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Boss Of The Week

Garlands for a Fiery Preacher, Bishop Matthew Kukah, at 70

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By Eric Elezuo

Among phenomena that have existed in the universe in recent times is the indefatigable presence of one of God’s general, who has chosen both the pulpit and the field to propagate the agenda of divinity for the benefit of humanity. His name is Most Reverend Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, Sokoto’s finest export to the world and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto,

The priest, whose storm creating tendencies, has rattled un-toward administrations, especially the present Muhammadu Buhari-led regime, during the week, celebrated the landmark age of 70, and drawing with him the presence of the who’s who in the Nigerian political, society and economic circles.

The event, which was held in Abuja, was attended by the top political echelon including key political actors for the 2023 elections, among whom were the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; his running mate, Kashim Shettima; the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, former President Goodluck Jonathan, Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Emeka Ihedioha, who represented the chairman of the occasion, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, and a host of others including captains of industries.

The President, Muhammadu Buhari, was among top Nigerians that identified with the ebullient priest as he celebrated, itemising his contributions to the building of the Nigerian nation.

Kukah’s larger than life existence has not escaped public scrutiny, which has scored it excellent with the full ascribable marks. It is not for granted that despite his vociferous voice in the call for good governance, Father Kukah, as he is proudly, fondly and officially addressed has remained at the forefront of establishing peace across various divides, calling out those scamming the process, and holding in high esteem those, who had scored above average. This is irrespective of whose horse is gored. That is how fiery Father has become.

It would be recalled that from his corner, Father Kukah spearheaded the formation of the National Peace Committee, in which he functioned as the Secretary with the former Head of State, Abdusalam Abubakar and Ebitu Ukiwe, as the chairman and deputy chairman respectively. It is worth mentioning that the accord achieved its objectivity as the 2015 has come to be regarded as one election that failed run the cause of the stressful and expensive tribunal as has been the trend before 2015.

This was the culmination of a life that had designated him as officiating minister in the marriage of theology and civics in Nigeria’s abusive relationship with its citizens.

A Bakulu (Ikulu), one of the ethnic communities indigenous to the Zangon Kataf Local Government Area of Southern Kaduna, by ethnic affiliation, Kukah, whose family can be said to have a history of leadership and service considering that his younger brother, Yohanna Kukah, the Agwam Akulu II, is the paramount ruler of Ikulu, is no doubt a frontline activist. His presence in the seminary could very well be the reason he is absence from the throne. He was schooled at the St. Joseph’s Minor Seminary in Zaria and St. Augustine Major Seminary, Jos, where he received his qualifications in Philosophy and Theology leading to his ordination as a 24-year-old priest on December 19, 1976. That was a feat, and tends to foretell the path the priest was destined to take.

Born on August 31, 1952, Father Kukah’s trajectory in the world of professionalism cannot be over-emphasized, culminating in his being named a member of the Dicastery on Integral Human Development by Pope Francis in December 2020.

Before venturing into the Seminary, Father Kukah was privileged to receive his primary education at St. Fidelis Primary School, Zagom. He also attended the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a Diploma in Religious Studies before proceeding to the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, where he obtained a Bachelor of Divinity and then followed it up with a master’s degree in Peace Studies, at the University of Bradford, United Kingdom in 1980.

A lover of high class academics, Kukah did not rest on his oars, he followed up his academic pursuits with a PhD from University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in 1990. He is also known to have studied at the University of Oxford, England, United Kingdom, and also at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in Greater Boston, in the United States.

Juxtaposing his priestly duties with attending to humanitarian tasks, Father Kukah had between 1999 and 2001 served as a member of the Nigerian Investigation Commission of Human Rights Violations. He is one he would not close his eyes in the face of oppression and misrule. Little wonder that in addition to his work as a parish priest of Saint Andrews’s parish in Kakuri, Kaduna from 2004 until his nomination as bishop, he was secretary of the National Political Reform Conference in 2005. And from 2005 he has served as the chairman of the Ogoni-Shell Reconciliation.

