Ambassador Judith Sefi Atta is a Princess from Okene, Kogi state.
She was born on the 14th of July, 1933. She started her early Education at First Achimota School, Accra and Aburi Girls School in the Gold Coast (Now Ghana) from 1939-46. She had her secondary school education at st. Theresa’s College, Ibadan from 1947-51.Between 1951 and 53, Sefi Atta taught, like all brilliant students of the time, at the NA primary school, Okene. She proceeded in 1954 to the University College, Dublin, in the Republic of Ireland, where she studied Geography and History, and obtained the Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. Being the very first Ebira Woman to obtain a University degree. In the same year she enrolled for postgraduate Diploma in Education , which is equivalent to Masters Degree, at the University of Reading, England, which she got in 1958. Her other postgraduate training experiences include Commonwealth visitors in Education Award to Australia in 1971, and Senior Management course at the University of Pittsburgh in the United States Of America.On return to Nigeria in 1958, she taught at the Queen’s School, Ilorin from where she was posted to the Provincial Girls School, Yola in 1960 as Headmistress. In 1962, she was again posted to Government Girls Secondary School, Kano as Principal. As teacher, headmistress and Principal, She encouraged and Motivated Many Northern girls including the former Nigeria first Lady, Hajia Maryam Abacha to seek education as a means of empowering women to participate effectively in the Socio-economic and political development of the nation.
In 1964, she was promoted the first Chief Woman Education Officer in Nothern Nigeria and posted to Kaduna from Kano. Given her impeccable educational background and her strong will to succeed, Sefi Atta was posted to the Federal Ministry of Education in 1968 as an Adviser on Teacher Education. She became Director of Higher Education in 1976. She served in this post up to 1982 when she was appointed Nigeria’s first female Education Ambassador to Paris, i.e. Nigerian’s Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a UN agency established in 1946 to advance mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples. Ambassador Sefi Atta Remained at the UNESCO job up to 1986 when she was recalled and appointed the first female Permanent Secretary in a Feferal Ministry, that of Science and Technology. In 1987, she became the first female Ambassador/Permanent Secretary (and later Director-General) position up till 1991, when she was again posted as the first female Ambassador to Italy with concurrent accreditation to Greece and Cyprus. Ambassador Sefi Atta was recalled in January 1995 to serve as the first Honorable Minister of the newly created Federal Ministry Of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, and Member of the Federal Executive Council.
Ambassador Sefi Atta has served and Continues to serve on numerous Boards, Councils, Committees and other bodies including the Governing Bodies of Nigeria’s Premier University Of Ibadan (1966-82), the Federal Joint Consultative Committee on Education (19f4-82), which she chaired for 5 years; the National Advisory Council for the Blind (1969-76), the West African Examinations Council (1965-82), the Conference and the Implementation Committee on the new National Policy on Education (1974-77), Seminar on the establishment of University of Technology in Nigeria(1981) etc.
She influence the establishment of Federal College of Education through out Nigeria, In 1974 , including the one in Ebiraland. Ambassador Sefi Atta has served on many panels on aspects of University, Polytechnic, Teacher, Special and Women Education. She has also participated in many Commonwealth Education Conferences held in Nairobi, Colombo, Lesotho, Lagos, Delhi, etc. OAU Conferences held in Mauritius in 1978 on Education, Science and Technology, Culture and Information.
Ambassador Sefi Atta has been Part of the Nigerian Government teams on Bilateral talks with the United States of America, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Poland, Yugoslavia, Canada, Romania, Guyana, etc. She was a member of the Nigeria Delegation to United Nations General Assembly, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Summits, Human Rights Commission and its sub-Commission on the Prevention Of Discrimination and Protection Of Minorities.
Sefi Atta together with formal first lady of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, Hajia Maryam Abacha attended the 4th United Nations World Conference on Women Held in Beijing, China in August, 1995.
Because of her distinctive contribution to the development of Nigeria, her sterling qualities, long and Meritorious service to Nigeria, Ambassador Judith Sefi Atta was Awarded the Order of the Federal Republic (OFR) in1983.
CREDIT: Kogi in History