Last week was indeed a history-making week. While Kamala Harris was sworn in as the first-ever African American and Asian American female Vice President of the United States, Nigeria was also recording a historic first for a female public servant.
The Muhammadu Buhari administration recorded a feat with the appointment of Uzoma Emenike as Nigeria’s first female Ambassador to the United States.
Prior to her recent appointment, Mrs Emenike, who comes from Umukabia-Ohuhu in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia, was Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland and Iceland. During this period, she was distinguished as one of the best performing ambassadors.
Mrs Emenike’s drive for excellence is very clear and shines through over the course of her career.
Though some other ambassadors who were appointed at the same time with her were dropped, her excellence and hard work caused the President submitted her name for reappointment last year.
Giving her recent appointment by the president as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the U.S., she now takes over from the late 83-year-old Nsofor, a retired Justice of the Supreme Court.
This has set a new standard as she is the first female to be in her position. Analysts noted that her appointment has changed the landscape for Nigerian female diplomats.
She is among the 52 non-career and 43 career ambassadors whose deployment was recently approved by the president.
This comes six months after the National Assembly’s confirmation of the list of ambassadors-designate submitted by the President.
Mrs Emenike joined the Nigeria Foreign Service about 30 years ago. She served in the Protocol Department and Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From there, she was posted to the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire in 1992, where she served for six years.
On returning to Nigeria, she was deployed to other departments of the Ministry and served diligently and excellently.
During this time, she represented Nigeria in numerous bilateral and multilateral missions, locally and internationally.
Mrs Emenike holds a PhD in International Diplomacy from the University of Reading, UK, alongside four other degrees – two masters (Diplomacy and MBA); LLB, and a Bachelor.
They include a B.Sc, Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria, and an LL.B from the University of Reading in the UK while her Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy was from the University of Lagos, Nigeria.
She also obtained another Master’s in International Management from the University of Reading, U.K., She has certificates in French and Postgraduate Diploma in Diplomacy, Nigerian Diplomatic Service Academy.
Notably, Mrs Emenike is also an author. Her published articles include: “The AFRICA We Envisage in 50 Years’ Time” and “Europe Needs Africa.”
She also wrote a book on Nigerian diplomacy, entitled, “Africa: The Centre-Piece of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy (2015).”
A few years ago during her swearing-in ceremony in Dublin, the Irish President, Michael D. Higgins told her then that he had read her book.
On her personal life, Mrs Emenike is married to Ikechi Emenike, a brilliant economist and highly successful entrepreneur, and they are blessed with four children.
Those who know her and are close to her say she is compassionate but firm and dedicated to getting things done the right way.
Mrs Emenike brings a wealth of experience to the office having worked in several missions abroad before retiring from the public service.
Her appointment is seen as one that would further deepen bilateral relations and trade between the U.S. and Nigeria.