Amina Mohammed, Mo Abudu, Somkele Idhalama & more! YNaija.com and Leading Ladies Africa present the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria

81. Simbo Bello-Ukiri

Simbo is the MD/CEO of Avon Healthcare Limited, a healthcare maintenance organization, which was set up in Nigeria in 2013. She is a trained lawyer, with over 20 years’ experience cutting across a broad range of sectors, including: Banking, Telecommunications, FMCG and health. A determined and focused visionary, Simbo has helped grow the Avon HMO brand into one of the top leading healthcare organizations in the country. A passionate advocate for women empowerment and gender equality, Simbo is a great example of Women in Leadership.

82. Simisola Ogunleye

Popularly known as Simply Simi, Simisola is an Afro-pop singer and songwriter, signed on to the X3M Music label, with a distinct, hard-to-miss voice. Known for chartbusters which include: Jamb Question, Love Don’t Care and Soldier featuring Falz, Simi has become one of Nigeria’s most beloved female musicians. She’s also a delight to follow on social media as she uses various platforms to engage with her clients and display her funny sense of humour. Simi was also recently appointed as an ambassador with the telecommunications company, Etisalat. You go girl!

83. Somkele Idhalama

Perhaps a great description for Somkele would be “Still Waters that run deep.” The delectable Nollywood actress and model who came to limelight through the Nigerian web drama series, Gidi Up, is known to pack a delightful punch in whatever role she plays. We can’t forget her stirring performance in 93 Days, The Arbitration, and most recently, The Wedding Party. Indeed, 2016 appeared to be the “Year of Somkele,” where she was recognized at various awards including: The Future Awards Africa, The Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards (AMVCAs) and The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). There’s only ONE place Somekele can go – and that’s up!

Sophia Ike-Onu

84. Sophia Ike-Onu

She is the founder and CEO of the5kshop.com; an online retail store, stocking fashion and home solutions all under the price cap of 5000 Naira. With a diverse skillset, Sophia is also a social media strategist and an architect. According to her: “The5kShop was created to provide a safe and convenient way for Africans to shop quality fashion items at the BEST possible price.” A serial entrepreneur of sorts, Sophia is also the Co-Founder of DRYV.Me, a tech-enabled automobile service provider. Not resting on her oars, in 2016, Sophia won the British Council Enterprise Challenge, where she got the unique opportunity to be coached and mentored by Sir Richard Branson.

Stephanie Busari

85. Stephanie Busari

A multi-award winning and internationally acclaimed journalist, Stephanie is the African Supervising Producer at CNN’s new multi-platform bureau in Lagos, Nigeria. With experience spanning reputable international media platforms including: The BBC, New Nation and Daily Mirror, all in the UK, Stephanie clearly possesses the expertise that her role requires. Since joining CNN in 2008, she has worked across some of the network’s most important African stories. In particular she was central to CNN’s coverage of the Missing Chibok girls, working alongside Senior International Correspondent Nima Elbagir.

Stephanie Obi

86. Stephanie Obi

Stephanie is the go to person when it comes to online businesses and courses. She is a leading online business strategist in Nigeria and the CEO of ST. HUB Limited. She is also the Founder of Steph B-School, an online business school that teaches people how to take their business online. Stephanie is passionate about helping people build and maintain a successful 7 figure online business.

87. Tara Fela Durotoye

Tara is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. She is also the CEO of renowned international make up brand, House of Tara International and is highly regarded as the pioneer of the bridal make-up profession in Nigeria. We love Tara because she’s such a strong and positive mentor to thousands of Nigerian women, including Arese Ugwu of Smart Money Africa. In 2015, collaborating with her own mentor, Ibukun Awosika, she launched the TFD Series – a platform to engage and mentor other women, and has reached over 1000 women in different continents since then. In 2016, we love how she

turned around a major business challenge into triumph with the #IStandWithTara campaign to encourage people to buy the original Tara products and speak out against counterfeiting.

88. Temie Giwa

Temie Giwa is the Founder and CEO of Lifebank Nigeria, a platform that tackles blood shortage in the country. She is a healthcare manager who is passionate about saving lives and making blood available when and where needed in Nigeria. Her humanitarian and social enterprise led to the establishment of LifeBank in 2015, following a near-death experience, and the difficulties she faced giving birth to her son. Using an app, LifeBank provides records of blood banks available all over Lagos, which allows health centres to find the relevant blood types and order for delivery. Her lifesaving initiative has earned her a commendation from Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a feature on ‘CNN’s Africa Start-Up.’

89. Titi Oyinsan

Titi is an On-Air Personality at Nigeria’s Inspiration FM, where she hosts a variety of shows that cater to a myriad of people. She’s also a TV Presenter, a Talk-Show Host, A Professional Voice Over Artiste, and the COO of Amber 11 Media Limited – a company she Co-Founded with her husband, Oscar Oyinsan. A passion driven humanitarian and social entrepreneur, Titi is also the Founder of IAMDYNAMITE Network, and runs the ‘I Am Dynamite’ campaign as an online platform to raise funds in order to promote girl-child education. We also love how she and her husband parent their gorgeous twin daughters, Amber and Ruby.

90. Tiwa Savage

There are a few people who have the ability to redefine themselves and stay relevant, like Tiwa. According to the Roc Nation: “Singer, songwriter, presenter, philanthropist and burgeoning actress; Tiwa Savage is a resilient force within Africa’s ever-growing entertainment industry.” We couldn’t agree more! Since she stormed the music scene in 2010 with her infectious hit ‘Kele Kele Love,’ Tiwa has shown talent, exhibited dexterity, and redefined how the world views female musicians. Fondly referred to as the Nigerian queen of R&B, she signed a record deal with Jay Z’s Roc Nation in 2016, and nothing, not even personal challenges stopped her from ascending the path to greatness. She’s garnered a slew of awards, including: Channel O, BET & MOBO Awards. Did someone say Q-U-E-E-N!!

