International Women’s Day 2019: Nigerian Women Leaders in Business, Economy and Governance

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Friday, March 08, 2019 8.00AM / Bukola Akinyele and Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV


As women across the globe mark World International Women’s day with the theme “Balance for Better”, we acknowledge some remarkable Nigerian women who play sterling leadership roles in business, economy, politics and governance.



Mrs Folorunso Alakija

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Mrs Folorunso Alakija ,67 years, is ranked by Forbes as Nigeria’s Richest Woman.

She is the Executive Vice Chairman , Famfa Oil Limited and Group Managing Director, The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited.


Mosunmola (“Mo”) Abudu

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Mosunmola Abudu, 54 years, better known as Mo Abudu is a Nigerian Media Mogul who founded Ebony Life Television and Inspire Africa Foundation. She is a TV Producer, Media Personality, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Former Human Resources Management Consultant.

She has been described by Forbes as Africa’s Most Successful Woman.


Tara FelaDurotoye

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Tara, 42 years, is a beauty and makeup entrepreneur, she founded the House Of Tara Cosmetics, and is owner of Nigeria’s leading beauty academy. She established the first makeup school in the country.

She is a role model that inspires several aspiring beauty business owners across Africa.

In 2013, she was nominated Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. She is listed as one of the 20 Young Power Women in Africa by Forbes.


Funke Opeke

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Funke Opeke is a Nigerian electrical engineer, founder of Main Street Technologies and Chief Executive Officer of Main  One Cable, a communications services company based in Lagos State, South-West Nigeria.

MainOne is West Africa's leading services and network solutions provider.




Bola Adesola, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank

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Mrs Bola Adesola is  CEO of Standard Chartered Bank, she was previously Executive Director ,Corporate Banking, First Bank of Nigeria.  Adesola is an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Nigeria and is also a member of Board of the Financial Markets Dealers Association. She has over 25 years of banking experience. She is an alumna of the Harvard Business school.


Sola Borha Chief Executive, African Region, Standard Bank Group, South Africa


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Mrs Olusola Adejoke David-Borha is the Chief Executive, African Region for Standard Chartered Bank.  She previously served as Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Corporate & Investment Banking of Stanbic IBTC in Nigeria.

She is an Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN). David-Borha was named Business Woman of the Year for the West Africa Region in 2016 at the All Africa Business Leaders Awards. She is a member of the governing council of Reedemer’s University of Nigeria.


Ibukun Awosika Chairman, First Bank Nigeria Limited 

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Mrs Ibukun Awosika, 56 years, is a Nigerian business woman, author and motivational speaker. She is the first woman to be appointed to Chair the Board of First Bank of Nigeria.

She is also founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Chair Centre Group. The companies within the group include: The Chair Centre Limited, Sokoa Chair Centre Limited, Furniture Manufacturers Mart, TCC Security Systems and Cubes and Boxes Limited. These companies are involved in manufacturing, retail and bank-way security systems services.


Osaretin Afusat Demuren Chairman, Guaranty Trust Bank


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Osaretin Demuren is a Nigerian banker, and the first female Chairman of Guaranty Trust Bank.

She sits on the board of Trust Fund Pensions Plc and of LAPO Microfinance Bank Limited.

She is a member of the following associations, Society for Human Resource Management of America, Nigerian Statistical Association, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.


Mosun Belo-Olusoga

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Mrs Mosun Belo-Olusoga is the Chairman Board of Directors, of Access Bank.

The 62 year old boardroom guru is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

She is an alumna of Harvard Business School,Kellogg School of Management and Columbia Business School in the USA, as well as IMD in Switzerland and INSEAD in France.

She is passionate about personal and professional grooming of women in order to transform them into productive members of the society. 


Financial Market

Toyin Sanni, CEO of Emerging Africa Capital

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Mrs Toyin Sanni is the Chief Executive Officer of Emerging African Capital and has over two decades of experience in investment banking.

Sanni was former GCEO of United Capital Group one of the biggest investment banking groups in Africa.

She is an international speaker, author, and founding Chairman, Women In Finance Nigeria and President of the Chartered Institute of Investment Advisers in Nigeria.


Toyin Sanni was once recognized in 2017 as the All African Business Woman of the Year at the AABLA Awards, Johannesburg, South Africa and in Nigeria as the Most Outstanding CEO of the yearby the Pearl Awards Board, becoming the first female CEO to win that award in its 22 years history.


Hajara Adeola, CEO of Lotus Capital

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Mrs Hajara Adeola is the CEO of Lotus Capital with over 20 years experience in top tier global investment banks in the United Kigdom and Nigeria, where she has focused on research and analysis, investment management, Islamic finance and corporate finance.

Hajara is the first President of the Fund Manager's Association of Nigeria and is a West African Fellow of the Aspen Leadership Initiative.  She is a Director of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

Lotus Capital is the first Shari'ah Compliant investment company in Nigeria, registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission, specialising in Islamic Finance, Investment & Financial Advisory Services.


Economic Management


Zainab Ahmed , Minister of Finance 

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Mrs Zainab Ahmed is the current Minister of Finance of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Prior to her appointment she was the Minister of State, Budget and National Planning.

She was also Executive Secretary of the National Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI and also worked with the global EITI board.

Ahmed was appointed Finance Minister, after her predecessor Mrs Kemi Adeosun resigned her position in September, 2018.


