Women of Valor

NWAG Honoree
Every year, the Nigerian Women Association recognizes a Nigerian Woman who through their selfless service, have made a difference in other people’s lives. The honoree is recognized as the “Woman Of Valor” during the Annual Fundraising and Awards Banquet.
2002

Dr. Osonye Tess Onwueme –2002 NWAG WOMAN OF VALOR
“Tess is a rare jewel in this country”—-Dr. K. Kendall Smith College , MA

A writer with an active conscience, Dr. Onwueme’s provocative and humorous writing and speaking often poke into taboo and controversial subjects. Her work clearly reveals the untold/unheard stories of young women and the poor who are caught in various crossfires with family, tradition, race, class, gender, culture, and the politics of living in the challenging postcolonial societies today. Her award-winning play, Shakara Dance-Hall Queen kicked off the BBC

World Drama Service international broadcast for the fall season of 2004. Since joining the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1994 as a Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity and Professor of English after her years of teaching in both Nigerian and American universities, Dr. Onwueme continues to serve as a role-model for women and youths through her inspirational writing and speaking

2003

Mrs. Chi Ezekwueche received her B. Sc degree in pharmacy from Saint Johns ‘ University in New York . She also obtained her B.A. degree in Studio Arts from Wesleyan College , Macon Georgia . During her term as the Board chair of the world renowned Tubman African-American Museum in Macon , Georgia , Chi initiated the Tubman American –American Museum Nigerian Christmas Design, All That Jazz week, She founded and chaired Pan African Festival of Georgia which showcases Nigerian culture through arts, cuisine and dance.

She founded Otu Umunne in 1996 to provide networking opportunities and support for Igbo Women. She is a member of Jack and Jill of America which provides guidance and leadership opportunities for young people. She supports and encourages young people to volunteer on medical missions to Nigeria .

In recognition of her contribution to the arts, Chi was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tubman Museum in 2001, Celebrity Chief by the Macon Arts & Red Cross; Tribute to Women Award , by the YWCA; International Artist Award by the Georgia , Cherry Blossom Festival.

To crown it all, her community in Nigeria installed on her the chieftancy title of Iyom, Odi Uko Na Mba of Abagana

2004
In January 2004, Mercy Obeime delivered about $800,000 of donated medicine and supplies to her homeland, Nigeria . That was during her ”spare time“ as director of the Mercy Foundation, a non–profit healthcare organization she and several classmates from medical school started in 2001 to help fight HIV—AIDS in Nigeria, which she confides is “a big, silent problem, with lots more out there.” Since 2004, Dr. Obeime, in collaboration with a group of volunteers have embarked on embarked on numerous medical missions to Nigeria where free medical services are being provided for thousands of Nigerians.
Dr. Obeime has served as the Medical Director of the Neighborhood Health Center at Garfield Park , since 1996. She was nominated a Local Legend by Representative Julia Carson [D–IN–7]. In prior recognition of her dedication and commitment to the inner–city residents of Indianapolis , Obeime was chosen as a National Winner of the 2003 Spirit of Women Awards in the Healthcare category. She is committed to treating the whole person, regardless of ability to pay. The Health Center is a family practice providing primary and preventive care to families who cannot afford health insurance and who are charged only what they can pay without compromising their financial integrity. During the past five years, the number of patients served has ballooned three times to 2,500, with almost 70 percent being uninsured

2005
Chief Mrs Eki Igbenedion is a social activist in the forefront of fighting the spread of HIV/AIDS through education in Nigeria . She founded the IDIA RENAISSANCE in 2000. Chief Igbenedion, through the IDIA RENAISSANCE organization has championed the campaign against the dest4ructive trade of prostitution by Edo State girls within and outside the country. Having identified the perculiar problem of her people, Mrs. Igbenedion’s effort has recorded some considerable amount of success. Through IDIA RENAISSANCE, she has been able to sensitize her people and young girls to the evils of prostitution.. She is the brain behind the IDIA RENAISSANCE Skills Acquisition Center, Benin City, Edo State where young girls can learn life saving skills and get their education. The belief is that when the girls are given marketable skills , this will prevent them from the desperation and devastation of prostitution.

