A strong parliamentary voice in Nigeria, Hon. Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje, will be the 2019 Commencement Speaker at the American University of Nigeria on May 18.
Elendu-Ukeje, the member for Bende Federal Constituency in Abia State, is the chair, Committee on Foreign Affairs in the House of Representatives.
The federal legislator is a notable voice in the campaign for better welfare for Nigerian soldiers, their families and war veterans.
She will be the 11th Keynote Speaker at the University’s graduation ceremony since the inaugural class in 2009.
She will be following in the footsteps of notables like Nobel Laurette Archbishop a Desmond Tutu (2009); former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, late Dr. Robert Alan Pastor (2012); US rights activist, Charlayne Hunter-Gault (2013); former United States Ambassador John Simon (2014); and Columbian education rights advocate, Vicky Colbert (2015), among others.
Like the Commencement Speakers before her, Hon. Elendu-Ukeje is expected to advice graduating students on life behind the four walls of the university.
The third-term legislator has sponsored the bill establishing the National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons.
She is as well a strong advocate in the push for the domestication of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
Among her many interventions are the legislative diplomacy between the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the South African Parliamentary Delegation to curb xenophobia targeted at Nigerians living in South Africa and the establishment of the Nigerian-US Bi-National Commission.
Legislative positions she has held include Chairperson, House Committees on Donor Agencies and Development Partners, Navy, Defence, Women in Parliament, Telecommunication, Information Communication Technology, and Member of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Restructuring Nigeria and the Petroleum Industry Bill.
Hon. Elendu-Ukeje has won numerous honours, including ThisDay award for excellence in legislature (2012); Most vibrant female lawmaker for 2011-2015 (awarded by the Nigeria Union of Journalists); National Council of Women’s Society Legislative excellence award (2016); Kwame Nkrumah Foundation award for legislative excellence (2017); National Assembly Press Corps Legislator of the year (2017/2018); Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria Legislative excellence award; Niger Delta Youth Forum for good governance (Best Lawmaker of the year); and Authority newspaper Legislator of the year (female) 2017.
Before her public service, Elendu-Ukeje achieved distinguished success in the private sector as a Business Development Manager with Hudson Petroleum, Ikoyi, Lagos (1998-2002), and later became a director of Protea Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos (2002-2005).
In addition to English, she speaks the three major Nigerian languages of Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa with ease.
Her educational qualifications include a BA in English from the University of Benin.
At AUN, the minimum cumulative grade point average to earn a degree conferral is 2.0 (Second Lower) from a maximum 4 points.
The American University of Nigeria was established in 2003 by Nigeria’s former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar.
Conceived as Africa’s first Development University, its mission is to promote service learning and to educate leaders who will be prepared to tackle the development issues of Nigeria and Africa.
The University offers an American-style education modeled after the curriculum of American universities, using the latest in Internet technology and e-learning resources.
AUN, whose highly competitive Software Engineering programme is offered at undergraduate and graduate levels among other 16 majors and 27 minors, recently introduced Agribusiness Management and Public Policy and Administration under the Business School, while plans have reached an advanced stage to establish a School of Engineering.