Nigerian women whose achievements wowed us in 2023.
In retrospect, the year 2023 indeed was ‘The Year Of The Woman’ as women from all walks of life across the different continents of the world showed up and showed out with many breaking and setting records. Nigerian women were not exempted with a good number of them breaking stereotypes and shattering ceilings this year.
From music to movies, career, business, and sports, we take a close look at ten remarkable Nigerian women whose remarkable achievements made headlines in 2023.
Tems remarkable run from 2020 when she released her first single came to the fore in 2023 when she won her first Grammy Award for her feature in Future’s “Wait For You.”. The song which also featured Drake won the “Best Melodic Rap Performance” category. Not done with breaking records, she made headlines when she made her debut at the MET Gala in May. To crown it all, her single ‘Me & U’, which has been getting massive airwaves in Nigeria since its release peaked at number 1 on the UK Afrobeats Singles Chart while in the United States, it reached number 10 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart.
2. Rukayat Shittu
In a sector predominantly dominated by men, Rukaya Motunrayo Shittu stands tall. She made history at the 2023 elections when she emerged as the youngest female House of Assembly member-elect in Nigeria.
Running under the Owode Onire state constituency of Asa Local Government Area in the Kwara State House of Assembly election, she became one of the youngest candidates in Nigeria to contest and win a political seat.
3. Hilda Baci
Talking about 2023 won’t be complete without the name, Hilda Baci. The 27-year-old Nigerian chef and entrepreneur took the world by storm when she attempted and set a new Guinness World Record for the longest cooking marathon by an individual.
She started her history-making feat on May 11 and after fours on May 15, 2023, she set a new record of 93 hours, 11 minutes dethroning Lata Tondon’s previous record of 87 hours, 45 minutes. Baci’s zeal and doggedness set the tone for Nigerians to get on the ‘Guinness World Record’ wave.
4. Jade Osiberu
‘Gangs of Lagos’ took over the social media space when it premiered on Amazon Prime Video on April 7, 2023, making it the first Amazon Original Movie from Africa. Shortly after its debut, it entered the top three on Amazon Prime Video’s global chart. It is also one of the most popular Nigerian movies of the year. Recall that in 2022, the filmmaker and producer signed a three-year mouthwatering deal with Prime Video for the creation of original TV and movies, produced by her production company Greoh Studios.
Jade Osiberu’s movie ‘Brotherhood’ also won big at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCAs) in five different categories including ‘The Best Movie West Africa’ award.
Her simultaneous successes and wins this year further solidified her status as one of Nigeria’s leading movie producers. From her ‘Isoken’ days, we are happy to see her flowers.
5. Rena Wakama
Nigeria’s female basketball team, D’Tigress, clinched their fourth consecutive Afrobasket title; however, their history-making success would not be complete without their coach, Rena Wakama. The 31-year-old, who was appointed in June 2023, was saddled with the huge responsibility of preparing the D’Tigress team in less than a month of taking charge. She made history as the first female coach to win the Afrobasket title since its inception in 1966.
6. Ayra Starr
Ayra Starr etched her name in history with her nomination at the Grammy’s. The Afropop Star, who was nominated in the category of ‘Best African Music Performance’ for her 2022 hit song “Rush,” became the first and youngest Nigerian female artist to be nominated for a Grammy Award in this category. Quite interesting is the fact that this category was newly added in June 2023, and according to the Recording Academy, it “is a track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilise unique local expressions from across the African continent.
7. Helen Williams
On the heels of Hilda Baci’s record-breaking feat, Nigerian wigmaker and hair entrepreneur, Helen Williams also made history with the Guinness World Records (GWR) for the longest handmade wig ever making her the first person to set this record. She spent 11 days and two million naira (£2,000: $2,500) to create the hairpiece which measured 351.28 m (1,152 ft 5 in).
8. Tariye Gbadegesin
Not much was known about Tariye Gbadegesin until she was appointed the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) making her the first African to occupy the position.
A seasoned climate finance executive with over 20 years of experience investing in emerging markets and developing economies, Tariye will lead one of the world’s largest multilateral climate funds with over $11Bn pledged, pioneering clean energy transitions, nature-based solutions, and resilience in over 70 developing countries. Her appointment will take effect March 2024.
9. Asisat Oshoala
Instrumental to Nigeria’s Super Falcons to a great run at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia, she became the first Super Falcons player to score at three consecutive FIFA World Cups, having scored in the 2015 and 2019 editions and also the first African (and Nigerian) to score at three different FIFA Women’s World Cups. On the heels of this feat, she won the CAF African Women’s Player of the Year award for a record sixth time. Oshoala will go down in history as one of Africa’s greatest female footballers.
10. Dr. Olusimbo Ige
When you make history in the diaspora, especially in the health sector, you know it is a big deal. In December 2023, Dr. Olusimbo Ige was appointed as Chicago’s Department of Public Health’s first-ever black female commissioner. She is a public health physician with extensive expertise in implementation research with over 30 peer-reviewed publications.
She holds a Bachelor of Medicine, a Masters in Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and a Masters in Public Health degrees from Nigeria and the UK.
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