In 2004, when NWAG through its scholarship program asked young University students to identify the role of the Nigerian Woman in the 21 st century, Mrs. Igbenedion’s name came up over and over again as a shinning example of what is good about a Nigerian Woman. They acknowledged her energy, her passion and her deep commitment to making a difference in other people’s lives

2006

PROF. DORA NKEM AKUNYILI (OFR)

Dr (Mrs.) Dora Nkem Akunyili is the Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC). Dr. Dora (as she is fondly called) has single handedly revived the Nigerian Ministry of Health and consequently instilled the people’s confidence in a Ministry that once lacked credibility. She is a renowned Pharmacist, Pharmacologist, Seasoned Administrator, and a visionary leader. It is no

surprise then that one of her major focus is to rid Nigeria of sub-standard pharmaceuticals and unsanitary food items. In March 2006, her agency signed an Agreement with some countries, including Republic of China and Sweden , to curb the importation of fake medications through their various ports. This joint partnership with these countries ensures that all drugs, edibles, and chemicals being imported into the country are pre-inspected. Under her dynamic leadership, NAFDAC has implemented a “Pharmacovigilance” campaign which carries out random inspection of market places, pharmacies, and hospitals, to carry out sample checks. For her industry and commitment to the values of honesty and transparency, Dr. Dora has received over 260 Awards and Recognitions both locally and internationally. NWAG is proud to recognize her as a Woman of Valor on June 24, 2006.

2007
Mrs. Inna Maryam Chiroma – 2007 NWAG Woman of Valor

Mrs. Inna Maryam Chiroma Honorable Federal Minister of Women Affairs and Development—Woman of Passion and Humility

Mrs. Chiroma was appointed the Minister of Women Affairs in 2005 by the Nigerian Federal Government. Before then, Inna as she is fondly referred to by her friends had spent many yeas working to improve the lives of women and children in Nigeria.

Her contributions include the establishment of the Islammiya School in Kenken Ward in Bui Local Government of Bornu State. The vision of the school is to create opportunity for self and educational development for women and youth.
She has also helped to register 11 cooperative societies in her local government to enhance their economic empowerment.

2008
2008 Woman of Valor, Her Excellency Oluwatoyin Saraki

The honorable First lady of Kwara State Nigeria
A Woman of Humility and Compassion

oluwatoyinsarakiHer Excellency Oluwatoyin Saraki was chosen as our 2008 Woman of Valor for her quiet contributions to the plight of homeless children, and the physically challenged Nigerians.
Mrs Saraki’s early years was influenced by the writings of two authors; The Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel, a writer and philosopher, and the renowned Lebanese philosopher Khalil Gibran.
As a student in England, she noticed the plight of the aged and volunteered her time to provide comfort and love to those who were oftentimes forgotten. Upon returning back to Nigeria, she continued her selfless service while pursuing her banking career at Ecobank Nigeria Plc, a prestigious pan-African financial institution. She later on went into private business.
By the early 1990’s however, Mrs. Saraki, in collaboration with other civic-minded individuals established The Lifestream Charity. The vision of this organization is to provide resources for children with heart deformities and to sponsor corrective surgeries abroad.

With the election of her husband Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki as Executive Governor of Kwara State, Nigeria, Mrs. Saraki continued her selfless work to make a difference in the lives of the people of Kwara state by establishing The Kwara WellBeing Trust “Alaafia Kwara”, under the auspices of The WellBeing Foundation

At present, The WellBeing Foundation is pioneering an innovation in the delivery of public health care, the Health-for-All-Children-Nigeria © program through the introduction of the Personal Child Health Record © which has been presented for nationwide adoption to the Federal Ministry of Health with favorable feedback.

Mrs. Saraki has completed the Herculean task of raising funds privately for the in depth renovation of the state government owned Children’s Specialist Hospital, Center Igboro, Ilorin. She has also helped to establish the Indigent Medical Fund for people who are not able to afford medical treatment.

