By Kenneth Jukpor
The Secretary, Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, Mrs. Chizoba Anyika; a former Chairman of First Bank PLC, Mrs. Ibukun Awosika; Nollywood screen goddess, film producer and singer, Juliet Ibrahim and several prominent women were celebrated and decorated at the recent African Women Summit.
The event which took place at the prestigious Sheraton Hotel in Abuja on Thursday, November 18th, 2021 assembled notable women who have made significant contributions in the continent in their various fields of endeavour.
Anyika, who is also the National Publicity Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA) Nigeria joined other dignitaries to receive the Impact Personality of the year award of excellence.
Other women who were honoured with the award of excellence include; House of Representatives Deputy Chief Whip and member representing Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia State, Hon. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, former first lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Lordina Dramani Mahama, and Hon. Francisca Oteng Mensah, the youngest member of Ghana Parliament.
Dr. Amb. Utchay Odims, the Co-founder Global Initiative for Africa was also an award recipient even though she doubled as co-host.
The event was hosted by a renowned TV personality, Adaora Onyechere of African Independent Television, AIT.
Meanwhile, the winner of 2021 Big Brother Naija reality show, Hazel Oyeze Onoduenyi, popularly known as White Money flagged off 1000 women for training after the launching of Africa Women Impact Training Academy.
Also in attendance were, Her Excellency Aisha Babangida Chairman Better Life program for the African rural women and Dr Patience Ndidi Key; Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Chambers of Commerce USA, among others.
The event which commenced with panel discussion x-rayed the participation of women in leadership, politics, social media impact and ways of maximizing the social space to accommodate more women, financial inclusion among other issues bordering on the development of women in the continent.
During the discourse, the panellists shared their experiences on how they took actions against all odds and rose to great heights in their various vocations.
One of the topical issues at the event was the discussion on the importance of harnessing Africa’s phenomenal female leadership potentials which is critical to building the continent.
Speaking on the event, Anyika said, “It highlighted the transformative qualities of African women in leadership celebrating the leading women to reflect on the challenges African women are facing by sharing their thoughts on how they can more effectively encourage and empower themselves.”
The speakers echoed that when given the opportunity, African women bring to bear important leadership qualities such as courage, compassion, character, and empathy. They are also able to succeed with managing complex situations because they are authentic, collaborative, rigorous, results-oriented, and sacrificial, stressing that these are attributes that society needs today.
Most of the speakers alluded to the fact that women are great influential voices required to inspire and positively influence the current continental leadership, adding that their participation and involvement in decision-making processes is critical to development.
While celebrating her award, Anyika thanked the organizers and acknowledged that African women are passionate, creative and resourceful and can bring distinct skills, qualities and perspectives to any given role, therefore they should be empowered for impactful leadership.
Mrs. Anyika believes that female executives, professionals and leaders should come together under distinct platforms to further advance the inclusion of women for the benefit of the continent, opining that under these platforms, they will harness the synergies of alliance.
She, however, urged all participants to crystallize the lessons learnt at the summit and from their experiences, into actions that will bring systemic change for Africa.