Again, between 2007 and 2009 he worked in the committee for electoral reform set up by the Nigerian government. He has a defined penchant for attending to issues of peace.

Vocal and undeterred, Father Kukah has not spared the government of Buhari, condemning it for it various acts of nonchalance regarding the security of Nigerians and mass hysteria occasioned by inordinate hardship prevalent in the country.

It is not therefore a surprise that the length and breadth of the nation turned out to celebrant the man of letters as turned 70.

Speaking about about the ideal president for Nigeria in 2023, Kukah said:

“The people must interrogate their (presidential candidates) ability and capacity to govern by sheer brain and not bribe. The point is that even the whole idea of leadership is often exaggerated because we are confusing political officeholders with leaders.

“It is only in Nigeria that there is so much focus on the centre. Society can only grow when we extend the frontiers of knowledge and opportunities.

“Critical to all of these, we are looking for a president that has the understanding of the complexity of what is wrong with Nigeria. It is not just about people just aspiring without an understanding of the issues.

 

What Notable Nigerians Say About Father Kukah

“Bishop Kukah comes from a long tradition of productively engaging the Nigerian state, always deploying the experience of his considerable exposure, international reach, academic prowess and sense of justice to conscientise the society.

“When God blesses you with great intellection and erudition, as He has done in the case of Bishop Kukah, the Almighty also gives you the special assignment of serving as a key factor in the effort to guide your country to greatness.

“It is, therefore, not surprising that beyond serving in God’s Vineyard to win souls and make disciples, Bishop Kukah has been working fervently to see the nation reclaim its soul, reform its politics and make it work better for the generality of our population.

“I wish Bishop Kukah a happy 70th birthday and pray for God to grant him longer life in good health and the strength to carry on with his crusade for a just and functional human society.” – Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

“His (Kukah’s) writings over the years have become controversial and have drawn the ire of powers that be, but what is not in doubt is his undying love for Nigeria and Nigerians, and his belief in the possibility of a new Nigeria where justice and equity reigns” – Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Sokoto State governor

“`The priest has an irrevocable commitment to fighting injustice and human right violations,“he said.

“Bishop Kukah embodies humility, courage, integrity and diligence.

“His passion for the masses, especially the vulnerable and less privileged is second to none. He can best be described as a special gift of God to his generation.

“On this occasion of his 70th birthday, I wish him long life and good health so that he can continue his selfless service to humanity.

“On behalf of my wife, the government and the good people of Ekiti State, I congratulate Bishop Kukah and wish him many more years of celebrations” – Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Ekiti State governor

I join his  family, friends and associates in celebrating the  milestone  Kukah has attained.

“The priest has made invaluable contributions to national development.

“I join other Nigerians in celebrating the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Bishop Matthew Kukah, as he clocks 70.

“The Bishop has consistently used his platform to promote peaceful co-existence among all ethnic groups in Nigeria.

“He is selfless, bold, courageous and passionate about a united Nigeria.

“I salute the celebrant for his outstanding accomplishments” – Dr Orji Uzo Kalu, former Governor of Abia State

“Bishop Kukah is a rare gift to humanity. He identifies with the oppressed and the marginalized. He carries the burden of the poor and defends them even at the risk of his life”.

“Bishop Kukah deserves to be celebrated. He has given all to the society. His selfless service is unparalleled” – Mr. Samuel Ortom, Benue State governor

”Bishop Kukah is an extra ordinary clergy who brought activism into evangelism to salvage mankind, especially the emancipation of the less privileged in the society…He is a man who works selflessly and speaks the truth to power at all times no matter whose ox is gored.

“He carries the burden of the poor and defends them even at the risk of his life…and remains undaunted and irrepressible in his avowed commitment to serve God and humanity. Bishop Kukah is a man who has given all to the society.” He deserves to be celebrated for his unrelenting selfless services to God and country“ – former Senate President, David Mark 

“Bishop Kukah is widely misunderstood because he speaks truth to power; a task that often attracts adversaries in our kind of society.

