• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Geometric: Meet Agatha, the woman behind Barth Nnaji’s strength

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Since last Monday when the Geometric Power was commissioned in Aba, Abia State, focus has been on the man at the centre of the feat.

Many have not taken the pain to look at where Barth Nnaji really drew the staying power, particularly when it seemed the dream was going to be buccaneered. But as it is often said, behind every successful man, there is a woman, Barth Nnaji has a pillar behind him.

Agatha, the wife, provided him with the strength and courage to soldier on.

Speaking on the realisation of the dream, an elated Agatha said: “I find it hard to find the world to express how I feel. I am excited that the day has finally come, when what we have been promising Ndi Aba has come through, that is, that we will be able to give them reliable and affordable power so that they can focus on doing their business with lower operational cost.”

Speaking in pure vernacular, Agatha said: “Ogu nile anyi n’alu k’mgbe afo iri abua bu na anyi kwere nkwa n’anyi g’eweta oku. Obi anuri m bu n a taa, Geometric n’eweta oku n’Aba.” (The battle we have fought for the past 20 years was that we promised we would bring electricity to Aba. My happiness today is that Geometric has started to fulfil that promise).

Commenting on the synergy between Barth Nnaji and Agatha, an X (Twitter) user by the name Dwiz, @jocular_solo, wrote: “Barth Nnaji and his wife Agatha Nnaji are the brains behind Geometric Power Company. This is how I want mine. None of that power tussle or financial competition in marriage, just a team of captain and fellow players.”

Goodness runs in her vein

She is the daughter of an affluent Nigerian and grew up with domestic servants, one of whom, in particular, was very close to her.

Although by all standards this domestic servant was treated very well, Agatha could not help but observe that despite all her years of service, she never progressed financially because she was uneducated and unskilled.

Today, Agatha and her other siblings are paying for the education and upkeep of the woman’s children because of her years of loyalty to the family.

But Agatha strongly believes that a woman with numerous years of work experience should not depend on the good will of benevolent employers, but should be able to support herself.

Based on the life and experience of this one caregiver, Agatha resolved to do something about the condition of those in the service industry in Nigeria.

Career trajectory

Agatha studied Company Administration at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, Nigeria and later graduated with a Master’s Degree in Tourism Administration from George Washington University (GWU) in U.S.A.

In 1989, she joined Sheraton Hotels and Towers as a Director of Sales in Nigeria with overseeing responsibilities in other Sheraton Hotels in West Africa.

She is also a certified Trainer for Sheraton Hotels in Africa and Middle East. She also worked for Sheraton in Atlanta, Georgia, before resigning from the company and founding the Dewdrop Foundation in 2001.

In addition to serving as CEO of Dewdrop Foundation, Agatha is a founding member of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Abuja Chapter, founder of the Abuja Horticultural Society (AHS) and the pioneer Lady Captain of IBB Golf & Country Club Abuja.

Agatha is a vocal advocate for the rights of the disenfranchised and actively involved in improving the welfare of those in the service industry. She is a recipient of numerous awards including the Nigerian Women’s Award in Hospitality and Tourism, the Martin Luther King Jr. award for community service and the Nigerian Heart Care Foundation award for community service.

In 2005, she was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship. A brief on her read thus: “Agatha is transforming the service sector in Nigeria by professionalising the hospitality industry through job skills training, standardising employee-employer relations, and advocacy work.

“Agatha believes that the commonly held disregard for and consequent mistreatment of domestic service and hospitality workers in Nigeria can be eliminated if the workers are equipped with professional skills and are legally protected in their industries.

“Agatha is addressing the root causes of labour and human rights abuses of service sector employees through a three-tiered strategy of skill-building trainings, employment workshops and advocacy work. First, Agatha provides practical and life skills training to people entering the service sector…”

Remembering community

The spirit of “Aku ruo ulo” has continued to propel the couple to doing great things for their community.

In August 2023, a community called Umuode in Enugu State decided to honour Agatha and her husband for their contributions toward the development of the autonomous community.

Presenting the award to the couple, the representatives of the community said: “We are thrilled to celebrate the momentous occasion where Umuode Community came together to honour our esteemed Board Chairman, Prof Bart Nnaji, and our remarkable Executive Director, Agatha Nnaji, for their exceptional dedication and invaluable impact on the community.”

The award, it was noted, was a reflection of the deep appreciation and admiration felt by everyone whose lives had been positively touched by the contributions of Prof Bart Nnaji and Agatha Nnaji.

“Their selflessness and commitment to uplifting the community have left an indelible mark on hearts and minds.

“The award presented is a token of recognition for the tireless efforts, innovative ideas, and positive impact that Dewdrop Foundation has brought to the community. It symbolises the gratitude of countless individuals whose lives have been positively influenced by their initiatives,” they said.

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