KOKO’s Top 20 Nigerian Women Smashing The Glass Ceiling In Education

Education in Nigeria covers primary, secondary, and tertiary education which are established stages that children need to be pass-through in the educational system. education
While Nigeria can be said to be a developing country, many have come out to ensure education which is vital gets to all and sundry. The girl child is one who even in the midst of the various opportunities placed on ground for them to get educated, end up sometimes not even seeing the four walls of a classroom. As a girl child in Nigeria going to school is an achievement and coming out tops, is just worth celebrating. So here are 20 Nigerian women in education whose impact and height attained is remarkable.
20. Oby Ezekwesili
Obiageli Ezekwesili was born in born on the 28th of April 1963. Ezekwesili holds a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, and a Master of Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Before she obeyed the national clarion call, she worked as a chartered accountant in Deloitte and Touche and at the Center for International Development, Harvard. Her stint with the government began with her appointment as the first head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (popularly known as Due Process Unit). During her time, she was credited with changing and cleansing the method of public procurement or contracting at the Federal level in Nigeria. In June 2005, she was appointed the Minister of Solid Minerals (Mines and Steel), and again, she kicked off a reform programme that put Nigeria on the global platform as a mining investment destination. A year later, she became the Federal Minister of Education and in March 2007, she was appointed Vice president of the World Bank Africa region. The co-founder of Transparency International (TI) has been named in BBC’s 100 Women, Time 100 Most Influential People, New York Times 25 Women of Impact for 2015, Albert Einstein’s Foundation’s Genius:100 Visions of the Future. In 2014, she became a co-convener of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, the campaign addressed the kidnap of the 300 Chibok girls and received global recognition. Owing to her achievements and her “fight against corruption”, she was nominated a recipient of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. The Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) director Henrik Urdal described as her “an international champion in the fight against corruption… Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), leading the first-ever national implementation of the global EITI standards.
READ ALSO: KOKO Magazine: Top 20 Nigerian Women In Science 2022
19. Chinwe Obaji
Chinwe Obaji is a higher education lecturer, teacher, and education administrator who was appointed to head Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Education in June 2005 as Senior Minister and was succeeded a year later. She was born in Ezinihitte-Mbaise in Imo State. From 1980 she was a lecturer and administrator at Michael Okpara College of Agriculture, Umuagwo, Imo State in Nigeria. Chinwe Obaji, as Education Minister, tried to resuscitate the Inspectorate Division of the Federal Ministry of Education. She started the one-meal-a-day project in some pilot primary schools across the country and directed that Universities should administer the Post University Matriculation Examination to candidate students in an effort to bypass the inefficiency of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB). In April 2006, Chinwe Obaji detailed reforms to the design of the basic education system to ensure that every Nigerian child at least has access to basic education. The government set up a system of reprimanding parents who do not register their children for school and started to recruit 40,000 teachers for rural communities. She stated that the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program aimed at enhancing “unhindered access to quality basic education to the children, especially to the girl-child. Dr Chinwe Obaji was appointed Professor of International Education at the Voorhees College in the USA starting in 2007. it can be said that she helped the Nigerian educational system with the introduction of the post-UME screening exercise in tertiary institutions, restoring peace in the Ministry of Education, and sanitizing tertiary education.
18. Adeyoyin Adesina
Adeyoyin Adesina is an experienced educator and Chief Executive Officer of Corona Schools’ Trust Council. She has built her career in the educational sector where she has been impacting the lives of students and teachers alike for over 18 years. A degree holder in English Studies from the University of Ife, a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Lagos, and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (International) from the University of Nottingham, she is a mentor, coach, public speaker and very passionate about educating young minds. She is the Head Teacher of Corona School Lekki and she describes herself as a “change manager totally sold out to positively influencing and affecting every life in my school environment and beyond”.
READ ALSO: KOKO Magazine: Celebrating Nigeria’s 20 Women Medical Pioneers