“Kukah is a great asset to Nigeria and humanity because of his tireless commitment to peace, unity and peaceful coexistence in the country and the passion he attaches to these efforts is amazing.

“Not once did I ever hear Kukah preach hate or bigotry in his sermons. All his sermons are focused on issues that can make Nigeria better.

“His passion for our unity and justice for all is one of his greatest virtues” – former Vice President and PDP Presidential Candidate

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Boss Of The Week

Aliko Dangote: The Consistency of a Billionaire

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By Eric Elezuo

For the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, and his multifaceted group, playing second fiddle has never been an option. Both the enterprise and the entrepreneur have maintained market leadership to the extent that Dangote himself has appropriated the richest man in Africa status to himself, and has hardworkingly sustained the tag for as long as anyone can remember.

Since 2014, when Forbes magazine named him the world’s 23rd billionaire, jumping 20 spots on the scale from his previous 43rd position among the elite club of the world’s richest people. Aliko Dangote has not looked back, winning back to back the accolade among African billionaires, and never slipping from the world ranking.

Again, as expected, the famous Forbes has proclaimed the soft spoken businessman as Africa’s richest man for the 12th time in a row; a proof that the name Dangote is synonymous with consistency. He is a businessman, who understands that no man rest on his oars if turnovers have to continue to turn over. With marked differentiation, he has demystified the business terrain, and proved that if it can be done, then it must done. His establishment of the humongous fertilizer and sugar plants and the ambitious refinery in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria, are testimonies of the trajectory of one who knows his onions.

Worth $13.4 by the latest Forbes ranking, which sustained him as the richest man in African for the 11th time, entrepreneur extraordinaire  has the following points to his name:

  • Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
  • He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
  • Dangote Cement has the capacity to produce 48.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
  • After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in mid-2021.
  • Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

The above and many has remained the factors that have made it easy for the billionaire to remain in the top echelon of world’s money men, and the supremo among African businessmen. Like wonder he is one of the few recipients of the GCON national honours reserved for top politicians of vice president ranking and top government appointees. He has never been any of the above.

In 2021 when his 3.0 million metric tonnes of Urea per annum Dangote Fertiliser Plant, sited at the Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju Lekki, was commissioned. During his speech, at The Fertiliser Complex, which occupies 500 hectares, and built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, Dangote had the following to say in his much sought after humility:

“The commissioning of this Fertiliser Plant is historic. It marks the official opening of the largest Granulated Urea Fertiliser Complex in Africa. The new plant will make Nigeria self-sufficient in fertiliser production, with excess capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world. Our products have already reached the markets some African countries, the USA, Brazil, India and Mexico.

“It is an ambitious developmental project, which will drastically reduce the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in this country, through generation of direct and indirect employment. Agriculture accounts for over 20 per cent of Nigeria’s GDP, and the country is a leading producer of various agricultural commodities. The sector has the potential of becoming the biggest source of income for our Nation, providing employment and raw materials for industries. However, low fertilizer usage has been a major reason for low productivity in the sector.

Halimat , Zainab & Fatimah Dangote

“It is common knowledge that non-availability of the product, in quantity and quality, rather than affordability, is the primary constraint to the use of fertilizer.

“Our goal is to make fertiliser available in sufficient quantities and quality for our teeming farmers assuring greater agricultural output. To help realise this potential, we are rolling out initiatives that will transform the agricultural sector, including extension services for small and medium scale farmers. We have also established well-equipped soil-testing laboratories to ensure that the appropriate fertiliser blends are applied to specific soil and/or crop types. This will boost productivity, enhancing output across the Nation.

“Dangote Fertiliser will partner with key stakeholders in the industry, including Farmer Associations, NPK Blenders, NGO/Development Partners and State Governments across Nigeria, who are committed to a sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields.