Mrs. Saraki is convinced that the most meaningful life is that which impacts positively on other people, whether they are privileged or not!
Congratulations to our 2008 Woman of Valor; Our sister, our friend.

2009
First Lady of Lagos State, Nigeria

Her Excellency Mrs. Abimbola Emanuella FasholaHer Excellency, Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, has been working diligently behind the scenes to complement the efforts of the Governor, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), and add value to governance in Lagos State. She is committed to “grooming tomorrow’s leaders to be confident, self-sufficient and socially responsive through education, vocational skills acquisition and recreation”, Her Excellency has established a unique Non-Governmental Organization, the Lagos Empowerment And Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N). As Chairman of the NGO, she has been overseeing the systematic implementation of its strategic vision of establishing resource centers in the five Administrative Divisions of Lagos State as a basis for exporting the L.E.A.R.N. model to other jurisdictions. Within its very short period of existence, L.E.A.R.N. has begun to positively impact the lives of tomorrow’s leaders through various creative programs targeted at students
Apart from her work among students and youths, Her Excellency is passionate about environmental cleanliness. She has been at the forefront of the campaign for Lagosians, particularly women, to embrace environmental cleanliness and keep the surroundings of their homes and markets clean. She actively participates in the monthly sanitation and weekly market sanitation days showing by personal example the pivotal role of women in maintaining a healthy environment.
As the First Lady of Lagos State, Mrs. Fashola is the Chairman of the Committee of Wives of Lagos State Officials (COWLSO), a community based gender organization established by the wife of the First Military Governor of Lagos State to complement the efforts of the State Government in improving the socio-economic conditions of the people.

A woman of quiet dignity. She is a model of calm composure. She is a symbol of genuine humility. She has an uncommon capacity for hard work and a burning passion to motivate youths to actualize their potentials.

Mrs. Fashola is married to His Excellency, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN), the Honorable Governor of Lagos State of Nigeria.
NWAG is proud to award Her Excellency Mrs. Abimbola Fashola as our 2009 Woman of Valor.
Congratulations to our 2009 Woman of Valor

2011

HER EXCELLENCY DAME JUDITH AMAECHI, WIFE OF GOVERNOR, RIVERS STATE AND FOUNDER, THE EMPOWERMENT SUPPORT INITIATIVES (ESI)

Virtue is doing good to mankind in obedience to the will of Almighty God and for the sake of everlasting happiness, for virtue only finds eternal fame. These attributes befit an Amazon, a mother an avatar, a virtuous wife whose means and deeds have received praises and encomium around the world for her contribution to the development of women and children in Rivers State. A woman, who ventured into grey areas to provide means of sustainable livelihood for families. A woman who appreciates that divine love is a sacred flower which in its early bud is happiness and in its full bloom is heaven. This woman is acclaimed to have pioneered the empowerment of women in the country, through very sustainable means of transportation, the ESI Lady Cabbies. The ESI lady Cabbies is now our national pride and some states of the federation are already adopting the ESI lady cabby as veritable model of employment and empowerment for women.

Love begets love and can only be reciprocated if the giver has genuine love. The initiation of an early childhood education in the rural communities of Rivers State to enable less privileged children acquire and access basic foundational education is a demonstration of love and passion. Already 350 pupils have graduated while 4000 are at present acquiring nursery education. This effort initiated by Her Excellency, Dame Judith Amaechi, wife of the Rivers State Governor has also created gainful employment opportunities for 920 teachers and minders and another 35 cooks who are already trained and engaged in the ESI Feed a Child project; another effort introduced to provide balanced diet for the pupils and help them develop their growth and assist their learning and assimilative capability.

These teachers are exposed to specialized training in different level of University of Cambridge Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT) and the Cambridge International Certificate for Teachers and Trainers (CICTT). In complementing the Federal Government’s effort to arrest the dwindling fortune of education, the wife of Rivers State Governor, Dame Judith Amaechi, organized the first national conference on kindergarten education in Nigeria and was declared open by Dr Goodluck Jonathan, President and Commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria and former Speaker, Federal House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole was in attendance.

