In a world where merit has been replaced by mediocrity, there remains little or no incentive in striving to attain excellence in a chosen endeavor. Yet hearts are warmed and faces gleam with joy and admiration when news of spectacular achievement by certain persons is trending.
When women folks hit it right, it strikes a certain nerve in our hearts and leave indelible memories to cherish for a long time. Certainly women are usually appreciated more uniquely, and rightly so. They have been described by many as “unseen hands”, for the pivotal role they play in societal development which most times goes unnoticed and unrewarded.
At Hypestation we have proudly perpetuated a culture of recognizing spectacular individuals especially women. For years now, we have consistently recognized 10 Outstanding and Aspiring Women. Though we paused to dedicate more time to other exciting projects, we are glad to be back to this one.
In our undying quest to encourage more women to strive in attaining excellence, we will stop at nothing but to magnify their achievement and dazzling brilliance in whatever career excites them.
Now we drop with utmost delight Hypestation 10 Outstanding and Aspiring Women of 2019. Note: The list is in no particular order.
The Outstanding Women Category
Dr Udy Okon (PhD) is an ICT4D Researcher, Training Consultant & a Development Practioner with over 15 years’ experience development practice.
She has a PhD in ICT for Development from the University of London and an MSc from London School of Economics. She has worked as a consultant with international development agencies such as the World Bank, African Development Bank and UNICEF on youth development, capacity building and impact evaluation projects. Her expertise is on ICTs for Development in Africa specialising in youth development and community informatics.
In 2002 she co-founded Youth Alive Foundation in Nigeria; a youth focused NGO aimed at empowering Nigerian youths through knowledge creation and ICT skills development. The NGO which stared in Uyo with just a few staff has now opened offices in Lagos and Abuja. It has employed well over 30 staff and counting, a team of youths who are driven by passion to impact their communities positively.
Dr Udy has been a member of the ICT4D Collective at Royal Holloway, University of London (UNESCO Chair in ICT4D) since 2007. The collective undertakes research, teaching, training and consultancy relating to the appropriate and sustainable use of Information Communication Technologies (ICT) for development in African countries. She is a Professional Member, British Computer Society; an Associate Member, Higher Education Academy, UK and Member, Association of Project Management, UK.
She is currently the Executive Director of Youth Alive Foundation, drivers of; Akwa Ibom Youth Development Fund (AKYDF) Bill advocacy campaign in collaboration with over 50 other CSOs/NGOs to form the Youth Advocacy Cluster (YAC), one of Nigeria’s biggest coalition of Civil Society Organizations.
The campaign started in 2015, set out to create a strategic and sustainable policy frame work for youth development in the State. The bill was recently passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and awaiting Executive assent by the Governor for implementation.
Aniebiet Francis is an actor who has climbed the ladder of success in the film industry and starred in several Nollywood movies and other notable television series shown on cable satellite stations across Africa including Hush, Hotel Majestic, Daddies Girls, Newman Street, Iquo’s journal etc.
The graduate of Genetics and Biotechnology from the prestigious University of Calabar, who is also a script writer film producer organised the first Orange Film Boot camp for two consecutive year (2017/18). With over 400 young person’s participating, her objective is to help develop the teeming talents in the creative sector, while giving a boost to the Akwa Ibom film industry.
The training has had top Nollywood actors as facilitators who took sessions ranging from script writing, editing, acting, Sound and Cinematography. A major highpoint of the boot camp was when the students learned how to shoot movies using their smart phones. This effort was taken further when a few of them came together to form a crew which is currently working on a web series. More so, Aniebiet produced a feature film titled “The Final List”, and one of the students, a green horn played the sub lead role, with 70% of the cast members being her Orange film boot camp students.
She is also the founder of Conscience Alive Foundation which she uses to drive her social services work with two outstanding projects under her belt. The first, #EverySecondCountsNigeria, an awareness campaign for a rapid and effective response for accident victims and other hazards. She did this via her debt production, a short film titled ‘One Bright Morning’. This was followed by #BrideNotCommodity, a campaign to save the girl child from the claws of exploitative traditions that encourages exorbitant marriage lists from bride’s family. This was carried out through her feature film, ‘The Final List’ which made considerable at the Cinemas across Nigeria and Ghana.
She is currently working on her next PET project U40 Eveprenuers, a platform that sets out to harvest under forty female entrepreneurs, unite and groom them into successful CEO’s.
Edima Imara Is the Creative director of Dance Ville. A production company which uses dance to create stories and experiences for families, corporate bodies and communities. She is a graduate of Foreign Languages from University of Uyo, a choreographer and dance director.
With training in a large variety of dance genres, she has equipped herself with enough information and experience as the forerunner of contemporary dance activity in Akwa Ibom State. She is known amongst the dance community as Gov’nor of Dance Ville. She is also the Festival director of the Dance-A-Ganda Festival and Chair of the Amethyst Dance Foundation
In 2013 she started what was christened as the first Nigerian Dance conference by the then president, Guild of Nigerian Dancers Mr. Steve James. In 2014 Dance Ville hosted the county’s first ever Dance Awards the Amethyst Dance Awards.
