Every year in the life of a nation is full of events and people who really made the year memorable.
In year 2011, Nigeria under the leadership of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan conducted another general election which many cynics predicted may signal the end of the country but after the election the country is still intact.
In fact, the election was adjudged to be quite free and fair by both international and local observers. One factor that separates 2011 General Elections in Nigeria from other elections was the volume of electoral cases which was far below the numbers the judiciary attended to in 2003 and 2007 General Elections and this singular reason justifies the inclusion of Prof. Attahiru Jega in the list of those who really kept the flag of our great nation flying in 2011.
So many other Nigerians contributed in their own various and little way to the development of the country in several fields of human endeavour but below are the list of the 20 Most Outstanding Nigerians in 2011 as declared by our panel of judges.
These few individuals contributed in no small ways to the development of our great country and we are left with no choice but to celebrate them. Chuka Umunna is one of the few Nigerians in Diaspora that we can be proud of as a nation, his name is in the list as the Most Outstanding Nigerian (Male) in Diaspora while the profile of Yetunde Odugbesan continue to rise, thus her inclusion as Most Outstanding Nigerian in Diaspora (Female).
Dr. Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo has shown what it takes to be a selfless leader, making use of policies and politics to affect the lives of the common man as the executive governor in Ondo State, while Owelle Rochas Okorocha led by example in Imo as he dedicated his monthly security votes for special projects to affect the people of Imi State positively.
The contribution of each individual in the list is of positive importance to Nigeria as a nation and that is the reason we will continue to celebrate them. They are our heroes.
20 MOST OUTSTANDING NIGERIANS IN 2011
OUTSTANDING NIGERIANS IN 2010
- Omoyele Sowore – Publisher/Journalist/Writer Sahara Reporters
- Prof. Pat Utomi – Public Analyst/Apostle of Sovereign National Conference
- Dr. Olusegun Mimiko – Governor, Ondo State
- Chukka Umunna – Member, British House of Parliament
- Dr. Bukola Saraki – Senator Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Aminu Bello Tambuwal – Speaker, Federal House of Representatives
- Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – President Federal Republic of Nigeria
- Prof. Attahiru Jega – Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission
- Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala – Minister of Finance
- Alhaji Aliko Dangote – Business Man/International Entrepreneur
- Yetunde Odugbesan – Motivational Speaker/Researcher
- Pastor Tunde Bakare – Pastor/Convener of Save Nigeria Group
- Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion – Philantropist/Educationist
- Hon. Mulikat Akande Adeola – Leader, Federal House of Representatives
- Owelle Rochas Anayo Okorocha
- Whiz Kid – Artiste/Nollywood Entertainment Star
- Funke Akindele – Artiste/Nollywood Actress
- Jim Iyke – Artiste/Nollywood Entertainment Star
- Asa – Artiste
- Sanusi Lamido Sanusi – Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria
Many were on the list of last year while others are just making the list this year.
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is one woman with unique qualities and her passion to serve Nigeria always is exemplary. Dr Goodluck Jonathan is one of the pillars of democracy in Nigeria as he came from relatively unknown Otuoke in faraway minority Bayelsa to rule the biggest black nation on earth through the ballot and not through the bullets and conducted an election free and fair to the consternation of many within and outside the shores of Nigeria.
Dr Bukola saraki coming to the Senate after spending eight years as Governor of Kwara State opened the can of worms in the oil sector when he called for the probe of NNPC on the floor of the Senate exposing the ills in that giant corporation. His bill led to the major crisis in the country throwing up voices calling for more probe of the oil subsidy saga.
Pastor Tunde Bakare and Prof. Pat Utomi put up spirited efforts to enlighten Nigerians as they clamour for probity in the system, while Pat Utomi continued in his call for Sovereign National Conference with all vigour.
Central Bank Governor was always in the news in 2011 for many reasons and Asa kept on flying high the name of Nigeria in international circle in the music industry along with her other colleagues, Funke Akindele (JENIFA) and Jim Iyke in the entertainment industry of Nollywood throwing up new sensation Whiz Kid.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote is one entrepreneur that cannot but make the list. He s the richest black man as released by Forbes and his contribution to national development is monumental. So also the man called Gabriel Osawaru Igbinedion, a philanthropist of the highest order and an educationist per excellence while Omoyele Sowore continued to excel in the field of Journalism as he used his skill and expertise to expose ills of the society and contribute positively ways to move the nation forward through Sahara Reporters.
