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Pushing Boundaries With Initiatives! Somachi Chris-Asoluka, Obiocha Ikezogwo & 26 Others Named as 2013 Fellows Moremi Initiative for Leadership and Empowerment Development



There’s a lot of talk about development and the need for it on the African continent. This is why we are very excited that two young Nigerian women have been chosen as 2013 fellows of the Moremi Initiative for Leadership and Empowerment Development (MILEAD) . The Moremi initiative for women’s leadership in Africa is an non-profit organization which actively engages in the empowerment and development of young women to take on leadership roles in their communities.

Out of over 44,000 entries, 28 young women between the ages of 19 and 25 were selected because of their exceptional qualifications and achievements with respect to the development of more young women in their spheres of influence.  The 28 women, from 25 different African countries, will be mentored and trained for the task ahead of them. They will be expected to work with a close network of women in the MILEAD as well as given a grant as fellows of the foundation with which they can start their own projects. BellaNaija is very proud to announce that Somachi Chris-Asoluka  and Obiocha Ikezogwo  are the Nigerians who made the list.

Check out their profiles here.

Somachi Chris-Asoluka
Somachi, is an ‘Adam Smith’ award winner in Economics, graduated Summa Cum Laude from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2011. While in college, she tutored Economics, Math, Statistics and Creative Writing, served as a regular contributor to the school paper, ‘The Collegian’, and actively volunteered in the local Oakland community as a high school tutor, and in New Jersey as a middle school teacher. She is also a member of the Financial Women’s Association, San Francisco, as well as the Omicron Delta Epsilon (National Economics Honor Society, USA).

In 2012, Somachi graduated from Yale University with a Master’s Degree in International and Development Economics. Her fondest class was ‘Development Economics’ as it examined the subject of microfinance, an area she intends to further explore in West Africa. Currently engaged in the Nigerian National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, Somachi works at the Lagos Business School as a Research Assistant in Economics and its related fields. Humbled by the honor of the MILEAD fellowship, Somachi realizes that there is a huge responsibility to work hard to provide other young women with opportunities not unlike the ones she has been blessed with. A strong advocate of women empowerment, and Africa’s overall development, by extension, she maintains that (as the famous World Cup chorus proclaims), ‘it is (indeed) time for Africa.’

Obiocha Ikezogwo

A Nigerian-born Briton, Obiocha Ikezogwo, has been recognised for her exemplary service leadership and social activism by the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa. Beating over 2,000 candidates to win a place in the final 25, Obiocha’s nomination as a MILEAD Fellow sets the tone for this bright, young woman. She is the national representative for the UK, and is hopeful that this experience will enable her realise her vision for African womanhood, one in which “we are empowered at home, and respected abroad”.

With a first class degree in Finance from the University of Manchester, Obiocha began her profession on the Graduate Leadership Programme at Centrica Plc. Her career flourished with high-profile assignments, including a position in Norway, where she developed strategic analysis of a $1.1 billion asset deal with Statoil. She returned to the UK to continue her career at Palantir Solutions, a leading provider of consulting and software services to the petroleum industry. As a Petroleum Economics Consultant, Obiocha values oil and gas projects from exploration to production, using her expertise in economic modelling, fiscal regimes, and portfolio optimisation to provide decision analysis that supports her clients’ investment decisions.

Having grown up in Nigeria amidst abject poverty, Obiocha champions the use of education to engender women’s economic and social independence. She has successfully mentored over 50 women and young people in positions of responsibility, and currently serves as a School Governor at the Harris Academy South Norwood, London.

Whilst at university, she dedicated her formative years to empowering her female peers, and in 2008, received the Manchester Leadership Award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to her wider community. She is now a mentor on the University’s Gold Mentoring Programme.

Citing herself as “an engineer of social justice”, Obiocha is dedicated to promoting the rights and causes of women in her community. Her passion for empowering African women led Obiocha to co-found ‘Yaaya’, a response to the social invisibility and negative stereotypes that shadow them in Europe. Established as a platform for women of African descent to share their achievements, stories, and ambitions, Yaaya aims to promote fairer and positive images of African women in European society. Her dream is for ‘Yaaya’ to inspire meaningful dialogue and action amongst organisations, governments, and civil society, on the issues of African women.

Looking ahead to the future, Obiocha hopes to complete her MBA at a prestigious European school. Post-MBA, she dreams of returning home to Nigeria, to serve her country in the efficient management of its natural resources. She is determined to “ensure that reserves are safely produced and piped back as cash resources into our economy, to alleviate poverty, elevate living standards, and at last, end our nation’s resource curse”

Other 2013 fellows of the program include:

Marlène Joannie Bewa [Benin]
Queen Baboloki Kgeresi [Botswana]
Payidwendé F Nadembega [Burkina Faso]
Comfort Daru Nkiri [Cameroon]
Yasmin T Gebreyesus [Eritrea]
Awa K Njie [Gambia]
Mawuenana Yomekpe [Ghana]
Hikmat Baba Dua [Ghana]
Waruguru C. Wanjau [Kenya]
Khahliso Khama [Lesotho]
Samfee Doe [Liberia]
Hadeye Maiga [Mali]
Lusungu Kalanga [Malawi]
Tanyaradzwa Daringo [Namibia]
Oda Dushime [Rwanda]
Fatimata Kane [Senegal]
Ngozi Cole [Siera Leone]
Simamkele Dlakavu [South Africa]
Viola J Ukel Abango [South Sudan]
Mai Khidir [Sudan]
Fanele Chester [Swaziland]
Zainab Abdallah Issa [Tanzania]
Bagayana Sheillah Mutetire [Uganda]
Chisenga Muyoya [Zambia]
Dorothy Pasipanodya [Zimbabwe]
Shanique Campbell [Diaspora/Jamaica]

BellaNaija congratulates these exceptional women and we look forward to more positive news from them. We are inspired by the work being done by the Moremi Initiative for Leadership in African Development. For more information on the organization and the objectives of the fellows visit their website {here}


  1. Partyrider

    June 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

    great stuff..

  2. RageOnAPage

    June 2, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    well done ladies! making us all proud and inspiring us

  3. Comfort

    June 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    OMG Somachi.. I am so so so proud of her. She was a prefect back in Loyola. OMG!!!!

    • wowza

      June 2, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      Yeah I remember her from Loyola as well. Go LJC!!!!

  4. jennietobbie

    June 2, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    congrats Soma

  5. ice

    June 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Very Interesting when young women strive to make it, I can feel their passion and also chorus ‘its time for Africa’

  6. nene

    June 2, 2013 at 3:29 pm


  7. madman

    June 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm


  8. Seymour

    June 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Ngozi Cole is a Nigerian name… Profile on her perhaps?

    • Comfort

      June 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      It is not necessarily Nigerian. Remember how all the slaves that had been taken from Nigeria and other parts of West Africa were released in Sierra Leone and Liberia? There is a lot of mixing and matching of names that we may think were originally Nigeria. So, because her name is Nigerian does not necessarily mean that she is Nigerian 🙂

  9. Gertrude

    June 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Congrats Ladies; I look forward to supporting what you will be doing with your grants!

  10. Chioma

    June 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Omg congrats stomachi. Forever doing us proud. Best pick for milead.

  11. Seyi

    June 2, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Very inspiring!

  12. NNENNE

    June 2, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    Am proud of you all especially Ms. Shanique Campbell, who did not let boundaries or distance deter her ambition. Very inspiring.

  13. candyjay

    June 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    im so inspired and proud of these young ladies i cant wait to be among the list by next year

  14. Teddy Bear

    June 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Kudos the these women for their achievements! Women like you two make us proud! 🙂

    • Obiocha Ikezogwo

      June 5, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      Thank you Teddy Bear! I am proud to have been recognised with this leadership award, and look forward to representing my country Nigeria 🙂

  15. Mma

    June 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Well done.
    Love women like this that inspire.

  16. slimgal

    June 3, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Please Comfort check your facts. She was not a prefect in Loyola

    • Regis panel

      June 6, 2013 at 4:38 am

      Check facts where? The award is not for being a prefect 10 years ago.

  17. Miss Mo

    June 3, 2013 at 4:29 am

    Big congratulations ladies. Keep up the excellent and inspiring work.

  18. LILLY

    June 3, 2013 at 8:08 am

    these ladies have done me proud. these are the best times to be a woman. women are getting recognized more for their talents and skills.

  19. Mz Socially Awkward...

    June 3, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Both of you ladies are awe inspiring. What? See achievements! May more like you arise out of Nigeria and in the meantime, congratulations, only great things lie ahead!

  20. Gracie

    June 3, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Am moved by these two young women’s achievements “beauty with brains” that’s the summary. Working harder too!

  21. HRS

    June 3, 2013 at 10:24 am

    Congratulations you both, truly inspirational!

  22. Hippo

    June 3, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Obiocha is indeed an emerging leader. Congrats gal!

  23. X- Factor

    June 3, 2013 at 11:04 am


  24. sassy diva

    June 3, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    This is great bella naija … it would be great to see photos of all the Nigerian young ladies that have been selected for this. Well Done Ladies

  25. minding my business..

    June 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    beautiful. hard work truly pays. more power to you ladies. all the best

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