Dr Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, 66, Nigeria’s former two-time minister of finance and first female World Trade Organisation Director General hopeful, has won the Aminu Kano Award for Leadership at the second Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards held in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, November 18th, 2020.
Organised annually by CSR-in-Action, the region’s foremost sustainability advocacy firm, and backed by Ford Foundation and Global Rights, the CAHR Awards celebrates community and human rights heroes exhibiting singular leadership traits and striving for justice and inclusion in Nigeria in nine different award categories. The prestigious leadership category is named after the world’s most populous black nation’s late politician and social activist, Aminu Kano.
“Our aim is to recognise those individuals and businesses that are working not for clout but for legacy,” said Bekeme Masade-Olowola, the CEO, CSR-in-Action, “Dr Okonjo-Iweala has shown exemplary leadership consistently and has added value to various industries and organisations all over the world. And we want her and the other leaders to know that people are watching and applauding.” In a video broadcast from the United States, Dr Ngozi Okonji-Iweala, thanked the organisers, adding: “I am sorry I cannot be with you there, but I must say I am delighted.”
Dr Okonji-Iweala is an economist and international development expert. She sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), and the African Risk Capacity (ARC).
Other winners include a prominent figure in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign and the recent citizens protest in Nigeria against police brutality, Aisha Yesufu. “I will never stop until we get a Nigeria where a child of nobody can become somebody without knowing anybody,” said Yesufu, a co-founder of the BBOG movement set up when 276 girls were kidnapped in northeastern region of Nigeria, as she received her award.
Nominees for the CAHR Awards were elected by members of the public of the over 200 million people-strong nation through an online voting process and the final winners were chosen by judges made up of the country’s eminent celebrities, media personalities and business leaders.