In the same year she was appointed by the Akwa Ibom state government as Artistic Director for opening ceremony of the Nest of Champions. Imara in the past 10 years has staged and produced a wide variety of Dance themed productions and events and is currently the loudest voice on the development of Dance and dancers in Southern Nigeria.
In 2018 she launched the L’Edima Dance work tour project which is a series of classes aimed at empowering talented individuals with information and access to materials and growth within their craft.
In 2018 she was recognised by the Dance community and presented and award of excellence in recognition to her contribution to the industry.
Udeme Etibensi is a Team Building/Executive Leadership Coach and author with an exceptional story that chronicles her rise from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur and on to leading teams that have made remarkable strides financially and on various projects.
She has a knack for group motivation and is skilled with an exceptional interpersonal skill that makes her a sought-after team builder. She is also a celebrated amazon in the African Multi-Level Marketing landscape and has earned her stripes through a rapid rising career with a renowned Asian MLM platform before going further into other ventures.
Udeme has trained over 900 entrepreneurs and employees across Africa, Asia, America and Europe as a Team Building and Executive Leadership coach. She obtained a first degree in Foreign Languages (French Major) from the University of Calabar and went further for her Master Degree in the Regis University, Denver Colorado, USA.
She is the author of her sensational book, The Futurist. The book chronicles her entrepreneurial journey and helps other entrepreneurs traverse the business landscape and achieve targets.
A mother of two, Mrs Etibensi has traveled around the globe for various professional engagements and has been seen to champion enterprise boosting programs which she organizes from time to time within and outside her State of residence.
Emem Ette Esq is driven by excellence with a fierce commitment to women development and empowerment. The motivator and incurable optimist is a leading woman and strong advocate against gender violence and discrimination.
She is passionate about the preservation and protection of the rights of women and children and is currently engaged in litigating these rights in the areas of child custody, widows’ disinheritance and women’s land and property rights. Her work in this area spans over 15 years and she has successfully litigated over 250 cases.
She is an Assistant Director, Civil Litigation Department, Ministry of Justice, Akwa Ibom State and the Chairperson/Head of Litigations, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Akwa Ibom State Branch.
On why she choose to preserve and protect the rights of women and children, she said; “I was born with an intense aversion to injustice. I grew up wanting to protect the vulnerable, the weak and those who could not stand up for themselves. As a child, I fought bullies and would always speak up and on behalf of the voiceless. Where I am quiet in the face of injustice, I become uneasy and uncomfortable until I do something and then my peace returns.”
“I found, when I became a lawyer that I could actually do all I can for women and children (boys and girls) through the platform of the International Federation of Women lawyers and I have in the past 10 years litigated over 150 cases in court in the areas of child custody, maintenance and women property rights. I have also conducted over a hundred mediation processes where I have guided parties to reach amicable settlement”, she concluded.
Barr. Emem Ette is the Chairperson, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Akwa Ibom State Branch. She holds an LL.M University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria. Post Graduate Certificate in International Dispute Resolution, University of Dundee, Scotland.
The Aspiring Women Category
Sifon Udo the trained journalist by profession says her calling in life is to inform, reform, restore and reintegrate teen mothers back into the society providing them with mentorship, life and entrepreneurship skill to become useful and productive, achieving enhanced livelihood for themselves and their children. Also sensitize teenagers in communities on sex education to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy amongst teenagers.
As the Founder and Lead Volunteer at Smartmothers Foundation (SMF), a Non-governmental Organization (NGO) with a key objective of creating enabling environment to foster productivity amongst teenagers and teen mothers, she initiates ideas, concepts and projects that create collaborative efforts and partnerships to bring about the needed changes in the lives of teenagers and teen mothers across countries and cities in Africa starting from Akwa Ibom State.
In the last one year, she led a sensitization to over 5000 teenagers in Akwa Ibom on sex education and shared sanitary pads to over 1000 vulnerable female teenagers during the sex education programmes. “We have successfully reached out to 330 teen mothers and have provided support for 150 of them”, she says.
Her goal in 3-5 years is to support 1000 Teen mothers through skills acquisitions, reduce teenage pregnancy by 5% in Nigeria, Launch Teen Mothers Network (TEMON) in 5 states in Nigeria, launch an online Teen Mentorship programme and to establish the Teen Mothers Enterprise Station.
She belongs to several organisations where she serves in top positions. A deputy coordinator, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI Akwa Ibom State Chapter), coordinator – African Women in Leadership Organization (AWLO) Youth council, admin Secretary at Character and Success Social Enterprise (CASSE Africa) – a UNIDO Developmental Partner Social Enterprise.
Mary Godwin is a 20 year old, 400L Student of Bio-Chemistry at the University of Uyo and Serial Entrepreneur, CEO of KinkChic Natural Hair Care.
