By Eric Elezuo
Most women are born great, most achieve greatness, and some others have greatness thrust upon them. However, in the world of achievements, one woman can boast of all three steps. She is Nigeria’s erstwhile Minister of the Environment, who was catapulted to the exalted position of Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations Organisation, Hajia Amina Mohammed. She was born great; she achieved greatness in her disciplined quest for the top, and decisively has greatness thrust upon her by virtue of placing herself at the right at the right time.
Born on June 27, 1961 to a Veterinarian-herdsman and a British Nurse, and the eldest of five daughters, Hajia Amina J. Mohammed, is from Gombe State, North-East, Nigeria.
Ms Mohammed’s appointment as the Deputy Secretary General of the UN did not come as a fluke; it was the aftermath of years of hard work, discipline, commitment and paying attention to details.
She had been a key player in the Post-2015 development process, serving as the Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Post-2015 development planning. This was a role she acted as the link between the Secretary-General, his High Level Panel of Eminent Persons (HLP), and the General Assembly’s Open Working Group (OWG), among other stakeholders, creating camaraderie and bridging communication gap. She made international diplomacy seem like a piece of cake.
Amina kick-started her career at Archon, Norman & Dawbarn a Multi-disciplinary firm of Architects, Engineers and Quantity Surveyors in Kaduna, Nigeria, where she spent 10 years of fruitful stewardship between 1981 and 1991. She also worked with the architectural engineering firm Archcon Nigeria in association with Norman and Dawbarn, UK.
In 1991, Ms. Mohammed founded the Center for Development Policy Solutions, which she served as its Chief Executive Officer, combining the onerous task with the job of an Adjunct Professor for the Master’s in Development Practice programme at Columbia University.
Over a period of six years, Mohammed had served three presidents, in addition to acting as the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on the Millennium Development Goals, providing advice on issues including poverty, public sector reform and sustainable development, and coordinating programmes worth $1 billion annually for MDG-related interventions.
Her management dexterity being recognized, having coordinated the Task Force on Gender and Education for the UN Millennium Project from 2002 to 2005, she was called upon in 2005 to coordinate Nigeria’s debt relief funds toward the achievement of the MDGs. A woman of many parts, within the same periods, she served as National Coordinator EFA, Federal Ministry of Education.
In November 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed her as Minister of the Environment; a position she held until she was named the substantive Deputy Secretary General of the UN by Antonio Guterres in December 2016. As Minister of Environment of Nigeria, she steered the country’s efforts on climate action, protecting the natural environment and conserving resources for sustainable development.
On February 24, 2017, she resigned from Nigerian Federal Executive Council to fully take up her role as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In her current role at the United Nations, Ms. Mohammed has brought professionalism to diplomatic exchanges, supporting the Secretary-General in performing his function as “chief administrative officer” of the Organization with a special focus on sustainable development, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the management of the review of the United Nations development system, financing for development, humanitarian-development nexus, climate change, migration, global health and related issues.
With achievements and results in every of her endeavour, Ms. Mohammed’s career has been inundated with awards and recognitions from notable sectors, corporate organisations and even from individuals. Most of her awards and recognitions include being named by Foreign Policy magazine as 2017 Diplomat of the Year. She is one of the 2017 Power with Purpose honorees selected by Devex in partnership with McKinsey & Company.
Not only that, New African Magazine also included as one of its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2015, 2016 and 2017.
In 2016 she was amongst Fortune Magazine’s annual list of the World’s Greatest Leaders and also its 2015 listing of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders. In 2015, Ms. Mohammed was also profiled by Vogue Magazine as one of the 13 female Climate Warriors on the frontline.
The woman of substance, who could be passed for an amazon received the National Honours Award of the Order of the Federal Republic in 2006 and was inducted into the Nigerian Women Hall of Fame in 2007.
Apart from being an Adjunct Professor in Development Practice at Columbia University, she has ser served on numerous international advisory boards and panels, including the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Independent Expert Advisory Group on the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development, the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Women’s Millennium Initiative, Girl Effect, 2016 African Union Reform and the ActionAid International Right to Education Project. Her list of achievements is heavy, and still counting.
She is a woman worthy of trust, and that explains the reason behind notable individuals forming her reference point when she was presented for screening for the post of Minister. Some of such nobles who attested for her were former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Jeffery Sachs, and Babagana Kingibe.
With a splendid 35 years in the public sector, Ms. Mohammed has become the officer of officers; a reference point in the scheme of things and a force to reckon with.
In the not too distant past, Amina Mohammed gave her beautiful daughter out in marriage in a colourful celebration.
We, at TheBoss Newspapers celebrate you ma, and present this glorious honour of The Boss of the Week to you for your innumerable achievements. Congratulations!