Joan Agha is such a rare gem who grew up in a large family where love, care and concern flourished. These prepared her for the life she lives today which is centered on sharing. Whoever and whatever she is today, should be credited to God and her parents Mr. Orihbegbe Ayeke and Mrs. Nadi Ayeke of Blessed memory of Eguare, Ewu, Esan Central Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria and Mrs. Therasa Ighalo her senior sister whom she also spent some of her young years with. Growing up within such a setting exposed her to understand the benefits of sharing whatever she has with others. Sharing of everything was common amongst her family members. Her family members grew up with the maxim and mentality that "It is only what cannot be broken that cannot be shared". That implies that as long as something can be divided then, it can be shared. They had fun sharing what they had with one another.
The quality of selflessness was also developed in her by her parents, who particularly used to make a point of ensuring that young Joan and her siblings made someone else happy each passing day. According to her parents "the day was not complete until you made someone else happy."To the glory of God, she married a man, Dr. G.U Billy Agha, who is also passionate about helping the less-privileged, thus enabling her to live the life she has been given.
Mrs. Joan Agha attended Queen of Apostles, Ibadan (1970-1974). Her leadership qualities and care for others was evident at this early stage of her life when she emerged as the senior prefect of the school. Academically, she distinguished herself as a "division one student." She furthered her education at the University of Benin where she obtained her first degree in Business Administration in 1979 and University of Lagos, where she obtained her MBA in 1989.
Her span of erudition is in no small measure, she has attended several professional training programs including: Associate, Chattered Institute of Personnel Management – CIPM (2016), Social Sector Management- Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) Pan Atlantic University Lagos (2015),Advanced Management Trainers’ Development Workshop, Advanced Mandev, Lagos (2014),CMD Certified Training Provider – Center for Management Training CMD (2014), Consulting Skills – Techniques for Change London (2014)Management Trainers Development Workshop, Basic Mandev, Lagos (2014),Inspired Spirit Life Coaching Academy in Australia –( 2013),Law of Attraction Retreat, Glastonbury, UK(6-8 December 2013),7th Dubai Leadership Master Class for Women Executives. Leading and Managing the Performance of both Individuals and the Team (2012),Leadership Development Forum for Women Executives, Malaysia (2011),Foundation Workshop on External Affairs (2007), Women Career Development Programme – SPDC Warri (2005),Middle Management HSE Workshop – SPDC Warri (2004),Women in Management (2003), Presentation Skills – SPDC Warri (2003),Managing Service Provision – SPDC Warri (2003),Middle Training - Cranfield University UK.
Professionally, Mrs. Agha has served the nation meritoriously in different renowned institutions, first, as a teacher and school inspector with the Federal Ministry of Education. In 1993 she moved to the Central Bank of Nigeria where she worked till 1996 as an administrative manager in the Medical Services Department. In 1998 she joined the Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Limited (SNEPCO). She later transferred to Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), where she worked as Editorial Services Adviser until she retired in November 2011.
She is very passionate about the work of God and has worked in various capacities in the Church. She was a member of the Pastoral Council of Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel Catholic Church, Satellite Town, Lagos (1994 to 2002). She was the secretary for four years. She was Vice Chairman, Laity Council in the same Church. She is currently a member of the Parish Pastoral Council and Chairperson, Welfare Committee of Catholic Church of Divine Mercy Lekki Phase 1 and a member of the Funding Committee of St. Augustine University, a body inaugurated by His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okojie, the former Archbishop of Lagos State.
In 2006, she was elected President of the Catholic Women Organisation (CWO) of Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, Catholic Church, (Archangels), Satellite Town, Lagos. During her tenor, her concern in helping the less-privilege made her to set up ''Help & Care'', what may be called a mini NGO, to take care of the needs amongst the members and others in the society. Through that, with the help of her friends and family, she assisted several members and their children with hospital bills. Eventually, she empowered thirty-four (34) members through soft loans to the tune of three million, three hundred and seventy thousand naira (N3, 370,000) for setting up new businesses or expanding existing ones. In addition to this, when the need to purchase a Toyota coaster bus to ease the logistic problems for the women came up, Mrs. Agha demonstrated her love and commitment to the people she led by selling off her personal shares valued at six million, two hundred thousand naira (N6.2m). This was added to what she and other members had collected through the cards they carried from one place to another to purchase a brand new 30 seater Toyota Coaster bus worth seven million, five hundred thousand naira (N7.5m). Under the leadership of Mrs. Joan Agha,The Catholic Women Organization (Archangels) visited some charity homes in Lagos state .They include :the Paccelli School for the blind, Surulere, Modupe Cole, The Shelter in Iju and The SOS Village to donate relief materials.
As a peace loving person, Mrs. Agha worked in harmony with the members of Confraternity of Christian Mothers (CCM) in the Church while she was president of CWO in Archangels Church. Both organisations celebrated Mother's Day together through a joint committee under her leadership. According to her "As mothers we needed to demonstrate the love of Christ to everyone around us and role model the younger ones by our conduct"Being a caring mother, she catered for those on the streets, especially on festive occasions, this led to her personal initiative of distributing cooked food and drinks to them on the first day of every year. This she has consistently been doing in the past seven years (7) and her dream is to do more in the coming years through JAF Kitchen.
The effect of HIV/AIDS pandemic in some African countries left lots of children as orphans. This was the case with thousands of children in Malawi whom Mrs. Agha, in the last five (5) years, has been able to support through financial donations and sending of clothing materials for their upkeep. This she does through a missionary, Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Akpaiden MSP. JAF Welfare Support Scheme will continue to do this at a larger scale in the coming years.
Her contribution to humanity and nation building has been recognized with few accolades which include, Character and services Award Diocese of Ibadan 1974 by the Bishop of Ibadan,"Most caring Staff” Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company Ltd, Merit Award" by the Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Council, ‘Award of Excellence’ by the Lagos Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women Organisation (LACCWO), ‘Merit Award’ by the Leading Edge Academy, ‘Merit Award’ by the Lagos Archdiocesan Laity Council, ‘Merit Award’ by The National Council of Women Organisation in the Catholic Women Organisation (NCCWO) of Nigeria,Conferment as ‘Oblate of the Redemptorist of Nigeria’ by Saints Michael, Raphael and Gabriel, Catholic Church, (Archangels), Satellite Town, Lagos and most recently,‘Women Most Supportive Personality’ by Delta Most Outstanding Performance to celebrate Nigeria at 100 and “Outstanding Contribution towards the Less Privileged in Nigeria’ by Tellview Magazine. Mrs. Joan Agha is happily married to Mr. G. U. Billy Agha and are blessed with children and grand-children.