Dr.(Mrs.) Obiageli Ezekwesili
Dr. Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili is a Senior Economic Advisor at Open Society Foundations (OSF), a group founded by investor and philanthropist George Soros. She also jointly serves as Senior Economic Advisor for Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), a program of the Open Society Foundations. In these roles, she advises nine reform-committed African heads of state including Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia. Before joining OSF, she was Vice President of the World Bank (Africa Region) in Washington, D.C., responsible for operations in 48 countries and a lending portfolio of nearly $40 billion. From 2002 to 2007, Ezekwesili worked for the federal government of Nigeria as Minister of Solid Minerals, Minister of Education, head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit as well as Chairperson of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) where she led the first ever national implementation of the global standards and principles of transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors. For the prior two years, she was at the Center for International Development at Harvard University as Director of the Harvard – Nigeria Economic Strategy program in Boston and Abuja. Dr. Ezekwesili is a Chartered Accountant and holds an MA in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos as well as an MA in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. She trained and worked as Chartered Accountant/Consultant with the Global firm of Akintola Williams Deloitte & Touché, she also worked in senior management positions in the financial services sector. Dr. Ezekwesili was a founding Director of Transparency International, representing Africa at the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin. She serves on the boards of Bharti Airtel, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the School of Public Policy of Central European University, Budapest; The Harold Hartog School of Government and Policy at Tel Aviv University Israel; The Center for Global Leadership at Tufts University, Boston and the New Africa Magazine among others. In May 2012, Ezekwesili was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science degree by the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria. She has also been awarded the Nigerian national honor of the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic.
Mrs. Odo Claire Kalango
Mrs Odo Clair ‘Koko’ Kalango, is the Programme Director of the Port Harcourt World Book Capital 2014 project and the founder of the Rainbow Foundation. In her teenage years she emerged a prize winner of the MOBIL National Essay Competition with the title ‘What Can I do for my Country?’ and represented Nigeria at the Kirby Smith Youth Camp organised by the Lions Club in Arizona for promising leaders. After spending five years writing a weekly lifestyle column in This Day Newspapers, she founded the Rainbow Book Club and kicked off the ‘Get Nigeria Reading again!’ campaign in 2005. In recognition of her work, she was invited to serve on the READ Campaign of the Federal Ministry of Education (in 2007) and sponsored by the British Council to represent Nigeria at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (2010). Koko has worked in Nigeria, the UK and the US, with experience in Education, Communications and Social Development. She is the Festival Director of the Garden City Literary Festival, now Port Harcourt Book Festival. A graduate of French from the University of Benin and International Relations from the University of Lancaster, Koko has also been a member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs as well as the Royal African Society.
Mrs. Judith Nwanodi
Mrs. Judy Nwanodi, is the only child of Professor Alexander Oppenheim and Lady Beatrice of Raffles College, Singapore. Educated in North-western University, USA, she proceeded to the prestigious University of Oxford for a B.A. Hons. Geography. She has held several appointments in the educational sector in Rivers State. Mrs. Nwanodi is one of the first of nine life members of the Rivers State branch of the National Council of Women’s Society. She is a member of several charity associations including Nigerwives.
Ms. Toyin Olawole
Toyin is a finance professional with a wealth of experience obtained in Oil & Gas and Banking.
She is an Executive Director at Multistream Energy Limited, a company that provides structured finance, capital advisory, financial transaction processing and business consultancy services, with a focus in the oil, gas and power sector.
Before Multistream, she worked in various Finance roles within the Shell Group for many years in Nigeria, The Netherlands, UK and US.
Prior to joining Shell, she worked in commercial banking where her responsibilities spanned Corporate Banking, Credit and Risk Management.
Toyin obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia University, New York.
She is a co-founder of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ) and member of the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Iso Bassey
Mr Iso Bassey, studied Civil Engineering at the University of Port Harcourt before proceeding to do a Masters in Information Systems at the University of Leeds. He went on to spend 8 years delivering software solutions to some of the world’s leading companies including Reed Business Information (FTSE100), BECHTEL and Pfizer. In 2004 Iso founded www.nigeria-friends.com – Nigeria’s first social networking website which at the time of his exit had over 80,000 members and 10,000 schools listed. Upon his return to Nigeria in 2007, Iso consulted for a number of organisations including the R.E.A.D. Africa Foundation where he played a key role in bringing to birth the maiden edition of the acclaimed Garden City Literary Festival. He has gone on to consult for both private and public organisations in Nigeria. He currently serves as Special Assistant to the Governor of Cross River State on Information and Communication Technology. Iso has a strong passion for a better Nigeria and spends much of his time mentoring young professionals and organising teams of volunteers for various causes. In 2011 he established Lead Inspire Transform (LIT) (www.leadinspiretransform.org), a nation-building organisation with a mission to raise and inspire leaders to influence and build better societies. As Executive Director of LIT, he is the brains behind the Volunteer Nigeria Project – A project aimed at raising 1 million volunteers across Nigeria by 2015 to address key areas of national development. He is widely travelled and enjoys playing golf, watching documentaries and spending time with his family.
