When a woman understands how to run a home, she is close to understanding the problems of running a business or/and a country. Nigeria is blessed with courageous women who can not be ignored in the economic, political and social growth of the country.
These women have steered the course of history in a usually male-dominated environment. They have made a distinct impact with their selfless works, and their ambitions have brought them national and international recognition. They are the most influential women in Nigeria – here they are in alphabetical order.
1. Agbani Derego
Agbani Darego is the first native Sub-Saharan African to win Miss World. The Rivers State born Nigerian has since her reign engaged in a lot of social activities relating to her field. She was a judge at Miss England 2002, Mr. Scotland 2002, Elite Model Look Nigeria 2012/2014 and also Miss World 2014.
In 2010, she launched a style and fashion reality show Stylogenic on Nigerian television, and three years later announced her denim range, AD by Agbani Darego. Most upcoming African models have been inspired by the works of Agbani; she has served as the advert model of Gentle Touch hair brand and the face of Arik Air.
2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Nigerian novelist, nonfiction writer and activist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is known as “the most prominent” of a procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors in Nigeria. From being sampled by Beyonce, to giving insightful talks, to having huge motion pictures made out of her novels, to writing thought-provoking articles, Chimamanda constantly redefines the notions of what and who an author should be.
3. Folake Coker
Folake Folarin-Coker is a fashion designer and creative director of Tiffany Amber. Folake launched her label in the late 90s. Tiffany Amber has helped to re-modify the way women see themselves with regards to fashion and style. Her timeless, feminine and floaty pieces are considered fashion must-haves. In 2013, Folake received an Enterprise Award at the 2013 Women, Inspiration and Enterprise Symposium. She also made the Forbes Power women list.
4. Funmi Iyanda
Olufunmilola Aduke Iyanda is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger. She produced and hosted Nigeria’s popular talk show New Dawn with Funmi, which aired on national network for over eight years. She was once named one of Forbes 20 Youngest Powerful Women in Africa. Funmi is also a social commentator; her passion and focus into making a mark in her generation is admirable.
5. Florence Ita Giwa
Florence Ita Giwa was elected Senator for the Cross River South constituency of Cross River State on the All People’s Party (APP) platform. After leaving the senate in 2003, she joined the People’s Democratic Party, and became President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters. “Mma Bakassi” as she’s fondly called has been very vocal and passionate about advocating for a better life for the people of Bakassi in Cross Rivers State.
6. Funke Akindele
The“I Need To Know” Starlet Bisi, has grown to a bigz girlz. Funke Akindele has done several Nollywood movies that are unforgettable, including her self-produced movie with the Character title Jennifer. Funke worked in television before switching to cinema, she studied Mass Communication in Ogun State Polytechnic, and later bagged a law degree from the University of Lagos. In 2009, she won the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, and in 2015, starred in Tchidi Chikere’s “Compound Fool”.
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7. Genevieve Nnaji
Genevieve Nnaji is one Nigerian actress and singer that every one identifies with. She has an impeccable diction, super acting skills, and has banked several millions from brand endorsements. Genevieve has won several awards nationally and internationally and she won’t seize to be a role model to most young women in the country. She is also the CEO of St. Genevieve clothing label.
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8. Helen Paul
Helen Paul, popularly known as Tatafo is a co-presenter on Africa Magic’s JARA. Helen started as a comedian and singer before venturing into acting and presentation. Her style is quirky and spontaneous, and her petite stature and voice range makes her sound hilariously like a child. Her presence in JARA, coupled with her compatibility with her co-host, Uti Nwachukwu, makes the show a delight to watch.
9. Ireti Doyle
Ever young, baby-faced Ireti Doyle has been in the Nollywood screens for over a decade. Married to producer Patrick Doyle, the beautiful Tinsel actress also works at Silver Bird with her husband among other colleagues. She manages to maintain her home and children and still has time to be exceptionally amazing in her career. In 2013, she was nominated for Best Actress in a leading role at the Best of Nollywood Awards.
10. Joke Silva
Veteran actress and director Joke Silva is an award-winning Nigerian actress, with a successful and influential career which has spanned well over three decades. Joke is a talented writer, director, producer and performer.
She is renowned for the memorable roles she has played both off and on-screen. Her well structured criticisms and motherly grooming has helped contestants of the MTN West African Project Fame to do better than they imagined. Joke’s award-winning career is rivaled by few and respected by many.