“Our continuous efforts to innovate, create value and invest in Nigeria are borne out of our firm belief in the vast economic potential of our dear country. This has also informed our desire to continue with our investment strategy, with a focus on driving import substitution, ensuring that we increase local production to achieve self-sufficiency, and even export excess production.”

He proved that his entrepreneurial skills are not just geared towards uplifting him as a person, but to create an enabling environment for the Nigeria youth and child to grow and development in an environment he can proudly co-own. His vision is practically for the greater good of the world, and Nigeria in particular.

Born in Kano in 1957, Dangote proudly shuttles between three wonderful tags as the richest man in Nigeria; the richest man in Africa and the richest Black man in the world. He has paid his dues, and mankind is the better for it.

The Aliko Dangote Foundation and Impacts

Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) is the private charitable foundation of Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Incorporated in 1994, as Dangote Foundation, with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities. 20 years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor.

The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wraparound interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.

The Foundation works with state and national governments and many highly reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda.

In one of its biggest collaboration to date, Aliko Dangote Foundation started working in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern State Governments in Nigeria from 2013 to eradicate polio and strengthen routine immunization in Nigeria.

His commitment to the health and wellbeing of the world is second to none, and it is on record that his CSR in the health sector has transcended numerals. The ADF, beyond the health sector, has made landmark achievements in the field of education, where it has affected the development of educational infrastructures of many tertiatiary institutions including Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Bayero University Kano; Kano State University of Science & Technology, Wudil and University of Ibadan. The construction of a N1.2 Billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, Kano State, construction of a N1.2 Billion Dormitories in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, construction of Dormitories and provision of power supply to Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State at the cost of N500 Million, construction of Dormitories in Crescent University, Abeokuta, Ogun State, and construction of Aliko Dangote Complex within the premises of University of Ibadan Business School, Ibadan, Oyo State, are just few examples.

Additionally, the ADF has engaged in Economic Empowerment at various levels through the Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme, which is a N10 Billion national programme, launched in 2011, and designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria.

Worthy of praise is the fact that for the past seven years, the Foundation has spent over N7 Billion in the course of feeding, clothing and the general welfare of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast. Dangote’s efforts at providing relief has drawn a lot of accolades.

Aliko Dangote Foundation was there in 2014 to help the government to contain the Ebola virus outbreak as well as when there ethnic crisis in Ife in 2017.

Rightly addressed as an international philanthropist, Dangote’s interventions are felt across the world. Some of the are building and equipping of Children’s hospital in Abidjan, Grand Heart Foundation – Chad, ONE Campaign, Emergency response to meningitis outbreak in Niger Republic, Donation of mobile clinics to serve 5 counties in Kenya, Emergency response to victims of earthquake in Nepal, Global Business Coalition for Education, and Sustainable Development Goal – Center for Africa – Rwanda.

More CSRs by the Dangote Group

To make his host communities feel at ease, and the impact of his presence, Dangote has embarked on an initiative to provide further support to improving educational systems in Ibeju-Lekki and Epe locality. The educational support initiative is a tripartite programme consisting of scholarship, capacity building for teachers and school infrastructure projects.

In addition, Scholarships have been awarded to 52 secondary school students whilst some financial support was provided to their parents and/or guardians. Tertiary students will be included in the next batch of the scheme.

Furthermore, about 100 teachers, principals and school administrators were trained in teaching techniques for the 21st century. After which they were monitored in class on how they were using the skills acquired.

Still on education, the company plans to renovate existing structures, building new schools, donating school furniture and equipment etc. This component of the education support initiative is on the verge of taking off.

Already, it has constructed a block of 6 classrooms with restroom facilities and staff rooms. This was handed over at a formal ceremony in December 2020.