A major recommendation of the conference was the protection and promotion of unalienable rights of the child to access basic education. This prompted her to champion the domestication of the child rights acts in Rivers State with a visit to the Rivers State House of Assembly to advocate and lobby the Assembly for passage of the Child Rights Acts. Today, Rivers State is one of the states in Nigeria that have domesticated the act. The unemployment among the youths in Nigeria has become a national challenge. Government at all levels cannot provide jobs for all our teeming unemployment youths. Mrs Amaechi has taken the challenge to develop the youth potential and to make them appreciate entrepreneurial skills. This is a response to non availability of jobs occasioned by recession in the economy.

Today, it is on record that over 2000 youths have acquired relevant skills in soap detergent, production fashion, modeling, bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, painting and decoration among others in collaboration with training partners such as the City and Guilds of London, Fashion Couture of UK, Soapbiz.com among others. Time may not be enough to chronicle the laudable effort of a woman described as a fountain of living water by orphanage children homes where inmates are receiving some degree of scholarship at the Post Primary School level. Worried over the rising cases of maternal mortality occurred by the high rate of cancer, Mrs Amaechi has mounted an advocacy and awareness campaign against cancer and donated a mammogram cancer screening facility to Rivers State Public health centre at Churchill, Port Harcourt, to enable women check their status.

Born on the eve of Xmas in 1970 at Enugu-ukwu in Anambra State, Dame Judith Amaechi (nee Nwankwo) attended the Port Harcourt Primary School and Federal Government Girls College Abuloma, Rivers State for her Primary and Post Primary education: she enrolled for her First Degree at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology and obtained a Bachelor of Technology in Urban and Regional Planning. She is a recipient of several awards including –

  1. Friend of the masses award, by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
  2. African Woman Leadership Award by the African Leadership Magazine
  3. Media Friendly Woman Award by High Chief Raymond Dokpesi Media Centre
  4. Advocate of Women’s Rights by Nigerian Association of Women Journalist (NAWOJ), Abuja.
  5. Paul Harris Rotary International Award.
  6. Exemplary African Woman Leadership Award by the International Institute of management Las Vegas USA.
  7. Best Alumni Award, UST Alumni Association.

She was former President, Lawmakers Wives Association (LEWA) and happily married to the Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, Governor of Rivers State who hails from Ubima in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rives State. The Union is blessed with three lovely boys.

2013

HER EXCELLENCY, LADY MERCY ODOCHI ORJI, FIRST LADY OF ABIA STATE

Her Excellency, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, was born on May 22, 1959 to a modest and God fearing family of Mr. & Mrs. Abraham Offor of Umuohu Okpuala Ndume-Ibeku in Mbaocha Autonomous Community of Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, Her Excellency, Lady Mercy Odochi Orji, Is often referred to as a great woman evangelist, an amazing amazon, Winnie Mandela of Nigerian Politics, Deborah of the 21st century, and a humanitarian genius of an inestimable value. She is married to His Excellency; Chief T. A. Orji (Ochendo Abia), the Executive Governor of Abia State and the marriage is blessed with children and grandchildren.

She holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree in Government and Public Administration, and has worked as a Manager at the Imo State owned Concorde Hotel Ltd. On the creation of Abia State in 1991, Her Excellency, left the service and joined the world of business, where she was also very successful. Her Excellency is a kind hearted virtuous woman, a crowd puller, a great mobilizer, a mother of substance, a hospitable, God fearing and compassionate recipient of many awards in recognition and appreciation of her immense contributions to the growth and development of the church, women, children, youths and the less privileged. Her unprecedented attention to the poor, less privileged, widows and other vulnerable groups have made Abia State the land of smiling faces, the State of hope for the hopeless, the home of love and mercy, and network for people living with HIV/AIDS (NEPWAN) as well as the physically challenged.

