Women of distinction! Sefi Atta, Toyosi Akerele, Diezani Alison-Madueke, Florence It-Giwa & others to be honoured at the 17th ThisDay Annual Awards – See The Full List

by ‘Ifreke Inyang

ThisDay has unveiled an extensive list of men and women that will be honoured at the 17th edition of their Annual Awards. The awards seeks to celebrate Nigerian women of distinction and lifetime achievers.

One set of the awards will go to ‘Women of Distinction’. These women are those who live in a world dominated by men, they have broken barriers, touched lives and made a difference. They include:


KHADIJAT BUKAR ABBA-IBRAHIM – Honoured for leadership

She is the Chairman, House Committee on Privatisation and has been actively involved in debates on bills and motions.


DOYINSOLA ABIOLA – Honoured for contributions to journalism and public policy

Mrs. Abiola is the first Nigerian female Eisenhower Fellow and Rockfeller Foundation 21st Century Leadership honouree.


FATI LAMI ABUBAKAR –  Honoured for contributions to judiciary and public policy

Justice Abubakar is the first female lawyer, Solicitor-General and Attorney-General of Niger State.


ANGELA ADEBAYO – Honoured for service to children

Adebayo is the founder and initiator of Erelu Adebayo Children’s Home which is still running; board member of Dangote Foundation; and Trustee of Lidia Grace Foundation for Women in Crisis.


BOLA ADESOLA – Honoured for contributions to financial service

Her strong client and regulatory relationships, broad banking experience and deep knowledge of the Nigerian market have strengthened Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria’s franchise in Nigeria and made it one of the banks to reckon with in the country.


FRANCA AFEGBUA – Honoured for shattering the glass ceiling

Franca Afegbua etched her name in the national consciousness when she was elected to the Senate in 1983 to become the first female to be elected Senator not only in Nigeria, but in the entire black race.


RUQAYYATU AHMED RUFA’I – Honoured for service to education

Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa’i, a professor of education and current Minister of education, is the first female professor from the North-west geo-political zone.


MULIKAT ADEOLA-AKANDE – Honoured for contributions to democracy

Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande is the current leader of the House of Representatives, the first female to occupy the exalted seat in the history of the National Assembly.


Toyosi Akerele

TOYOSI AKERELE – Honoured for standing up for the youth

Twenty-seven-year-old Toyosi Akerele is a youth advocate and education expert.


DORA AKUNYILI – Honoured for a life of service

A pharmacist and former Minister for information, Prof. Dora Akunyili gained international recognition and won hundreds of awards for work in pharmacology and public health.


FOLORUNSHO ALAKIJA – Honoured for contributions to fashion and lifestyle

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija is a business woman who has thrived in the finance, fashion, oil and print industries.


IBIDUN ALLISON – Honoured for contributions to the arts

Popularly known as ‘Amebo’, a name she acquired following her gossip role in the popular TV series, the Village headmaster, Chief (Mrs) Ibidun Allison, has carved a niche for herself in the television industry for over 30 years now.


Dieziani Allison-Madueke

DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE – Honoured for championing local participation in the oil industry

Former Minister of transportation from 2007 to 2008 to 2010, the Minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Dieziani Alison-Madueke is gradually etching her name in the sand of time as a key technocrat and administrator in government.


CHRISTINA ANYANWU – Honoured for a life of service to journalism and democracy

The multiple award-winning veteran journalist, entrepreneur and media owner, Senator Christina Anyanwu is a second-term senator representing Imo East.


Sefi Atta

SEFI ATTA – Honoured for contributions to the arts

Sefi Atta is an award-winning writer an author.

Ibukun Awosika


IBUKUN AWOSIKA – Honoured for contributions to enterprise

Mrs. Ibukun Awosika is renowned for ethical business practice.


Abike Dabiri-Erewa

ABIKE DABIRI-EREWA – Honoured for service to journalism and democracy

Dabiri-Erewa is currently the Chairperson, House Committee on Diaspora Affairs and represents Ikorodu Federal Constituency of Lagos State.


SOLA DAVID-BORHA – Honoured for service and intergrity in financial sector

The CEO of Stanbic IBTC, Sola David-Borha has been an integral part of the team that built the bank into an enviable financial institution today.


ITUNU HOTONU – Honoured for shattering the glass ceiling

Rear Admiral Itunu Hotonu is Nigeria’s first female Rear Admiral and currently, Group Managing Director/CEO of Navy Holdings Limited.


