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Amazons of Light

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Dora Akunyili

PROF. Dora Nkem Akunyili (OFR) was born in Markurdi, Benue State on July 14, 1954 to Chief and Mrs. Paul Young Edemobi. She was blessed with six children. Akunyili died in India on June 7, 2014 after a long battle with cancer. She was an internationally renowned pharmacist, pharmacologist, erudite scholar, seasoned administrator and a visionary leader.

She had her early elementary education at St. Patrick’s Primary School, Isuofia, Anambra, in 1966 and then proceeded to Queen of Rosary Secondary School, Nsukka, Enugu State in 1973. Her exceptional grades in the First School Leaving Certificate and West African School Certificate earned her the Eastern Government Post Primary Scholarship and the Federal Government of Nigeria Undergraduate scholarship.

She obtained her first degree in Pharmacology in 1978 and got her Ph.D in 1985 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Dora Akunyili was a post graduate fellow of University of London and a fellow of the West African Post Graduate College of Pharmacists. She was also a fellow of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, member of the New York Academy of Science, International Narcotics Control Board, United States Pharmacopeia Expert Committee, Association of African Medicinal Plant Standards, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Medicines for Malaria Venture and International Council Control.

She served as director general of National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) from 2001-2008 where she recorded outstanding successes. She brought in a new culture of excellence and honesty and as a result, the level of fake and counterfeit drugs in circulation dropped by a measurable degree. Akunyili also worked as the Minister of Information and Communication between 2008- 2010 where she anchored the Re-branding Nigeria Project. Dora Akunyili, during her life time had the highest number of awards received by any Nigerian living or dead.

Mary Onyali-Omagbemi

AFRICAN queen of sprints as Mary Nkemdilim Onyali-Omagbemi is known in sports circuits was born on February 3, 1968 in present-day Adamawa State.

She came from a family of four, comprising two girls and two boys, where she is the eldest.
Writing her name in gold at numerous athletics meets, by shattering world and African records, the Mbaukwu Awka South L.G.A-born amazon brought glory to Anambra State in her field of endeavour.

She continues to hold the Nigerian 200 metres record, and also ranked in the Top- 10 list of all time collegiate 100 and 200 metres dash competition. She still holds the national record in 200 meters, with All African Games gold in 2003 in 100, 200 and 4×100 metres relay in her kitty.

Mary Onyali-Omagbemi, had a professional athletic career, a five time-Olympiad, two bronze Olympic medals, countless number of local, national and international medals. A proud mother of two, Tia Ijeoma and Ivan, she is married to Victor Omagbemi, a former athlete who competed for Nigeria.

Bianca Odumegwu Ojukwu

Bianca Odumegwu-Ojukwu, (nee Onoh) was born on August 5, 1968 to former governor of old Anambra State, Chief Christian Onoh.
She won her first national and international acclaim in beauty pageant where she won Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) crown in 1988, before going ahead to add Miss Africa and Miss Intercontinental as first African woman to clinch the latter.
Lady Bianca later stepped out of her husband’s shadows to become an astute politician, diplomat lawyer and businesswoman, serving Nigeria as Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan on Diaspora Affairs as well as Nigerian Ambassador to Ghana and Spain.
Currently, she is now Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.

Obiageli Ezekwesili

OBIAGELI Ezekwesili, born 28 April 1963, popularly known as Oby Ezekwesili is a Nigerian chartered accountant from Anambra State.
She is married to Pastor Nedu Ezekwesili of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). She was a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo. Since then, she served as the Vice-President of the World Bank for Africa from May 2007 to May 2012. Another sterling angle to Mrs. Ezekwesili’s stellar personality is her advocacy skills which she has taken to greater heights with her pet project “BRING BACK OUR GIRLS (BBOG)” campaign which resulted in a global movement that saw world celebrities such as Michelle Obama, Malala and David Cameron enlisting.

Josephine Anenih

IYOM Josephine Anenih (born 1948) was appointed Minister of Women Affairs on April 6, 2010, when Acting President Goodluck Jonathan announced his new cabinet. Born in Sokoto in 1948, she moved frequently as her father, a civil servant with the Public Works Department, served postings in States all over Nigeria. She was raised as a Christian.

She completed her secondary education at Queen’s College, Lagos. Studying Law, she received a B.Ed, LLB, and B.L. from the University of Ife (1974/75) and the University of Benin.Her husband at the time, Tony Anenih, was appointed Minister of Works in 1999 in President Olusegun Obasanjo’s first cabinet. They are now separated.

She was the chairperson of the Federation of Women Lawyers from 1994 to 2000, and was the first National Woman Leader of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) from 1999-2005. In April 2002, she said that implementation of the Sharia legal system in Kano State had ensured the promotion of women’s rights as dictated by Islam.

She was a Special Adviser on Women Affairs to President Obasanjo until 2006. She co-founded the Women Foundation Nigeria, an organization to help Nigerian women exchange views on global women’s issues and to help empower women in politics. She is a member of the Gender Electoral and Constitutional Memoranda Committee, which aims to incorporate women’s perspectives in Nigeria’s Electoral Laws.

Virgy Etiaba

BORN November 11, 1942, Dame Virginia Ngozi Etiaba (CON) was governor of Anambra State November 2006-February 2007, following Gov. Peter Obi’s impeachment, to become first Nigerian woman to make her political career to such height. She transferred her powers back to Obi three months later when an appeal court nullified the impeachment.

Mama Anambra as she is fondly called is a native of Ezekwuabor Otolo-Nnewi in Nnewi North Local Council of Anambra State. She was raised by her Uncle Chief Pius Ejimbe from secondary school in Kano, Nigeria, until she got married to Late Bennet Etiaba of Umudim Nnewi.

For 35 years, she worked as a teacher and headed several schools in Kafanchan, Aba, Port Harcourt, and Nnewi. She retired from the services of the Anambra State Government in 1991 and founded the Bennet Etiaba Memorial Schools, Nnewi, of which she was the proprietress. In March 2006, she resigned to assume the position of the Deputy Governor of Anambra State.

Uche Ewah Azikiwe

UCHE Ewa Azikiwe, (born 4th, February 1947) is a Nigerian academic, educator and author. She is the widow of former President of Nigeria Nnamdi Azikiwe.

She is a professor in the Department of Educational Foundation, Faculty of Education at University of Nigeria, Nsukka. In 1999, she was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

 

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