Youth development was also an area it took seriously. 400 local youths have been trained in two batches of 200 beneficiaries per batch. They are being trained on acquiring vocational skills such as plumbing, masonry, welding, iron bending, auto mechanics and electrical works. First batch of trainees graduated in September 2020 and some of them have been engaged; 2nd batch of trainees will graduate in February 2021.

It also organized programmes to build the capacity of local institutions such as the Community Development Committee (CDC), Project Implementation Committee(PIC), local leaders, youth leaders etc. on various subject areas such as stakeholder engagement, advocacy, networking, conflict resolution and negotiation, presentation skills, influx and impact of influx etc.

There is hardly any sector that has not felt the milk of human kindness running through Aliko Dangote; the military, media, politicians, governments across boards and more.

Dangote is surely an asset to this world!

As at today, there is no space for slowing down for Dangote as he continues to trudge on, creating firsts after first for himself and for humanity. He is blessed with three wonderful daughters, who have followed the rewarding footprints of entrepreneurship.

Fellow billionaire and friend, Femi Otedola, during one Dangote’s birthday’s encapsulated his entrepreneurial prowess as follows: “Happy Birthday to the greatest man that has come out of Africa. My brother, the visionary owner of the 2nd largest sugar refinery in the world, the largest cement factory in the world, the 2nd largest fertiliser plant in the world this is due for completion and the biggest oil refinery in the world. Aliko Dangote, is a titan that God created specially for mankind. You have broken every boundary in worldwide  business and industry. Thanks for the brotherly love”

Dangote is that, and much more!

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Boss Of The Week

Behold the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate: Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya

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By Eric Elezuo

Honour, no doubt, is meant for whomever honour is due. It was therefore, no fluke when the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Mai-Martaba Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari CFR, announced the appointment of Hajia Muinat Bola Shagaya as the Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate. This is one appointment the general public has seen as who the cap fits.

The Emir made the announcement at the 57th Annual National Conference of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union (IEDPU) held on Sunday where notable sons and daughters of the Kwara State and friends and well wishers were in attendance. At the occasion, the ebullient Hajia Bola Shagaya donated whopping N10m in support of the IEDPU project.

Among the dignitaries that graced the event were the Emir of Ilorin Dr. Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Interior and Chairman of the occasion, Dr. Shuaib Belgore; Ilorin Emirate Council of Chiefs; Chief Imam Ilorin Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Soliu; and other Imams and Islamic scholars; Grand Mufti of Ilorin Sheikh Suleiman Faruq Onikijipa; Turakin Ilorin Mallam Saliu Mustapha; National President for IEDPU, Alhaji Aliyu Otta Uthman; Registrar of JAMB, Prof Is-haq Oloyede; Vice Chancellor University of Abuja, Prof Abdulrosheed Na’Allah; businesswoman and Zaraniya Ilorin Hajia Muina Sagaya; former Vice Chancellor of University of Ilorin Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem; Executive Director for National Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation (NCAM) Engr. A. R Kamal; guest speaker Sheikh Abdulwahab Banni Afonta; and dozens of dignitaries and sons and daughters of Ilorin Emirate.

Bola, as she is popularly known, is beautiful, elegant, famous, enchanting and above all down to earth. She is a woman of means and is renowned for her extraordinary generosity. She is above all, quintessential in all ramifications.

Shagaya, unlike most prominent and wealthy industrialists, was not born with the proverbial silver spoon. Consequently, she had to pull herself up by her bootstraps and exert herself relentlessly through some difficult times on her way to arriving at the enviable height she now occupies. Her remarkable accomplishments have since earned her a pride of place at the table of royals and captured the attention of the influential Forbes magazine. She made the 10th wealthiest woman spot in Africa in a 2015 Forbes ranking.

The socialite, who will be 62 on October 10, was born in 1959 in Kwara State, her home town. She attended Queens School in Ilorin for her secondary education and the Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and Armstrong College in California, where she studied Economics and Accountancy respectively. Shagaya also attended Harvard Business School and a number of other local and international seminars, workshops and symposiums where she sharpened her skills and gained all the cutting-edge knowledge that has kept her on top of her entrepreneurial and social game.

