Alhaji Tijjani Abdullahi

Tijjani is a retired Investment Banker with experience in Banking, Investment Management, Finance, Privatization and Planning. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1979) and a Masters Degree in Banking and Finance from Bayero University, Kano (1998). He attended several Management and Leadership programs at Harvard Business School, U.S.A, including Program for Global Leadership (2001), Advanced Management Program (2003) and Leading Change and Organizational Renewal (2007). He is a Fellow of Association of National Accountants (ANAN).

He has worked in the banking industry for over 20 years at top management level. In 1997/98, while pursuing his masters’ degree, he worked as a consultant for some USAID implementing partners in the health sector such as PPFN and BASICS to support a number of NGOs. Upon completion of his program, he joined Intercity Bank Plc as General Manager International Operations and later was appointed as Deputy Managing Director of First Interstate Merchant Bank Ltd. In 2000, he joined the Bureau of Public Enterprises as Director Operations where he served till 2004.

Tijjani moved to the Federal Capital Territory Administration as MD/CEO Abuja Investment Company Limited (AICL) and was a member of the FCT Executive Committee from 2004 to 2007. He retired from both the bank and public service in 2007 to set up his own consulting firm. In 2016, he was appointed Director General, Budget Office of the Federation and was later reassigned as Special Adviser to the President on Planning, where he served until May 2019.

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai is the Founder and Executive Director of the Foundation. She was born in Kano city, where she attended Shekara Girls’ Primary School and St. Louis Secondary School. She holds BSc Architecture (1981), MSc Architecture (1983) and MBA (1992) degrees from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She also has an MA in Creative Writing (2011) from Bath Spa University, Bath, in the UK.

Hadiza is a registered architect with the Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) and is a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA).

She has worked extensively in the built environment sector. She was a lecturer in the Department of Architecture, Kaduna Polytechnic (1986-1989). Later, she moved to the private sector, where she worked as a partner in 3-D Consultants, an Architectural Consultancy firm, before joining Participant Properties limited, a property development company, in 1998. In 2007, she set up Complete Architectural Services Limited, which she managed until 2015 when she resigned in order to give her full attention to her writing and to the Foundation.

Hadiza’s debut novel, An Abundance of Scorpions, was published in November 2017 by Ouida Books. She also writes poetry and short stories. Her poem “Spirit Child” was shortlisted for the Lightship International Poetry Prize 2013, and subsequently published in the Lightship Publishing Ltd. Anthology 3.

A lover of nature, Hadiza loves spending time outdoors, gardening, power walking and playing golf.  She lives in Kaduna with her husband and children.

Mr Richard Ali

Richard Ali is a Nigerian lawyer, novelist and poet. Author of the warmly received 2012 novel, City of Memories, Richard was Editor-in-Chief of the Sentinel Nigeria Magazine and was a runner-up at the 2008 John la Rose Short Story Competition. He has been Publicity Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (2011 to 2015). A founding member of the Nairobi-based arts collective, Jalada Africa, he also sits on the board of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation, based in Kampala, Uganda, which runs BN Poetry Award—Africa’s only in-Africa continental poetry prize. He has served as a consultant, holding a public policy-shaping role as Technical Assistant to the Honourable Minister of Interior from 2015 to 2017, working on the Ministry Strategy Group (MSG). He is presently Programme Manager of the Association of Nigerian Authors Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (ANA PCVE) programme, which seeks to use literature to counter extremism. A noted expert on issues of violent extremism, he is an alumnus and member of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies (ACSS) and has participated in several roundtables across Africa. He is also an alumnus of the US State Department’s International Visitor’s Leadership Programme (IVLP). He co-founded Parrésia Publishers Limited in 2012 and practices law in Abuja, Nigeria. His debut collection of poems, The Anguish and Vigilance of Things, was published in 2019 by Konya Shamsrumi. He recently co-authored a chapter titles Governance, Climate Change and Security Challenges: The Case of Lake Chad in Governance and Security in the Sahel published by the Foundation for European progressive Studies, Rome.

Hajiya Safiya Umar

Safiya is a registered nurse with over thirty years professional experience in Nigeria and the United States of America. She obtained a certificate in nursing from School of Nursing, Kano. She then proceeded to Pace University, Pleasantville, New York where she scooped  Bachelor's and Master's degrees in nursing.

She has done patient's counseling, nurses training, needs analysis for health care systems, patients' insurance management and technical assistance on geriatric nursing during her time at Montefiore Homecare and Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital all in New York, USA.