Saheela Ibraheem

SAHEELA IBRAHEEM – Honoured for being torch bearer for generation next

Saheela Ibraheem, the 15-year-old daughter of a Nigerian immigrant family living in Edison, New Jersey, US, made global headlines in May 2011, when she was offered admission by 14 Ivy-league schools including Harvard, Princeton and Columbia, before she eventually settled for Harvard University.


UJU IFEJIKA – Honoured for contributions to oil, gas and enterprise

Mrs. Uji Ifejika, the Chairman, Chief Executive Officer of Brittania-U Nigeria Limited, an indigenous oil exploration and production company, has carved a niche for herself in the upstream sector that is dominated by the menfolk.


EKI IGBINEDION – Honoured for pioneering fight against human trafficking

Eki, wife of former Edo State Governor, Chief Lucky Igbinedion, earned her nomination with her popular Idia Renaissance, the organ with which she did epic battles against prostitution and their barons who were literally harvesting Edo-born girls to Europe for prostitution and slavish jobs.


Florence Ita-Giwa

FLORENCE ITA-GIWA – Honoured for service to democracy and public policy

She is a prominent politician and philanthropist.


OMOBOLA JOHNSON – Honoured for life of service to good governance

Mrs. Omobola Johnson is the Minister of Communication Technology.


KA’AMUNA IBRAHIM KHADI – Honoured for service to democracy

Ka’Amuna Ibrahim Khadi is a member of the 7th Session of the House of Representatives elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).


ZAINAB KURE – Honoured for service to democracy

A second-term senator representing Niger South, Senator Zainab Kure rose to the position of Permanent Secretary in the Niger State civil service before her foray into politics.


BLESSING LIMAN – Honoured for shattering the glass ceiling

Liman became Nigeria’s first ever female pilot, setting a record in the process.


OLUSOLA OBADA – Honoured for service to democracy and governance

Erelu Olusola Obada, a lawyer, management consultant and prominent politician, is the Minister of State for Defence.


AYO OBE – Honoured for life fo service to human rights and democracy

Ayo Obe (nee Ogunsola) is a legal practitioner and partner with Chief Olasupo Shonibare at the Lagos-based law firm.


Stella Oduah

STELLA ODUAH – Honoured for service to enterprise and democracy

The Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Adeze Oduah, warmed her herself into the hearts of many Nigerians when she faced up to Britain, when Nigerian carrier, Arik Air was edged out from operating the lucrative Abuja-London Heathrow route.


STELLA OKOLI – Honoured for service to enterprise and industry

Stella Chinyelu Okoli is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Emzor Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited, a major Nigerian pharmaceutical company.


Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA – Honoured for being Nigeria’s global champion

Since her appointment as the Co-ordinating Minister of the Economy/Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has introduced measures that will help put the Nigerian economy on the path of sustainable growth.


Onyeka Onwenu

ONYEKA ONWENU – Honoured for contributions to journalism and the arts

The elegant stallion as she is called is currently the chairperson of the Imo State Council for Arts and Culture.


FUNKE OPEKE – Honoured for service to technology

Funke Opeke is the CEO of Main One cable company.


EVELYN OPUTU – Honoured for service to industry and financial services

Ms. Evelyn Ndali Oputu is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Bank of Industry (BoI).


OLA OREKUNRIN – Honoured for service to humanity

Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a pace-setter who founded Flying Doctors Nigeria Limited, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance, at the age of 24.


SAUDATU A. SANI – Honoured for service to democracy

Hon. Saudatu Sani served two terms of four years in the House of Representatives where she represented Lere Federal Constituency of Kaduna State.


BOLA SHAGAYA – Honoured for service to enterprise and industry

Hajia Bola Muinat Shagaya is one of Nigeria’s most successful and influential business women.


FAITH TUEDOR-MATTHEWS – Honoured for service to financial sector

Faith Tuedor-Matthews is a Harvard Business School alumnus and holds an MBA from the Aston University, Birmingham, UK.


NKOYO TOYO – Honoured for service to human rights and democracy

Hon.Nkoyo Esu Toyo, a prominent activist, is a member of the House of Representatives representing Calabar Municipal/Odukpani Federal Constituency in Cross River State.


NNENNA UKEJE – Honoured for service to democracy

Nnenna Ukeje was elected into the House of Representatives on PDP’s platform and represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.


NENADI USMAN – Honoured for service to democracy and public policy

Senator Nenadi Esther Usman representing Kaduna South in the Senate came into national limelight in 2003, when former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed her Minister of State for Finance.