Democracy is where the will of the people prevails and the rule of law leads. Alhaji aminu Bello Tambuwal stood for democratic right as he pursued his ambition to become the Speaker of the House of Representative amidst opposition from his party and some undemocratic elements. His emergence as Speaker brought about a kind of stability into the system as the issue of zoning was seriously put to test while Alhaja Mulikat Akande Adeola also displayed an extraordinary strength of a woman in her desire to be relevant in the scheme of things at the Lower Chamber of the National Assembly immediately after the 2011 General elections as she silenced other South western aspirants of the number seat in the House of Representatives.
They all keep the flag flying…!
FG trains unemployed graduates in Delta under GIS
The Federal Ministry of Finance, through its Graduate Internship Scheme has trained about 50 Graduates inDelta State at a training titled “Orientation and Employability Skills Training”.
Mr Dennis Chukwu, Director Graduate Internship Scheme (GIS), Federal Ministry Finance, on Monday said that the ministry would train over 50 unemployed graduates under the scheme in Delta State.
Mr. Chukwu said the GIS was developed to enhance the employability of up to 50,000 (by 2015) unemployed graduates in the 36 states of the Federation and the FCT through internship programs in pre-selected institutions; reduce the vulnerability of unemployed graduates; build manpower base towards attaining national development operations and provide income supplement and a social safety net for unemployed graduates.
Mrs Ifejiako representing the Director GIS, while addressing the participants in Asaba during the opening ceremony, said that the programme was to train universities and polytechnics graduates on skills acquisition.
She said that the Federal Government was committed to empowering the youth in the area with skills acquisition for job creation in the country as he decried the current unemployment rate in the country, describing it as unacceptable.
Saying that in view of its prospect for skills building and job creation, the scheme has developed special programmes for non-oil sector. GIS has entered into special partnerships with government and non-governmental organisations to have graduates trained, mentored and supported in areas such as non-oil export trade, ICT, agriculture, community health, construction, financial inclusion, amongst others.
She reiterated that many of the interns are currently part of these partnerships and the Directorate is happy with the positive feedbacks it is receiving from some of the employers, as she maintained that the only key to solve unemployment problem could only be through concerted effort by all the stakeholders.
Basically, the internship programme is to prepare the graduates for the job market, in the quest for job search. “The interns had been placed in reputable private and public organisations for the period of 12 months where they were trained on various skills and paid monthly stipend of N30,000 and above.”
She said many graduates have used the GIS platofrom to distinguish themselves in their places of work. in the face of obvious challenges they have defied the odds against them to be true representatives of their families, their communities, the organization where they worked and the country at large.
She also said the objective of the Prepare interns exiting from scheme on opportunities for wealth creation in different sectors of the Nigerian economy; Guide them on strategies for enhanced job creation or employment; Expose interns to opportunities in cooperative system in mobilizing funds for business start-ups and sources of funding.
The programme is also designed to help interns in the place of networking and partnership; Enterprise establishment and development of business plans and Financial literacy and management.
Fundamentally, the training seeks to economically empower the unemployed graduates through conscious engagement and development of entrepreneurial capacities. In an attempt to rightly position the interns to take full advantage of the intervention, the Exit Training was held at the Conference Hall of Southgate Hotel, Asaba, Delta State.
The Lead Facilitator, Aremo Olusiji Balogun of Successory Nigeria Limited therefore, admonished participants to take the training very serious by following the instruction and the basic rules with a view to getting the best.
He said that nobody would give them what they wanted unless they worked towards their own set agenda and goals as he urged the participants to use the knowledge gained to be self-reliant and contribute their quota to national development.
A representative of one of the partnering firm Barr. Jude Itedjere also urged the Federal Government not to relent in its efforts towards making our graduates employable especially through the GIS Scheme as most employers are reluctant to employing green horns but those with qualities and skills. He praised the FG for the initiative and pray that the programme will be expanded to cater for more graduates.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala -Profile,about her,family and work.
