Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi, a renowned entrepreneur and youth development advocate, has become the first female to declare her interest in running for the office of President in the 2023 general elections.
Okunnu-Lamidi officially declared her interest in replacing President Muhammadu Buhari at the helm of Nigeria’s affairs on Monday, January 3, 2022.
Speaking at a media conference held at the Freedom Park in Lagos, Okunnu-Lamidi, an active social impact practitioner who has carved a niche for herself in the Nigerian media and advertising space, disclosed that her motivation in vying for the Presidency stems from her desire to make Nigeria work for its diverse populace, while also harnessing the undoubted power of its teeming youths to unleash the country’s latent potential as a force to be reckoned with globally.
While noting that 2023 is a defining moment for the country, Okunnu-Lamidi restated her confidence in playing a leading role in writing a new history and restoring hope for Nigeria.
‘‘I do not come to this lightly or out of vanity or frivolity. I come to this with humility and with responsibility and with the burden of a generation to whom the future of Nigeria belongs. Nigerians of our generation believe in the promise of an equitable and just political union which consolidates the diverse strengths of our people and which harnesses the vast untapped resources of our great nation for the common good. Nigerians of our gender believe that we are heirs to the same promise and that our contribution to the character, stability, peace and progress of Nigeria deserves recognition and reward. The challenge of the presidency is to make Nigeria work for all of its diverse peoples. It is the most powerful office in the land, but it is a place of service, and responsibility and duty and not a place of arrogance or show. Nigeria is not working for us,’’ she stated.
Reeling out statistics to back up her claims, Okunnu-Lamidi revealed that youths under the age of 30, who represent about 70% of Nigeria’s population, have borne the most impact of bad governance, adding that the youth account for 13.9 million of the unemployment figures which stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. Further, she disclosed that life expectancy at birth in Nigeria, which stood at 60.87 years in 2021, is one of the lowest in Africa and in the world while noting that the infant mortality rate hovers at 57.701 deaths per 1000 live births.
In addition, she referenced the spiralling rate of poverty, which has seen an estimated 40.1 per cent of the Nigerian population currently living below the poverty line; as well as the rising rate of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
Pointing the finger for the worrisome unemployment indices in Nigeria at the high population growth rate, deficient school curricula and poor teacher orientation, lack of focus on manufacturing as a result of overdependence on the oil sector, as well as flawed and inconsistent government policies on youth unemployment, Okunnu-Lamidi, nevertheless, reiterated that there is hope for the country, especially with the emergence of a competent president in 2023.
‘‘A president for all Nigerians must have integrity, competence, a 21st-century vision, energy, empathy and compassion for all our peoples and more so for the weak, the dispossessed and the disenfranchised,’’ she espoused.
‘‘It is not a proud boast to say that a candidate has been steeped in the bloody, incompetent and corrupt experience which has brought our country to where it is today. My generation is part of our nation’s history but we are not the ones who wrote it, in the blood of our youth and women and children.
‘‘These are among the real issues of 2023 and it is these issues that will define the fate of Nigeria,’’ she stated.
Born into a prominent Lagos family with a legacy of public service, Okunnu-Lamidi is the daughter of Lateef Femi Okunnu (SAN), a former Federal Commissioner of Works & Housing, current President, Isale-Eko descendants Union and an elder statesman while her mother, Arinola Omololu, is a businesswoman of Ago-Owu pedigree.
She holds a degree in Business Management (Hons) from the University of Bolton RAK Campus in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and a Master’s degree in Strategic Project Management (SPM) from the prestigious Heriot-Watt University, Dubai. She has also been actively involved in several humanitarian initiatives and supports foundations in both the formal and informal sectors that have long-lasting positive impacts on Nigeria’s political culture.
Some of the initiatives she designed to tackle the urgent challenges of lack of clean water, youth unemployment and other social problems in Nigeria include Water Relief, Help Our Youth (HOY), To Better Nigeria, Project: Bridge The Gap, Nigerian Heart Foundation and GW Alzheimer’s Foundation, among others.
About Khadijah Okunnu-Lamidi
Khadijah is an outstanding youth development, gender balance and human capital advocate who is also widely regarded as a leading woman in the Nigerian media and advertising space. She has made an indelible name for herself as a seasoned brands' solution professional, as well as an active social impact practitioner.
Khadijah is the Founder & CEO of Slice Media Solutions.
A member of the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), she is the first female to be featured as a cover story in an Out-Of-Home magazine in Nigeria and has also been featured as one of the Top 50 Women in Marketing & Communication in Nigeria. Khadijah is a multi-award-winning brand consultant across a diverse spectrum of industries, from start-ups to superstar brands, to niche businesses and non-profits. She is known for her gender balance and youth development advocacy and is the brain behind some social impact initiatives such as - Water Relief Nigeria, Help Our Youth (HOY), To Better Nigeria & Project: Bridge the Gap.
She is happily married with kids.