Meet Our 100 Most Influential Civil Society Leaders

Osayi Alile

Osayi Alile is a quintessential leader with over 20 years in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and the third sector with a wide array of experience covering International Development, Business and Philanthropic Management, Fundraising, and Sustainability.

Udo Jude Ilo

He is the Country Officer and Head of Nigeria Office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Before joining OSIWA Udo worked as a Country Manager for the Forum of Federations- a network for promoting federal practices across the globe with presence in 6 continents.

Bukky Shonibare

Bukky Shonibare is the Founder/Executive Director of Invictus Africa, where she promotes human rights and addresses inequalities affecting vulnerable people (especially women and girls) through evidence-based advocacies, legal reviews, and capacity development.

Samson Itodo

The Nigerian youth leader, Samson Itodo, leads the ground-breaking coalition to reduce the age young people can run for elective office in Nigeria. He is currently the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa.  Under his leadership as Executive Director for Yiaga Africa

Clement Nwankwo

Clement Nwankwo, is a Nigerian pro-democracy and human rights activist. PLAC hosts the secretariat of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) and is a member of its steering committee. Clement Okechukwu Nwankwo born …

Dr. Otive Igbuzor

Dr. Otive Igbuzor is the Founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD). He was one time International Head of campaigns of ActionAid International and Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria.
He was also an..

Auwal Ibrahim

AUWAL IBRAHIM MUSA Rafsanjani  is a Political Scientist from Bayero University Kano-Nigeria, with many international courses. He is a Human Rights, Anti-Corruption, Policy, and Legislative Advocacy Activist interested in the positive transformation of Nigeria and Africa. 

Crystal Chigbu

Crystal Chigbu, is the founder of one of the biggest NGOs in Nigeria in terms of direct and indirect impact. IREDE Foundation started from her personal experience with an amputee child In 2012 IREDE Foundation was established to bring hope, joy, and purposeful living to all children living with limb loss,

Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi

Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi is a Nigerian lawyer and civil rights activist  She is the founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), a non-governmental maternal and reproductive health advocacy organization

Bunmi Dipo-Salami

Bunmi Dipo-Salami is a Nigeria-born feminist, development strategist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Chief Executive at PLEG Centre, a company that helps to enhance the capacity of leaders in Nigeria and across Africa through a multi-

Benson Chinedu OLUGBUO

Benson Chinedu OLUGBUO holds a Ph.D in Public Law from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with more that fifteen years post call experience in international criminal justice.

Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti

Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti established “Girl Watch”; an organization aimed at educating young Nigerian girls from poor backgrounds in the early 1990s. In 2006, she was appointed a Civil Society advisor to the World Bank.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi  She is currently CEO, Above Whispers Limited, specializing in leadership development for women, and she runs an online community called Abovewhispers.com, where she writes a weekly column called “Loud Whispers”.

Prof Olanrewaju Olaniyan

Olanrewaju Olaniyan is a Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan. He has over 20 years of research, consulting and tertiary teaching experience in Health and Population Economics, Economics of education, poverty and 

Prof Labode Popoola

Professor Labode Popoola is a Professor of Forest Economics, born on 28 September, 1960. He graduated with Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1984 from the University of Ibadan. He had his Master of Science in Forest Economics and 

Sam Adeyemi

Sam Adeyemi has trained thousands of people in leadership for more than two decades. He has done this through the Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA), which has graduated over 40,000 people since 2002, and through seminars, workshops and conferences. He currently serves

Nike Adeyemi

Nike is an international speaker and Minister passionate about love, life, and purpose.  She is a global voice for love to nations. She teaches and demonstrates God’s love to individuals and communities, many are empowered to live amazing Among other initiatives, the ministry coordinates relief 

‘Gbenga Sesan

‘Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise working on digital inclusion and digital rights through its offices in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab

Hamzat Lawal

Hamzat Lawal (Hamzy!) is an activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with over nine years of experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns, and development policies

Oluseun Onigbinde

Oluseun Onigbinde (18 September 1985) is a Nigerian entrepreneur and open data analyst popularly known as the co-founder and Director of budgIT, a Nigerian civic startup. Oluseun Onigbinde is a fiscal transparency advocate and 

Yemi Adamolekun

‘Yemi currently serves as the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a non-partisan network of individuals and organizations committed to building a culture of good governance & public accountability in Nigeria through active 

Bekeme Masade-Olowola

Bekeme Masade-Olowola is a well-respected sustainability and communications entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur, she is the Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, a group made of a consulting firm, a think tank, and a training institute dedicated to 

Idayat Hassan

Idayat Hassan is Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an Abuja based policy advocacy and research organisation with a focus on deepening democracy and development in West Africa.  As its Director, she has overseen CDD’s rise from being unranked in 2013 to 11th out of 94 think

Eze Onyekpere

Eze Onyekpere is a lawyer with specialization in development law including electricity reforms, fiscal governance, human rights, and constitutional reforms. Called to the Bar in 1988, he has worked on electric power sector reforms, privatization, gender, and trade policy,  and liberalization of edu.

Victoria Ohaeri

Victoria Ohaeri is an SXSW 2013 honoree, Desmond Tutu Fellow and Harvard University alumni. In her 15 year-long legal career and involvement in social and economic rights research and advocacy, she has traversed Africa, Europe, North America and South America, leading research investigations,

Ayo Obe

Ayo Obe (née Ogunsola) is a legal practitioner and a partner, with Olasupo Shonibare, in the Lagos-based law firm, Ogunsola Shonibare.   She is a Trustee of Senegal’s Gorée Institute and of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.  In Nigeria, she is on the board of the Z.O.

Nkoyo Toyo

Nkoyo Toyo is a Nigerian civil rights activist and governance adviser.  In 1991, she founded Gender and Development Action (GADA) in Nigeria. With the return of civil governance to Nigeria in 1999, she became more involved with politics and government. During that time and now, she worked intensively to build 

Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli (MFR)

Ndidi is a social entrepreneur with over 21 years of experience in International Development and Business Management. She is the Founder of LEAP Africa an organization with a mission to develop dynamic, innovative 

Prof. Obafemi Ajibola

Prof. Obafemi Ajibola is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New Nigeria Foundation. He holds a first degree from the University of Ife; a doctorate degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-

David Obinna Anyaele

David Obinna Anyaele (ED, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)) David Obinna Anyaele is a disability rights activist, motivational speaker, and development consultant with over 15 years of experience, focusing on inclusion and rights of 

Simi Sanni Nwogugu

Mrs. Simi Nwogugu is the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa (JA Africa), which equips young Africans with financial literacy, entrepreneurship and employability skills for future success. JA Africa is a member of Junior 

Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode

Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode Founder and CEO, Murtala Muhammed Foundation Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode is a development specialist, international NGO expert, 

Dr Judith-Ann Walker

Dr Judith-Ann Walker is the full-time project Coordinator of all dRPCs programs. She holds master and phD in Development studies from the international institute of social studies, university of Erasmus, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and specializes

Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji

Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, a Social Entrepreneur in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Education Technology, Digital Transformation and Public Policy is named by Forbes as one of the 20 most Powerful Young Women in Africa. 

Rev. David Ugolor

David Ugolor is the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and  Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and also the Senior Advisor on Corruption and  Governance to Africa Bar Association (ABA). He has two Master degree on  Agricultural Economics and 

Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni

Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) was created in 2004 and registered as a non-governmental, non-profit 

Mr Olufemi Lijadu

Mr Olufemi Lijadu is the Founding Partner at Ukiri & Lijadu Barristers and Solicitors which specialises in Foreign Investment Law, Commercial Law, Banking & Finance Law, and Energy Law. He was the Consultant at Femi Lijadu & Co. from 

Dr. Abiola Tilley-Gyado

 A highly entrepreneurial senior health and development executive;  She have a distinguished career as a proactive Public Health Physician with 35+ years in the Health and Development industries representing governments and 

Otunba Dele Ajayi Smith

Otunba Dele Ajayi Smith strongly believes that bad leadership is the product of the nature of the citizens. In essence, the quality of the followership determines the leadership. Following this he founded African Citizens Development Foundation, a 

Betty Abah

Betty Abah is a Nigerian journalist, author and women and children’s rights activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, a child rights and development non-profit organization based in Lagos State which works with at-risk girls and other vulnerable children in slum

Hafsat Abiola-Costello

Hafsat Abiola-Costello,an internationally recognized figure in the field of human and civil rights, Hafsat Abiola-Costello works on promoting democracy in Nigeria and the empowerment of women and youth around the world. 

Dr Josephine Effah-Chukwuma

Dr Josephine Effah-Chukwuma (born 29 September 1966) is a Nigerian Development Specialist and advocate against domestic violence who founded the first battered women’s shelter in Nigeria – 

Saudatu Mahdi

Saudatu Mahdi is a Nigerian Women’s Right advocate. She is the Secretary General of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA). She has published over 20 books focusing on violence against women, women’s rights, Shari’a and 

Olufunke Baruwa

Olufunke Baruwa is a Nigerian gender and development practitioner, feminist and public speaker with a focus on gender, public policy and governance. For more than two decades, she has been at the forefront of social policies and reforms in Nigeria working

Iheoma Obibi

 She is a senior international technical adviser, experienced programme manager and researcher with many years of experience working directly in fragile environments, as well as at policy level with regional human rights entities and NGOs.

Osai Ojigho

Ms. Osai Ojigho (born 1976) is a lawyer, gender equality advocate, human rights expert with a special interest in the African Human Rights system, and currently, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. She has overseen and participated in advocacy and 

Ayisha Osori

Ayisha Osori is a Nigerian lawyer, author, international development consultant, journalist and politician known for her work on good governance, gender equality, women’s economic and political participation, and ending violence against 

Ejiro Joyce Otive-Igbuzor

Ejiro Joyce Otive-Igbuzor holds a PhD in Microbiology. She is a Gender and Monitoring and Evaluation expert and the founding ED of Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre 

Amina Oyagbola

Amina Oyagbola is a corporate director and versatile business leader, a former Human Resources and Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. With over 30 years experience working in key sectors of the economy including, legal consulting, 

Carolyn Seaman

Carolyn is a lawyer with almost 20 years’ experience advancing women and girls’ rights. She is a social entrepreneur, a tech evangelist, a filmmaker, a girl expert, and the founder of Girls Voices Initiative, a non-profit that educates and empowers girls and women to identify their voices and use it 

Adenike Adeyemi

Adenike Adeyemi has over 19 years development sector experience in non-profit management, enterprise development, education and youth enablement strategies. She currently leads Nigeria’s foremost business incubator and accelerator organisation,  FATE Foundation as the Executive Director.

Mrs Toyin Saraki

Mrs Toyin Saraki A Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Saraki is a Nigerian leader, advocate and philanthropist for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as socio-economic empowerment. Through WBFA, and working with a 

Dr. Tony Rapu

Dr. Tony Rapu is medical doctor, filmmaker, life coach and the Senior Pastor of the House of Freedom. His vision is to bring about developmental change to lives and communities by reaching out to different demographics through strategic interventions. 

Ada Agina-Ude

Ada Agina-Ude is a retired journalist with 20+ years of experience in journalism working with the federal ministry of information and culture, a gender development expert with 20 years of experience working with the Gender And Development Action (GADA). 

Thelma Ekiyor

Ms. Thelma Ekiyor has over 21 years’ experience working in the development sector, as an Impact Investor, donor, philanthropic advisor, and social entrepreneur. She has experience working in 22 African countries. She has pioneered, founded, and led several organisations and

Kingsley Bangwell, Ashoka Fellow

Executive Director of Youngstars Foundation, and Pastor of Power City International Church, Jos Plateau State Branch, is a Nigerian youth activist working on many fronts, and 

Mrs. Ekundayo Queenolia K.

Mrs. Ekundayo Queenolia Keshi has a strong passion for philanthropy which started over twenty years ago as she volunteered her services to non-profit organizations in various countries she lived in as a diplomat’s wife. She has 

Rev. John Patrick Ngoyi

John Patrick Ngoyi who is a Life Fellow of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the foremost environment NGO in Nigeria, has varied experience. He is the initiator and Director of the Justice, Development and Peace 

Dorothy Njemanze

I am an actress/producer/ OAP/ Events compere, humanitarian, investigative journalist and inspirational speaker dedicated to using entertainment media to fight abuse with the aim of achieving a zero tolerance for

Chinonye Edmund Obiagwu (SAN)

The Founding director and current National Coordinator He is the founding Director and later National Coordinator (1999) with executive responsibilities. He has

Abiodun Baiyewu

Abiodun is Global Rights’ Executive Director, whose work currently spans several portfolios, which include programmes on Access to Remedies, Women’s Rights, Natural Resource Governance, Civic Space Strengthening, and Security and Human Rights programs. 

Mma Odi

Mma Odi was Executive Director of BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, and Executive Director of the Rural Women’s Empowerment and Development Network. She served as Program Mentor for the European Union INSIDE Program, Assistant secretary General of the Nigerian Union 

Ene Obi

Ene Obi, 58, an activist and the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, who was born in Otukpo in the country’s Benue State, about what should happen next. Ene was among those who struggled for democracy in her youth she was imprisoned, detained and 

Lanre Arogundade

Lanre Arogundade, a media development specialist, is the Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria. IPC builds media capacities to strengthen democracy and development while it promotes freedom of 

Prof. Joy Ngozi Ezeilo

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo is a lawyer, feminist and scholar/activist. She earned a post graduate degree in law (LLM) from Queen Mary College, University of London, and a BL from the Nigerian Law School. She is a Senior Lecturer and 

Dr. Priscilla Mbarumun A.

Priscilla Mbarumun Achakpa, holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Business Engineering and Management (Bosnia and Herzegovina), M.SC Development Studies, Professional Certificate from

John Onyeukwu

John Onyeukwu, a four-time DCOP on large, fast-paced USAID programs across Nigeria, including in high-conflict areas in the northeast, excels at technical programming, developing and sustaining strong working relationships with stakeholders and project

Jibrin Ibrahim

Jibrin Ibrahim is the Director of Centre for Democracy & Development, a regional research, advocacy and training non-governmental organisation for West Africa. Previously, from 2000 to 2006, he was Nigeria Country Director of Global Rights.  Dr Ibrahim who is

Dr. Hussaini Abdu

A public intellectual, development and humanitarian specialist, activist and leader. Passionate about social justice and committed to human and environmental development. Extensive International strategic 

Adepeju Jaiyeoba

Adepeju is an award-winning entrepreneur, a recipient of HRH the Prince of Wales Sustainability Entrepreneur Awards, HRM the Queen of England Points of Light Awards, Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award, and a host of others.

Richard Akinnola

He is a Nigerian journalist, author, lawyer, and activist. He was the editor of the Vanguard Newspaper and is an executive director of the Centre for Free Speech organisation.

 He has contributed articles to media organisations and is the author of several books.

Olisa Agbakoba

He is the  Founding Partner Olisa Agbakoba Legal, a leading commercial law firm. A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Olisa has been a key leader in the country’s pro-democratic movement. He is the founder of Human Rights Law Services (HURILAWS) an NGO 

Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe

Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe an entrepreneur and a foremost microfinance practitioner; who has applied the concept of social enterprise to successfully build thriving enterprises which address the needs of persons and 

Prof Patrick O. Utomi

As an entrepreneur he has founded or co-founded companies that are active in fields including financial services, ICT, Media and Agriculture. He was candidate for President of Nigeria in 2007 and 2011.

Mosun Layode

Mosun Layode is a development professional with two decades of experience in international development and nonprofit leadership. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) where she works extensively 

Orondaam Otto

Orondaam Otto is committed to building Africa’s future by providing education for children and youths across underserved communities, improving education and human capital development policies, and promoting reform based leadership to eliminate socio-economic

Charles Abani

Charles Abani is a development practitioner with over 20 year experience in the field of development. Charles is currently the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana. Prior to this, Charles worked with Chemonics International as Africa Director of Development, UK Division 

Katja Schiller-Nwator

Katja Schiller Nwator is an International Development and Philanthropy Advisor who has worked across Africa to drive pioneering initiatives and community-level interventions that positively impact on the lives of women, youth, and

Joel Nwokeoma

Joel Nwokeoma, journalist, behavioural change communicator and rights activist, is the Editorial Page Editor of PUNCH Newspapers, Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Political Science at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels at Abia State University, and the University of Lagos 

Kole Shettima

Kole Shettima is the Director of the Foundation’s Africa Office in Abuja, Nigeria. He is responsible for grant making in the Population & Reproductive Health area, Human Rights and International Justice, and the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa.

Oyedapo Oyekunle D. O.

Oyedapo Oyekunle Dapo Olorunyomi (born November 8 1957), is a Nigerian journalist. He is the publisher/editor-in-chief of Premium Times, an online Nigerian newspaper. He is also the Executive Director of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ). 

Josephine O. Okei-Odumakin

She is a Nigerian women’s rights activist. She is the president of the human rights groups, Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Campaign for Democracy.

She has frequently been arrested for her activism, detained 17 times during the 

Olarewaju Suraj

Project Head with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Program Evaluation, Proposal Writing, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Civil Society. Strong operations professional 

Osayi Alile is a quintessential leader with over 20 years in the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) and the third sector with a wide array of experience covering International Development, Business and Philanthropic Management, Fundraising, and Sustainability.

She is currently the Chief Executive Officer at ACT Foundation, a grant-making non-profit organisation that provides funding to social sector organisations focused on the areas of Health, Entrepreneurship, Environment, and Leadership. Through her hard work, dedication and resilience, ACT Foundation has been adjudged the “Not-For-Profit of the Year” at the 2018 & 2019 SERAS CSR Awards.

As a visionary leader, Ms. Alile has served in various leadership capacities including being the Executive Director, FATE Foundation; Vice President, Junior Achievement of Nigeria; and CSR Consultant, Access Bank Plc.

Osayi Alile is also the founding curator of the Global Shapers Forum Nigeria and serves as a consultant on sustainability, non-profit management, and strategy. She is a columnist and writes on entrepreneurship and business development in Nigeria’s leading daily, The Guardian.

Udo Jude Ilo is the Country Officer and Head of Nigeria Office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa. Before joining OSIWA Udo worked as a Country Manager for the Forum of Federations- a network for promoting federal practices across the globe with presence in six continents. In the last 12 years, Udo has worked as a change agent- engaging government on issues related to elections, human rights and good governance and working with citizens to promote knowledge and enhance their capacity to demand reforms.

Additionally, Udo has provided analysis on governance development within Africa; developed advocacy materials for the engagement of governments and international community on issues related to elections, security and economic governance. He enjoys writing poems, short stories and drama.

Bukky Shonibare is the Founder/Executive Director of Invictus Africa, where she promotes human rights and addresses inequalities affecting vulnerable people (especially women and girls) through evidence-based advocacies, legal reviews, and capacity development.

Bukky runs SheTV and SheFM, where she uses a human rights lens to spotlight, dissect, and challenge gender stereotypes and inequalities while advocating for positive change. She is a founding strategic team member of the #BringBackOurGirls movement; and coordinated the #ChurchMeToo movement; among other campaigns and advocacies.

Bukky holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree (First Class); B.Sc in Business Administration (First Class); Master’s in Managing Peace and Security in Africa; and is currently undergoing a Master of Laws (LLM) programme with specialism in International Law and Development.

Bukky is a Commonwealth Scholar; a Developing Solutions Scholar; and a Mandela Washington Fellow.

The Nigerian youth leader, Samson Itodo, leads the ground-breaking coalition to reduce the age young people can run for elective office in Nigeria. He is currently the Executive Director of Yiaga Africa. Under his leadership as Executive Director for Yiaga Africa, Mr Itodo led the organisation from its modest beginning to a prime status of relevance and accomplishment as a leading civic organization promoting political inclusion, electoral integrity, and public accountability in Africa through citizens’ engagement, data, technology, and policy advocacy.

 

Considered one of the most successful young persons of his generation, Mr Itodo has initiated numerous democracy and citizens’ engagement projects in Gambia, Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Ethiopia, serving as a founding member of the African Movement for Democracy (AMD), a network of activists and youth leaders in Africa dedicated to deepening democracy in the region.

He has also led international election observation missions to Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the United States of America, and South Africa, previously serving as lead consultant for International IDEA on the development of a strategy for mitigating electoral and political violence in Cameroon, Guinea, Ghana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.

Nike is an international speaker and Minister passionate about love, life, and purpose.

She is a global voice for love to nations. She teaches and demonstrates God’s love to individuals and communities, many are empowered to live amazing lives! Among other initiatives, the ministry coordinates relief efforts to needy communities.  

Nike is the founder of The Real Woman Foundation located in Lagos, Nigeria dedicated to healing and empowering women and children through the Peace Villa shelter/rehab center for women and the Love Home Orphanage.  Several women have gone from the streets to earning college degrees, own businesses, and resettle in new communities. Rescued children thrive with the hope of a brighter future.

She is the president of Real Woman International Inc, an organization in Atlanta, Georgia USA which holds conferences, empowerment seminars, and outreaches. Nike is the host of ‘Real Woman with Nike Adeyemi,’ a global TV broadcast where she shares wisdom on various life issues. She is the Principal Consultant at Gabriel and Princess Limited, a training and consulting company specializing in work-life balance.

Alongside her husband, Sam Adeyemi at Daystar Christian Centre, she has for over twenty years deployed leadership and administrative skills in building a church dedicated to raising role models in society. She is a dedicated mother of three and cares for many more across the globe.

‘Gbenga Sesan is the Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African social enterprise working on digital inclusion and digital rights through its offices in Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab at Stanford University. Prior to starting Paradigm Initiative, ‘Gbenga led the Lagos Digital Village, a joint project of Junior Achievement of Nigeria, Microsoft and Lagos State Government.

Originally trained as an Electronic & Electrical Engineer at Obafemi Awolowo University, he completed Executive Education programs at Lagos Business School, New York Group for Technology Transfer, Oxford University, Harvard University, Stanford University, Santa Clara University and University of the Pacific. ‘Gbenga’s consulting experience includes assignments completed for numerous institutions, including Microsoft, Harvard University and United Nations agencies, among others, in over 30 countries.

‘Gbenga served as a member of the Presidential committees on Harmonization of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors (2006) and Roadmap for the Achievement of Accelerated Universal Broadband Infrastructure and Services Provision (2013), and was listed by CNN as one of the Top 10 African Tech Voices on Twitter and by Ventures Africa as one of 40 African Legends Under 40.Gbenga is married to Temilade Sesan, PhD, an expert on Energy Poverty and Development.

Victoria Ohaeri is an SXSW 2013 honoree, Desmond Tutu Fellow and Harvard University alumni. In her 15 year-long legal career and involvement in social and economic rights research and advocacy, she has traversed Africa, Europe, North America and South America, leading research investigations, documenting and exposing human rights violations, formulating and analyzing social and economic policy at national, regional and international levels. She has led or participated in major studies commissioned by UN-HABITAT, COHRE, MSI Integrity, Ford Foundation, IISD, IDS, Energia, Women Learning Partnership, UCL’s Bartlett DPU, Conectas, among others.

At Spaces for Change |S4C she designs and implements advanced legal research projects, using the results to execute high-profile policy campaigns, strategic litigation, community outreaches and deliver technical assistance to private and public institutions aimed at steering rights-based reforms and bolstering citizen engagement in public decision-making in Nigeria. Victoria led the Nigerian team of the 4-year international energy sector research program focusing on Nigeria, Bangladesh and India. The research investigated the stark gender inequalities in access to energy resources and built the evidence-base for developing policy reforms that can overcome these disparities in Nigeria.

Victoria is a leading member of several international networks such as Publish What You Pay, Global NPO Coalition on FATF, Experts Hub on Anti-money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT), Solidarity Action Network (SANE), Vuka! Coalition, Security Policy Alternatives Network, ACTION GROUP ON FREE CIVIC SPACE etc.

Ayo Obe (née Ogunsola) is a legal practitioner and a partner, with Olasupo Shonibare, in the Lagos-based law firm, Ogunsola Shonibare.   She is a Trustee of Senegal’s Gorée Institute and of the Brussels-based International Crisis Group.  In Nigeria, she is on the board of the Z.O. Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries and is an active member of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. 

Mrs. Obe was President of the Civil Liberties Organisation and has also been chair of the Transition Monitoring Group (an election-monitoring/democracy-building coalition of independent NGOs), the Steering Committee of the World Movement  for Democracy and Nigerian Civil Society’s panel on Police Reform in Nigeria.  She represented Nigerian Human Rights NGOs on the Police Service Commission from 2001-2006 and was a Trustee of the CLEEN Foundation from 2001-2015. 

Mrs. Obe has written weekly columns on current affairs for Sunday Punch, Next and The Guardian and delivered several lectures and papers on a range of human rights and democracy-related subjects.  She presented “You and the Constitution” and “On Point” for the Nigerian Television Authority most recently, a weekly radio programme about integrity, ethics and accountability in democracy, IDEAS radio on Nigeria Info 97/3FM. 

Nkoyo Toyo is a Nigerian civil rights activist and governance adviser.  In 1991, she founded Gender and Development Action (GADA) in Nigeria. With the return of civil governance to Nigeria in 1999, she became more involved with politics and government. During that time and now, she worked intensively to build negotiations between agitators in the troubled Niger Delta Region of Nigeria and the central government.

Nkoyo’s interest in politics resulted in her appointment in 2008 as Nigeria’s Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti as well as the country’s Permanent Representative to the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa. In 2011, she was elected into the Nigerian parliament, as a member of the National House of Representatives. In parliament, she championed the issues of social development and social investment.

Nkoyo has held several international positions including being a Member of the Civil Society Advisory Committee of the Commonwealth Foundation and the Chair of the Board of Directors of Montreal International Forum. In March 2018 along with some former ministers for Women Affairs, she initiated action aimed at rekindling the beleaguered Nigeria’s Women’s Movement.

She is an alumnus of IDS, and sat on the Alumni Advisory Committee before joining the Board of Trustees in April 2018.

 Mr. Olufemi Lijadu is the Founding Partner at Ukiri & Lijadu Barristers and Solicitors which specialises in Foreign Investment Law, Commercial Law, Banking & Finance Law, and Energy Law. He was the Consultant at Femi Lijadu & Co. from September 2003 to September 2011 where he was the Legal & Strategy Consultant to the oil and gas industry on Local Content Implementation.

His experience also cuts across the banking sector. He was an Executive Director at UBA Plc between January 1997 to September 2002. At UBA, he was a Key member of the strategy and change management team mandated to revitalize and reposition the third-largest retail bank in Nigeria after privatization in 1994.

While at UBA as an Executive Director, he was also a Partner (Foreign Investment and Banking) at Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie. He was responsible for and provided legal advisory, tax, and other services to foreign investors doing business in Nigeria. He is currently the board chairman at the Nigeria Network of NGOs.