17. Peju Layiwola

Layiwola (Adépéjú Olówu) was born on 29 September 1967 in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, is an Artist, sculptor, professor. She is currently a Professor of Art and Art history at the University of Lagos and has been described as a “multitalented artist. Her works can be found in the collection of Microsoft Lagos, Yemisi Shyllon Museum, Pan Atlantic, Lagos and homes of private collectors such as JP and Ebun Clark and the Obi of Onitsha. Layiwola started her career at the University of  Benin in 1991 and went on to the University of Lagos in 2002. She rose to the role of Acting head of Creative Arts at the University of Lagos from 2013 to 2015 and the head from 2017 to 2020. She pushed for an overhaul in the curricula and edited the first journal of the department. Under her tenure, the Lagoon gallery was established, a contemporary community engagement platform at the University of Lagos. Layiwola has led public advocacy for the return of artworks stolen from Benin during the Punitive Expedition of 1897. Some of her awards include The Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Arts Cultural Exchange grant (2021/2022), Life member and Distinguished Scholar Award, Lagos Studies Association, (2021), Honorary award and recognition by the state of Arkansas- Ambassador of Goodwill Award, State of Arkansas (2019), Nominated Tyson Scholar, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas Fall Semester (2019-2020), African Multiple Cluster of Excellence, University of Bayreuth Grant, 2020, African Multiple Cluster of Excellence, University of Bayreuth, Germany grant (2019-2020).

16. Olutoyin Mejiuni

Olutoyin Mejiuni is an adult educator whose work focuses on the political dimensions of adult education, women’s learning, and women’s concerns in teaching-learning interactions and contexts. She holds a Ph.D. in Adult Education, and she is an associate professor in the Department of Continuing Education at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. She has contributed to the International Encyclopedia of Adult Education; Widening Access to Education as Social Justice; Handbook of Transformative Learning: Theory, Research and Practice, and has published in JENDA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. She is a co-founder of Women Against Rape, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Exploitation (WARSHE), a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization that supports and educates survivors and potential victims of sexual violence and abuse.

15. Temitope Adeyemi
Temitope Adeyemi at 26 became Unilag’s youngest Ph.D. holder in Botany. Not only that, she is the youngest to be produced at the University of Lagos and Nigeria. Coming out with flying colours in academics is not new to Temitope Adeyemi, as she graduated with first-class in the Department of Botany of the university in her first degree.14. Chinenye Egbo
Chinenye Egbo holds the record for the youngest lecturer at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, (ESUT). She is currently 24 and an indigene of Enugu State. She is not your regular 24-year-old as she is instinctively brilliant and endearing. She bagged first class in Guidance and Counselling after which she proceeded to attain her Masters in the same field. It was after her Masters that she started applying for jobs and was employed by the Enugu State University of Science and Technology. This rising star is currently pursuing her doctorate and hopes to attain a professorship in no distant time. Chinenye doesn’t only teach at the University. She also volunteers to teach in Primary and Secondary Schools pro bono, free of charge.13. Adenike Akinsemolu

Adenike Akinsemolu is a passionate environmental educator and author of numerous studies, which have appeared in reputable publications. Her passion for the environment propelled her to study Environmental Microbiology at doctoral level. In order to make environmentalism a part of the everyday experience of Nigerians, Adenike started the Green Campus Initiative. This initiative began at the Adeyemi College Campus, a college of Obafemi Awolowo University, where she is a lecturer. By creating Green ambassadors on college campuses across Nigeria, Adenike’s movement aims to positively impact the ways in which Nigerian youth incorporate green living into all elements of their lives. In 2016, the Green Campus Initiative transitioned into the Green Institute, the first Nigerian research institution that subsidizes college tuition costs through a waste management program while training leaders that will systematically transform attitudes about environmentalism in Africa’s most populated and polluted country. Adenike also founded the Girl Prize, which provides financial and mentorship support for young Nigerian secondary school girls with an interest in the sciences. She is currently an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society and a Robert Bosch Stiftung Young Researcher Awardee.

12. Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika

Abgail Ogwezzy-Ndisika is the first female Professor of Mass Communication in the history of the University of Lagos. Professor Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika holds a B.A. in Linguistics, University of Port-Harcourt; PGD, MSc in Mass Communication, University of Lagos (Unilag), M.A. in Gender and Development, University of Sussex, England; and Ph.D. in Communication Arts, University of Ibadan. Professor Ogwezzy-Ndisika started her career as an academic in the Department of Mass Communication, the University of Lagos on March 22, 2001, as a Lecturer II and rose to the rank of a Professor, on August 11, 2016. She is the first female Professor of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos; at different times, she had served as the Head of this Department. A British Chevening Scholar and an International Development Consultant, she was the best graduating student in the Department of Linguistics, University of Port Harcourt. Her work experience reveals versatility and covers so many areas of human endeavour. Indeed, she has an enviable track record of work experience, a sure reservoir to gain immensely from. Her training in Linguistics, Mass Communication, and Gender and Development equipped her with the conceptual, analytical, and practical skills needed to deal with sundry issues. As an International Development Consultant, she has worked on multi-sector projects and with a number of international organisations across Nigeria. At present, she is a consultant on Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC); Gender and Communication; Media and Communication; Public Relations (PR); Advertising; and Management. She also serves as an External Collaborator/Expert on projects. Some of her achievements include Best Graduating Student, Department of Linguistics and Communication, University of Port Harcourt (University Convocation Merit Award), 1992, Future Creative Leaders Academy (FCLA) Best Teacher of the year in 2018, a competition, sponsored by the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Member, Superbrands Nigeria Council, Monday, February 17, 2020 – Till Present, Member, Board of Trustees, International Press Institute (IPI), Nigerian Chapter Wednesday, March 24, 2020 – Till Present, Vice-Chairperson, Parents Teachers Association (PTA) of Saint Gregory’s College, Lagos.
11. Funmi Ilori
When Funmi stormed the yards of Lagos and its streets with a mobile library, many people were in awe and many more children were encouraged to read. Funmi drives her vehicles – which are filled with books from homes to homes, schools, and communities to teach little children and encourage them to read. Funmi believes that it is only readers who lead and she wants to cultivate the habit of reading in little children. She is an educational psychologist/consultant and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of iRead Network Africa, the first innovative and fully integrated ‘books on wheels’ for children in Nigeria, bridging literacy gaps and enhancing education for the African child. This rising star is passionate about growing a reading generation of exemplary leaders and her long-term dream is to build the largest children’s library in Africa on wheels.

10. Folawe Omikunle

Folawe Omikunle graduated from Babcock University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s Degree in International Law and Diplomacy. Upon completion of her Master’s degree at the Diplomatic Academy of London, University of Westminster in 2010, she returned to Nigeria and took up an appointment as a School Administrator at Kradle Academy, a Montessori Pre-school in Lagos, Nigeria. Folawe began to think of education inequity as a systemic problem while working as an Administrator, through an experience where an orphaned child was enrolled at her school. In her journey to contribute to the education sector in Nigeria beyond the school setting, Folawe joined the Association of Private Educators in Nigeria (APEN) in 2013 as a Coordinator, to seek a platform that would enable her to improve the quality of education for marginalized children. After two months at APEN, she was promoted to Executive Secretary – a position in which she planned and led several teacher training workshops and professional development programs for educators, and cultivated relationships with key government and education stakeholders. In 2015, Folawe joined Teach For Nigeria as the Program Manager in its early stages. She quickly transitioned to become the CEO in 2016, leading the start-up, planning, and development of the organization. Folawe has dedicated her professional life to tackling the challenges in the education sector in Nigeria.

