Leadership Excellence Awards: FUTO VC wins 2023 woman of the Year
By Ebere Agozie
Abuja, Sept.5, 2023
Prof. Nnenna Oti, the Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO), has emerged winner of the 2023 Woman of the Year Leadership Excellence Awards.
In a seven-day Leadership Excellence (LEEX) Awards voting by Nigerians via online platforms, monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Oti was voted ahead of three other nominees.
The 2023 Awards is the fifth in the series and is organised annually by Igbere TV that recognises and honours the outstanding impacts of leaders across both public and private sectors in Nigeria.
Oti polled a total of 1,461,910 votes to defeat other nominees including popular Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie; Borno First Lady, Falmata Zulum and Mokutima Ajileye, first female Nigerian Managing Director, Procter and Gamble (P&G), who got 508,695; 90,660 and 62,114 votes respectively.
NAN recalls that Oti made headlines in 2023 amid stalemate in announcing election results in Abia State during the last governorship election where she served as the INEC Returning Officer.
The accomplished scholar was said to have withstood pressure from powerful politicians inspite of the attractive monetary inducement and financial incentives she was allegedly offered to manipulate the election results.
She insisted that the will of Abia voters would not be subverted under her watch, amid the heavy intimidation and threats.
According to her, ‘the people’s mandate shall stand. I have spent all my adult life in pursuit of the ideals of good governance.
“We shall stand by these principles. The pastor in me and the mother in me will not permit me to do anything that will adversely affect the future of our children”, she said.
Oti said that she had never in her life participated in any election, but when duty came calling she decided to do it with the fear of God.
“If I perish, I perish. They came with their threats, they came with their money, they came with their intimidation but God helped me.
“I stand here before God, Jesus Christ. I have never defrauded anyone, all I did was to declare the riot act as follows: Under me, votes must count. Under me, the people’s mandate will be upheld because I, Professor Nnnena Oti, can never do evil”, she said.
NAN also recalls that the prestigious LEEX Awards was endorsed by the African Union Economic, Social and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) 2020, and by the African Union Film Institute (AFI) in 2021.
LEEX Awards also promotes outstanding leaders and personalities whose impacts have been felt in Nigeria’s political, social and economic spheres.
The past winners of the ‘Woman of the Year’ Award were Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala (2020), Dame Judith Amaechi (2021), and Dr Betta Edu (2022)
The award will be presented to Oti alongside other winners of the various award categories on Nov. 4, in Abuja.