She started making natural hair products at age 16 due to her passion for Natural African Hair and Beauty. “Because I love my roots, I like to be real and be positive about my naturalness. Afro hair is beautiful and healthy, and very much versatile, it captivates me every single time. I’m intrigued at how afro hair can go from straight to poffy, to short to kinky or coily in seconds. Its amazing!”, she says.
She is currently running a program for students like herself called the ‘Student Uplifting Students Distributorship’ Plan by KinkChic Natural Hair Care which allows students to be able to make extra income for themselves by wholesaling the products to them at almost zero cost.
“My passion for success is my greatest drive and I hope to be one of Nigeria’s biggest serial entrepreneur”, she adds.
So far, Mary has sold more than 1000 of her products in Ghana and Nigeria. In 2018, at a trade Fair in Abuja, she made sales of over 250,000 Naira in just one day and then took delivery of first order from the USA.
Mary Akpan also known as ‘Remarkable Mary’, is a young Amazon with an embodiment of excellence, passion and zeal to improve the lives of young people. She is a student, the publisher of Remarkable Times Magazine, and author of “youthful & and Useful, a motivational book to encourage young people on how to maximize their youthful age.
She doubles as the C. E. O of Mary Remarkable Foundation, a non-governmental organization saddled with the responsibility to add value to humanity through outreach, educational programmes and youth Empowerment.
Mary who has motivating prowess, has attended fora to speak and represent the youths. Her passion and works towards youth development has made her a paradigm to many youngsters, encouraging them to discover their purpose and engage in self-mastery.
This led to the launch of her first book – “Youthful and Useful”. The event had in attendance several dignitaries, the likes of Chief Lulu Briggs and several seasoned business men as over half a million copies of her book were purchased on the launch day.
She also volunteered some of her weekends for The African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, run by Anja Ringgren Lovén, a Danish aid worker and her lovely husband David Emmanuel Umem which rescued a little boy accused of being a witch and was abandoned by his parents without food to die. She spent time with the children under the care of the NGO, helping them with assignments and teaching them soft skills.
Through her Foundation, 40 pupils have been supported and 12 students have returned back to school with financial donation. Their ‘Back to School’ project has over 4000 pupils across some of the Southern and Eastern Nigerian States benefit from it. This includes distribution of exercise books, writing materials, sandals, school bags etc.
Kufre Nicholas is a freelance presenter, writer and nation builder who hosts Radio and Television shows, corporate events, moderates panel discussions and creates copy content for brands.
Her passion for development of fellow youths and nation building has driven her to organize various programmes for young people in Akwa Ibom.
In 2017, she contested for the office of the President, Student Union Government in the University of Uyo and came second at the polls.
In 2018 began a series of programs with the ‘Make a Difference’ movement which has developed over 50 young people in Akwa Ibom state in skills such as fashion, photography, broadcasting, PR, leadership etc.
“I am ambitious with lots of ideas, but I had challenges implementing them, but looking back again, I also realized that they are other young people with the same challenges like myself. Many have not been able to go far, even with their talents, because they need support. Then I told myself that I could do something to support them, because they all have something to offer.”
“Hence, I connected other young people to mentors and internship opportunities, to help mould them to achieve their dreams through my ‘Making A Difference’ – M.A.D Project. I am a beneficiary of mentorships too.”
Kufre has been the host of Brain Dash podcast, and the Campus Rush Show on inspiration FM, Uyo and a co-compere for TEDx Calabar in 2018.
She has recently rebranded her podcast now known as ‘The Konverse Show which is available for streaming on SoundCloud and iTunes.
Peace Obott is a cancer advocate from the southern part of Nigeria, a graduate of political science. She started her non-governmental organization after she lost her mother to breast cancer in 2015. Her experience throughout her stay in the hospital taught her a lot and she realized that women do not have asses to proper information about cancer as they tend to attribute their illness to witchcraft.
Her aim is to ensure that every woman has access to proper information about cancer through awareness, advocacy, counselling, fundraising, educations, and treatment support facilities.
Her vision is to promote a national and global response to cancer by advocating for health insurance policies and an increase in health professionals thereby creating a strong relationship between the patients, caregivers, and doctors.
Peace Obott is passion driven to fight cancer as a global burden. This has brought her to the forefront of the fight against the disease, as several NGO’s have come calling and partnered with her on other cancer related projects. They include civil institutions, hospitals, NGO’s and philanthropic communities in Nigeria such as Nigerian medical Association (Uyo) Pink Oak Cancer trust (Abuja), Project Pink Blue (Abuja), Heaven for the Infirmed Care Foundation (Uyo).
Her organisation was recently selected for the ACT Foundation grant and she is a member of the young African Leaders initiative (YALI) as well as the volunteers’ service overseas.
She is a dedicated and resourceful Humanitarian with a strong work ethic and excellent breadth of experience in cancer related issues with professionalism and efficiency.
Her long term goals are to ensure that Nigerian have health insurance policies, effective cancer centers and trust funds to carter for indigenous patients.
Ella could be referred to as one of Nigeria’s youngest women actively engaged in the fight against cancer.