9. Motunrayo Kafilat Oyaremi

Oyaremi Motunrayo Kafilat (Bakare) hails from and was bred in Lagos State and she is the first niqabi Muslimah to bag Ph.D. in the University of Ibadan. Her father is late Alhaji Uzamat Adekunle Alani Bakare while her mother is Alhaja Rizqoh Arike Bakare. She spent her early life with her late grandmother, Alhaja Khalilat Omolola Lawal who died while she was rounding up her Ph.D. programme. She had her primary education at African Church Primary School, Ifako Ijaye, Lagos while she had her secondary education at Lagos African Church Grammar School, Ifako Ijaye, Lagos. The 39-year-old had graduated from the institution’s department (UI) of theatre arts in 2005, going home with a federal government scholarship as the best graduating student. She would later enroll for a postgraduate diploma in education after which she bagged a master’s degree in early childhood education. It took her six sessions to complete her Ph.D. program. Her strengths as earlier stated are Allah’s rahma and her resolution to succeed against all odds. She is a student of Mahadul Arabiyy (Arabic Institute of Nigeria). But she had to take a leave to complete her Ph.D. and then go back to complete her Arabic classes in Class Eight. She also did a Tajweed programme at Thaqoffiy (Arabic School Civilization) Agbowo, Ibadan. Her daily routine starts mostly with mid-night prayer (Tahaajjud), Solatul Duha, reading from the Quran, going to UI, going to her school; Milestone School, Ibadan. A playwright, she has written a number of children’s books majorly play, etc. She runs a Nursery and Primary School; Milestone School Ibadan.

8. Jumoke Oduwole

Jumoke Oduwole was born in Lagos State, Nigeria where she completed her primary and secondary education. In 1998, she graduated with a LL.B degree in Law from the University of Lagos and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1999. She holds a LL.M degree in Commercial law which she obtained from the University of Cambridge in 2000 as a DFID-Cambridge Commonwealth Trust scholar. In 2007, Jumoke graduated from Stanford University where she received a master’s degree in International Legal Studies and later a doctorate degree in International Trade and Development from the same institution. In 2000, Jumoke had a stint with FCMB Capital Markets as an investment banker until 2003. In 2004, she got employed as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Lagos where she currently serves as a member of the senate committee and as a researcher. In 2012, Jumoke was selected to attend the BMW Foundation Europe-Africa Young Leaders Forum. Her interest in youth development-related issues led her to the co-founding of an NGO called “No Limit” with the view of inspiring and imparting leadership values in Nigerian youths. She was also selected as an associate fellow by the African Leadership Institute for the Archbishop Desmond Tutu Fellowship in 2013. In 2013, Jumoke Oduwole was appointed as the 2013-2015 Prince Claus Chairholder, a Visiting Professorship of development and equity in honour of the late Prince Claus of The Netherlands by the Curatorium then chaired by H.M. Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. In April 2015 she convened an inaugural Prince Claus Chair Roundtable in Lagos, Nigeria on the sidelines of the 3rd Biennial African International Economic Law Network hosted by Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos; she also convened a second Roundtable in the Hague in the same year. In January 2016, Jumoke was appointed Senior Special Assistant to the President on Industry, Trade and Investment.  Some of her achievements include; PEBEC team enabling Nigeria’s move up an unprecedented 39 places in the World Bank’s flagship Doing Business Report over three years, Nigeria has twice been named a top 10 global reformer twice in the last three report cycles by the World Bank, among other notable achievements across all arms and levels of government.
7. Koko Kalango
Koko Kalango is the founder of Rainbow Book Club who has great passion for the literary resurgence of the country and is interested in getting “people back to the good old fashioned habit of reading books to improve our society.” She was the Project Director of UNESCO World Book Capital 2014. She has over 30 years of work experience in education, communication, and administration. Koko has worked in Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and as a volunteer in the United States of America. Koko has compiled and edited 2 Books: ‘Nigerian Literature’, A Coat of Many Colours – an anthology of 50 writers n 50 years, with forward by President Goodluck Jonathan (2012); ‘African Literature, A Coat of Many Colours’ – an anthology of 50 authors in 50 years of the African Union (2015) with foreword by Chief Emeka Anyaoku. She also co-edited ‘100 Years Around Nigeria (2014), an anthology of stories by Nigerian Children’, ‘100 Years around Port Harcourt, an anthology of stories by children of Rivers State (2014)’. She is also the author of an annual Daily Christian devotional, ‘Colours of Life’. Koko Kalango has represented Nigeria on various international platforms including Poland World Book Capital 2016, Incheon World Book Capital 2015, Bangkock World Book Capital 2013, Edinburgh Book Fair in 2010, and Kirby Smith youth exchange programme in Tucson Arizona, USA, in 1985.
6. Prof. Nnenna Oti
Prof. Nnenna Oti  8th Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO). Nnenna Nnannaya Oti (born 15 November 1958) is a Nigerian professor and the Vice-Chancellor of Federal University of Technology Owerri. This amazon was born in Afikpo North, Ebonyi State, Nigeria. She received a B. Agric. in soil science from the University of Nigeria, finishing in first-class also receiving a master’s degree in social science with a focus on soil biology and biochemistry from the same University of Nigeria. She preceded to Catholic University, Leuven where she received a postgraduate diploma in irrigation engineering, earning a distinction. She received a doctorate degree in soil and environmental conservation from the Federal University of Technology Owerri. Oti is a three-time head of the department of soil science and technology in the school of agricultural and agriculture technology at the Federal University of Technology Owerri. She is a past chairman of Gender Policy Unit and the immediate past dean of the post-graduate school in her second tenure. She is a professor of soil science and environmental conservation. On 13 April 2021, Oti was elected as the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology Owerri making her the first female Vice-Chancellor of the institution and an immediate past deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic.

