Pro-democracy activist, Political representative (Nigeria)
“In recognition of her unwavering commitment to advance women’s rights and leadership in Africa.”
Through her visionary leadership and activism, she has been paving the way for true democracy, in which all individuals can realize their full potential and contribute to the betterment of society. Her work has inspired not only women in her country, but many people around the world who are striving for a more just and harmonious world.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello believes that our world needs more than a few exemplary women leaders, it needs a groundswell. Through her nonprofit organization, Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), she is building that groundswell, developing a rising generation of women leaders in Nigeria. From the age of 19, she has been stirring up activism in fellow Nigerians, fueling movements for democracy, gender equality and women’s leadership. Her life’s work is a tribute to her parents, who fought and died for their pro-democracy activism. Often one of the first leaders to respond to crisis, Hafsat was making dangerous trips to areas targeted by Boko Haram long before the extremist group made headlines. She organized coalitions of women to demand action against the group and continues to advocate for justice. Motivated by women’s strength, Hafsat believes that the challenges facing her country offer a unique opportunity for women’s leadership to emerge.
Hafsat currently serves as a cabinet member and Special Adviser of the Ogun State government. She is also a councilor of the World Future Council and co-chair of the Future Justice Commission.