuring proper knowledge of the road. She visits bus parks for the enlightenment of drivers. She revealed that her experience with the drivers had shown that most of them do not have the proper training needed to carry out their daily activities neither do they understand road signs.

To further boost her resolve, the judge now has a foundation named after her late son and with the aim of enlightening drivers. She further has a plan to create a driving school for would-be commercial drivers.

Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh

She was a doctor at First Consultant Hospital, where she oversaw treatment of Patrick Sawyer, a top official in the Liberian Ministry of Finance, and Nigeria's Ebola patient zero, when he collapsed in Lagos after getting off a plane from Liberia.

Adadevoh fought to isolate Sawyer, who did not take kindly to isolation and lied about his symptoms. She insisted he stayed isolated but this did not go down well with the diplomat who was more intent on leaving the hospital and became aggressive. He pulled his intravenous tubes and spilled blood everywhere. Adadevoh and 11 colleagues were infected with Ebola.

While the diplomat died five days after his collapse in Lagos, Stella Adadevoh died a few weeks later. She effectively saved the country from disaster by spotting that its first Ebola patient was lying about his condition, and then stopped him from leaving her clinic.

Oby Ezekwesili

She co-founded Transparency International, an anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She was also the Pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (nick-named Due Process Unit) in the Olusegun Obasanjo administration. It was at that time that she was given the sobriquet of "Madam Due Process" owing to the outstanding work she led a team of professionals to do in sanitation of the public procurement or contract award at the federal level in Nigeria.

After nearly 300 girls were abducted from Chibok by the Islamist militant group Boko-Haram, Oby Ezekwesili is the convener of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, which urged action to bring the girls back. Some international personalities including Michelle Obama, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown and others identified with the clamor for the release of the abducted schoolgirls and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

She also uses the #BringBackOurGirls advocacy group to draw global attention to the plight of all persons who have been abducted by terrorists from Nigeria’s war ravaged northeast region.

Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

During her time as Minister of Finance, she spearheaded negotiations with the Paris Club of creditors that led to wiping out of Nigeria’s $30billion debt. She also initiated processes that helped improve Nigeria’s macroeconomic management and reduce macroeconomic volatility.

All her initiatives tackled corruption to an extent and restored the faith of investors in Nigeria thereby creating more jobs for youth.

She initiated and carried out notable projects including building electronic financial management platform for the government which helped in eliminating many ghost workers in the system, thus saving the Nigerian government huge sums of money; empowered Nigeria’s women through the Growing Girls and Women in Nigeria Program (GWIN); empowered Nigeria’s youth through Youth Enterprise With Innovation Program (YouWIN) which was to support entrepreneurs and create jobs for Nigerians.

Dora Akunyili

Prof. Dora Akunyili was appointed Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Nigeria from April 2001-2008. Prior to her appointment, food and drug regulation in Nigeria was chaotic. Counterfeit drugs constituted 60% of the drug market in Nigeria.

When she assumed office, she brought in a new culture of excellence and honesty to NAFDAC and the entire Nigerian public service. As a result, the level of fake and counterfeit drugs in circulation dropped to 16.7 percent with vast improvement in the food and other regulated sectors.

As the Honorable Minister of Information and Communications from December 2008 – December 2010, Prof. Akunyili anchored the Re-branding Nigeria Project driven by the slogan, Nigeria Good People, Great Nation. The programme was conceived as an internal process to address Nigeria’s negative image both at home and abroad. Dora has proved her versatility in all areas of human endeavor as she also ventured into politics when she contested for Senator in Anambra Central in 2011 but lost to Chris Nigige.

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