5. Kaletapwa G. Farauta

Professor Kaletapwa G. Farauta, the current vice-Chancellor of Adamawa State University, was born on the 28th November 1965 at Numan. She hails from Numan Local Government Area of Adamawa State. She attended Numan II Primary School, Numan from 1973-1979, and went to Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Yola from 1979 to 1983. She had a National Certificate in Education (NCE) from Federal College of Education (FCE) Yola, in 1987, a B.Sc. (Agricultural Education) from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (1989), M.Sc. (Agricultural Extension) from the same University (1995) and a PhD (Agricultural Technology Education (2008) from the Federal University of Technology, now Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola. Prof. Kaletapwa G. Farauta did her one year of National Service at the College of Agriculture Akure, Ondo State (1990-1991), during 1991 service year she taught Government Girls Secondary School (GGSS) Yola from May to October 1991 from where she started teaching and research at the Federal University of Technology now the Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola in October 1991 to date. She was the Executive Chairman of Adamawa State Universal Basic Education Board (ADSUBEB) from July –October 2014. Prof. Farauta served as the Honourable Commissioner, Adamawa State Ministry of Higher Education from 28th August 2015 to 17th July 2017 where merit and an excellent record of service led to her appointment as the Acting Vice-Chancellor. Since her assumption of office, the fortunes of the university have since assumed better dimensions. She held various academic and administrative responsibilities at the Modibbo Adama University and Technology Yola, among which are: Coordinator, Agricultural Education Department, 1993-2005, Teaching Practice Co-Ordinator, 1995 – 2000, Supervision of Under/Post Graduate Projects, 2000-date, Projects Co-ordinator, 2007-2009, Chairman, Convocation feeding Committee, 2009, Chairman, Examination Malpractice Committee, School of Science and Technology Education, 2009, Acting Dean, School of Technology and Science Education, 2009-2010, Head, Vocational Education Department, 2010-2012, Post Graduate Co-ordinator, Vocational Education Department, 2015. Chairman, Vocational Education Welfare Committee, 2016, Member, Lectures, Awards and Prizes Committee, 2017, Member, University Development Committee, Member, Vice-Chancellor’s/Principal Officers send-forth Committee, Member, Committee on Assessment of University Secondary School, Coordinator, Education Programmes, Centre for Distance Learning, Member, School of Technology and Science Education (STSE) Board, Member, Centre for Distance Learning Academic Board, Member, Vocational Education Academic Board.