Fresh out of school, a promising career took off with a stint at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) where she worked with the Audit Department. Having acquired veritable experience from the CBN, she ventured into commercial activities in 1983, beginning with the importation and distribution of photographic materials under one of her incorporated companies called Bolmus. She is reputed to have introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.

She is also the owner of Fotofair Nigeria limited, and her photo laboratory unit in Victoria Island is no doubt one of the largest photo laboratories in Nigeria. The photo laboratory has a net base of over thirty branches located in different parts of the country and over 300 workers employed. A great feat!

Her prowess is not limited to the business of photographic materials alone, Hajia Bola Shagaya is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, serving local lubricant blending plants. Not only that, her extensive acumen in the world of buying and selling finds expression in huge investments in real estate, spanning major cities in the country with over 300 employees.

She is proactive and visionary, and so through her base oil importation, she is meeting the need of the local lubricant blending plants. At the moment, Practoil is building its own plant at Kirikiri, Lagos State. The plant is expected to produce multi-grade oils and lubricants.

An astute financial wizard, Mrs. Shagaya is on the board of Unity Bank (Nigeria) Plc (formerly Intercity Bank) and has been for about a decade. She is also a member of the NEPAD Business Group, Nigeria.

She is a reputed fashionista, and her consistent display of an impeccable dress sense is a testimony to that assertion. It is therefore, not surprising that she is a patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and a fashion and arts enthusiast who supports and encourages the fashion and arts industry. She also loves sports, especially polo. She is also hopelessly in love with exotic jewelry, especially diamonds, and Deola Sagoe, Folake Coker, Maureen Onigbanjo, Abba Folawiyo are just a few of her clothiers. Internationally, there are also Escada and Christian Lacroix.

In July 2010, she was conferred with the national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) by the then President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR).

A committed family woman; wife and mother, she is married to Alhaji Ganiyu Shagaya, a Kwara State-based transporter and their union is blessed with four children, among whom is Sheriff Shagaya, who got married in 2013 to Maryam Tukur, the daughter renowned politician, Bamanga Tukur. Kabir, her fourth son, also married into a notable when he wedded Amina Buba, daughter of oil magnate, Dr Hanatu Buba Each of her five sons are reportedly doing incredibly well in their fields of endeavours. It is said that they inherited their mothers entrepreneurial skills, business acumen and accommodating mien.

A very liberal woman, her third child, Seun, is a pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Abuja in as much as his mother is a Muslim.

Though a socialite who loves reveling, Mrs. Shagaya knows when to open the door and when to keep it closed. It was gathered from an interview she once granted that as a rule she doesn’t entertain friendly visitations, no matter how close, between Monday and Friday. Consequently, everything social revolves around the weekends when major work has been done. That accounts for her serious-mindedness, focus and hard work.

A friend of several Nigerian First Ladies, Mrs. Shagaya is known to have been close to virtually every recent First Lady in the Nigerian political system, especially Dame Patience Jonathan, with whom she forged a formidable relationship. It is believed that her amiable nature, down to earth attitude and uprightness always endear her to the hearts of those in the corridor of power.

A staunch Muslim, she believes that no matter what one becomes, God will always remain number one, and the revolving factor in her life. As a result, no matter where she is or what she’s doing, she makes it a duty to go to Mecca at least twice a year. She also creates time to observe her ‘Majrib’.

“That’s my only way to praise God”, she said.

The stupendously rich amazon, who owns property in choice parts of the world including London, Abuja, Lagos, Ilorin and so on, maintains a healthy routine of going to bed every day at 9pm after listening to the 8 O’clock news, and wakes up daily by 5am to pray.

Bola Shagaya is a crown jewel in the swelling ranks of African women who have demystified the stereotyped notion that the place of the woman is, and ends in the kitchen or ‘the other room’. In her continued display of business ingenuity, she has showcased the stuff women like her are made of while proving that females are capable of threading the paths that even some men would not dare venture.

