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ONA 2021: Dr Salamatu Suleiman to receive General Yukubu Gowon Excellence Award in Leadership

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ONA 2021: Dr Salamatu Suleiman to receive General Yukubu Gowon Excellence Award in Leadership


The Board and Management of OurNigeria News Magazine and organiser of the OurNigeria News Awards (ONA) has ratified to confer the General Yukubu Gowon Excellence Award in Leadership on the Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr. Salamatu Hussaini Suleiman.

ONA is an annual event where prominent Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their chosen careers and communities are identified and celebrated. This year’s edition is the second in the series and it is scheduled to take place on the 17th of December 2021 at the Lady Kwali Hall of Sheraton Hotel and Towers, Abuja.

The selection of Dr. Suleiman for the General Yukubu Gowon Excellence Award in Leadership is in recognition of her exemplary commitment, honesty, and an outstanding sense of patriotism as a technocrat and her efforts towards promoting political stability and peace in Nigeria.

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She was born on October 27, 1960, in the famous fishing town of Argungu, now in Kebbi State. Her father, late Alkali Hussaini Gwandu was an Islamic scholar and jurist from the legendary family of Alhaji Saadu, a scholar who taught as far as Egypt in the twentieth century. Her Mother Hajiya Safiyatu Hussaini is a princess from the Royal Family of Gwandu Emirate and holds the prestigious title of Gimbiyar Gwandu.

Dr. Suleiman, who is also a lawyer, by dint of sheer hard work, tenacity, resilience and perhaps, providence, rose to become a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and also a Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission (the first woman to hold such a position).

She had her primary education at Makerar Gandu Primary School, Birnin-Kebbi. In 1973, she sat for the National Common Entrance examination and passed with flying colors and thus gained entry into the prestigious Queens’s College, Lagos. She passed out with Division 1 in the West African School Certificate Examination in 1977. She proceeded to the School of Basic Studies of the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, where she obtained her ‘A’ Levels (the Interim Joint Matriculation Board Examination Certificate).

In 1978, following the footsteps of her father, she chose to study law and enrolled at the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Kongo Campus. She was actively involved in Student Unionism and was elected Vice President of the Student’s Union Government in 1979. She also excelled academically and came top of the class in the Annual Moot Court Competition, Faculty of Law Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 1981 before she graduated with the LLB (Hons) degree. Between 1981 and 1982, she was enrolled in the Nigerian Law School where she also excelled and was called to the Nigerian bar. Between 1982 and 1983, she served her National Youth Service Corps with the Sokoto State Ministry of Justice and continued her professional career there as a State Counsel. Her quest for scholarship saw her proceed to the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she bagged the LLM with Distinction in Multinational Enterprise and the Law in 1987.

In 1989, she veered into the corporate sector and joined the Continental Merchant Bank, where she worked in various capacities, rising to the position of Company Secretary. She moved to NAL Merchant Bank from 1996 to 1997, and then to Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria (ALSCON) as Legal Adviser/Company Secretary, a position she held until 2001 when she left to take up another appointment as Secretary/Director of Legal Services of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Her exemplary commitment, honesty, and an outstanding sense of patriotism as a technocrat brought her to the attention of President Umaru Musa Yar’adua who appointed her the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, in December 2008. In 2010, she was reappointed Honorable Minister of State for Foreign Affairs by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, a position she held until May 2011. In 2012, she was appointed Commissioner, Political Affairs, Peace and Security, ECOWAS Commission, a position she held for a term of four years up to April 2016.

On the 18th of May, 2021, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Dr. Suleiman as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). She was also recently appointed as Member, ECOWAS Council of the Wise.

Dr. Suleiman has been running her Legal firm, Hussaini Suleiman & Co, and also serves as an Independent non-executive Director on the Boards of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), and a few other business interests. One of her greatest passions however is poverty eradication through the empowerment of women and youth and the promotion of education for all. This is done through a Charity organization, Alkali Hussaini Foundation, which she founded in 2007.

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Suleiman, who received a Honourary Doctorate Degree from the University of Abuja in 2019, is a fellow of Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC). In 2018, she bagged the prestigious ABU Alumni Career Service Award. In recognition of her efforts to promote political stability and peace in the ECOWAS region, she was bestowed with the West African Peace Building Fellowship in Accra, Ghana by the West African Network for peacebuilding (a regional NGO that works with stakeholders to promote peace in the ECOWAS and the AU Countries).

She had attended various development programmes at home and abroad, including at the prestigious Harvard Kennedy School of Governance and the Harvard Business School. She has visited many countries around the world and received a letter of commendation for exemplary service from the Federal Government of Nigeria, the ECOWAS Commission, and other establishments where she has served.

Dr. Suleiman is consistently involved in community development programmes in Kebbi State. She currently serves as a Grand Patron of Salamatu Hussaini Government Girls Secondary School, one of the major girls’ educational institutions in Birnin Kebbi, named after her by the State Government, where she has provided support in critical furniture, learning equipment, and mentoring of the students periodically. She has extended support in the renovation of schools and provision of learning materials, and engages regularly in active advocacy with all stakeholders to improve quality of education, empower women and the less privileged, and generally contribute to poverty alleviation and national development.


ONA 2021: Dr Salamatu Suleiman to receive General Yukubu Gowon Excellence Award in Leadership

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