Cristiana Igbokwe, a granddaughter of the music legend Christy Essien-Igbokwe, and Covenant Odedele, a student of the University of Ibadan (UI) have emerged as the youngest Nigerian winners of the prestigious 2023 Princess Diana Award. They were recognized with 187 other young visionaries and leaders from 31 countries across the world.
The award is the most prestigious award a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts, and is part of those Awards established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and has the support of her sons, HRH The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex.
Christiana, born in Houston Texas, is a music activist, humanitarian, and advocate for human rights and the girl child and through her music, raises awareness about societal issues, inspire participation and foster a sense of community in Nigeria.
She has a pet project: ‘Santa In A Box’, which is a Christmas outreach programme that provides financial support, material resources, and fun activities for orphans in Nigeria.
Christiana has donated funds for school fees and volunteered to support orphanages, organised music concerts and dance challenges to raise funds for girls’ education, and campaigned for reforms and change through her songs such as “Let’s Change the system” and “She’s A Woman “
Odedele, a student journalist and 200 Level medical student of the College of Medicine UI, won the award for his positive social actions and his work with the social enterprise.
His project, Students on LinkedIn, started two years ago to bridge the knowledge gap about LinkedIn, provides resources on professional networking, employability readiness and LinkedIn optimisation for university students.
Odedele, who described the award as a great one, said he feel good to be recognized for his work on a global stage.
“It feels good to be recognised for good work; putting Nigeria on the global stage.
“And if there is anything to be proud of, it’s the fact that my leadership has inspired my peers to take responsibility for societal challenges in their campus communities.
“I’m also glad that one of my visions for campus communities in Nigeria got global recognition. All glory to God!”
This year’s event was a virtual one and was attended by Prince Williams, Prince Harry, and the CEO of Diana Awards Tessy Ojo.
Ojo congratulated the award recipients from the UK and across the world, describing them as changemakers for their generation.
“Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators and judges had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.
“These young people demonstrate that young people have the power to change the world; a belief also held by Diana Princess of Wales. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own change-making journey.”
The Diana Award established in memory of the Princess of Wales, Diana and given out by Princess Diana Charity is given to young persons for their remarkable humanitarian actions. It has the support of Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex.