By Ayoola Olaitan
The annual MMS Woman of Fortune Hall of Fame (WoFHoF) Day is usually an event to celebrate exemplary women across transport, finance, oil and gas, aviation and other sectors; but the 2020 edition witnessed last week was a step higher than the norm.
Although the women haven’t been inducted into the prestigious MMS Hall of Fame, their profiles as well as dignitaries who graced the event to celebrate them re-emphasized the increasing contributions by women to the growth of several sectors and the subsequent high level appreciation.
The celebration of MMS UN Generation Amazons held in Lagos, themed; “The Third Paradise: A New Thinking on Women and Humanity” was dedicated to celebrate select women across the transportation, finance and other sectors in the country.
Interestingly, recent studies has proven that women invest around 90 percent of their income into their families and communities, thereby reducing poverty and improving health, safety, and education for everyone.
This fact was reiterated by the convener of MMS Hall of Famers’, Mr. Kingsley Anaroke in his welcome address describing the event as the “Third Paradise”, the third phase of humanity which is aimed at seeking a new world where people work together to bridge differences, find sustainable development, promote peace, create environmentally friendly way of thinking, gender equity as well as anchoring humanity as an immediate priority which can’t be realized without women.
Anaroke, who described the selected women as a bevy of beauty and brains with exceptional intelligence; noting that women have showed better traits in leadership and environmentally responsible.
MMS Plus gives account of the event with some exclusive interviews with some of the awardees.
Speaking with our correspondent, Mrs. Folake Wole-Soyinka who is the Deputy Director in charge of Corporate Strategy and Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), applauded the initiative and described the event as a recognition of women in the maritime sector.
Her words: “I’m delighted to be a part of it and urged women in the industry to show more commitment in service. I don’t think we have enough women anywhere or in any sector of the country. It’s part of our history that women are not educated but the narrative is beginning to change, women are now getting educated. Women are now going into different sectors of the economy and showing how much they can contribute.”
“I see young women putting in hard work, not saying that the jobs are for the men or I can’t stay out late because I’m a woman, rather they are out there doing their work contributing to the society. I see that the future looks bright for women.”
Stating that women perform dual roles working at home and carrying out at official duties, she noted that sometimes young women get married and have to stay home after birth which slows down their careers.
According to her, “we can create an opportunity for them where women can bring children to work and still work at the same time so they don’t lose so much from staying away, like maternity leave. Sometimes women have to stay home because they can’t find somebody to take care of the kids, but that shouldn’t change or stunt their careers”.
“I work with lots of women and I enjoy working with them. We bring a lot different perspectives to the workplace than men do. I want more women to get out there. I will champion hiring more women because women are able to multitask and see things differently than men. This enriches the workplace as far as I’m concerned and research has also proven this.”
Also speaking with MMS Plus, Mrs. Romaine Stella Nwakacha, a Nigerian female professional freight forwarder who has carved a niche for herself in the logistics and transport industry; expressed delight at the level of success attained by women in the freight forwarding sector.
Noting that women have also excelled in the country in different positions in recent times, Nwakacha appealed for more females show resilience by participating in nation building.
“We are no longer in the era where the maritime industry is seen as an occupation for fraudulent people or just the men. For instance, I am a member of WISTA and we are there promoting trade among women globally. I am encouraged that women are actually coming up to take responsibility by taking up positions to elevate others. I am proud of what the women are doing at this present dispensation,” she said.
The current Port Manager, Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Mrs. Olufunmilayo Olotu, who has helped to carry out reforms in these challenging times in the Nigerian port environment, was one of the awardees. She equally charged women to do more in their respective fields, positing that the event has shown that there is a reward for excellence.
“To me this award points to the fact that our efforts are not in vain. People are watching what we do and it is only a matter of time before excellence and dedication will be celebrated. This award has also set a point that there is a need to do more, a need to improve on what has been done and the beautiful thing is we are going out there to showcase womanhood,” she said.
Olotu who is passionate about humanity described it as rendering help to someone when it is needed the most and posited that women are at the fore front of humanity.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Chizoba C. Anyika, an Assistant Director and Head, Shipping Development, Apapa Port office of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and also the Secretary of Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria, urged women to get involved in service at every point they found themselves.
Anyika who is also the Publicity Secretary of the Chartered Institute of Transport Administration (CIoTA) Nigeria, said; “If women are not in service, they must endeavour to be involved in whatever way they could. They should strive to be fully involved in such a way to make a meaningful impact or make desired changes.”
Anyika expressed joy for been part of the awardees, saying that it was a day for women recognition and women should always be recognized and appreciated in the Nigerian society.
Speaking on the role of women in nation building, she applauded the functions played by women to combine academics, home chores, profession, and every other obligation.
“Women are made in a way that they can multitask. Women can build one another. It is a privilege actually to be one of the Amazons to receive today’s award because it means a lot to me”
She noted that there are lots of younger women that are unemployed that needs guidance, directions, and needs to be told on what it takes to be successful. She encouraged them not to be resilient and know that they can get things done.
Sharing her personal accomplishments in 2020, she said: “Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, I became the WISTA Nigeria Secretary against all odds because the competition was very fierce. I knew that I couldn’t afford to be complacent when it comes to getting a platform where I could operate. I also became the Publicity Secretary for CIoTA Nigeria. So, every woman needs a platform to operate, be it in the church where you find yourself with other young girls or women or in the office where you must have mentees to guide aright.”
Anyika admonished women to strike the crucial balance between their careers and successful management of their homes.
Other women who were celebrated include: Mrs. Rejoice Ndudinachi who is the Airport Manager, Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria; Pharm. (Mrs.) Ngozi Stella Obikili who joined Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) in November 1988, as Pharmacist Grade One, rose through the ranks and held several posts such as Coordinator Drug Information Centre, NPA; Chief Port Pharmacist of Lagos Port Complex, Apapa and Tin Can Island Port. In 2016, she was promoted to Assistant General Manager, Occupational Health.
Ngozi Oyewole, the Managing Director of Noxie Limited, a leading manufacturer and service provider in Nigeria with a major emphasis on local content and local manufacturing of bespoke and contemporary Office Furniture, Safety Gears and Equipment (PPE), Corporate Branding and Mrs. Victoria Tawhi-Michael Tarfa, a Senior Manager at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) who currently heads the Industry Associations and Port Promotion Unit at the Corporate and Strategic Communications Division.