Igala community honours 12 ‘women of substance’
Executive director of programmes at the Nigerian Television Authority, Eugenia Abu, was among 12 women of Igala origin given merit award as ‘women of substance’ on Tuesday.
Organisers of the first-ever Igala Women of Substance Merit Award in Abuja said the award is to celebrate the contributions of women to development.
It is the first time in the 20 years of “Who’s Who in Igalaland” that women are the focus of awards.
Hilary Amodu, a trustee of the “Who’s Who in Igalaland”, said the award recognised women “who have excelled in their field of endeavour and contributed to the development of Igala land.”
Speaking at the award dinner, Amodu said it was to spur sociocultural growth and development in science, education and social infrastructure with its most prominent indigenes leading as examples.
Among requirements for the award are that the recipients must have made remarkable contribution to their community, maintained high sense of integrity, had positive impact on the community, promoted the cause of Igala land, projected its image at home and abroad and had grassroots endorsement for their nomination for the award, according to Amodu.
He said the thrust is to strive to do more to empower their communities.
Abu was recently voted Nigeria’s ‘Most Inspiring Woman’ and is said to have mentored and taught more than 200 television and radio broadcasters.
Other recipients are Dr Rosemary Abdullahi, Igalaland’s first female medical director and the second from northern Nigeria before she retired as a director;
Lami Amodu who once headed the Universal Basic Education Commission and is the first northern woman to head Queen’s College, Yaba and Aisha Ibrahim who made record as the first Igala girl at the college and currently head of operations at Tincan Island Port, Lagos.
Other recipients include Aisha Emeje, a former first lady of Kogi State and current advisor to the government on international relations and investment; Rekiya Abaji, Director of National Productivity Centre; Salamatu Eluma, executive director for Human Resources at Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria; and former head of Kogi State civil service, Sabina Attah.
The award for “women of substance” was also given to Lucy Ogbadu, who became the first professor from Igalaland in 1992 after earlier winning a mathematics prize for five consecutive years and rose to become director-general of the National Biotechnology Development Agency; Aisha Isah, legal adviser to Dangote Flour Mills; Azalea Kadiri, deputy general manager, marketing, Federal Housing Authority; and Justice Rakiya Okpanachi, a judge of the High Court, Ajaokuta before her retirement in 2013.
In a lecture, Director of National Broadcast Commission, Armstrong Idachaba, said perceptions and stereotypes have constantly cast women throughout history as oppressed, marginalised and relegated to the background of society.
“Their contributions are everywhere to see but they are not celebrated,” he said.
“The Bini Kingdom (which shares affinity with Igalaland) celebrates Idia for singlehandedly leading a war against the Igala nation (whose first monarch, or Attah, was a woman) and has an ivory mask in her honour, but the beauty of it is that she’s celebrated,” Idachaba said.