91. Toke Makinwa

Toke is an award-winning media personality, OAP, TV Host and Vlogger. In 2016, she authored the bestselling and hugely controversial memoir ‘On Becoming,’ which resonated with a lot of women, and gave an insight to some of the life-altering

challenges that she has faced. From then till now, Toke’s trajectory has been upward, proving that trials can also be a huge launching pad to success and redefinition. Toke is also a motivational speaker and popular co-host on Ebony Life TV’s talk show ‘Moments,’ and is regarded as one of the most inspiring media figures for young Nigerian women.

92. Tokini Peterside

Half Woman-Half Amazing, Tokini is the Founder/CEO of the TP Collective – a company dedicated to the evolution of contemporary African culture, through strategic consultancy that aides businesses within the art and design sector. Her list of super impressive clients include: ALARA (the luxury concept store created by Reni Folawiyo), Maki Oh (an artisanal fashion designer worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyong’o), and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ (the film based on Chimamanda Adichie’s novel, of the same title). She is also the Founder and Convener of ART X Lagos – the first international contemporary art fair in West Africa.

93. Tosin Oshinowo

Tosin is the poster-child inspiration, for every black girl who thinks she can, and goes ahead to achieve her dreams. Tosin is the Founder and Principal Architect at CMDesign Atelier, an architecture design consultancy established in 2012. With futuristic and cutting-edge designs, she has spearheaded many notable projects, including the design of the sleek Maryland Mall, re-opened in Lagos Nigeria, in 2016. We love that Tosin is breaking boundaries in what many may think to be a male-dominated industry.

94. Uche Majekodunmi

With nearly 3 decades of consistently creating mind-blowing designs, and planning exquisite events, Uche Majekodunmi is most definitely an industry leader and a clear inspiration. She is the CEO of Newton & David – a Nigerian-based Event Management, Flora Decor, and Set Design Company. With credentials from the renowned Mary Adams, of Knightsbridge London, England and Paula Pryke, in Islington, North London where she did a brief course, Uche has carved a niche for herself, not only as a pioneer of the event and decor industry, but also as a Florist extraordinaire. With an impressive list of clients and a slew of both local and international awards, Uche seems focused on continually growing the N&D brand, and expanding the business.

95. Ufuoma McDermott

If you’ve happened to see Ifeoma Fafunwa’s stage play, Hear Word – then you would vividly recall the powerful and masterful performance of ‘Sister Esther.’ Meet Award-

winning Actress, Film Director, and Producer – Ufuoma McDermott. For Ufuoma, the journey to excellence hasn’t been immediate or sudden, as she’s spent over a decade honing her skills as an Actress and well respected thespian. With TV Series and blockbusters like Duplicity, Wives on Strike and Okafor’s Law under her belt, Ufuoma is all about breaking boundaries, and we are so here for that!

96. Uneku Atawodi

Uneku is an astounding serial entrepreneur and achiever. She is the General Manager of Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, a training platform for aspiring technology entrepreneurs. In 2012, she Founded ‘Ride to Shine’ and later founded Malaik Limited in 2015. She is also an Associate Fellow at the Royal Commonwealth Society. She was listed among Forbes Under 30 in 2016 and was also nominated for CBNC Young African Leader.

97. Valerie Obaze

Valerie is the Founder, R&R Luxury, a business that was set up in 2010 when what started out as hobby for making natural, homemade, scented luxury candles morphed into something more. The business evolved further, according to her, when she had an ‘aha’ moment, based on certain needs she had while pregnant, and thereafter expanded the R&R product range. With a vision to share 100% Natural, Made in Africa products with the rest of the world, the products contain no parabens, artificial colours or mineral oils. The R&R Luxury range of products is fast becoming a staple for those who desire its luxurious and natural products.

98. Wangi Mba Uzuokwu

Wangi is the Chief Executive Officer for M-Net operations in West Africa with core responsibility for Leading the strategy and mapping the footprint for the Africa Magic brand and channels in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is also responsible for a number of content development and showcasing initiatives such as Africa Magic GO, the Africa Magic Video on Demand service and the Africa Magic Original Films project, an initiative that provides a platform for showcasing original premium African titles. A successful business and media strategist, Wangi’s career spans nearly two decades in top management positions in multinationals such as British American Tobacco, The Coca-Cola Company, and Airtel. We love Wangi because she’s a great example of women breaking barriers in the corporate world.

99. Yemisi Aribisala

Witty, bold and immensely colourful woman, Yemisi is a Nigerian Essayist, Writer and Food Memoirist. She is the Author of: ‘Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex and the Nigerian Taste Buds’– a collection of essays that takes on “the cultural politics and

erotics of Nigerian cuisine” in an amusingly clever way. From 2009 to 2011, Yemisi was the food columnist at the now defunct, groundbreaking 234 newspaper, where she first gained public attention. She is renowned for her portrayal of Nigerian foods as a distinct community and culture. Her memoir won her the John Avery Awards in 2016.

Dr. Zainab Bagudu

100. Zainab Bagudu

Zainab Bagudu is the Founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation/CEO Medicaid Diagnostic Centre and the Wife of the Executive Governor of Kebbi State in Nigeria. She is a strong advocate of breast and cervical cancer awareness, and is instrumental to have gotten thousands of women screened for these diseases, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. In 2017, Zainab was awarded the Silverbird Man of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to the medical field.

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