Ngozi okonjo iweala A princess born into a family of well educated Nigerian Royals on 13th day of June 1954, she hails from Delta State of Nigeria,
and spent the early years of her life living with her grand parents while her parents studied abroad. Upon the return of her parents she moved with them to Ibadan, South west of Nigeria where her parents worked with the then University College of Ibadan now University of Ibadan. She latter attended the girls school in Enugu and add a long break due to the civil war in Nigeria. She completed her secondary education at St Annes College in Ibadan.
Though the civil war disrupted her education it did not slow her down, she passed her a levels in with good grades and got admitted into Harvard University to study Economics. Leaving the shores of the country Ngozi Okonjo Iweala performed expectionally well in school and Graduated with good grades. She has a PHD from MIT the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala at the World Bank
Her first experience in the World Bank came through her internship program where she got the first experience of the institution and upon graduation she applied for the young professionals program of the world bank and was absorbed to the team of the world bank elites.
She continued there with a 21-year career as a development economist at the World Bank, where she held the post of Vice President and Corporate Secretary. This included two tours of duty (six years) working in the East Asia Region, the last tour (1997-2000) as Country Director Malaysia, Mongolia, Laos and Cambodia during the East Asian financial crisis; two duty tours in the Middle East Region, the last (2000-2003) as Director, Operations (deputy vice-president) of the region. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also served as Director of Institutional Change and Strategy (1995-1997). In this post she assisted with the implementation of the Bank’s reform agenda. From 1989 to 1991 she was Special assistant to the Senior Vice President, Operations, an assignment that enabled participation in high level policy formulation and discussions for countries as diverse as China and Burkina Faso.
She left twice to serve as Finance Minister of Nigeria, under the dispensation of president Olusegun Obasanjo and president Goodluck Jonathan, came back in between the two presidents term in office to be the Managing Director of the World Bank. Currently she is been tipped to be the President of the World Bank, she received backing from South Africa, Brazil and Scholars like Harvard Professor Pritchett, there might be backing from China and India if they would vote based on merit.
She unsuccessfully ran for the World Bank Presidency, though she was the preferred and most qualified choice the US backed candidate won, she however sets precedence for other contestant to challenge the status quo.
As Finance Minister in the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Following her role as Vice President in the World Bank the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo asked her to be the Finance Minister of the country. The president was impressed with the brief on economic reforms he requested from her and asked her to serve as the Minister of Finance. The position she held between 2003 and 2006,during this period she had a short stint as the Minister of foreign affairs.
As a Minister of Finance she heads a team which is responsible for the economic reforms policy in Nigeria.
She initiated the practice of publishing allocations from to the Federal government to each states in the country.
She was instrumental to boosting Nigeria’s credit rating from Fitch and Standard and Poor’s to BB minus.
She headed a team that renegotiated the cancellation of US $18 billion about 60 percent of Nigeria’s external debt with the Paris Club which includes a juicy buyback to wipes the countries debt and reduces it indebtness to $5 Billion.
After her resignation as Minister of Finance she founded NOI Consulting and also co founded Makeda Funds with SEAF. The Fund was designed to help and support small business in emerging markets. She left NOI consulting to serve as Managing Director of the World Bank. After a while she was called to serve again has the Finance Minister of Nigeria by President Goodluck Jonathan a post she still holds till date.
Recently she has been tipped and nominated for the world bank presidency a position that has been held since inception by a US candidate. If elected she will be the first female president of the bank and also the first non-US candidate. Though she has declined interest she is the best candidate so far, having been a Finance Minister of Nigeria and also a Managing Director at the World bank.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s contribution and works
She brought to the forefront the issue of Corruption and need for transparency and accountability in African Countries. She Joined Brooks a private not for profit research and innovative policy solution organization as a distinguished visiting fellow, where she would be working on three key areas within the global economy and development program:
- The Wolfensohn Centre for Development, led by Johannes Linn
- The Global Health Financing Initiative, recently launched with a Gates Foundation grant
- The Transparency and Accountability Project. The health and transparency projects are led by Senior Fellow David de Ferranti.
She has an academic piece published by Africa World Press in 2003, The Debt Trap in Nigeria: Towards a Sustainable Debt Strategy. Co-edited with Charles C. Soludo and Mansur Muhtar.
A biography of renowned and respected author. Chinua Achebe: Teacher of Light: Co-authored with Tijan Sallah.