4. Prof. Florence Obi

Florence Banku Obi is a Nigerian academic, author, and professor of special education. She is the 11th substantive vice-chancellor of the University of Calabar and the first female vice-chancellor since the inception of the institution. Florence Banku Obi hails from Boki local government area in Cross River State. She began her academic career as an Assistant Lecturer at the Institute of Education, the University of Calabar in March 1990 (30 years ago). Two years after her appointment, with her utmost desire to foster a bold and innovative spirit in faculty teaching and academic excellence, she won a 6-months postgraduate scholarship to Jordan-Hill College of Education, Glasgow, Scotland, under the World University Service (WUS) World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) in a keenly contested interview for staff of the Institute of Education. On her return from the United kingdom, she was placed in charge of the WWF/NCF funded schools and Community Education Programmes.  She subsequently facilitated the development of the degree programme in Environmental Education of the University, which has since resulted in the establishment of a full-fledged and flourishing Department of Environmental Education. As Dean, she pioneered the take-off of 22 affiliate programmes of the Federal College of Education, Obudu, Cross River State, and the Federal College of Education, Kastina-Ala, Benue State to the faculty of Education of the University of Calabar. Professor Florence Banku Obi had also served as the Chairperson of the University of Calabar International Demonstration School (formerly called University of Calabar International Secondary School) where she left lasting physical legacies to her credit. Following her credibility, integrity, and commitment to service, she was voted as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics) by the University Senate. As DVC Academics, she was also a member of the University Governing Council, where she brought her wealth of experience to bear in the growth and development of the University. Her educational timeline from includes St Bridget’s Primary School, Ogep Osokom, Boki, Cross River State, F.S.LC. 1969; St Thomas’s Teachers Training College, Ogoja; Cross River State, T.C. 11 1983; University of Jos, Jos Nigeria; B.Ed(Hons) Special Education, 1988; M.Ed. Special Education, 1990; Jordan Hill College of Education, Glasgow-Scotland; PGCEE, 1993. University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria; Ph.D. Psychology of Education, 2002. Professor Florence Banku Obi has served as an Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, and member of Cross River State Executive Council, 2007. Professor Obi is a recipient of many Awards/Honours, including the Student Union Government, University of Calabar, “Award as the most student-friendly Dean of the Faculty” in 2014.3. Prof. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello

Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello is a Nigerian academic. She is a professor of physiology and the 9th Vice-Chancellor of Lagos State University. She was born in Lagos on the 23rd of April, 1964, and hails from Owo in Ondo State. She attended Anglican Girls Primary School in Surulere from 1970 to 1974 and Lagos Anglican Girls Grammar School in Surulere from 1974 to 1979. Prof. Ibiyemi then attended Methodist Girls High School in Yaba and Lagos State College of Science and Technology, Ikosi Campus, where she earned her “A” level diploma in 1982.  This goal-getter attended the University of Ibadan from 1982 to 1985, earning a BSc (Hons) in Physiology and earned an MSc in 1987 from the University of Lagos (Physiology). She also earned a Ph.D. in Physiology from the University of Lagos in 1998, following a six-month research fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, in 1994. Ibiyemi Olatunji-Bello has held a variety of administrative and professional positions at UNILAG and LASU. Between 2000 and 2003, she served as Chairman of the Biomedical Communications Management Committee and as a member of the Medical Education Committee. From 1999 to 2004, she served as an elected member of the Academic Board of the College of Medicine of the University of Lagos (CMUL). From June 2001 to September 2007, she was a member of the Medilag Consult of the University of Lagos College of Medicine and a member of the University of Lagos Women Society Nursery School Board from December 2000 to March 2005. Until her election as LASU’s first female Deputy Vice-Chancellor, she served as the department’s first substantive head. She progressed through the ranks of Assistant Lecturer (1988-1991), Lecturer II (1991–1996), Lecturer I (1996–1999), Senior Lecturer (1999–2005), and Associate Professor (2005–October 1, 2007) at the University of Lagos, Idiaraba’s College of Medicine. On October 2, 2007, she began her tenure as the First Professor of Physiology at Lagos State University College of Medicine. The following year, she was elected Deputy Vice-Chancellor for a two-year term. Professor Yemi Olatunji-Bello was re-elected to a second term as Deputy Vice-Chancellor on January 27, 2011. Between January 2011 and October 31, 2011, she served as acting Vice-Chancellor of LASU.
2. Anne-Marie Imafidon
Anne-Marie Osawemwenze Ore-Ofe Imafidon MBE HonFREng is a British computing, mathematics, and language child prodigy. She is one of the youngest to pass two GCSEs in two different subjects while in primary school. Imafidon founded and became CEO of Stemettes in 2013, a social enterprise promoting women in STEM careers. Anne-Marie Imafidon was born in 1990 in the United Kingdom. Aged 11, she was the youngest girl ever to pass A-level computing and was just 20 years old when she received her Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science from the University of Oxford. Since then, she has forged an enviable CV, including positions at Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard, and Deutsche Bank. Then there are the Honorary Doctorates from Open University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Kent University, Bristol University & Coventry University, and an Honorary Fellowship at Keble College, Oxford. She is also a Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland and sits on the Council of Research England. It is this wealth of experience and pioneering spirit that led her to co-found the Stemettes, an award-winning social initiative dedicated to inspiring and promoting the next generation of young women in the STEM sectors. Since its inception 9 years ago, it has exposed almost 60,000 young people across Europe to Anne-Marie’s vision for a more diverse and balanced science and tech community. In recognition of her influence and achievements, Anne-Marie was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours for services to young women and STEM sectors. In June 2017, she became an Honorary Fellow at Keble College, Oxford, and in 2020 was Dr. voted the most influential woman in tech in the UK by Computer Weekly.
1. Prof. Lilian Salami
Lilian Imuetinyan Salami is a Nigerian academic and vice-chancellor of the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria. She is the second female vice-chancellor of the university after Grace Alele-Williams in 1985. She was born in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria on the 8th of August, 1956. Her early schooling started in Jos but was affected by the Nigerian Civil War. Her primary and secondary education was then completed in Edo State. She obtained her West African School Certificate (O’ levels) from Baptist High School, Benin City. In 1975 she travelled to the United States of America to the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point Campus, and had her summer schooling at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul. She later transferred to North Dakota State University, Fargo after she got married in 1977. There she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in 1979 in Home Economics and Master’s degree in Nutrition in 1982. She returned back to Nigeria in 1983 and enrolled to serve in the National Youth Service Corps in Benin City. Upon completion of the national service, she made a brief start of her teaching career with the then University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo, Nigeria. Between 1985 and 1994 she lectured Nutrition at the University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. This was interjected when she gained admission into the University of Nigeria, Nsukka for a doctoral degree in Human Nutrition in 1989 which she obtained in 1991. In 1994, she was appointed a Senior Lecturer with the University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria, and acted as a Head of Department between 1996 and 1998, and rose to the rank of Professor in 2005. In her desire to be well-grounded in teaching, she gained and obtained a Postgraduate Diploma in Education in 2001 from the University of Benin. In 2004, Prof. Salami proceeded to the Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa as a post-doctoral fellow which she obtained in 2005. She has held numerous positions at the prestigious University of Benin, including Director of General Studies, Part-time programme, and Chairman of the Board of University of Benin Integrated Enterprise. She has also served as a member of many other committees. She is the immediate past Dean of the Faculty of Education and was a member of the apex body of the University, the Governing Council. Prof. Salami has taught numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses in Home Economics and Nutrition. She has successfully supervised over 40 masters and 15 Ph.D. students.  