Uzoma Emenike has been serving as Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States since she assumed office in January of 2021. She is the first ever female Nigerian Ambassador to the United States, arriving in Washington D.C. on May 18, 2021. Since the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C. was established in 1960, it had been headed exclusively by men.
Prior to being appointed as ambassador to the United States, Emenike was Nigeria’s ambassador to Ireland since 2017.
Ambassador Uzoma Emenike first began working in foreign affairs in 1987. She worked in the Protocol, Africa, and Training Departments in the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs before transferring to the Nigerian Embassy in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoiret. She served here from 1992 to 1998 before returning to Nigeria. She then continued working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, representing Nigeria in bilateral and multilateral missions at home and abroad until she left foreign affairs for the private sector in 2002.
She worked as a management consultant until she was appointed by President Buahri as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the Republic of Ireland. She arrived at the embassy in Dublin, Ireland on August 30, 2017. Ambassador Emenike was later appointed as Ambassador to the United States when Ambassador Sylvanus Adiewere Nsofor passed away in December 2020.
“I am eager to see the United States become Nigeria’s top diplomatic, defense, trade and development partner. Nigeria is eminently endowed to partner with the US in both Africa continental development and global peace,” wrote Ambassador Uzoma Emenike in a statement on the Nigerian Embassy’s website.
As Ambassador to the United States, Emenike helps shape the bilateral relationship between Nigeria and the United States. In addition to influencing foreign relations, politics, and economics, Emenike also has an additional responsibility as the first ever woman to hold the position.
An accomplished diplomat, Ambassador Uzoma Emenike has the opportunity to empower women through her career. While Nigeria faces legitimate large-scale issues such as insecurity and instability, Emenike’s appointment has the potential to offer hope that equality and civil rights are worth fighting for in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, women constitute a very small minority of political and governmental positions. In the House of Representatives for instance, less than 4 percent of members are women.
Ambassador Emenike is extremely well educated. She has two Bachelor’s degrees, a Law Degree, three Master’s Degrees, and a Doctorate Degree.
She received Bachelor’s degrees in both Sociology and Anthropology from the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria and a law degree from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom. She has a postgraduate degree in Diplomacy from the Nigerian Foreign Service Academy as well as a Master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and another Master’s in International Management from the University of Reading in the United Kingdom where she also earned a Doctorate degree in International Relations.
Emenike was born in Southeast Nigeria and describes herself as a devout Chrsitian. She is married to notable entrepreneur and economist Ikechi Emenike and has four children.