It is the dream of everyone to be in leading and influential positions. If we look at Nigerian women then some of them are particularly influential, either by virtue of their being born into wealthy families, their marriage to people of affluence or by their business relationship with others.
In any case, those who are better placed always have some degree of influence wherever they find themselves. LEADERSHIP Friday has compiled the rating of ‘Abuja’s Most Influential’, either by virtue of their business, wealth, association or family. You may call them the ‘iron ladies’ if you wish to. But then…they deserve it.
1. Senator AISHA JUMMAI AL-HASSAN
Profile: represents Taraba North federal constituency in the Senate. Owns A-Class Park and Events Management Services Limited in Maitama District – a multi-million naira complex. Identifies with the nPDP.
While the political crisis between the two factions lasted and gathered momentum, her A-Class Park was marked for demolition by Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA). She cried out foul and raised the alarm that it was a case of political vendetta because of her membership of nPDP. However, after the entire wrangle, the park continued its operations. Who says Jummai is not influential?
2. HAJIA BASIRAT NAHIBI
Profile: Multi-millionaire businesswoman, owns al-Bashir Interior Decors in Abuja. Involved in political activities, and has influence outside Nigeria, especially in some African countries.
3. MADAM NUOMA EZEDIKE
Profile: owns Orange Garden in Wuse Zone 3, Abuja. This industrious and enterprising woman stands to gain not only financial profits from her business but also influence considering the socialite nature of the business.
4. HAJIA BOLA SHAGAYA (MON)
Profile: used to serve in banking sector. Established Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited in 1997, which is a one unit of her business empire. Fotofair is reputed to have over thirty photo laboratories across the country.
Winner of the prestigious Africa Investors (AI) Investment and Business Leaders Awards which took place at the Africa Investor CEO Climate Summit in Washington DC, USA in October, 2013. Known for her strong influence and presence around the corridors of power. Keeps cordial relationship with Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan and also attends social gatherings with the First Lady. Member of the NEPAD Business Group in Nigeria
5. MRS EMILIA ATOBETELE
Profile: the President of Abuja Market Women Association. Passionate about organizing women traders and making them more productive as a means of empowering and liberating them from the shackles of poverty. Discipline is one of her hallmarks in leadership.
6. CHIEF RITA LORI OREGBOR
Profile: founder of Rita Lori Hotels. This business giant is a native of Delta State and of the Itsekiri tribe. Former journalist, who later started running her own magazine, “The Teenager”, with a branch situated in the Nation’s capital and another in Lagos State. Switched to hotel business in the early 80’s.
7. MRS. CHARIS GRACE ONABOWALE – MAMA CASS
Profile: the Managing Director and prime mover of Mama Cass Restaurants Limited – the eateries, which operate in over 15 outlets spread across the nation and even in the United Kingdom (UK).
Graduated the West London College in 1973, with a Higher National Diploma in Business Administration. After returning to Nigeria worked with British Petroleum (BP) in Nigeria for 13 years and rose to the position of Employee Services Superintendent in charge of staff services and welfare. In 1986, she moved to Sir Lawrence Petroleum briefly as Personnel Manager and later resigned a year later to face her business. She is a Member of the Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria (CIPMN).
8. MRS. ABOSEDE AYENI
Profile: CEO and Managing Director of Tantalizers Plc (alternate name: Tantalizers Nigeria Limited). Graduated with a Degree in Language Arts from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1979. She bagged an MBA from the Pan African University (Lagos Business School) in 2004.
Tantalizers, which is only about a decade old has lived beyond expectations as it seems to be expanding rapidly with so many branches spread all over the federation.
9. MRS. COMFORT JUMMAI ADESOYE
Profile: a native of Niger State. The CEO of Jayees Cakes, established in October 2012, and located at Maitama, Abuja. The motto of her business idea is “creating exclusive cakes that tell your story with every tasteful slice of ecstasy”.
Her clientele include the presidency, the wife of Niger State governor, Babangida Aliyu; the minister for agriculture; former governor of Niger State, Abdulkadir Kure; banks and telecommunication giants such as UBA, Etisalat, MTN, amongst others.
10. MRS. DAYO BENJAMINS-LANIYI, DBL
Profile: specialises in event planning – owns the MD/CEO of DOXA Digital Communications. Graduated University of Ibadan. She has been able to use her fluency and mastery of English language to excel as a revered Master of Ceremony in occasions of great importance.
Planned and masterfully executed such high profile events as celebrations for presidents, state governors and their wives, embassies, top corporate organizations – local and international, celebrity occasions and such society weddings that set tongues wagging.
11. MRS. REBECCA OKOGWU, ‘BECKY’
Profile: founder of Rendow’s Event Design Ltd. An amazing designer and wedding-planner of repute. Famous for exquisite designs, fantastic ideas/suggestions, wonderful problem-solving techniques, as well as finely mixed colour themes.
12. ARC FIFI EJINDU
Profile: a well-recognised architect and a philanthropist. A princess, Ejindu is one of the first African women to graduate from the prestigious Pratt Institute School of Architecture. In Nigeria today, she is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated female architects and CEO of Starcrest Group which is involved in the sectors of building construction, project management, real estate, oil and gas.
A member of the National Heritage Council and Endowment For The Arts, which aims to ensure the protection and conservation of places and objects of heritage significance.