Adaora Umeoji: A Blend Of Beauty And Brains -By Hajia Hadiza Mohammed

The news of the appointment of Dr. Adaora Umeoji as the new GMD/CEO designate of Zenith International Bank the penultimate week came to me as welcome development. And the responses in the media from the investors to the analysts show that it is indeed a welcome development. And by the time she resumes as the CEO of the bank on 1st June, 2024, more than one half of the banks in the country would all have been under the control of women CEOs. This also is a welcome development. I am encouraged by the wonderful reviews I read about her in the media. Her name is not associated with any form of scandal. It goes to show that you can reach the top without blowing your top. I am excited not just because I am woman but because her appointment and those of other women CEOs serve as a motivation to the younger generation that seems to have a wrong notion of success. It would help correct some sexist misconception about career women. It would also correct adverse cultural discrimination about the girl-child.

Dr. Adaora has an intimidating credentials built by hard work. Available record shows she is an alumnus many prestigious institutions of learning across the globe she acquired three bachelor’s degrees in Sociology, Accounting and Law, three Master’s degrees in Law, Accounting and Business Management a doctorate degree and other certifications. She is also a fellow of many professional bodies within and outside the country. She climbed the success ladder in the bank adjudged by the rating agencies as one the leading financial institutions in the country by hard work and commitment to excellence.  Official records of the bank shows that she entered the bank in 1998 as youth corps member and rose rapidly along the ranks becoming the second lady to be appointed an Executive Director, the first to be appointed the Deputy Managing Director DMD and now the first to be appointed the Group Managing Director. Our upwardly mobile professionals and our slay queens would learn from Adaora that you can achieve success without compromising your dignity and ethical values. The enduring success is the one achieved with dignity and dedication to work.

The admirable Adaora is a woman of many parts. Apart from being a true professional and a corporate executive, she is also a philanthropist and a social activist. She has mentored many young professionals. She has empowered many people through capacity-building trainings and financial assistance through the not-for-profit organizations that she established for the purpose of helping the poor and the needy in the society. Adaora is a responsible wife and a loving mother who combine the job of running her home and her job effectively, maintaining a work-life balance.

Adaora’s appointment was hailed by the big players in the Nigeria financial sector especially by the members of the Zenith Bank family. This is because of her track record of performance and her personality that endears her to everyone that has interface with her. She is said to be a pleasant person who radiates the virtues of love, kindness, honesty and humility. She is also articulate, discipline and committed to the pursuit of excellence. Many believe and rightly too that given her qualification, wealth of experience and commitment to work that she has the capacity to lead the bank, drive innovation and reposition the bank for the future.

I derive pleasure in writing about people with inspiring success story and hence my interest in Dr. Adaora’s success story. Adaora exemplifies success in all ramifications. The purpose of this piece is not about a tribute to an achiever but to inspire the younger generation who have misguided notion about what constitute success. I believe that there are still many Adaoras in our homes, in our street and in our environment held bound by cultural inhibitions and sometimes too, distracted by technology and negative orientation. Our children should be thought the right values, guided on the right path to develop their talents. Our youth should be properly mentored. This will help them develop good attributes and habits that will make them successful in their chosen career. Our youths should be guided to model people with good attributes and sound ethical values and these qualities I find in Dr. Adaora Umeoji.

Clearly, the story of Dr. Adaora Umeoji and other successful women corporate executives has demonstrated that the girl-child is as important as her male counterpart. Suppressing the girl-child for whatever reason is counter-productive. The Ministry of Women Affairs, the National Orientation Agency and the humanitarian agencies should work to create more awareness on the need to train the girl-child. The girl-child of today will be the wife and mother of tomorrow. A trained wife will be more productive and a supporter to the family. A trained mother will be more able to train the children than the untrained.

Hajia Hadiza Mohammed

An actress, social activist, politician

London, UK

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