Ms.Mary Uduk , Ag DG Securities & Exchange Commission, Nigeria 

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Ms Mary Uduk  is currently Acting Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria.

Her career as a regulator in the capital market dates back to October 1986 and has spanned many functions from corporate finance, administration, to providing regulatory structure and due diligence for capital market transactions.

Prior to this, she was at various times the Head of Internal Control, Financial Standards & Corporate Governance, and Securities & Investment Services Departments, amongst others in the Commission.

Since her appointment as Acting DG of SEC Nigeria Ms Uduk has been driving critical regulatory reforms for the capital like the “Fintech Roadmap”.


Patience Oniha, Director General, Debt Management Office

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Patience Oniha joined the Debt Management Office (DMO) in 2008 as the Director, Market Development Department after a fulfilling career in the banking sector spanning over 22 years.

In this capacity, Oniha actively engaged with public and private sector stakeholders in respect of the development of the domestic debt market. She managed the successful issuance of Nigeria’s debut Eurobond in 2011 and the dual-tranche Eurobonds of 2013.

Oniha was appointed Head of the Efficiency Unit at the Federal Ministry of Finance in November 2015, where she introduced a number of initiatives, resulting in savings estimated at N17 billion.

On July 1, 2017 she was appointed Director-General of  the Debt Management Office and under her watch she has facilitated several important Federal Government bonds like the “Diaspora” and “Sukuk” Issues.


Aisha Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria

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Aisha Ahmad, CFA is the Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and started out in the private sector as a Group Accountant at "Manstructs Group Nigeria Limited".

She then worked at Z.O. Ososanya & Company, and transferred to First Interstate Bank (Nigeria) Plc. as Executive Assistant, Treasury Group.

Aisha is an accountant, financial manager and analyst by profession.

Ahmad replaced Dr Sarah Alade  who retired as Deputy Governor of CBN in March 2017.


Yewande Sadiku Executive Secretary/CEO of NIPC

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Yewande Sadiku is the current Executive Secretary/CEO of the Nigeria Investment Promotion Council, NIPC.

Prior to her appointment she was the Executive Director of Corporate and Transactional Banking at Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc.

She has also served as Chief Executive of Stanbic IBTC Capital Limited, Head of Finance Department of Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc. (formerly IBTC Chartered Bank Plc.).

She was responsible for the execution of debt and equity issues, mergers and acquisitions, divestitures and financial advisory assignments handled by IBTC Chartered Bank Plc. and was also responsible for the packaging, analysis and execution of a variety of capital market Issues.


Women in Government


Oyo-Ita Winifred Ekanem 

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Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita is the Head of Service of the Federation and participates in all critical Federal Executive Council and Presidential meetings in the Federal Capital.

She coordinates the entire federal civil service structure and operations, and is responsible for ensuring the implementation of key reforms.

Prior to her appointment she was the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology in April 2014, Oyo-Ita  and was the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Oyo-Ita is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).

On October 21, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the appointment of Oyo-Ita as the Head of the Civil Service of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Dr Jumoke Oduwole, SSA to President on Industry, Trade & Investment

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Dr Jumoke Oduwole is a lawyer, academician and currently the Secretary of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, driving the Ease of Doing Business reforms of the Buhari administration.

In 2000, Jumoke had a stint with FCMB Capital Markets as an investment banker until 2003. In 2004, she got employed as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Lagos where she served as a member of the Senate committee and Researcher.

In 2012, Oduwole was nominated to attend the BMW Foundation Europe-Africa Young Leaders Forum. Her interest in youth development-related issues led her to the co-founding of an NGO called "No Limit" with the view of inspiring and imparting leadership values in Nigerian youths.

She was also selected as an associate fellow of the African Leadership Institute for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship in 2013.

In January 2016, Jumoke was appointed Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment.

Women in Politics 

H.E Dr Idiat Adebule, Deputy Governor, Lagos State

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Dr Idiat Adebule is the 15th substantive  Deputy Governor of Lagos State serving with Governor Akinwunmi Ambode since  May 29, 2015.

Adebule began her career as a junior lecturer at Micheal Otedola College Of Primary Education, Epe in the department of Religious Studies.

She later transferred her service to the Lagos State University department of curricular activities.

From the academia she was appointed the Secretary to the State Government by the then Governor of Lagos state, Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN) in July, 2011.

She was later nominated running mate to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode who emerged the winner of the Lagos 2015 gubernatorial elections.


H.E Dr Ipalibo Banigo Deputy Governor, Rivers State


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Dr Ipalibo Banigo is a Nigerian medical doctor, politician and the first female Deputy Governor of Rivers State.

A member of the People's Democratic Party, she has held various important offices at the Rivers State Ministry of Health.

During her service, she assumed the positions of Director of Public Health Services, Acting Commissioner, Director-General and Permanent Secretary.

She achieved prominence first in 1995, as Secretary to the Government of Rivers State before serving as Head of Service of the state.

In December 2014, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike selected her as his running mate in the 2015 election. She was elected Deputy Governor and assumed office on 29 May 2015.


H.E Yetunde Onanuga Deputy Governor, Ogun State

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Mrs Yetunde Onanuga is the current Deputy Governor of Ogun State, serving with Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

She worked  in the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, from where  she was nominated as running mate of Senator Amosun in the 2015 gubernatorial polls.

As Deputy Governor Onanuga has worked with the Governor to drive the objective of an economically viable and transformed Ogun State.

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