She is a fellow of Nutrition Society of Nigeria and the International Federation of Home Economics/Home Professional Association of Nigeria. As an administrator, she has held numerous administrative positions at the University of Benin and is currently the Director-General/Chief Executive of the National Institute for Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA, Ondo). She has to her credit over 75 peer-reviewed articles in national and international Journals. Outside academics, she is a member of the Advisory council to his royal majesty, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Ukukpolokpolo, Ogidigan, Oba Ewuare II.
Notable Mention
3. Beatrice Aboyade
Beatrice Aboyade is a Nigerian librarian and retired professor of Library studies at the University of Ibadan. Described as a pioneer in Librarianship in Nigeria by the World Encyclopedia of Library and Information Services, Aboyade has worked in the University of Ibadan and University of Ile-Ife libraries. She is noted for delivering university library expertise to rural Nigerian users. She was born on the 24th of August 1935, in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. Aboyade had her primary education at Christ Church Primary School, Porogun, Ijebu Ode. She proceeded to Queen’s College, Lagos, for her secondary education between 1948 and 1951. Between 1952 and 1953, she completed her high school at Queen’s College, Ede. She earned her first degree in English from the University of Ibadan in 1960, then obtained further degrees from the University of Michigan in 1964. In 1970, she completed her doctorate from the University of Ibadan. She was married to Prof. Ojetunji Aboyade, professor of economics, from 1961 until his death in 1994.
2. Kofoworola Ademola
Oloori Kofoworola “Kofo” Aina Ademola, Lady Ademola MBE, MFR, OFR ( born 21 May 1913 – 15 May 2002) was a Nigerian educationist who was the president of the national Council of Women Societies in Nigeria and was the head of the women’s organization from 1958 to 1964. She was the first black African woman to earn a degree from Oxford University studying at St Hugh’s College and also an author of children’s books. She was the first president of the National Council of Women Societies in Nigeria, the first Nigerian graduate teacher in Queen’s College, the first female member, and later chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the United Bank for Africa and a member of the Nigerian Scholarship Board.
1. Grace Awani Alele-Williams
Grace Allele was born in, Warri, Delta State on 16th December 1932 and was the first female vice-chancellor in Nigeria. She attended Government School, Warri, and Queen’s College, Lagos, and proceeded to the University College (now the University of Ibadan) and later to the University of Vermont (U.S.) and the University of Chicago (U.S.). Grace attended primary school in Warri and Queen’s College, Lagos. She was admitted to the University College Ibadan in 1949 and earned an Honours Degree in Mathematics from London University in 1954. She obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics. Grace Alele began her teaching career in 1950 when she was teaching Mathematics every summer vacation at Hussey College, Warri Nigeria. After she completed her first degree, she worked as a Mathematics teacher at Queen’s School, Ede, Osun State, between 1954 and 1957. Later she left for the USA to obtain a master’ degree from the University of Vermont, Burlington. She also taught Mathematics as Graduate Assistant in the Mathematics Department whilst studying Education. In 1959, she obtained a master’ in Education and continued in the dual role of teaching mathematics and studying Education, using a Graduate Fellowship Award to the University of Chicago Illinois later in 1959. By serving on various committees and boards, Alele-Williams had made useful contributions to the development of education in Nigeria. She was chairman of the curriculum review committee, former Bendel State 1973-1979. From 1979 to 1985, she served as chairman of the Lagos State Curriculum Review Committee and Lagos State Examinations Boards. Grace Alele participated in the changes that took place, in the field of mathematics and education: She became the chairman of the curriculum review committee, the introduction of new text, and improved teacher education, aimed at maintaining America’s position as a world leader. Her hard work paid off as she was conferred with a Doctorate Degree in Comparative Education from the University of Chicago in March 1963. This made history in Nigeria as she was the first Nigerian female to have a Ph.D. Degree. On her return to Nigeria in 1963, Dr. Alele began her academic career as a post-doctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Mathematics and in the Institute of Education at the University of Ibadan. She introduced her research in the teaching of modern mathematics into a few schools in Ibadan and in Lagos. This pacesetter is the first Nigerian woman to earn any doctorate in mathematics and the first woman appointed as vice-chancellor of a Nigerian university (University of Benin), she can be said to be a woman of many firsts.
Trending video of the day;

Photo Credit: Getty

Leave a Reply