The ennoblement of Nigerian-born Anne-Marie Osawemwenze Ore-Ofe Imafidon as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, MBE, by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II is another pointer to the proven potential of the Nigerian spirit.
Miss Imafidon’s investiture on May 19, 2017, was in recognition of her role in promoting the study of science among girls and young women in Britain.
Miss Imafidon has indeed earned her honour and is also well qualified for the role she is playing in steering British and European women into the sciences. In 2013, she founded STE Mette, a social enterprise through which she has inspired thousands of British and European girls between ages five and 22 to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
Miss Imafidon was well prepared to be a mentor, having set records that have only recently been also broken by her siblings. At 27, she is the youngest scientist to have been recognised by the British Monarch since 1870. At age 10, she was the youngest girl to pass two GSCE examinations (Secondary School Certificate Examination) in Mathematics and ICT and by age 11, she had passed the Advanced Level exam in Computing.
She won a British scholarship while she was 13 to study Mathematics at Johns Hopkins University and at age 17, she commenced a Masters Degree programme in Mathematics and Computer Science at the University of Oxford and set the record of being the youngest to obtain the Master’s Degree in that discipline at the age of 20.
Miss Imafidon’s achievements understandably drew the attention of some of the leading global corporations.
By age 24, she had garnered enviable experiences at Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Hewlett-Packard and Deutsche Bank. Remarkably, her extraordinary gifts are also shared by members of her family. Her twin siblings, Peter and Paula Imafidon, beat her record when they at age nine became the youngest to enter high school and also the youngest to pass the University of Cambridge examinations.
Another sibling, Christina at age 11, was admitted to the United Kingdom University and became the youngest person ever to attend a British University. It is no surprise that the Imafidon family originally from Edo State has been dubbed the smartest family in Britain.
We salute the salutary contributions of the Imafidon family to scholarship and society. Many Nigerians are bound to draw inspiration from their achievements.
The strides of the Imafidons show the innate capacities of many Nigerians who have mainly been suppressed by the failure of leadership in Nigeria.
We call on the authorities to accord the Imafidon family with special recognition and work towards providing the enabling environment that made it possible for this Nigerian family to attract global recognition in a land far away from theirs.