TIMES Europe –Hero 2004
Euromoney Magazine – Global Finance Minister of the year 2005
Financial Times/The Banker African Finance Minister 2005
Honorary Doctorate Degrees
Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
Colby College, Maine, USA.
Amherst College, Amherst, MA, USA.
Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland.
Northern Caribbean University, Mandeville, Jamaica.
She is fond of her family, and has Four Children, three boys and a girl. Her Husband who is also her childhood sweetheart is a surgeon. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not only a professional who knows her onion but also a true ambassador of Africa. She is mostly seen wearing her traditional attires.
Profile of Chuka Umunna,his career and work.
Chuka Umunna was born 17th of October, 1978 to a Nigerian Father and English-Irish Mother, he was educated at Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, south London, at the voluntary aided Christ Church C of E Primary School (Cotherstone Road) in the Brixton Hill area of Streatham,and at the independent secondary school St. Dunstan’s College in Catford in south-east London. He obtained a 2:1 degree in English and French Law from the University of Manchester and then studied at the University of Burgundy in Dijon in France, and Nottingham Law School in Nottingham.
Education, equality, and community and youth engagement.
He trained at Herbert Smith the large “Magic Circle” City law firm: about his decision to join the firm he said “I wanted to join Herbert Smith because they were a big international firm, very much at the heart of the City, business and finance. Having entered thinking I wanted to be a hotshot corporate lawyer, I ended up wanting to become an employment lawyer because employment relates to people and their relationships. In 2006, he moved to the central London law firm, Rochman Landau, where he mainly acted for individuals and small and medium sized companies. As an employment lawyer, Umunna often spoke in the media on employment issues.
He is “Labour through and through” and says the Tories aren’t serious about equality, “despite what Cameron tries to say with his spin and presentation” and says the BSS is a very positive development, long overdue. But he warns that although Labour has traditionally represented Blacks: “We are in danger of falling behind on that if we don’t increase representation in the future. It’s not just about representation, it’s also about increasing out communities’ general participation in the political process. That’s something we must work on.”
Influence and motivation
At 27 Chuka Umunna has been in main street politics, Influenced by his father who is a died when he was 13. Chuka recalls moment with his father saying “It had a huge influence on my life. I had to grow up very, very quickly.” He added: “Politically my father had a big influence on me. He spoke out against the corruption in Nigeria, for better governance and got involved in politics in Anambra state. He narrowly missed out on winning the governorship of that state shortly before he died in a car crash. He lost because he refused to bribe anyone and was standing on an anti-corruption ticket.
Also motivating were his experiences while growing – In my youth I also often visited my father’s native Nigeria and came face to face with the extreme poverty one sees in Africa in the heart wrenching appeal videos produced by the likes of Oxfam and Comic Relief every year. I simply could not understand why some had so much, whilst others had so little. From there sprung a desire to do something about it and the other challenges we face.
he is presently a School Governor of Sunnyhill Primary School and sits on the Board of Sunnyhill Children’s Centre, both in Streatham Wells. He lives on Streatham High Road.
In addition, he sits on the Board of Generation Next, a not for profit social enterprise which provides activities for young people in London, and has been involved charitable youth work in Lambeth too.
He is a patron of Latimer Creative Media, a social enterprise which trains young people in digital media and a supporter of Cassandra Learning Centre, a charity raising awareness and working to stop domestic violence.
Prior to becoming Labour’s parliamentary candidate in Streatham, Chuka was Vice Chair of Streatham Labour Party from 2004 to 2008 and had held a variety of positions throughout the local party.
In the May 2010 general election, Chuka was elected to represent Streatham having received 20,037 votes, with the number of votes received by Labour rising from 18,950 in the previous general election in 2005. Turnout in Streatham increased by 11.5 percentage points at 62.8% compared with 51.3% in 2005.
He is a member of the GMB and Unite trade unions and sits on the Management Committee of progressive pressure group, Compass.
Since becoming an MP, he has been elected on to the Treasury select committee and become Ed Miliband’s parliamentary private secretary.
In October 2011, Chuka was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, replacing the Rt Hon John Denham MP who announced his resignation from Shadow Cabinet.
In this role, Mr Umunna leads the Opposition Shadow Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) team, leading for the opposition on a wide range of issues including business, enterprise, science and universities.
3a Mount Ephraim Road, Streatham, London, SW16 1NQ
Tel: 020 8769 5063
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