MARIAM UWAIS – Honoured for service to the vunerable

Maryam Uwais is a legal practitioner and staunch advocate for women and child rights.


ROSE CHINYERE UZOMA – Honoured for shattering the glass ceiling

Mrs. Rose Chinyere Uzoma is the  Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS).


BILKISU YUSUF – Honoured for service to journalism and development

Yusuf began her career as an information officer in the Ministry of Information in Kano and worked briefly as a Programme Producer at Radio Kano.



There will also be Lifetime Achievement Awards. These will go to people, who in a lifetime of service to the nation and mankind, they made their marks. The recipients will include:


Atiku Abubakar

ATIKU ABUBAKAR – Former Vice-President

Former Vice-President and a notable politician in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is one of the icons of the fourth republic.


IYA ABUBAKAR – Scholar/Former Senator

The erudite professor of mathematics, Iya Abubakar is a former vice-chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.


HAROUN ADAMU – Veteran Journalist

Dr. Haroun Adamu, journalist, publisher and political scientist, served as Senior Special Assistant to President Obasanjo.


ADEYINKA ADEBAYO – Elder Statesman

Major-General Robert Adeyinka Adebayo is the first indigenous Chief of Army Staff in Nigeria.


SIKIRU ADETONA –Traditional Ruler

The Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba Sikiru Adeona is one of the foremost traditional rulers in Yorubaland.


ADUKE ALAKIJA – Former Ambassador

Ambassador Aduke Alakija is an accomplished diplomat who served as Nigeria’s ambassador to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland between 1984 and 1987.


DOMKAT BALI – Accomplished soldier

General Domkat Bali is one of the few officers that retired from the Nigerian Army as a full star general.


AKPORODE CLARK – Former Ambassador to the UN

A frontline foreign relations expert, Ambassador Akporode Clark was Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) and at a time, chaired the UN Security Council.



Abdulkadir Sanusi Dantata is the Chairman and co-founder of Dantata and Sawoe, a major construction firm in the country.


DAVID EJOOR – Retired Soldier

Major-General David Akpode Ejoor (rtd) is a retired officer of the Nigerian Army and an astute politician.


JOSEPH CHIKE EDOZIEN – Educationist/Traditional Ruler

Prof. Joseph Chike Edozien is the 13th Asagba (Traditional ruler of Asagba kingdom).



Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi is an economist and industrialist.

Felix Ibru


FELIX IBRU – Former Governor of Delta State

Olorogun Felix Ovudoroye Ibru is the first democratically elected Governor of Delta State.


MOBOLAJI JOHNSON – Former Governor of Lagos State

Brigadier-General Mobolaji Johnson was the first governor of Lagos State who laid the foundation for the building of major infrastructure in the state, including the Lagos-Badagry expressway.


OLUJIMI JOLAOSO – Former Ambassador

Ambassador Olujimi Jolaoso is Nigeria’s former ambassador to Liberia, the United States of America and the now defunct West Germany.


SULE KATAGUM – Seasoned Administrator

Alhaji Sule Katagum is a seasoned administrator and businessman.


PRISCILLA KUYE – Legal Practitioner

Chief (Mrs) Priscilla Kuye, a renowned legal practitioner, is the first and only female president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) till date.


ABBA KYARI – Former Military Governor

Brigadier Abba Kyari (Rtd) was the military governor of the then North-eastern state of Nigeria from May 1966 to July 1975 during the Gowon regime.


MOHAMMED MAGORO – Senator and Businessman

Mohammed Magoro is currently the senator representing Kebbi South in the National Assembly.


ALI MONGUNO – Educationist/Politician

Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno is a renowned educationist and politician.


OMOTAYO OGUNSULIRE – Former Ambassador

Ambassador Omotayo Ogunsulire was one of Nigeria’s pioneer diplomats.


IGNATIUS OLISEMEKA – Former Ambassador

Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka was Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1998 to 1999.


SUNMI SMART-COLE –Ace Photojournalist

Sunmi Smart-Cole is a photojournalist per excellence and an author.


DALHATU TAFIDA – Medical Doctor/Politician

Dr. Dalhatu Sarki Tafida is a medical doctor and seasoned politician.


EBITU UKIWE – Former No. 2

Commodore Okoh Ebitu Ukiwe, a retired naval officer was the Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters, military equivalent of a civilian Vice-President to former military president, Ibrahim Babangida military from 1985 to 1987.

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