 A highly entrepreneurial senior health and development executive;  She have a distinguished career as a proactive Public Health Physician with 35+ years in the Health and Development industries representing governments and organisations on varying applications of Reproductive Health (RH) and Social Protection (SP), she have dedicated her life’s work to ensure universal realisation of a comprehensive Reproductive Health Rights agenda that embraces Child Rights/Development and aims at eliminating gender-based violence across all ages.

A resourceful leader with strong work ethics and extensive experience in supporting global health initiatives in areas across Child rights, International Health policy, and improving quality of life in communities through strengths in programming and management. Strong lobbyist and negotiator with extensive experience in presenting critical information in multiple languages and in diverse cultural environments, driven her challenges and committed to advocating for underserved populations.

Effective communicator, comfortably interacts with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and adapts to new environments, thriving in fast-paced, high-tension environments. Strong media familiarity recognized and appreciated by institutions such as the AU and world leaders including Tony Blair, as the British Prime Minister.

Otunba Dele Ajayi Smith strongly believes that bad leadership is the product of the nature of the citizens. In essence, the quality of the followership determines the leadership. Following this he founded African Citizens Development Foundation, a private initiative to curb and if possible eradicate the tragedic effects of indiscipline in African society which include: lawlessness, corruption, poverty, violence, strife, greed, avarice and other negative social forces.  Otunba is a global 3rd sector leader and a reputable development practitioner and social entrepreneur.

Amina Oyagbola is a corporate director and versatile business leader, a former Human Resources and Corporate Services Executive at MTN Nigeria Communications Plc. With over 30 years experience working in key sectors of the economy including, legal consulting, banking and finance, oil and gas, telecommunications, and business administration. She is the managing consultant of AKMS Consulting Ltd, a partner at Oyagbola Chambers, founder, and Chairperson of WISCAR (Women In Successful Careers). She is a Chartered Fellow of CIPD UK, Fellow Institute of Directors (IoD), a Certified Ethics Officer, Fellow of the Aspen global leadership network, and a Chevening Scholar. She is the 2019 recipient of the prestigious HR People Magazine, Lifetime Achievement Award.

She is a strategic business adviser, transformation expert and stakeholder manager, adept at creating innovative business solutions to complex problems, leading bold change and re-engineering company processes to achieve operational excellence and thereby enabling organisations to attract, develop and retain the top talent and human capital required for growth and improved business performance.

Carolyn is a lawyer with almost 20 years’ experience advancing women and girls’ rights. She is a social entrepreneur, a tech evangelist, a filmmaker, a girl expert, and the founder of Girls Voices Initiative, a non-profit that educates and empowers girls and women to identify their voices and use it to advocate for their rights; and uses technology and digital media to amplify their voices to wide audiences, particularly policy makers and other influencers. Her non-profit educates adolescent girls and women about their rights and provides digital literacy and empowerment skills to girls and women and facilitates their creation of technology applications and resources to strengthen their advocacy. 

Carolyn is a TechWomen Fellow, Women Leader of the World Fellow, a World Pulse Ambassador and an Advanced Digital Changemaker innovating creative programmes that empower girls and women in Nigeria.  

Carolyn was recently named on the 2021 FemiList 100 and on the top 21 Women Leaders to Watch in 2021. She has been named in Nigeria’s 20 Most Innovative Women in Tech, the 50 Most Outstanding Female Pacesetters in Africa, and Nigeria’s 100 Women in Tech. 

As an award-winning filmmaker, her films and documentaries have screened in over 23 film festivals, including the Toronto International Women’s Film Festivals and the Los Angeles International Women’s Film Festival. Under her  leadership, her organisation won the 2019 With and For Girls Award for the Most Disruptive Girl-Led Nonprofit in Sub-Saharan Africa and the 2020 BPeace Women Forward Global Award for the Next Generation Workplace 2020 Gold Winner. 

Representing her organization in a regional capacity, Carolyn is a member of the Civil Society Organisations Reference Group to the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage, she is a member of the Africa Action Group to End Child Marriage convened by Girls Not Brides, and at the national level, she is the Co-Chair of the Coalition of Civil Society to End Child Marriage in Nigeria. Her work has impacted over 800,000 adolescent girls and continues to build a vibrant girls’ rights movement. She is a firm believer of the quote that, ‘Girls are truly a force for change on the planet’ and she believes that ‘technology and digital media help the voices of girls and women reach multitudes for change, when their strength to shout is frail’

Adenike Adeyemi has over 19 years development sector experience in non-profit management, enterprise development, education and youth enablement strategies. She currently leads Nigeria’s foremost business incubator and accelerator organisation, FATE Foundation as the Executive Director. Since joining the Foundation in 2015, she has led her team to launch signature incubator and accelerator programmes; expand digital initiatives to scale the organisation’s reach to 24 states in Nigeria and reach 180,000+ entrepreneurs; published 12 research reports on the entrepreneurship ecosystem and 8 books for Nigerian entrepreneurs. 

Her previous work experiences before joining FATE Foundation include Manager, Development and Public Sector Advisory services, KPMG Nigeria and Pioneer Coordinator, Nigeria Leadership Initiative. She has a Masters of Public Administration (with a specialization in Non Profit Management) and a Master of Arts in Diplomacy & International Relations from Seton Hall University (2005) and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Ibadan (2001).

She is a 2020 Eisenhower Fellow from the Global Women’s Leadership programme and also serves on a number of Boards including Trustee, Youth Business International; Council Member, Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industries;  Committee Member, LSETF Lagos MSME Recovery Fund 1.0; Director, VDT and Bitflux Group; Director, BudgIT; and Director, Oxbridge Tutorial College Foundation.

Abiodun is Global Rights’ Executive Director, whose work currently spans several portfolios, which include programmes on Access to Remedies, Women’s Rights, Natural Resource Governance, Civic Space Strengthening, and Security and Human Rights programs. Her work focuses on programs that address governance failures that exacerbate the disenfranchisement and the violations of the rights of the  poor and marginalized, women, and victims of discrimination.  Abiodun  is Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the African    Coalition    for    Corporate    Accountability – a coalition of more than 130 organization across 32 countries; Co-convener Nigeria    Mourns; Chair,  Justice    &    Empowerment    Initiative; and a member of the governing boards of Annies’    Place; Srarina Initiative; WEEVO; and, the Initiative for Participation and Inclusive Development.

Mma Odi (Nigeria) Mma Odi was Executive Director of BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, and Executive Director of the Rural Women’s Empowerment and Development Network. She served as Program Mentor for the European Union INSIDE Program, Assistant secretary General of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, National Project Coordinator of Women in Nigeria/Heinrich Boll Foundation Rural Women Political and Economic Empowerment Project. She consults for Ministry of Women’s affairs at both Federal and State levels. Odi has held leadership positions in many social movements, coalitions, networks and feminist organizations. She is the author of The Power of Women’s Collective Struggle.

A public intellectual, development and humanitarian specialist, activist and leader. Passionate about social justice and committed to human and environmental development. Extensive International strategic leadership experience spanning over 25 years. Currently the Country Director of Care International in Nigeria and earlier Country Director of Plan International and ActionAid International. Held different other International responsibilities in different organisations. As the Head of ActionAid International Democracy and Governance Programme, coordinated and developed democracy and governance programme in 23 different African countries, supporting state institutions and working closely with International and regional organisations including the African Union (AU), Southern African Development Corporation (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), European Union, OECD and the UN system among others, I am extensively traveled. Has worked in over 10 different countries and traveled for different programme and operational missions to over 45 countries in the last 15 years. Led some interesting and pioneering advocacy in Africa and Europe, including advocacy on environment, education, HIV/AIDS, debt, youth participation, illicit financial flow and development financing.

 

Previously, taught Political Science and Defence Studies at Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna and has written extensively in books and learned journals. Been a major resource person on Nigeria and Africa security, democracy and governance issues to different national and international fora and media. He authored “Clash of Identity: State, Society and Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Northern Nigeria”, 2010, the book is a major contribution to the understanding of the dynamics of violent conflicts in northern Nigeria.

 

He is a laureate of different institutions: A trained and certified on strategic leadership, project management, policy advocacy and strategic engagement, finance management, negotiation and strategic communication in different institution in Africa, Asia, Europe and America.

 

Dr Abdu, has a significant presence in African civil society space. He’s contributed significantly to Africa/Nigeria’s development policy environment and state institutional strengthening. A leading voice on the challenges of poverty, inequality and exclusion in Africa. Has in the last two and a half decades invested actively in influencing people, communities, institutions and systems. He holds a PhD in Political Science from Bayero University Kano, Nigeria.

Dr. Godwin Ehigiamusoe an entrepreneur and a foremost microfinance practitioner; who has applied the concept of social enterprise to successfully build thriving enterprises which address the needs of persons and businesses at the bottom end of the society. His business interests span microfinance, micro-insurance, agriculture, micro-leasing, healthcare and education.

He began his involvement in microfinance as a rural cooperative officer before he founded LAPO (Lift Above Poverty Organization) a successful pro-poor development organization with operations in Nigeria and Sierra Leone. The organization has evolved into a vast collection of mutually reinforcing institutions/businesses providing social and economic empowerment services to millions of Nigerians and Sierra Leoneans.

Dr. Ehigiamusoe is a passionate advocate for better life for all and a source of inspiration for a large number of young people who aspire to impact on their generation.

He has participated in various initiatives which further the development of the micro, small and medium enterprises in Africa.

Charles Abani is a development practitioner with over 20 year experience in the field of development. Charles is currently the UN Resident Coordinator in Ghana. Prior to this, Charles worked with Chemonics International as Africa Director of Development, UK Division and Chief of Party on the USAID Civil Society governance project “Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement’. Before this, Charles led the DFID-funded Mobilising for Development (M4D) in Nigeria and has worked in and with the public, private, and non-governmental sectors across many African countries and in the UK over the past 20 years.

Charles’s work contributes to overcoming poverty and strengthening the capability of poor people to engage with and influence communities, governments, donors and the private sector towards transparent, accountable relationships and sustainable solutions. Working with holistic strategies to find lasting solutions to poverty, Charles has worked on issues such as HIV and AIDS, Gender equality, Climate Change, Education, Health and Governance. Charles has extensive international experience and exposure at the highest levels.

With degrees in History and Political Science and executive management education, Charles also has a strong track record of managing organisations – leading and championing innovation, change and transformation across sectors.

Charles also possesses strong team skills with sound people, project and financial management skills with a track record of managing change and transformation in private, government and non-governmental contexts (including philanthropies) and is a sound networker, working on local, national, regional and international issues and at those levels, leading and facilitating multi-disciplinary/cultural teams of professionals.

His work experience includes leadership roles in Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), Action Aid, Oxfam, and ARK, Palladium, Chemonics and the United Nations . Charles has served on a number of boards including the Global Education Campaign, UNESCO’s Editorial Board, the UN MDG Task Force on Education and Gender, ANCEFA and was Chair and Trustee of the Greenpeace Africa Board as well as previously Vice Chair of the VSO International Board.

Oyedapo Oyekunle Dapo Olorunyomi (born November 8 1957), is a Nigerian journalist. He is the publisher/editor-in-chief of Premium Times, an online Nigerian newspaper. He is also the Executive Director of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ). He was the policy director and Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He worked as an editor at Radio Nigeria and African Guardian magazines. He was the Enterprise Editor/Head of the Investigative Reporting Team for Timbuktu Media Limited (publishers of 234Next)  and founding editor of The News, PM News and Tempo Magazine.

During his forced exile in the U.S. in 1995, he started work as Director of Africa Programs at the Panos Institute, Washington D.C., USA in 1996. He later worked with the Dakar, Senegal office of the Open Society Initiative (OSI) in Budapest, Hungary.

In 2004, when Olorunyomi returned to Nigeria, after his exile, he worked as the Project Director of Freedom House. He later became the policy director and the chief of staff to the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, where he led the Commission’s crimes prevention and education policy development initiatives on corruption. He sits on the boards of many organisations including the Norbert Zongo Cell for Investigative Journalism (an initiative of the UNODC), and the transnational investigative body for West Africa headquartered in Burkina Faso, CENOZO. Between 1999 and 2001, Olorunyomi served on the International Jury for the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists [ICIJ] Award. In 2004, he was the West Africa Analyst for the Global Survey of Media Independence. He is the chief judge for the Zimeo Award of the African Media Initiative (AMI).

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi  She is currently CEO, Above Whispers Limited, specializing in leadership development for women, and she runs an online community called Abovewhispers.com, where she writes a weekly column called “Loud Whispers”. She was until recently a UN Women Nigeria Senior Advisor and was recently appointed as a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at King’s College, University of London. 

She served as the Director of Akina Mama wa Afrika (AMwA), an international development organisation for African women, based in London, UK, from 1991-2001 as well as Executive Director of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), the first Africa-wide grant-making fund which supports the work of organizations promoting women’s rights in Africa, from 2001-2010. 

While she was the Director of AMwA, she established the African Women’s Leadership Institute (AWLI), a training and networking forum for young African women. The leadership institute she developed has become such a powerful legacy that today the AWLI has trained more than 6,000 women across Africa, most of whom are now in senior decision-making positions as Ministers, Members of Parliaments, academics, civil society leaders and employees of international organisations.

 

She is married to Kayode Fayemi, who went on to become Governor of Ekiti State in 2010, and again in 2019; the two of them met while they were students and they have one son together, Folajimi Fayemi (born circa 1994).

Olanrewaju Olaniyan is a Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan. He has over 20 years of research, consulting and tertiary teaching experience in Health and Population Economics, Economics of education, poverty and welfare analysis as well as social protection. He also has experience in social policy work in developing countries through which he had been able to interact and work with senior-level technocrats and officials. During 2003-4 he led a team organised by the National Planning Commission of Nigeria to prepare the Social Protection Policy for Nigeria. He was engaged as a World Bank consultant in 2006 -2007 to assist the National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in Nigeria to develop her Participatory Poverty Monitoring and Evaluation framework. He was also a member of the national technical team that prepared the National Health Accounts for Nigeria in 2009. He is currently the Director, Health Policy Training and Research Programme (HPTRP), Department of Economics, University of Ibadan as well as the Coordinator of the University of Ibadan Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) programme.

 

He has consulted widely for, and/or received research grants from many organizations/agencies among which are: the World Bank, World Health Organization, UNESCO, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada; African Economic Research Consortium, Partnership for Transforming Health Systems (PATHS), National Planning Commission, Nigeria and Federal Ministry of Finance, Nigeria and National Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) in Nigeria. He is currently a member of the Vaccine Implementation Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Science for Nigeria. Olanrewaju was educated at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria where he obtained Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) (First Class Honours) Educational Management and Economics; and Ph.D. Economics.

Professor Labode Popoola is a Professor of Forest Economics, born on 28 September, 1960.

He graduated with Bachelor of Science (Honours) in 1984 from the University of Ibadan. He had his Master of Science in Forest Economics and Management in 1987 and Doctor of Philosophy in Forest Economics in 1990, both at the prestigious University of Ibadan, Nigeria.

He was appointed Graduate Assistant at the University of Ibadan in 1988, rose to the rank of Senior Lecturer in 1997 and Professor of Forest Economics in 2002. Popoola was Head of Department, Forest Resources Management in 2005-2006 and Dean, Postgraduate School, University of Ibadan from 2006-2010. He was appointed Director, Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Ibadan from 2010 to 2016.

His Award/Honour and Distinction include: Best all round student in academic, sports and character, Saint Patrick’s College, Ibadan (1978); Character and Service Award by the Catholic Bishop, Ibadan Diocese (1978); Postgraduate Scholar, University of Ibadan (1988 -1990); Executive Member, African Network for Agroforestry Education (1999-2001); Award for Invaluable Service in Agroforestry from the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (2001); National Contact Person, African Forest Research Network (2001-2010); National Secretary, Forestry Association of Nigeria (2001 to date); Award for Invaluable Service to the Forestry Profession from the Council of the Association of Nigeria (2002); National Chairman, Inisa Descendants’ Union, the umbrella union for indigenes of Inisa Worldwide (2004-2010).

Member, Governing Council of the University of Ibadan (2011 to 2016); Member, Academic Steering Committee, International Advisory Board of the Global Master’s in Development Practice Programme (2012 to Date); African Women in Agriculture and Rural Development (AWARD)-Gender and Diversity Programme of the CGIAR in recognition of dedication and Commitment to Mentoring (2012); Co-Director, Nigeria Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and affiliate of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (2013) among others.

Sam Adeyemi has trained thousands of people in leadership for more than two decades. He has done this through the Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA), which has graduated over 40,000 people since 2002, and through seminars, workshops and conferences. He currently serves as a mentor to hundreds of CEOs. As a global conference speaker, he has addressed audiences in the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, South Africa, Nigeria, India, and several other countries. In 2015 and 2017, he spoke at the Global Leadership Summit, a global conference attended by over 400,000 leaders in 130+ countries. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Exeter, UK, and a Doctorate in Strategic Leadership from Regent University, Virginia, USA. He is a member of the International Leadership Association and the Association of Talent Developers. Sam Adeyemi is the Principal Consultant of Sam Adeyemi GLC, Inc., a leading global leadership consulting company with specialist insight on developing economies. He is married to Nike Adeyemi, a social entrepreneur, and they are blessed with children.

Eze Onyekpere is a lawyer with specialization in development law including electricity reforms, fiscal governance, human rights, and constitutional reforms. Called to the Bar in 1988, he has worked on electric power sector reforms, privatization, gender, and trade policy, and liberalization of education.

He has tremendous experience in the area of public expenditure management reforms involving fiscal and legal issues and economic governance. The assignments undertaken include fiscal responsibility, procurement and audit reforms, budget analysis, etc. He has also worked on economic and social rights including the rights to education, health, housing, and social security. He has led debates on the constitution reform process on the minimum core obligation(s) of the state in economic and social rights and fiscal challenges in a federal system.

Eze has also worked in economic policy and legal issues for poverty reduction in the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, and the Local Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. He has authored over twenty-five publications and over three hundred and media articles. He writes a weekly column for the Punch Newspaper and had served on the Editorial Board of the Independent newspaper.

Idayat Hassan is Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an Abuja based policy advocacy and research organisation with a focus on deepening democracy and development in West Africa. As its Director, she has overseen CDD’s rise from being unranked in 2013 to 11th out of 94 think tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the 2020 University of Pennsylvania Global Go To Think Tank Index Report. She has strengthened CDD’s position as a civic tech leader with a portfolio of projects, including, but not limited to: analyses of the relationship between social media platforms, election processes and electoral outcomes, using a mobile app to identify electoral fraud and analysing the use of personal data in political campaigning in Nigeria.

Her work on social media has been discussed and covered by the Economist, BBC and in scholarly publications such as the Journal of Democracy. Idayat is a lawyer and has held fellowships in Yale and Columbia universities, United States. Idayat’s insights on governance and development in Nigeria and West Africa are regularly sought by BBC, RFI, VOA, AIT, Bloomberg, VOA, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, The Guardian and Deutchse Welle. She is also a regular panellists on leading Nigerian television programmes.   Her interests span democracy, peace and security, transitional justice, and ICT4D across West Africa. 

Idayat has provided thought leadership at different phases of Boko Haram’s development. She provided operational advice and strategic ideas to Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) from its inception Her work revolves around three approaches to counterinsurgency: a decentralised, bottom up approach, a deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration approach, and a transitional justice approach. She has presented these ideas as they apply in Nigeria at international conferences and works to ensure that, where possible, they have practical applications for communities affected by the insurgency. 

Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji, a Social Entrepreneur in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, Education Technology, Digital Transformation and Public Policy is named by Forbes as one of the 20 most Powerful Young Women in Africa.

She is the Founder / CEO of RISE NETWORKS, a Data Science and Artificial Intelligence Powered Learning, Research and Work Readiness Center working to improve the skill set of young professionals for industry fitness in the evolving digital world of work. They leverage deep technologies and disruptive innovation to build progressive Careers and a first-rate National Workforce capable of driving the economic growth for Companies and Countries and we designed and built the first Career Coaching Chat-bot in West Africa.

David Ugolor is the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and  Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and also the Senior Advisor on Corruption and  Governance to Africa Bar Association (ABA). He has two Master degree on  Agricultural Economics and Corruption and Governance, from the University of  Benin and the University of Sussex with over two decades’ experience in  anti-corruption work in Nigeria. He was the founding Chairman of the leading anti-corruption coalition of over 200 NGOs in Nigeria, the Publish What You Pay  Nigeria Campaign and also former board members of Africa Network and Forum on Debt and Development (AFRODAD). 

He has participated and facilitated several seminar and training on corruption both in Nigeria and internationally. He was the facilitator of the side event on UNCAC at the United Nations Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey, Mexico in 2002. He is a natural human rights activist, an open, fearless advocate of frankness; a campaigner for social justice; adherent for peaceful change; and a lover of the environment.

Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, Executive Director, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) was created in 2004 and registered as a non-governmental, non-profit organization under Nigerian laws.

Recognising the unexplored potential of international human rights law for increasing transparency, accountability and protection of economic and social rights in Nigeria, SERAP was created to promote these principles and values. The organization aims to use human rights law to encourage the government and others to address developmental and human rights challenges such as corruption, poverty, inequality and discrimination.

Ms. Osai Ojigho (born 1976) is a lawyer, gender equality advocate, human rights expert with a special interest in the African Human Rights system, and currently, the Director of Amnesty International Nigeria. She has overseen and participated in advocacy and social change campaigns including the Bring Back Our Girls and End SARS movement as well as lending the organization’s voice to various struggles for human rights violations and responsibilities, social injustice, housing rights and sexual and gender based violence.

 Prior to joining Amnesty International, she served in various roles with Oxfam including as interim Pan Africa Director of Oxfam GB’s Pan African Programme. She was the Coalition Coordinator for the SOTU (State of the Union) Coalition, a human rights observer to the African Union Mission to Mali and the Sahel and Deputy Executive Director of Alliances for Africa. She is well travelled and widely published, contributing to various publications including the Commonwealth Law Journal, The AU ECHO (Newsletter of the African Union Commission), ThisDay Newspapers, The East African and Agenda. She is a member of the Association of Women in Development (AWID), the West African Women Elections Observation (WAWEO) team, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and a life member of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU). She is also a consulting editor with Open Global Rights and a mentor to Mandela Washington Fellows. She serves on the Global Advisory Council of Institute For African Women In Law (IAWL) and sits on the board of Alliances for Africa.. She holds a Law degree from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and a Masters’ in Law degree from the University of Wolverhampton, UK..

Ayisha Osori is a Nigerian lawyer, author, international development consultant, journalist and politician known for her work on good governance, gender equality, women’s economic and political participation, and ending violence against women in Nigeria. Her book Love Does Not Win Elections gives insight into the Unique Nigerian Politics. She is the former CEO of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. Olufunke Baruwa succeeded her.

Ayisha has worked on several projects in the Public and Private Sector including corporate & regulatory practice, business management, and administration, communications, civil society management, project management, and issues-based advocacy. In addition to holding senior management roles in the private sectors and managing the Nigerian Women Trust Fund – a non-profit organization focused on increasing the quality and quantity of women in decision-making, for three years, Ayisha has consulted for the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme, Department for International Development, UNICEF and the National Democratic Institute.

In 2015 she was chosen to be one of 21 women who met for a conference at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government-funded by Hunt Alternatives. In 2018, the Open Society Foundations announced the appointment of Osori as the Executive Director of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) overseeing the operations of OSIWA in 10 African 

 

Ejiro Joyce Otive-Igbuzor holds a PhD in Microbiology. She is a Gender and Monitoring and Evaluation expert and the founding ED of Women Empowerment and Reproductive Health Centre (WERHC). She serves as MD/CEO of Emerald International Development Services. She is a one-time Country Director at the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) and previously the Gender and HIV/AIDS Programmes Coordinator, Anglophone West Africa with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), now UN Women.

Ejiro provides high-level technical assistance to governments, UN, local and international CSOs/partners on gender audit and monitoring and evaluation, ensuring gender equality and social inclusion. A seasoned writer and researcher with 28 years of experience, she coordinates the Gals Global Hangout, a share and learn platform with over 2000 women across the globe and sits on the Board of several organisations.

John Patrick Ngoyi who is a Life Fellow of the Nigerian Conservation Foundation, the foremost environment NGO in Nigeria, has varied experience. He is the initiator and Director of the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, a position he has held since 1989.

John Patrick Ngoyi’s recognition of a dire need for Nigerians and indeed Africans to have a powerful and committing self-generated ideas to overcome the historical humiliation and re-invent their present and future in an ever globalizing and alienating world, made him to initiate a rights-based empowering development project built on gospel values.

The choice of the philosophy underlying the project was equally informed by his conviction that the poor state of governance in Nigeria, the seemingly hopeless and irremediable poverty situation in the country and continent is human-made and can therefore be altered, through both individual commitment and institutional changes.

Through his organization, Justice, Development and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Ijebu-Ode, he has constituted an entry point for networking and alliance formation for a right-based empowering development for Nigeria and other African countries.

Ms. Thelma Ekiyor has over 21 years’ experience working in the development sector, as an Impact Investor, donor, philanthropic advisor, and social entrepreneur. She has experience working in 22 African countries. She has pioneered, founded, and led several organisations and initiatives focused on impact investing and women’s economic empowerment. In 2020, Ms. Ekiyor was listed as one of the 50 most influential women in the development sector in Africa. Ms. Ekiyor is currently the Managing Partner SME.NG – Nigeria’s Impact Investment Platform, which has set up two impact funds for women entrepreneurs. She is the Co-founder/Chairperson of Afrigrants Resources and served as its pioneering CEO. At Afrigrants, she led the establishment of “Market Women’s Quick Cash” – A financial inclusion solution to provide micro-loans to women in disadvantaged communities. 

She also founded Afrigrants Foundation dedicated to the socio-economic advancement to girls and women. One of her proudest initiatives is the “Gifted Girls”, which is a leadership and mentorship programme for young girls from disadvantaged communities in Africa. She also led the conceptualization of “The Ebi Fund” – an impact fund for women entrepreneurs. Ms. Ekiyor is the Founder & Co-Convener of The Funding Space – a mentoring and access to finance platform for social entrepreneurs in Africa. Prior to establishing Afrigrants, Ms. Ekiyor was the pioneer CEO of TY Danjuma Foundation. Before that, she served as the Pioneering Executive Director of the West African Civil Society Institute (WACSI), which was established by the George Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute for West Africa. Ms. Ekiyor holds an MBA (Entrepreneurship & Innovation) from Imperial College London, UK; a Law Degree (LLB Honours) from University of Buckingham UK, and she is a Stanford University (USA), Fellow. 