Congratulations dear Sarauniya of Ilorin Emirate!

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Boss Of The Week

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Africa’s Most Powerful Woman

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By Eric Elezuo

For the sixth time in her meritorious career, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been recognised. This time, the former Nigeria’s Minister of the Economy, who is fond and proud of her traditional ankara attire, was named one of Forbes’s World’s 100 Most Powerful Women in 2022. The accomplished financial expert will be one of those that would be presented with the honour on 16th of February 2023, at a ceremony scheduled to be held in Port Louis, Mauritius during the 11th edition of the award.

Okonjo-Iweala reportedly polled over 60 percent of the 15,000 votes in the category of the African Leadership Person of thee Year Award at the close of the poll on 2nd of December 2022. These categories are vote-based and reserved yearly for leading Africans who are making positive impacts and promoting a favourable image of the continent.

Forbes, an American business magazine owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments and the Forbes family with a particular focus on business, technology, communications, science, politics, and law, while making the declaration, said, “The World Trade Organization head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (No. 91 of 100) continue to play a crucial role in providing financial assistance and promoting global trade as the threat of a global recession rises.”

It added: Okojo-Iweala is “an economist and international development professional with more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America.”

In 2021, Okonjo-Iweala was recognized by another media platform, Time magazine as one of the world’s most influential people for the year under review.

According to Forbes, Okonjo-Iweala is “An economist and international development professional, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has more than 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America,” the magazine said.

“In March 2021, she became first woman and the first African to serve as Director-General of the World Trade Organization.

“She has said she believes in the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty help them achieve sustainable development.

“Earlier in her career, Okonjo-Iweala had two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006 and 2011-2015; she also briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.

“She was also Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance that has immunized 760 million children globally.”

According to Wikipedia, Okonjo-Iweala was born on June 13, 1954 in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Nigeria where her father Professor Chukwuka Okonjo is the Eze (King) from the Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Ukwu.

Okonjo-Iweala was educated at Queen’s School, Enugu, St. Anne’s School, Molete, Ibadan, and the International School Ibadan. She arrived in the US in 1973 as a teenager to study at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. In 1981, she earned her Ph.D in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with a thesis titled Credit policy, rural financial markets, and Nigeria’s agricultural development. She received an International Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW), that supported her doctoral studies.

Okonjo-Iweala spent a 25-year career at the World Bank as a Development Economist, scaling the ranks to the Number two position of Managing Director, Operations between 2007 and 2011. She also served two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria (2003–2006, 2011–2015) under the leadership of President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan respectively. She also had a stint in the external affairs ministry as minister.

She is a seasoned economist and international development expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).

She is married to Dr. Ikemba Iweala, a neurosurgeon. They have four children – one daughter, Onyinye Iweala (AB, MD, PhD, Harvard) and three sons, Uzodinma Iweala (AB, Harvard, MD, Columbia), Okechukwu Iweala (AB, Harvard) and Uchechi Iweala (AB, MD, MBA, Harvard).

Okonjo-Iweala became a US citizen in 2019 after spending several decades working and studying in the United States. Among an avalanche of high class honours trailing her, Okonjo-Iweala is also the founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous opinion-research organisation, NOI-Polls. She also founded the Center for the Study of Economies of Africa (C-SEA), a development research think tank based in Abuja.

In 2012, Okonjo-Iweala contested for Presidency of the World Bank. She lost to Jim Yong Kim. Eight years in-between in November 2020, she contested the DG position of the World Trade Centre, and emerged winner.

Reacting, an excited Okonjp-Iweala said: “An honour and a privilege to be part of this list of a very distinguished group of women for the 6th time in my career, Congratulations to my other sisters. Let’s continue to show that good governance, good public policy and a people-centered approach to work matters.”

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