Mr. Kemela Okara
Mr Kemela Okara, is a member of the Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn having being called to the English Bar in 1989. Thereafter Mr Okara was also called to the Nigeria Bar in December of the same year. Mr Okara holds an LLB degree with Honours from the University of Middlesex, London, England. Mr Okara is one of the managing partners Streamsowers and Kohn, a major commercial law firm located in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos, with branches in Abuja and Port Harcourt, prior to this Mr Okara was the Managing Partner at the law firm of George Etomi and Partners from 2001 – 2004. Mr Okara is also a Trustee of Freedom Foundation and a Director in King Solomon’s Micro Finance Bank Ltd. Faith based initiatives actively involved in providing rehabilitation, education and empowerment to the disadvantaged in Lagos. In the Niger Delta area, Mr Okara set up Kemela Okara Foundation to provide scholarships to indigent students and Firi Ke Ebi initiative to provide Vocational and Entrepreneurial training to young unemployed men and women in Bayelsa State. Mr Okara also chairs the board of Arc Lights Limited holders of the LEGO Franchise for West Africa and parts of North Africa. Mr Okara also sits on the board of Edge Financial Systems Limited pioneers in NFC enabled mobile payment solutions. He also sits on the board of the Bayelsa Development and Investment Corporation (BDIC). Mr Okara also recently finished his first book “Open Windows in Babylon” published by Destiny Image and available on www.Amazon.com. He also maintains a blog “What Shall This Man Do” which can be viewed at www.kemelaokara.blogspot.com or on his website www.kemelaokara.org. Recently Mr Okara started a bi-monthly column on politics in the This newspaper titled Breaking The Mould. Mr Okara is an Elder in This Present House, Lagos. Mr Okara recently made his first foray into politics as the Governorship Candidate of Action Congress of Nigeria for the February 2012 elections in Bayelsa. He is happily married to Chineze Okara and they have four children.
Mr. Nobel Pepple
Mr Noble Pepple, is Executive Director/CEO of the Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency. He studied Business Administration at the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt and Environment and Development from the London School of Economics. Noble joined Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited in 1988 and has held several positions of managerial responsibility in Community Relations, Public & Government Affairs, Sustainable Development, Communications, Issues Management and a number of special management projects. Between 1997 and 2003, Noble worked at the Shell Corporate Headquarters in London. He has also served as Regional External Affairs Manager and was elected Chairman of the Public Affairs Sub-Committee of the Oil Producers Trade Sector (the main oil and gas industry body) between 2008 and 2009.
Dr. Steve Ogan
Dr. Steve Ogan, first studied history at the University of Port Harcourt between 1977 – 1981. He went on to do a graduate programme at the University of Ibadan, where he earned an MA in 1983 and a PhD in Legal History in 1989. He has written more than 60 books, many of which are best sellers. On November 8, 2004 Dr. Steve Ogan was given a bestsellers award by the Uzima publishers in Nairobi, Kenya for two of his books How To Beat Your Husband and How to Beat Your Wife. Since then two other titles have entered into Uzima’s 20 bestselling list. In 2006, Dr. Ogan was honoured as the First Prolific Christian Writer and Public Speaker in the 1977 Class of the University of Port Harcourt. “How to Beat Your Husband” has remained Uzima’s number 1 bestselling book for two years now. Dr. Steve Ogan is a much sought after conference speaker and marriage counsellor. He majors in the areas of leadership, intercession, marriage and family life. He is one of the resource persons in the Sundulous African Leaders Training Programme under the Intercessors for Africa. He is also in the leadership of the Ministers Prayer Network. Dr. Ogan worships at the Church of God Mission Int’l Inc., under which he also holds his ministerial ordination and licence. He serves as a teacher in his local church in addition to his numerous engagements in other churches within and outside his denomination.