Ms. Ekiyor served as Strategic Policy Adviser to UN Women Nigeria (2017- 2019). She is currently a Board Member on ALL ON, the renewable energy impact fund in West Africa established by Shell plc. Ms. Ekiyor has received several awards and citations for her contributions to women’s economic empowerment and philanthropy in Africa

The Founding director and current National Coordinator He is the founding Director and later National Coordinator (1999) with executive responsibilities. He has degrees in philosophy, and in law. His areas of practice are Maritime Law, Banking and International Trade, Public Law, Arbitration and Mediation, Criminal and Appeal Litigation.

Edmund Chinonye is known as a tenacious fighter who protects his client’s interests as though they were his own. He holds Bachelor of Arts Degree in Philosophy from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (1986) and Bachelor of Laws Degree, University of Ibadan in (1991), both on second class upper division. He attended the Nigerian Law School, (1991-1992), qualified on second class upper division and called to the Nigerian Bar on December 17, 1992. He was conferred a Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2018.

Ene Obi, 58, an activist and the Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, who was born in Otukpo in the country’s Benue State, about what should happen next. Ene was among those who struggled for democracy in her youth she was imprisoned, detained and kidnapped by the then military. She has since worked with the labour movement, led a feminist movement and worked across the federal structure in Nigeria. Since 2018, in her role at ActionAid, Ene has worked with local women leaders to challenge power relations, increase the number of women participating in decision-making processes and spaces, and to end violence against women and girls.

Jibrin Ibrahim is the Director of Centre for Democracy & Development, a regional research, advocacy and training non-governmental organisation for West Africa. Previously, from 2000 to 2006, he was Nigeria Country Director of Global Rights. Dr Ibrahim who is Nigerian is also active in civil society organisations and has over thirty years of active engagement with civil society. He is presently serving on the Electoral Reform Committee established by President Umaru Yar Adua. He was the National Convenor of the Citizen’s Forum for Constitutional Reform, a coalition of Ninety non-governmental organisations seeking to reform the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Dr Ibrahim is an academic who holds a PhD in Political Science from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Bordeaux, France. His areas of specialisation are democratisation, political economy of poverty reduction, comparative federalism and religious and ethnic identities. Before joining Global Rights, he was a director of research at the Centre for Research and Documentation, Kano, Nigeria. He was previously an Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.

He is the  Founding Partner Olisa Agbakoba Legal, a leading commercial law firm. A former President of the Nigerian Bar Association. Olisa has been a key leader in the country’s pro-democratic movement. He is the founder of Human Rights Law Services (HURILAWS) an NGO that specializes in advocacy and law.

Aside from human rights, his work in maritime law in Nigeria has been profound, he is the founder and first president of the Nigerian Shipping Chamber of Commerce (NCS).In 1990 he was honoured with Roger Baldwin Medal for Civil Liberties. In 1993, he was honoured with the Human Rights Award of the German Association of Judges and in 1996 he was given the Aachen Peace Award.

Other awards and honours include the receipt of the 15 Great Legal Practitioners of Distinction in Nigeria (1993), Vanguard’s 40 Outstanding Young Nigerians Award (1993), Fellow and award recipient, Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria, Co-director, British Council Conference on Managing Human Rights, Abuja, Nigeria, the International Human Rights Award of the American Bar Association, in recognition of extraordinary contributions to the causes of Human Rights, the Rule of Law and Promotion of Access to Justice (1996),Dr Kwame Nkrumah African Leadership awards in 2006 and FRA Williams Legal Practitioner of the year 2006 amongst others.

Orondaam Otto is committed to building Africa’s future by providing education for children and youths across underserved communities, improving education and human capital development policies, and promoting reform based leadership to eliminate socio-economic inequalities and achieve sustainable, inclusive and equitable economic growth.

He has been a community organizer, development consultant and a social entrepreneur for over 15 years, working with thousands of young people across the private and public sectors.

In 2012, he founded Slum2School Africa to provide educational scholarships for out-of-school children and create a solution to the deplorable state of education in the slums and underserved communities across Nigeria/Africa.

Today, Slum2School Africa has grown to become one of Africa’s leading volunteer-driven developmental organizations and over the past 9 years, he has worked with over 11,500 volunteers across 42 countries to provide educational scholarships and dozens of development support to over 108,500 children from 47 communities across Nigeria. He has led his team in building various early childhood development centers, adopted public schools, built e-libraries, health centers, technology and Innovation labs serving thousands of children and recently, built the first virtual learning classroom in Africa.

tto’s vision is to see that every child and youth, irrespective of their color, origin, gender and physical or mental ability is given an equal opportunity and the best chances to education, to enable them maximize their potential and contribute positively to the growth of the African continent.

Joel Nwokeoma, journalist, behavioural change communicator and rights activist, is the Editorial Page Editor of PUNCH Newspapers, Lagos, Nigeria. He studied Political Science at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels at Abia State University, and the University of Lagos respectively.

He has over 15 years of work experience in journalism, strategic communications and rights-based advocacy, 10 of which he has spent in PUNCH, Nigeria’s most widely read the general-interest newspaper, reputed for its staunch defence and promotion of good governance, democracy, free enterprise and social justice. Earlier, he worked as a researcher at The Daily Times, Nigeria’s oldest newspaper conglomerate.

As the Editorial Page Editor, Joel shapes the opinions of millions of readers of a newspaper that has won wide acclaim for its pro-people ideals. A social media influencer, Joel’s insightful commentaries and op-ed articles on Nigeria’s democratic struggles, governance and development have been widely shared and discussed in the USA Africa Dialogue Series, among other platforms.

His entry, “Alas, Nigeria fails to save her daughter,” was nominated for the Informed Commentary Category of the 28th Diamond Awards for Media Excellence and adjudged the First Runner Up in 2019.

He was a discussant on Boko Haram terrorism and Nigeria’s counterinsurgency strategies at the Center for Naval Analysis, Arlington and Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC in April 2017 and a participant at the Wilton Park meeting on peacebuilding in Africa organised in partnership with the African Peacebuilding Network in Abuja, Nigeria in March 2018. He was among the 20 senior African editors that participated in the media dialogue for the Social Protection workshop organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in Arusha, Tanzania in March 2019.

Since 2018, he has been selected as a Judge at the annual ENACTUS National Challenge competition, for tertiary institutions in Nigeria to assess and recommend innovative ideas for national development and facilitating national transformation.

Besides mentoring youths on careers, he promotes social enterprise causes like medical outreaches, economic empowerment for low-income earners and books reading among schoolchildren. Since 2015, Joel has facilitated and coordinated a health outreach on behalf of the RCCG for residents of Mafoluku, a poor neighbourhood in Lagos where over 500 residents are provided free drugs, counselling, medical screening and consultations.

She is a Nigerian women’s rights activist. She is the president of the human rights groups, Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Campaign for Democracy.

She has frequently been arrested for her activism, detained 17 times during the military rule of Ibrahim Babangida. She was involved with over 2,000 cases where a woman’s rights had been disregarded. The cases included extrajudicial killings of women or their husbands by the police. The rights of their children were also ignored by the Nigerian school or even hospital authorities.

In 2013, Odumakin was presented an International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State. The award was made by Michelle Obama and John Kerry at the US State Department’s Dean Acheson Auditorium in celebration of International Women’s Day. In the year 2019, Dr Odumakin facilitated the training of participants at the 10th Civil Society Organisation Professionalism, Effectiveness and Therapy (CSO-CPET) Workshop themed Mobilising Women for Change. The training is bi-annual, and it is aimed at building capacity and promoting excellence among civil society groups, inspiring and driving professional ethics in the business operations of CSOs and creating new solutions to the prevalent challenges faced by private organisations.

Being the executive director of the Institute of Human Rights & Democratic Studies; the founding president of Women Arise for Change Initiative; the chairman of the Task Force of the Citizen Forum; the president of the Centre for Change in Community Development & Public Awareness; the president of the Centre for Participatory Democracy; and spokesperson for the Coalition of Civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, she is also recognised as a courageous fighter whose consistent challenge against human rights abuses has exposed her to harrowing experiences under the most repressive regimes Nigeria has ever witnessed.

Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi is a Nigerian lawyer and civil rights activist  She is the founding Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC), a non-governmental maternal and reproductive health advocacy organization Afolabi is an executive board member of West Africa Network for Peacebuilding and the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund. She teaches International Humanitarian Law at the University of Lagos.

She founded Women Advocates Research and Documentation Center (WARDC) in 2002, a company focused on addressing issues relating to gender-based violence and policy advocacy. In August 2016, she was appointed the Chairperson of Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), a collection of 400 civil society organizations. She is the second woman to lead TMG, after Ayo Obe of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in the ’90s. She is a member of the Bring Back our Girls (BBOG) movement and leads the campaign for safe and secure schools in the North East Nigeria. She also led the Gender and Constitution Reform Network (GECORN) founded in 2003.

She successfully represented Monica Osagie, a student at the Obafemi Awolowo University who was sexually harassed by Prof. Richard Iyiola Akindele, a lecturer at the department of accounting in 2018. Abiola teaches International Humanitarian Law at the University of Lagos.

Bunmi Dipo-Salami is a Nigeria-born feminist, development strategist, and social entrepreneur. She is the Chief Executive at PLEG Centre, a company that helps to enhance the capacity of leaders in Nigeria and across Africa through a multi-engagement methodology that strengthens actors in the public, private and non-profit sectors to ensure transformative leadership. She is the Nigeria Country Coordinator for Townhall Radio.

She also worked in the non-profit sector in Nigeria as a Programme Officer at the Centre for Human Development, Ile-Ife (1998-2000). She joined Baobab for Women’s Human Rights, Lagos as a Programme Officer in 2000 and rose to the position of Programme Director in 2006. 

She is currently Executive Director at BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights, a nonprofit organisation committed to enhancing the status of women and girls through interventions in the following areas: Women’s Rights in the World of Work; Women’s Leadership Development; Gender and Accountable Governance; Young Women’s Empowerment; and Strengthening Women’s Organisations. 

She was the Foundation Chair of the Board of Trustees for Brave Heart Initiative (BHI) and currently chairs the Board of Trustees of Widening Scope for Rights and Development (WISCORD) and the Centre for Gender Economics Africa (CGE-Africa). She also sits on the boards of many organisations in the non-profit and private sectors. 

Benson Chinedu OLUGBUO holds a Ph.D in Public Law from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He is a Solicitor and Advocate of the Supreme Court of Nigeria with more that fifteen years post call experience in international criminal justice. He was a Fox International Fellow and Visiting Assistant in Research at the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University, United States of America (2011-2012) and the Anglophone Africa Coordinator for the NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (2004-2009). He has published widely on justice sector reform, international criminal justice and human rights in Africa.

Ms. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti established “Girl Watch”; an organization aimed at educating young Nigerian girls from poor backgrounds in the early 1990s. In 2006, she was appointed a Civil Society advisor to the World Bank. Yemisi Ransome-Kuti was one of those leading the charge in working for Nigeria to meet its millennium development goals and eradicate poverty.

She is the former Executive Director at the Nigeria Network of NGOs, her dedication brought the Network to the forefront as the nation’s leading Network of NGOs and advocacy organization on development issues. Member, United Nations Task Force on Hearings for the High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 65th Session of the General Assembly, World Bank Consultant and Facilitator, Governance & Institutions Policy Commission, Nigeria Economic Summit Group (NESG)

‘Yemi currently serves as the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a non-partisan network of individuals and organizations committed to building a culture of good governance & public accountability in Nigeria through active citizenship. She is also the Secretary to EiE’s Board. 

 EiE has led various advocacy campaigns including its flagship #RSVP: Register |Select |Vote |Protect Campaign promoting voter education and participation. It is also involved in the #OpenNASS campaign calling for accountability and transparency in the National Assembly. To mark its 5th anniversary in 2015, it started the ‘Office of the Citizen’ Campaign, which is focused on teaching citizens their rights & responsibilities as they occupy the highest office in the land. 

 EiE continues to be actively involved in the #BringBackOurGirls campaign calling for the government to find and rescue the Chibok girls, and by extension protect Nigerian citizens and account for those missing and displaced.  

‘Yemi has a 23-year diverse career spanning the public and private sectors in the US and Nigeria. She volunteers for Kaleyewa House, an NGO founded by her late mother focused on the elderly. She’s also on the boards of Make it Happen Productions and the After School Career Development Centre, Calabar. In 2018, she was named as one of the Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD), endorsed by the United Nations in the Humanitarian & Religious category. In 2019, she joined the Africa Program of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in the US as a non-resident Senior Associate. 

 ‘Yemi grew up on the campus of the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) but started her university education at the University of Lagos. She has a first degree in Mathematics & Economics from the 

University of Virginia; an MSc in Development Studies from The London School of Economics (LSE) and an MBA from Oxford University’s Said Business School.

‘Yemi cares deeply about educating and empowering Nigerians to know their rights and responsibilities as she believes that until we consistently hold our elected officials accountable, Nigeria will continue to be underdeveloped and unjust. This is summarised in one of her favourite quotes:

Bekeme Masade-Olowola is a well-respected sustainability and communications entrepreneur. A social entrepreneur, she is the Chief Executive of CSR-in-Action, a group made of a consulting firm, a think tank, and a training institute dedicated to corporate social responsibility, policy development, advocacy, empowerment, and sustainable development in the region. Under Masade-Olowola, CSR-in-Action has promoted sustainable measurement and reporting using the GRI framework, specifically, since 2011, and has catalysed the growth of sustainability adoption and transparency in the region through consulting training, and advocacy interventions.

CSR-in-Action produces the pioneering sustainability investment report in Nigeria The Collective Social Report: Nigeria (now The Corporate Sustainable Investor Report), endorsed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and supported by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) in 2012; a first of its kind compendium which includes a rating of business sustainability performance.

Masade-Olowola helped establish the Business Coalition for Sustainable Development Nigeria (BCSDN) in May 2014, an initiative affiliated with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), made up of a coalition of leading businesses across all sectors to drive collective development.

Mrs Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode Founder and CEO, Murtala Muhammed Foundation Aisha Muhammed-Oyebode is a development specialist, international non-governmental organization (NGO) expert, and human rights activist specializing in women and girls’ initiatives. Muhammed-Oyebode is the founder and CEO of the Murtala Muhammed Foundation, a non-governmental political advocacy organization dedicated to engendering socio-economic change on the African continent, which has positively influenced education; 

Muhammed-Oyebode is a co-convener of the Bring Back Our Girls Movement, formed in the aftermath of the abduction of over 200 girls from their school premises in the Chibok village of Borno State, Nigeria.She has an LLM in Public International Law from King’s College, University of London, and an MBA in Finance from Imperial College, University of London. She is a member of both the Nigerian Bar Association and Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She is currently a Ph.D. scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)

Mrs. Simi Nwogugu CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER Simi Nwogugu is the CEO of Junior Achievement Africa (JA Africa), which equips young Africans with financial literacy, entrepreneurship and employability skills for future success. JA Africa is a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide, which is the world’s largest youth-serving non-profit economic education organizations. Prior to joining JA Africa, Simi served as the executive director of Junior Achievement (JA) Nigeria, which she brought to Nigeria in 1999, after she served as a volunteer in New York and realized that the entrepreneurial training programs were exactly what the large unemployed youth population in Nigeria needed. 

Simi started her career as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs after studying economics and English at Mount Holyoke College, and it was at Goldman that she was introduced to JA New York. After setting up and running JA Nigeria for three years, she left to pursue an MBA at Harvard Business School, after which she worked at MTV Networks in Business Development and Corporate Strategy for a few years before launching HOD Consulting, Inc., a New York-based leadership development firm that helps major corporations retain and advance high-performing women, particularly women of color. 

Simi and her contribution to work-life management in the United States, youth empowerment in Nigeria and her own personal struggles to balance work, family and social responsibility, are the subject of a Harvard Business School case study titled, An Entrepreneur’s Journey: Simi Nwogugu. After a decade of entrepreneurship, Simi returned to her role as executive director of JAN in 2016, to help the organization expand its economic empowerment programs to reach one million young people across Nigeria, which was achieved in the first quarter of 2020. Simi sits on the governing Board of the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria (HBSAN) as its President, the Advisory Council of the African Capital Alliance Foundation, the Board of the Nigerian-German Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Global Advisory Committee for Teach For All.

Dr Judith-Ann Walker is the full-time project Coordinator of all dRPCs programs. She holds master and phD in Development studies from the international institute of social studies, university of Erasmus, Rotterdam, the Netherlands and specializes in development of project management, monitoring and evaluation and in mainstreaming gender in development intervention in Nigeria. She coordinates the implementation of project at the dRPC

Dr Josephine Effah-Chukwuma (born 29 September 1966) is a Nigerian Development Specialist and advocate against domestic violence who founded the first battered women’s shelter in Nigeria – Sophia’s place. She is the Founder and Executive Director, Project Alert established in January, 1999 which provides medical assistance to injured female victims through public fund sourcing and also provide legal services to victims. 

She worked for a newspaper called The Diplomat until 1992 when she went for her master’s degree after which she joined The Constitutional Rights Project, an institution founded by Clement Nwankwo.

Josephine has saved a lot of women through her NGO Project Alert. In May 2001, she launched a shelter project known as Sophia’s place (the first battered women’s shelter in Nigeria) – a temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence. For eight years, the shelter operated in a rented building.

In 2010, Project Alert was able to acquire its own building for its shelter project through funds raised at the Ngo’s 10th Anniversary Shelter Fundraising event in 2009 and funds received from the African Women Foundation, AWDF, Accra Ghana. 

She is a member of several organizations which include Lead Consultant at Justice for all (J4A) Programme 1.4 Voluntary Policing, President at Our Lady of Apostle Old Students Association, Founding Member at Association on Research in Civil Society in Africa, AROCSA and also an Ashoka fellow since 2002.

Saudatu Mahdi is a Nigerian Women’s Right advocate. She is the Secretary General of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA). She has published over 20 books focusing on violence against women, women’s rights, Shari’a and women and women in education. Mahdi led the team that fought and won the acquittal for a Nigerian woman who was sentenced to death by hanging because she had a child out of wedlock.

She started her career as a classroom teacher before resigning. In August 1989, she became the principal of the Government Girls Secondary School in Bauchi. On 12 April 1995, she was appointed Acting Registrar of the Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi and held the position till 11 November 1998 before she voluntarily retired. She is currently the Secretary General of Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA).

Mahdi and her organization’s legal team successfully fought for the freedom of Amina Lawal Kurami who was accused of adultery and was sentenced to death by stoning by the Katsina State Sharia court. Lawal had a baby girl in 2002 out of wedlock and the daughter was used as evidence of her adultery at the court.

In 2001, Mahdi and her legal team defended Safiyatu Hussaini who was convicted by the Upper Sharia Court in Gwadabawa, Sokoto State for adultery and sentenced to death by stoning.

She is a senior international technical adviser, experienced programme manager and researcher with many years of experience working directly in fragile environments, as well as at policy level with regional human rights entities and NGOs. Her focus is gender and social inclusion, conflict and peacebuilding, human rights, safeguarding, violence against women and girls, SGBV, PSEA, and feminist movement building.

She accomplished team leader with extensive senior management experience as well as leading multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural teams in various environments.

 

Obibi has been active in gender and human rights activism since 1996, serving as the director of Alliances for Africa (AFA), an African-led feminist NGO based in Nigeria. She works in Sierra Leone, Kenya, Liberia, and Nigeria with the goal of emancipating African women, developing feminist leadership and building the feminist movement. She has served as a consultant for local and international organizations, including UN Women, British Council, OECD, DfID and the Commonwealth Secretariat.

Obibi was elected as an Ashoka Fellow in 2005 for her work “challenging the patriarchal nature of Nigerian politics by encouraging and preparing women to seek positions of authority at all levels of governance and bringing women to the forefront of decision-making bodies”.

I am an actress/producer/ OAP/ Events compere, humanitarian, investigative journalist and inspirational speaker dedicated to using entertainment media to fight abuse with the aim of achieving a zero tolerance for abuse. As an abuse survivor, inspiring victim support and attitudinal change to ensure safer spaces and inclusivity in society are key. Grassroots reorientation is my strength.

Dorothy  Njemanze co-founder and executive director of the Dorothy Njamanze Foundation is a filmmaker ,actress, public speaker and investigative Journalist who works to expose widespread abduction and sexual violence against women and girls in Nigeria. She has been detained, arrested and suffered intimidation for her work as a human rights defender. Ms. Njemanze was one of four plaintiffs in a landmark case brought against Nigeria, in which the Federal Government of Nigeria was found guilty to human right violations. Through her foundation, she helps Victims of violence access legal services, medical care, social services, education and increased economic empowerment. The foundation also create audio-visual materials in regional dialects to right awareness at the grassroots. In 2018 she won the Amnesty International Award Ginetta Sagan for her advocacy work on gender-based violence.

Executive Director of Youngstars Foundation, and Pastor of Power City International Church, Jos Plateau State Branch, is a Nigerian youth activist working on many fronts, and focusing on entrepreneurship and good governance. As a Young Global Leader he was a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council 2010. He received a national diploma in Social Work and Community Development from the Plateau State Polytechnic in 2004. He was an intern at the World Youth Alliance, New York for three months in 2003 and a Stanford Summer Fellow on Democracy, Development and Rule of Law, Stanford University in 2007. 

He received the Scout of the Year Award and in 1984 and was Scout Patrol Leader of his Wale. He was elected as a Fellow Architect of the Future by Waldzell Institute in 2010 and was also a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. He wrote a chapter on Youth Entrepreneurship in the 2011 book titled Youth Effect published by the World Economic Forum. His program Democracy Series: Participation, Learning Active Youth (DESPLAY) brings together youth from different parts of Africa in a training program to learn about democracy and good governance as it affects young people. He produced a weekly youth television program with his wife called Out of You and recently started The Factory – Impact Youth Christian Center www.iyccafrica.org.

Mrs. Ekundayo Queenolia Keshi has a strong passion for philanthropy which started over twenty years ago as she volunteered her services to non-profit organizations in various countries she lived in as a diplomat’s wife. She has been able to mentor and nurture younger officers under her to imbibe these ideals as a panacea to success in life.

She is an astute Administrator who is unassuming, meticulous and believes in hard work, perseverance and perfection. She has contributed immensely to the development of less-privileged children, especially in areas of literacy and nutrition, orphans and vulnerable children care and youth mentoring.

Her philanthropic efforts resulted in the emergence of AfriGrowth Foundation a non-profit organization, which she founded in 2005 committed to enhancing growth and changing lives in needy communities and devoted to fighting poverty through access to education and the initiation and support of programs which develops skills for self-sustenance.

She founded the Nigerian Women’s Association of Georgia (NWAG) and served as President for three years. The Association continues to make worthy contributions towards impacting positively on the lives of women and children both in Atlanta and Nigeria, which raised the profile of Nigeria in a positive manner never witnessed before in the city of Atlanta.

Mrs. Ekundayo Queenolia Keshi has a strong commitment to supporting Women, Youth and Children. For these she has been honoured with a number of awards especially for her philanthropy works such as the Honorary Citizen of Georgia, US Africa Class Community Leadership Award, Community Service and Humanity Award and Women Advocacy Award amongst others.

Priscilla Mbarumun Achakpa, holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Business Engineering and Management (Bosnia and Herzegovina), M.SC Development Studies, Professional Certificate from Harvard University Business School, and a development practitioner with over 24 years. She has held many positions at National and International levels working with a wide range of development actors and CSOs in gender, environment, and climate change. Priscilla spent several years with Savannah bank (1989-2001) rising to the position of Assistant Manager before joining Abuja Catholic Ecclesiastical Province, Caritas, Justice and Peace/Health as the Executive Secretary in 2001, Partnership Specialist/ Officer In-Charge, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) 2019-2020, Nigeria and was the National Coordinator, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration (WSSCC) from 2012-2019.

Founder, Women Environmental Programme (WEP) an NGO since 1997, has impacted millions of lives and beneficiaries across the globe with offices in Burkina-Faso, Niger, Togo and Tunisia and Nigeria as the headoffice. WEP has United Nations ECOSOC Consultative Special Status, Observer status to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Organizing Partner (OP) Women’s Major Groups representing Africa on the 2030 Agenda at UN processes from 2015 -2019 and Co-Facilitator of the Women’s Major, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Priscilla has held many positions at national and international levels and is a member of different development bodies across the globe. She is also a recipient of several awards and a member of different Professional Associations and Networks. A recipient of several awards including Ashoka Fellows, ECO Ambassador, Channels TV Nigeria and Deutsche Welle, a public broadcasting institution formed under German April 2016, Climate Change Warriors –Vogue Magazine, USA December 2015, Certificate of Recognition: In recognition of Outstanding Contributions Towards a Cleaner and Healthier Environment in Nigeria, by Nigeria National Volunteer Service (NNVS) Federal Republic of Nigeria,  National Environment Award: Outstanding Advocacy Works in Gender and Environment by National Environment Newspapers and Federal Ministry of Environment, Environmental Awareness Creation Award: to Women Environmental Programme for Her Meritorious Support to Environmental Causes in Nigeria by the Environmental Outreach Magazine. Priscilla is Passionist about gender and environment especially helping the most vulnerable and disadvantages group in the society.

John Onyeukwu, a four-time DCOP on large, fast-paced USAID programs across Nigeria, including in high-conflict areas in the northeast, excels at technical programming, developing and sustaining strong working relationships with stakeholders and project staff.

He has more than 25 years of experience working with Nigerian government, civil society, and private sector partners on budget transparency, procurement reform, audit systems, stabilization and transition, conflict prevention and mitigation, and civil society engagement, human rights, gender, youth and disability. A proactive problem solver and enabler, Mr. Onyeukwu has a deserved reputation for promoting interventions based on evidence, harmonizing tasks and operations, and ensuring results by working effectively and collaboratively with his teams.

As DCOP of the Nigeria Lake Chad Basin Program and its predecessor, the Nigeria Regional Transition Initiative, Mr. Onyeukwu was responsible for program development, media engagement, and analysis and dissemination of lessons learned from TA and grant activities. He led his teams through the full activity cycle to ensure that the results would restore trust and build confidence between communities and local government. He has overseen grant funds of up to $40 million, immediate reports of up to six, and regular contact with larger program teams of up to 145 people in multiple offices. As DCOP for USAID’s Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement, he advised the COP on the optimum modalities for collaborating with CSO clusters that were focused on broad-based reforms as well as sector-specific improvements. His work supported strong program results, including a 20 percent increase in educational funding in Enugu and Ebonyi in 2016. Throughout his career, Mr. Onyeukwu has adapted approaches of

thinking and working politically, including the design and implementation of PEAs to guide program implementation.

