The Future Awards Africa Prize in Public Service
Dr. Dami Ajayi (32)
Public Healthcare is an important part of any progressive society. Often the challenge lies in creating a public health ecosystem that cares not just for physical ailments but also neuropsychiatric health and wellbeing. Mental health is often ignored in Nigerian health, or chalked off to a supernatural occurrence, often leaving sufferers of mental health in the hands of persons ill-equipped to understand their illnesses and provide much-needed treatment.
Dami Ajayi is better known for his very accomplished career as a poet, writer and editor of the revered literary magazine Saraba. But he is also an accomplished doctor, major in mental health and neuropsychiatry and advocating through his platforms for better representation of sufferers of mental health through progressive care and an innovative approach to treatment. He has spent the bulk of his time in the last year, restructuring the infamous Federal Neuropsychiatric Hospital, Yaba to meet the contemporary needs of its patients through his role as the Senior Registrar of the facility.
At 32, Ajayi is one of the youngest Senior Registrars ever to attain the role in the country, and his appointment speaks to his commitment to mental health, his outsize talent as a creator and his empathy for patients often left to God.
Dr. Betta Edu (31)
There are many aspects of public service through which an individual can leave an indelible mark, but few are as crucial as public healthcare. Nigeria has seen a steady decline in the quality and availability of public healthcare, damning millions to death from preventable and treatable disease. All that stands between certain death and the underprivileged majority in Nigeria are doctors like Dr. Betta Edu who have taken on the responsibility to protect and sustain life, no matter the challenges.
Through her position as the Director General of the Cross River State Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), Dr. Edu parlays the wealth of knowledge to steer the Cross River state government towards revamping her existing healthcare ecosystem and optimizing it to serve the most disadvantaged in her communities. As the youngest special adviser to a governor in Nigeria, Edu has created a Primary Healthcare Development Agency and institutionalized primary healthcare. Through the CRSPHCDA’s outreach initiatives, Edu has saved over 1 million lives, ensuring 700,000 children access Vitamin A supplements, self-sponsored outreaches that have affected an additional 100,000 students. Edu invests in education through personally funded primary school scholars for children in her ward, immunization campaigns and the provision of solar-powered alternative light sources to equip primary health facilities in the state with constant electricity.
Edu’s achievements have been rewarded with over 300 awards for excellence in service, including accolades from the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Bank and ThisDay Magazine.
Ebenezer Wikina (26)
It is not very often that the Future Awards Africa has repeat nominees in specific fields, but Ebenezer Wikina is not just any TFAA nominee. The indefatigable Wikina was first nominated for the 2016 TFAA prize for his efforts to revolutionize New Media, the skill and experience he has brought to his new position as the Project co-ordinator and Editor of Niger Delta Link (NDLink), a news and advocacy platforms founded by the PIND Foundation and dedicated to providing information on restoration efforts for communities suffering the negative consequences of decades of oil exploration in the region.
Wikina’s relentless work in documenting the injustices that occur in the Niger Delta, providing a platform for indigenes in the region to express their concerns and advocate for their causes has earned him the respect of the Niger Delta and solidified his place as a voice for the regions most disenfranchised. Wikina also empowers young Niger Deltans through his position as a guest lecturer at the Rivers State Polytechnic where he guides 300 final year students through the intricacies of Digital Journalism, experimenting with new methods to impart knowledge and engage students on the unique challenges of digital activism in today’s world.
Rukayat Mope Azeez-Lawal (31)
She is a Higher Technical Officer at the Ogun State Environmental Protection Agency, a government agency dedicated to the protection of the environment through the monitoring and regulation of Private Commercial industries to ensure they follow best Waste Management practices. She has successfully inspected over 100 commercial facilities, including small and medium scale industries and markets ensuring that they meet global standards. She is always on the field to ensure that the daily evacuation of waste along the Atan-Agbara area of Ogun state is committed to and performed without fail.
She has been able to supervise the destructions of expired products, in-process products, raw materials or products that went wrong during production. Thanks to her diligence”
Daniel Philemon Saredau (30)
For far too long, an old guard of academicians has held power in many of Nigeria’s universities, alienating younger professionals who want to major in academics, frustrating the efforts of students who have a genuine interest in academia. This especially true in Northern Nigeria, where politicking in academia has become a perennial problem. Daniel Philemon Saradau understands how much this has affected the prospects of millions of young Nigerians of Northern extraction and is committed to dismantling these structures.
Saradau first became an academic superstar when he was awarded the Best Overall Matriculations Examinations Score in Nigeria in 2005. He was also best of his class during his undergraduate studies at the University of Abuja and topped his class at the University of Ibadan. Saradau rejected offers from across the world to practice law and returned to Taraba State University to help fund the University’s Faculty of Law after helping craft and defend the curriculum at the Taraba State Polytechnic.
Asides from helping his university create a curriculum that encourages more young Taraba indigenes to embrace health, Saradau works for the Taraba state government as lead counsel, handling criminal litigation, civil litigation, negotiation and arbitration, prosecuting for and defending the state government in civil and criminal cases. Saradau has also served as the Honourable Attorney General of Taraba state.
Saradau somehow manages to combine all these duties and achievements with a Ph.D program at the University of Ibadan with a focus on socio-economic rights and human development.