Her numerous awards, include:

Excellence Award on Humanitarian activities and Community Development, by Lions Club, Nigeria, Abia State Chapter.
Woman of Substance Award by the Students Union Government of Abia State University, Uturu.
Champion for Maternal and Child Survival Advocate by Primary Health Care Forum, Abia State Ministry of Health, Umuahia
The Golden Mother Award & Mother of Victory Award by St. Stephen’s Anglican Church Okwuta Ibeku, Umuahia Abia State.
Valiant Mother by the Anglican Communion, Diocese of Aba among others.
Mother Red Cross by Red Cross Society of Nigeria.
Mother of Disabled by the Joint National Association of Disabled Persons in Nigeria.

She is famously known as OSI N’ULO MARA NMA PUO NA AMA OF UGBA-IBEKU, UGONWANYI OF AFUGURI, NNEOMA UGOCHINYERE 1 OF ABIA and has bagged chieftaincy titles from all the seventeen Local Government Areas of Abia State.

She is widely traveled, has attended many local and international conferences, seminars and workshops. She is a member of many National and International Organizations such as International Association of Volunteer Efforts (IAVE), National Volunteer Centre, Nigerian Council of Women Society, Christian Women Association etc. She is a strong and firm Christian of the Church of Christ, where she encourages the women for God’s work.

Without doubt, Her Excellency is a woman of destiny. This is because she is bold, resolute, amiable, caring, articulate, diligent, focused, compassionate and resilient, in pursuit of excellence in whatever she does. Her Excellency deserves the best and everything nature has bestowed on her. She is indeed, a priceless jewel for the loving and God fearing people of Abia State.

2014
Mrs. Olufunso Amosun who is the First Lady of Ogun State and the Wife of the Governor of Ogun State, started her education in the United Kingdom before moving to Yejide Girls Grammar School in Ibadan, and to University of Ife, where she graduated with a BA in English Education and then to University of Lagos where she obtained a Masters in Guidance and Counseling. She returned to the UK where she began her working career in the 1990s.

As the wife of a former Senator and now a Governor, she has contributed her own quota to societal development by supporting her husband’s foundation, Senator Ibikunle Amosun-SIA Foundation, as well as her “Understanding People’s Limiting & Inhibiting Factors Today- UPLIFT Development Foundation. Through her commitment towards the well-being of the less privileged of Ogun State, she was recently awarded the 2013 City People Award for Excellence as the Best First Lady of the Year. With her UPLIFT Development Foundation, which started before her husband became a Governor, she has been able to reach out to these specific groups namely: Widows, Unemployed Graduates, Women in general, the Elderly, and SS3 Students, by providing several programs, opportunities and funding for advancements, and in an effort to empower women in the state. Another area of her UPLIFT Development Fund is the free eye camp to reduce loss of sight a great benefit to thousands of indigent people in Ogun State.

For all her work with Women Youth and Children, Mrs. Olufunso Amosun was recently recognized by the City People as the Best First Lady of 2013, a success which she in turn attributed to the glory of God. She is generally involved in society improvement, and focuses on the less privileged among the youth, the elderly, widows and the unemployed who constitute the majority of the state’s population, in a continuous effort to provide opportunities for their advancement. In February 2012, she inaugurated “Spouses of Ogun State Government Functionaries Association” (SOSGFA) foundation, with the basic purpose of providing opportunities for the wives of government officials in the state to support their husbands to rebuild Ogun State.

2016

Mrs. Oludolapo Osinbajo, The wife of the Vice President of Nigeria, Author and renowned lawyer known for her work with several charities including The Women’s Helping Hands Institute which benefits women from all walks of life and Orderly Society Trust which works to end inequality and create strong, stable and just societies, will be honored with the “Woman of Valor” award

2018

Mrs Aisha Buhari: ” Phenomenal women are the back bone to great nations.” Mrs. Aisha Buhari, the 15th First Lady of Nigeria embodies and lives this saying.
It became her cause to advocate for equal rights, respect, and access to education for women and girls. She has used her position as the First Lady to bring global attention to and locally promote and campaign for laws that benefit and protect women, girls and children, especially on issues of forced marriages, sexual abuse of children, and human trafficking in Nigeria. Her Excellency, is very outspoken on issues that require immediate attention and action in the Nigerian Society. She is a firm believer that women are more than trophies and should be involved in the development of their nation.

Nigerian Women Association of Georgia
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