A lawyer with LL.B (second class upper honors) from the Obafemi Awolowo University, BL. from the Nigerian Law School, Lagos and an LLM from the University of Lagos. He also holds an M.A. in public policy from Central European University, Hungary, and,another M.A in Public Administration and Public Policy from the University of York, UK.

Mr. Onyeukwu is a recipient of several academic and professional awards, including the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Public Policy – Mundus MAPP Fellowship, the Open Society International Policy Fellowship and the UAC Nigeria Higher Education Scholarship.

Adepeju is an award-winning entrepreneur, a recipient of HRH the Prince of Wales Sustainability Entrepreneur Awards, HRM the Queen of England Points of Light Awards, Unilever Young Entrepreneur Award, and a host of others.

Adepeju is an entrepreneur, civic leadership expert, development consultant, innovation expert, a trained lawyer, public speaker, and maternal health enthusiast passionate about innovation and creating simple lifesaving solutions to solve some of the world’s pressing challenges.

She is the founder of Brown Button Foundation which trains birth attendants and Mothers Delivery Kit which provides ultra-affordable sterile supplies for women to use at childbirth while also increasing access to quality healthcare services.

As an entrepreneur he has founded or co-founded companies that are active in fields including financial services, ICT, Media and Agriculture. He was candidate for President of Nigeria in 2007 and 2011.

Prof. has reached the top in several different endeavours, becoming one of Nigeria’s top managers in Manufacturing before his 33rd birthday, reaching a Presidential Advisory position at 27; earning two Master Degrees and a PhD at 26, a Professorship and global acknowledgement as a leading scholar in Business, Political Economy and Media Studies in his forties.

He also belongs to many professional bodies. He is a member, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Institute of Directors, IOD, Nigeria Economic Summit Group and Nigeria Economic Society.

He coordinated the establishment of several civil society groups on good governance and accountability such as Transparency in Nigeria,The Centre for Values in Leadership, The Concerned Professionals, and the Restoration Group. In the business sphere, Utomi was the vice-chairman, Platinium–Habib Bank. He is an accomplished columnist, and chairman, BusinessDay Media Limited and creator of Patito’s Gang, a television talk show.

He has served on the key apex private sector associations including the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI); The National Council of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria; and the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA). He is active on the International speaking circuit, especially on the subjects of Growth economics, comparative development, Leadership, the Curse of Oil and China’s Economic surge and growing influence in Africa. He has collaborated fairly frequently with the center for strategic and international studies (CSIS) in Washington, and Chatham House, in the UK. He has also written commissioned papers for the UKs DFID including the latest collaboration with Colleagues from Oxford on the Political Economy of growth in Nigeria. (2006).

Katja Schiller Nwator is an International Development and Philanthropy Advisor who has worked across Africa to drive pioneering initiatives and community-level interventions that positively impact on the lives of women, youth, and African society as a whole.
Dynamic, driven and passionate about social justice, Katja has collaborated with donor agencies, foundations, governments, non-profit organizations and private sector to raise funds, allocate grants and develop frameworks for initiatives and programmes that create networks and opportunities that reduce inequalities.
In 2017, she founded Philanthropy Circuit – a media and research nonprofit that produces new data and insights about African philanthropy and provides access to knowledge, resources, and tools that strengthen philanthropic organizations and facilitate collaboration. Through this work, Philanthropy Circuit is catalyzing new perspectives and attitudes on African giving and supporting the ecosystem of philanthropy development.
Katja also achieved significant success while working in senior management positions for nonprofit organizations, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Freedom Foundation, where she designed and managed impactful development programmes and led diverse teams.
In 2019, she joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to drive investments in and help catalyze homegrown policy and advocacy solutions that advance Nigeria’s human capital development agenda in health, agriculture, financial inclusion, and gender equality.

Clement Nwankwo, is a Nigerian pro-democracy and human rights activist. PLAC hosts the secretariat of the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room (Situation Room) and is a member of its steering committee. Clement Okechukwu Nwankwo born (9 May 1962) is a lawyer and human rights activist in Nigeria. He is the Executive Director of Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre and convener of Civil Society Situation Room (PLAC). He is recognised as the first Nigerian to establish a human rights organisation.

Nwankwo created the idea of Nigeria’s first human rights organisation –  Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in 1987,  which he co-founded with lawyer colleague, Olisa Agbakoba. CLOs focus was on the investigation of human rights violations, offering legal assistance to victims, and creating human rights awareness. In 1990, Nwankwo left the CLO and founded another non-profit organisation (NGO), the Constitutional Rights Project (CRP), which monitors Nigeria’s laws and government’s actions regarding international agreements and human rights.CRP  also provides victims of human rights abuse with legal assistance, conducts research, opinion formation, and more. The CRP was one of the strongest human rights voices under Sani Abacha’s military rule in the mid-1990s, a time when several leading activists were imprisoned, tortured, and in some cases, executed. In 2002, Nwankwo handed over the leadership of CRP but continued as a board member.

Dr. Otive Igbuzor is the Founding Executive Director of the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy & Development (Centre LSD). He was one time International Head of campaigns of ActionAid International and Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria. He was also an honorable Commissioner in the Police Service Commission (PSC) from 2008-2013. Prior to joining ActionAid, he was a Programme Coordinator of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an independent research, information, and training institution dedicated to policy-oriented scholarship on questions of democratic development and peacebuilding in the West African sub-region. Previously, he was a lecturer at the Delta State University, Lagos Centre and has published many scholarly articles on democracy, gender, politics and development. He is the author of Perspectives on Democracy and Development and Challenges of Development in Nigeria; the co-editor of two authoritative books on Constitution-making and Constitutionalism in Nigeria: He is a member of many professional associations including the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN) and Nigerian Institute of Management. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Strategic Management and President of The Ejiro & Otive Igbuzor Foundation.

Specialties: Strategy Formulation, Programme design, implementation and evaluation, Policy Analysis, Leadership Training, and Research

He is a Political Scientist from Bayero University Kano-Nigeria, with many international courses. He is a Human Rights, Anti-Corruption, Policy, and Legislative Advocacy Activist interested in the positive transformation of Nigeria and Africa. Auwal Musa Rafsanjani is currently the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), and Head of Transparency International (Nigeria) as well as the Chairman, Zero Corruption Coalition (ZCC). Likewise, he is the past immediate coordinator representing Sub African region on Civil Society Coalition on the United Nations Convention against Corruption He is a co-convener of Say No Campaign.

Auwal was a founding Executive Committee Member of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), 1998-2000. Also, an Executive Committee Member of the Transition Monitoring Group (TMG) Publicity Secretary 2008-2012. He was the Acting General Secretary of the West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF) 2014 to 2017. Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) has many years of experience in the areas of Extractive revenue transparency, Anti-corruption, Human Rights, as well as rich Legislative advocacy capacity. He is a board member of many reputable organizations, including Amnesty International (Nigeria).

Before he became the Executive Director of CISLAC, Mr. Auwal had worked with the Community Action for PopularaParticipation (CAPP) as a Programme Officer where he led projects on Community Development and Human Rights. He then moved to the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), during this period he led projects in diverse areas on Legislative /Policy Advocacy, Local Democracy, Good Governance, Constitutionalism, and Development.

Crystal Chigbu, is the founder of one of the biggest NGOs in Nigeria in terms of direct and indirect impact. IREDE Foundation started from her personal experience with an amputee child In 2012 IREDE Foundation was established to bring hope, joy, and purposeful living to all children living with limb loss, their families and caregivers. Today, the foundation has provided over 187 artificial limbs to children within the age bracket of 1-18 years, invested in their families, created multiple support systems and establish a sustainable practice gears towards advocacy such as “Out on A Limb Annual Work”

As a successful social entrepreneur, Crystal actively participates in other ventures that inspire society. One of which is a periodic media interview called “Hope Grill” where sits with other people that have overcome their challenges so they can inspire others.

Crystal’s work has not gone unnoticed, As at January 2021, she has been recognised via awards by over 25 organizations, communities and companies for her contributions towards helping every amputee child. She is also a fellow of the Acumen Programme, a program of leaders who understand what it takes to create change in our complex, interconnected world.

She has also been invited to multiple regional events hosted by African Union to contribute to social development policies.

A graduate of Biochemistry from the prestigious University of Lagos, Crystal kicked off her career in Procter and Gamble and rose through the ranks within the shortest time to become a regional manager overseeing multiple states in Nigeria. Crystal also has a contagious love for people, and is driven by a strong desire to bring out the best in everyone she meets. Her hobbies are dancing and travelling to new locations. She is married to Zubby Chigbu and they are blessed with two kids- Beulah and Eden Chigbu and she mothers hundreds other kids through her works.

Oluseun Onigbinde (18 September 1985) is a Nigerian entrepreneur and open data analyst popularly known as the co-founder and Director of budgIT, a Nigerian civic startup. Oluseun Onigbinde is a fiscal transparency advocate and firm believer in the power of Open Data. In 2012, he was awarded the Future Awards Prize for Science and Tech Innovation.

BudgIT is the tool that enables Nigerians to fight bad governance, with proof. Having co-founded the company in 2011, Onigbinde continues to encourage citizens to hold the government accountable. An entrepreneur and open data analyst, fiscal transparency advocate and a firm believer in the power of open data, he was appointed as Technical Adviser in the Ministry of Budget and National Planning on 13 September 2019, but came under fire on social media due to his open and long-term criticism of the same government that appointed him. This caused him to resign three days later. His LinkedIn ‘About’ profile states: “I believe in a just, transparent and fair society where every citizen within a community has equal access to information about the fiscal position of their society and uses such opportunity to demand accountability as well as efficient service delivery.”

Hamzat Lawal (Hamzy!) is an activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with over nine years of experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns, and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities.

Hamzy! is also the Founder of Follow The Money, a Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement and leads a team of technology & innovation-driven campaigners to amplify voices of marginalized communities in promoting accountability as it affects the utilization of public funds focusing on specific communities across Africa.

He is currently the Founder/Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE), under his leadership CODE won the ONE Africa 2016 Award which recognizes, rewards, and advances the exceptional work of Africa based organisations; dedicated to helping the continent achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He seats on the Executive Board of the largest Youth Movement in Africa: African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), advising on communications strategies and campaigns using technology tools in shaping and actualizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and has joined his voice on different platforms and policy influencing coalitions across Africa such as the Not Too Young To Run movement which drives youth political inclusion. Before his role at CODE, he was an Executive with the International Centre For Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED) working on high-level advocacy for Nigeria’s energy needs and climate actions. He was honored and recognized on the 2018 list of the world’s 100 most influential people in digital government by Apolitical, a global network for government, helping public servants find the ideas, people, and partners they need to solve the hardest challenges facing our societies.

Mrs. Ndidi Okonkwo Nwuneli (MFR) is a social entrepreneur with over 21 years of experience in International Development and Business Management. She is the Founder of LEAP Africa an organization with a mission to develop dynamic, innovative and principled leaders; Co-Founder of AACE Food Processing and Distribution Ltd., an indigenous agro-processing company that is providing high-quality foods for West Africans while improving the livelihoods of farmers in the region; and a Director at Sahel Capital Partners and Advisory Ltd., an advisory and consulting firm focused on the agribusiness and nutrition sectors in West Africa.

She has an undergraduate degree in Multinational and Strategic Management (graduating with honours) from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. Ndidi started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey and Company, working in their Chicago, New York, and Johannesburg Offices.

Ndidi serves on numerous international and local boards including Nestle Nigeria Plc., Nigerian Breweries Plc, Globethics.net, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India and Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands. She has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and has received a National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Nigerian Government. In 2011, she was listed as one of the Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. Ndidi is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” published by Routledge in 2016.

Prof. Obafemi Ajibola is the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of New Nigeria Foundation. He holds a first degree from the University of Ife; a doctorate degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA; and has extensive administrative, research, teaching, and consultancy experience.

He was awarded D.Sc. degree (honoris causa) by the Osun State University, Osogbo in 2017. Prior to his work with NNF, Prof Ajibola was a Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he supervised several postgraduate students, published scores of academic papers, and served at different times as Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering; Dean, Faculty of Technology; Chairman, Committee of Deans; and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration). 

He is a registered Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAE), and has served as a consultant to several national and international development organizations. He is the immediate past Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council of Osun State University, Osogbo; Chairman, Board of Directors of the Centre for Research and Development (CERAD); Member of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND) and Chairman of several development-oriented committees. Professor Ajibola is blessed with a loving family whose support has contributed immensely to his successful career.

David Obinna Anyaele (ED, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD)) David Obinna Anyaele is a disability rights activist, motivational speaker, and development consultant with over 15 years of experience, focusing on inclusion and rights of persons with disabilities. He is the founding Executive Director, Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD). CCD is the premier organization of, and for persons with disabilities that works to promote inclusion, participation, and access to justice for persons with disabilities (PWD) in Nigeria. When visiting Freetown-Sierra Leone in 1999, he was attacked, captured, and set on fire by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels of Sierra Leone, after his two limbs were forcefully chopped off because of his identity as a Nigerian.

He coordinated the campaign by CSOs for the passage of two Disability Rights laws at the national and state levels. The laws are Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2018, and Lagos State Special Peoples Law 2010. Mr. Anyaele is an International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP 2020), Gold Star alumina, organized by the State Department, United States of America with focus on Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the ADA (Nigeria), July 8 – July 22, 2020. He has won different Awards. The recent among them are Merit Award 2020 by Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations, Edo State; Disability Champion Award, 2019 by Project Enable Africa, Social Responsibility Award of Excellence 2018 by AS+A Communications, Lagos State.

David holds a Diploma in Public Relations, Bachelor of Science in Management Science, and Master of Science in International Law and Diplomacy. He is a member Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR). He is a board member of different Coalitions and Not-for-Profit organisations. He is also the current President, Nigeria Sitting Volleyball Federation and Convener, Coalition of Disability Organisations in Nigeria.

Betty Abah is a Nigerian journalist, author and women and children’s rights activist. She is the founder and Executive Director of CEE-HOPE, a child rights and development non-profit organization based in Lagos State which works with at-risk girls and other vulnerable children in slum communities across Nigeria, including Makoko in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest urban slum settlement. CEE-HOPE’s programs focus on increasing girl leadership, mentorship and developing their skills to combat some of their most pressing issues such as teenage pregnancy, school drop-out, and child marriage, as well as other forms of child abuse. She is very outspoken against societal ills and misgovernance in Nigeria. 

She has recently been receiving threats, including anonymous phone calls and threats on social media, for a campaign revealing corrupt practices at the UN system in Nigeria.

Hafsat Abiola-Costello,an internationally recognized figure in the field of human and civil rights, Hafsat Abiola-Costello works on promoting democracy in Nigeria and the empowerment of women and youth around the world. Educated at Harvard College and Tsinghua University, she is an economist with a Masters in International Development.

Currently, she serves on the Ogun State cabinet as Special Adviser to the Governor overseeing the roll-out of schools in rural communities and the training of teachers among other projects aimed at achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

One of 50 global councillors of the World Future Council, she co-founded several global organizations and serves on the Advisory Council of Gucci’s Chime for Change. She is the President of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), an NGO that works to strengthen organizations and create initiatives dedicated to empowering women and girls to claim their rights. The recipient of several awards and the subject of the award-winning documentary, The Supreme Price, she is married with two children

Olufunke Baruwa is a Nigerian gender and development practitioner, feminist and public speaker with a focus on gender, public policy and governance. For more than two decades, she has been at the forefront of social policies and reforms in Nigeria working with government, civil society and international development partners.

Funke is renowned for her advocacy on the inclusion of women in strategic political, social and economic positions in Nigeria. From 2000 to 2015, she was a Program Officer at the defunct National Poverty Eradication Programme, Gender Advisor at the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on MDGs, and as a Technical Assistant on Research, Policy & Planning in the Ministry of Communication Technology. In 2015, she was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund Nigerian Women Trust Fund – a technical and financial resource for women in politics and decision-making in Nigeria where she set the strategic vision and mobilized resources succeeding Ayisha Osori. Prior to assuming the role of C.E.O of the Nigerian Women’s Trust Fund she served on the Board of Directors of the Fund from 2011-2015.and in 2018, she was appointed co-Chair of the Board of Directors succeeding Amina Salihu. That same year, she joined the US Agency for International Development (USAID) / Nigeria as the Civil Society and Media Specialist in their Peace & Democratic Governance Office.

In 2020, Olufunke Baruwa started working in Ford Foundation’s West Africa Office as Program Officer for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice where she leads work on ending violence against women and girls.

Mrs Toyin Saraki A Founder-President of The Wellbeing Foundation Africa (WBFA) Her Excellency Mrs Toyin Saraki is a Nigerian leader, advocate and philanthropist for maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, as well as socio-economic empowerment. Through WBFA, and working with a broad range of partners that include the UN, the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Health, and the organized private sector, Mrs Saraki has demonstrated leadership, over two decades, on the advancement of women’s and children’s health through community health workers and midwives.

Mrs Toyin Saraki was appointed Inaugural Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives in 2014, taking on the responsibility of advocating for the improved recognition of the roles, rights and remuneration of the midwifery profession, globally. She is Save the Children’s Newborn Health Champion for Nigeria; and is a Global Champion for the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. She is also a member of the International Steering Committee of the International Conference on Population and Development, and serves as Special Adviser to the Independent Advisory Group of the WHO Regional Office for Africa. Her marriage to Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, 13th Senate President and Former Chairman of the 8th Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, has been blessed with four children.

Dr. Tony Rapu is medical doctor, filmmaker, life coach and the Senior Pastor of the House of Freedom. His vision is to bring about developmental change to lives and communities by reaching out to different demographics through strategic interventions. He has developed innovative methods and solutions in tackling issues such as drug addiction, urban poverty, and community development. He undertakes this work in his role as Freedom Foundation’s Chairman Board of Trustees and more particularly, the Genesis House (a residential rehabilitation program for girls and young women who have been victims of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation), House of Refuge (a drug rehabilitation and resource center which caters specifically for the rehabilitation needs of drug and alcohol dependent persons ), Bethesda Child Support Agency (which mobilizes community resources with the assistance of partners to help children from impoverished backgrounds secure a better future through education) and King Solomon’s Funds (which provides empowerment programs to young men and women via career skills training, business and entrepreneurial development training, vocational skills training, counselling and mentoring). Through mission and ministry, he continues to bring purpose, empowerment and life-changing opportunities to numerous people.

Ada Agina-Ude is a retired journalist with 20+ years of experience in journalism working with the federal ministry of information and culture, a gender development expert with 20 years of experience working with the Gender And Development Action (GADA).  

Ada Agina-Ude has consulted for various organisations including Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, UNESCO, UNIFEM, Action Aid, CIDA, ODI, UNDP, UNICEF, TMG, WARDC, CDD and DFID. Her core areas of focus include training on gender and development, research and publications, gender mainstreaming, gender budgeting, lobbying, advocacy and social mobilisation. She has contributed to boosting women’s rights advocacy in Nigeria through project design and implementations and project-based publications including reports and research findings.

Lanre Arogundade, a media development specialist, is the Director of International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria. IPC builds media capacities to strengthen democracy and development while it promotes freedom of expression, press freedom, access to information, and safety of journalists, media independence and media professionalism.

 He is also Editor-In-Chief of the Nigerian Democratic Report, IPC’s online news portal and media resource. He was Assistant Editor/member of Editorial board, Vanguard Newspapers; Stringer, Voice of America; and Reporter, Panos Radio.

 He has edited such media resource books as Public Procurement Reporting Guide, Budget & Corruption Reporting – A media audit; Guidelines and Resources on Investigative Journalism; We Speak for Us – A New Experience in Advocacy Work; The Ethics Handbook; Guidelines on Conflict and Election Reporting; Freedom of Information and Civil Society and Union Rights of Female Journalists

 In May 2018, Lanre Arogundade was recently conferred with the defender of press freedom award by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). He was co-recipient of the maiden press freedom award of the West African Journalists Association (WAJA) in 1997.

 He was leader of Lagos branch of NUJ from 1995 to 1999 during which he led campaigns and protests against military serial violation of press freedom and journalists’ rights as a consequence of which he was arrested and detained for one month in a police cell in Ibadan on framed murder charge before a law court discharged and acquitted him. In the area of knowledge, the Lagos NUJ that time published the authoritative ‘Journalism in Nigeria – Issues and Perspectives’.

 He is also a member of Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE), Global Forum for Media Development and Freedom of Information Coalition.

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo is a lawyer, feminist and scholar/activist. She earned a post graduate degree in law (LLM) from Queen Mary College, University of London, and a BL from the Nigerian Law School. She is a Senior Lecturer and teaches law at the University of Nigeria (Enugu Campus). She attended the International Institute of Human Rights and the International Centre for University Teaching of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. She holds a diploma in gender studies and also a diploma in peace studies and conflict resolution from CODESRIA, Dakar and the Uppsala University, Sweden.

Joy Ezeilo, was appointed the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, especially women and children (2008-2011) in June 2008 and took up office in August 2008.

She has served Nigerian governments at both the state and federal levels in different capacities; notably as the Honourable Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Enugu State (2003-2004), and a federal delegate to the National Political Reform Conference. Recently, she was appointed by the Honourable Attorney General and the Minister for Justice to chair the Committee drafting a Bill Elimination of Violence and by the Enugu State Governor as a member of the Governing Council of Citizen’s Rights and Mediation Center, Enugu.

Joy Ezeilo is actively involved in the Civil Society Movement in Nigeria particularly in the areas of human rights, democracy and good governance. She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Aid Collective (WACOL), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting and protecting the human rights of women and young people. She is the Convener of the South East Women Network (SEWNET), and the founder and moderator of the West African Women Rights Coalition (WAWORC) and has under that mandate initiated the “Say No to Violence Against Women and Girls Campaign” among others.

Joy Ezeilo is a recipient of the prestigious British Chevening scholarship and a grantee of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Funds for Leadership Development. She has also received several national and international awards, including the International Visitors Award of the African Studies Association, USA (2001); the Peace Service Award from the African Center for Peace & Conflict Resolution, California State University, Sacramento  for her pro bono legal aid work for poor and vulnerable women and girls (April:2006); the Community Service Awards from Rotary International, Soroptimist International, and the Rotaract Club;  and the Outstanding Performance Award from the Ezeagu Local Government Council, Enugu State.

In 2003, His Royal Highness Igwe G. Eko of Ihe installed her as Chief Ada Eji Eje Mba I  of Ihe and  in 2004, His Royal Highness Igwe J. Nnaji conferred on her the Ochendo title for her humanitarian work in Nigeria and beyond. She was invested with Peace Service Award by the California State University, Sacramento in April 2006. Recently, her LGA- Ezeagu (October 2006) honoured her with another Chieftaincy title- Nne Ezeagu.

In 1999, Joy Ezeilo was a Fellow-in-Residence at the Humanities Research Institute, University of California, Irvine and in 2001, she was invited to the University of California, Riverside, as a Regent Professor. She has served as a consultant/trainer in human rights, gender issues, governance and conflict resolution to many international and national organisations including Nigerian Judicial Institute (NJI), UNDP, UNIFEM, UNICEF, USAID, MACARTHUR FOUNDATION, UNFPA, Federal Ministry Of Health, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs (MDG Fund), CRLP (now Center for Reproductive Rights), OSIWA, CODESRIA, British Council, Global Rights, Partners for Justice (formerly International Human Rights Law Group, DFID: Security Justice & Growth (SJG), and Partnership For Transformation Of Health System (PATHS), SRIP/EU, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Abuja, Open Society Initiative For Southern Africa (OSISA), Center for Democracy and Development, West Africa (CDD) etc.

She pioneered the teaching of the course, “Women, Children and the Law,” at the University of Nigeria since 1997 and also the adoption of a curriculum and the teaching of Health Law/Reproductive Rights in Nigerian Universities through her organization WACOL. She has published extensively in the areas of human rights, women and children’s rights, and health law, including HIV and AIDS, in Nigeria and Africa in general.

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to nation building in the area of legal scholarship, advocacy, civil society movement and community service, Ms. Joy Ezeilo, popularly called Ochendo, was conferred with the National honour of Officer of the Order of Niger (OON) by Mr. President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) in December 2006.

Joy Ezeilo is married to a medical doctor, Augustine Ezenta Ezeilo, who is the Enugu State Director of Public Health. They have three children—Chidulue, Nnenna and Onyinye.  Ezeilo’s hobbies include travelling, reading and dancing.

He is a Nigerian journalist, author, lawyer, and activist. He was the editor of the Vanguard Newspaper and is an executive director of the Centre for Free Speech organisation.

He has contributed articles to media organisations and is the author of several books.

Mosun Layode is a development professional with two decades of experience in international development and nonprofit leadership. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the African Philanthropy Forum (APF) where she works extensively across Africa with established and emerging philanthropists who are committed to the sustainable and inclusive development of Africa. She joined Candid’s board in 2020. 

Mosun was instrumental to the establishment of APF as an independent entity in Africa, increasing its reach and impact in the philanthropic community, as well as growing its brand and membership base. Prior to this, she served as the Executive Director of WIMBIZ and LEAP Africa, leading nonprofits in Nigeria. Passionate about the interplay of social issues and business, Mosun founded Social Runway, a nonprofit organization that supports social innovators. She has also served as an independent development consultant for nonprofit organizations.

Mosun currently sits on nonprofit boards, is an alumna of the United States International Visitors Leadership Program and was identified by Forbes as one of the black women to watch in philanthropy.

Mosun studied Urban and Regional Planning at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and obtained an MSc. in Environmental Resources Management from Lagos State University. She has an MBA from Lagos Business School and benefited from Executive Programs offered by the IESE Business School, Barcelona, and Harvard Business School.

Kole Shettima is the Director of the Foundation’s Africa Office in Abuja, Nigeria. He is responsible for grant making in the Population & Reproductive Health area, Human Rights and International Justice, and the Partnership for Higher Education in Africa.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 1999, Shettima taught at the University of Maiduguri (Nigeria), the University of Toronto, and at Ohio University. He was State Coordinator, and National Education Coordinator of Women in Nigeria; Coordinator of the Working Group on Nigeria, Toronto; and Co-chair of the Economic Justice Working Group of the Inter-Church Coalition on Africa, Toronto. Shettima is on the board of several organizations including the Center for Democracy and Development. He has published in several academic journals including Africa Development, Review of African Political Economy, African Studies Review and Journal of Asian and African Studies.

Shettima has a PhD from the University of Toronto, a master’s degree from Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria and his undergraduate degree is from the University of Maiduguri where he has also been a faculty member.

Project Head with a demonstrated history of working in the non-profit organization management industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Program Evaluation, Proposal Writing, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), and Civil Society. Strong operations professional graduated from University of Manchester with other international experiences.

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