Hafsat Abiola-Costello to be honoured with 2016 Goi Peace Award
The Goi Peace Foundation will present the 2016 Goi Peace Award to Hafsat Abiola-Costello in celebration of her work fostering democracy and women’s leadership and equality in Nigeria.
Hafsat Abiola, daughter of late MKO and Kudirat Abiola is a Nigerian human rights, civil rights and democracy activist. She is founder, of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) which has since inception continued to strengthen civil society and promote democracy in Nigeria.
As a not-for-profit organization based in Lagos, Nigeria, KIND works primarily in areas of leadership development for young women and on collaborative projects aimed at removing barriers to women’s public participation and ending violence against women.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello is the eighth child of Nigeria’s uninaugurated (June 12, 1993) president elect, the late Chief Moshood Abiola who was put in prison by the dictator Gen. Sani Abacha for treason after declaring himself president. The elder Abiola later died under detention in 1998. Hafsat’s mother, Alhaja Kudirat Abiola killed in 1996, was murdered during a demonstration for the release of her husband in 1996.
On the twentieth anniversary of the death of her mother, Kudirat Abiola earlier this year, Hafsat penned down an emotional message to mark her mother’s demise.
”I remember her today as I do every day and pray for the continued peaceful repose of her soul. But on this day, 20 years on, I want to ask our leaders to be fair to the Nigerian women. No bird, no matter how strong, can fly with one wing. No country, no matter its potential, can thrive while keeping its women back.”
”Most local government councils will hold elections this year and next, nation-wide. This time, parties should put in place mechanisms to ensure 30% women representation at the local administration level. The local government is a good level to begin fostering gender equity since it has purview over primary health care as well as primary education, issues of particular concern to women.”
”This democracy came at a price, which women and men paid, and should be made to work for everyone. It will work better when women are allowed to play their part.”
Hafsat Abiola-Costello graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover in 1992 and Harvard College in 1996. She received an honorary doctorate from Haverford College.
Hafsat Abiola-Costello is the founder of China-Africa Bridge and China Africa Forum, which promotes mutually beneficial cross-cultural collaboration between China and Africa, with a specific eye on women’s contributions to the economy.
In 2000, Hafsat Abiola-Costello was honored as a Global Leader of Tomorrow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the Ashoka: Innovators for the Public in recognition of her international status as a social entrepreneur. In 2006, she was nominated to be a founding councilor at the World Future Council.
In 2006, she raised funds by organizing performances of The Vagina Monologues in Nigeria. Since May 2008 she is also a Councilor at the World Future Council among 49 other well known personalities.
In 2008, the Europe-based A Different View chose Hasfat Abiola-Costello to be one of the 15 Champions of World Democracy. Other champions include Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Corazon Aquino and Sima Samar. She is an advisory council member at the Fetzer Institute as well as the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
In 2015, she was chosen to be one of 21 women who met for a conference at Harvard University Kennedy School of Government funded by Hunt Alternatives. The group included Judy Thongori from Kenya, Fauzia Nasreen from Pakistan and Olufunke Baruwa, Esther Ibanga and Ayisha Osori also from Nigeria.