She has volunteered in group homes for homeless and abused women, where she helped get them placed under government social services. She has also volunteered with homes that deal with children with behavioral problems.

She presently volunteers at the Milestone Counseling and Treatment Centre for women with substance abuse problems in Kaduna.

She has served on the board of the policy committee in Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. She is also a member of the board of Bureau For Treatment  and Prevention of Substance Abuse, Kaduna State.

She has used her experience and International exposure to develop new business models and to do social mobilization for community development.

She is an avid reader and supporter of Literary causes.

Dr Dahiru Sani

Dahiru Sani is a visionary educator and innovator with comprehensive experience leading and developing financial and economic development education initiatives. Proven record of developing and leading comprehensive programs to train and educate the next generation of leaders. Designed and implemented a successful management development programme for top company leaders in multinational corporations. He founded Kaduna Business School globally recognised institution for executive development. Under his belt are successful consulting breakthroughs and a background in economic development for government and NGO initiatives. An experienced consultant with expertise in developing and implementing curriculum, policy, and development programs at all levels. Strong leader and skilled communicator continually focused on developing and maintaining relationships across diverse stakeholder groups, including students, business leaders, government officials, and non-profit and community organisations. Educator in entrepreneurship, finance, business valuation, and innovation and design thinking.

He is a graduate of the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University; he earned a B.Sc., Business Administration and an MBA in 1991 and 1997 respectively. After gaining experience in Manufacturing, Banking, Research, Teaching and Consulting, he earned a Ph.D. in Finance from SMC/Universidad Central de Nicaragua in 2014. His doctoral dissertation focused extensively on innovation in entrepreneurial Finance. Added to these are certifications from the Harvard Business School, European Business Competence License in Vienna, Austria, DACUM institute of the Ohio State University, USA and the International Finance Corporation’s Business Edge. A global bilingual citizen and a bilingual, Dahiru has assisted several government agencies in analysing and determining optimal approaches for enhancing institutional performance.

Dr Asma'u Abdulkadir

Dr. Asma’u Abdulkadir is in her early 60s and hails from Bakori Local Government Area of Katsina State.

A Chief Lecturer with Kaduna Polytechnic, she is a seasoned administrator and a Fellow of Chartered Institute of Administration. Her PhD is in Educational Administration and Planning from the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

She held many responsibilities at Kaduna Polytechnic, Katsina State and the Federal Government.

She was a Principal at the Kaduna Polytechnic  Demonstration Secondary School; the first female Head of Department (Education Technical), Kaduna Polytechnic; Executive Secretary of Katsina State Commission for Women; the first Director-General and Honourable Commissioner of Katsina State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development; Senior Special Assistant to the President (First Lady’s Office); and Special Adviser to the President on Gender Issues.

She is a member of Many Professional Associations and Organizations and has written many Seminar, Conference and Journal papers.

Dr. Asma’u has been to all the 36 States of the Federation and the FCT. She has also visited over 20 Countries in the World.

She is very much interested in issues on health and those that concern the girl-child. For this reason, she has established an all-encompassing Guidance and Counselling Center for girls/women.

Her hobbies include reading articles on health issues and travelling.

Nguyan Shaku Feese, Ph.D.

A teacher, a teacher educator, a development consultant and an advocate for women and youth empowerment, Nguyan has extensive experience in the design and implementation of development programmes, an organisation development specialist, a strategic planner and a leadership development expert. Nguyan has passion in preparing tomorrow’s leaders and has implemented many school improvement programmes including leadership training for head teachers and teachers, learner-centred pedagogy, subject content knowledge in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM Education), and teacher professional standards. Nguyan has supported the reform of Early Childhood Care and Development Education (ECCDE) in some schools. Nguyan is a member of many Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) such as: TeamMember; Integrated Initiatives for Women and Youth (IIWY); ANAWIM Poorest of the Poor Orphanage; Doom Foundation; Oando Foundation; and Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF). Nguyan looks forward to supporting accelerated literacy programmes and building capacity of students in public schools in 21st Century skills to enable them participate in the global economy.

Nguyan, holds a Bachelors Degree in English Literature, Masters in Education Administration and Public Administration and a Doctorate in Guidance and Counseling. Nguyan, worked with: the National Human Rights Commission as the Public Relations Officer; Action Aid International as Education Specialist and the Coordinator Commonwealth Education Fund; World Bank as Education Specialist; Mott MacDonald as Institutional Development Specialist for the Education Sector Support Programme (ESSPIN) and National Programme Manager, Teacher Development Programme (TDP); and is now the Lead Consultant, NSF Developments Limited.