Some days back, the whole world welcomed one another into a new year. As a religious state, many Nigerians were in their place of worship counting down to the end of the year. To some, 2019 was a torrid one while to others, 2019 was their best year ever. With humans, there will always be mixed reactions or perspectives about a phenomena or period. For Nigerians, the hope and wait for a better Nigeria still resides heavily in their heart and throughout the year, they agitated and clamoured for positive economic growth as well as infrastructural development. While many grumbled and blamed the government for policies deemed unfavourable, others looked for opportunities to weather the storm and carve out niche for themselves. Ranging from activism to establishment of fast growing companies, many Nigerians held the flag of the state high and solidified the claim that Nigeria is a great nation with abundance of potentials. It is then expedient of us to mention a few out of many Nigerians who owned 2019 irrespective of the various challenges encountered. Here are a few but not limited to these ones alone.
- MR AKINWUMI ADESINA
Born on February 6th, 1960, Mr Akinwunmi’s rise to the top has been one filled with hard work, dedication and more hard work. In 1981, he graduated with a first – class honours Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife and then completed his PhD in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United states of America where he worn the Outstanding PhD Thesis award. In 1988, he won the prestigious Rockefeller foundation social science post-doctoral fellowship in 1988. Between 1988 and 2008, he became the associate director (food security) at the Rockefeller foundation in New York. He then became the President of the African Association of Agricultural Economist which he held from 2008 to 2010. In 2010, he was appointed by the United Nations secretary general, Ban ki-moon, as one of the 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium development goals. In the 2013, he was named as the Person of the year by Forbes Africa magazine and was later appointed as Nigeria’s minister of Agriculture and rural development from 2011 to 2015. He was then elected as the 8th president of the African development bank group on May 28, 2018 for a five-year term and took office on 1st September, 2015. As minister of agriculture in Nigeria as well as president of ADBG, Mr Akinwunmi has developed agricultural initiatives which positioned him to win the $250,000 world food laureate prize in 2017 as well as many more awards.
- AMINA JANE MOHAMMED
When in need of a Focused, passionate and peace loving Nigerian, Mrs Amina Jane Mohammed is a perfect individual that ticks all boxes. In the presence of female stereotype which is a common trait amongst northern men, Mrs Amina has had to stay focused and hardworking to get to where she is today. Although she was born on the 27th June 1961 to a Nigerian Vet-officer and a British nurse, in Liverpool England, Mrs Amina schooled in Kaduna and Maiduguri before travelling to the Buchan school in UK to further her education. After acquiring knowledge as well as working experiences in private institutions, Mrs Amina coordinated the task force on gender and education for the united nations millennium project in 2002. Towards the achievement of millennium goals, Mrs Amina was saddled with the responsibility of coordinating Nigeria’s debt relief funds. She then became an adjunct professor for the masters in development practice program at the Colombia university. Though she worked closely with secretary general Ban ki-moon, she accepted and became Nigeria’s minister of Environment from November 2015 to February 2017. In 2017, she then appointed as United nations deputy secretary general. Since her appointed, she has vigorously campaigned for world peace as well as respect for human right. As a woman and a mother pf six children, she has taken special attention to the needs for the girl child as well as provision of education for all.
- INNOCENT CHUKWUMA
Born on the 1st October 1961 in Nnewi Anambra state, Nigeria, Mr innocent is Known as a business magnate and goal driven entrepreneur. With his primary and secondary education in his hometown, Uru-Umudim in Nnewi, Mr Innocent attempted to gain admission into the university but was unsuccessful. While waiting to gain admission, he became an apprentice under the uncle who then took him to Chief Romanus Eze to learn a trade in sale of motorcycle spare parts. On mastering the spare part trade, Mr Innocent returned to his uncle who then gave him some money to begin his own business. As a hard working individual, his little spare part business developed at a fast pace. In 1981, he then began trading Honda motorcycle parts under the name Innoson Nigeria limited. Since he imported the motorcycles, he then realised he could sell more bikes if he imported disassembled motorcycle and reassemble them in Nigeria. From becoming largest supplier of bikes in Nigeria, his decision to produce plastics components of bike resulted in his company becoming largest producer of crash helmet in west Africa as well the largest producer of plastics in Nigeria. Since state government began banning the use of motorcycles, Mr Innocent then delved into production of automobiles which birthed Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing (IVM) which was incorporated in 2007. Since then, IVM has recorded tremendous achievement as more and more Nigerians are beginning to purchase the made in ‘naija’ vehicles.
- CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHE
Globally recognized for her accomplishment in literacy as well as firm feminist stance, Chimamanda has attained a height in success many only dream of. Born on the 15th September, 1977, in Enugu, Nigeria, and then completed her primary and secondary education at the university of Nigeria secondary school, Nsukka, Nigeria. Being a voracious reader from a young age, she studied medicine for a while in Nsukka and then left for the united states where she studied communications and political science at Eastern Connecticut state university in 1997. She then received a master’s degree in creative writing from John Hopkins university. While a student in Eastern Connecticut, she wrote her first novel, Purple Hibiscus which garnered the commonwealth writers prize in 2005 for best first book (Africa). The novel also won her the 2005 commonwealth writers prize for first book (overall). Her second successful novel, Half of a yellow sun, became an international best seller and in 2007, it was awarded the orange Broadband prize for fiction as well as other high profiled awards. Known for her strong stance against racism as well as gender inequality, Chimamanda has been a constant advocate for equal rights of all. Her works and lectures around the world have resulted in her winning numerous awards with the most recent being an honorary degree from Yale university on May 20, 2019.