Mrs Sandra Olubukunola Popoola, a staunch supporter of the African Action Congress (AAC), has been awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her services to local government, communities and charity.
The Royal Family helps highlight achievements across the UK and the Commonwealth in a number of different ways throughout the royal year: from award ceremonies and special events, to Royal visits to charities, businesses and institutions. These events help shine a light on many achievements that might otherwise go unnoticed, as well as foster pride in the work of a wealth of diverse industries and communities.
News of the award was announced in the New Year's Honours List 2019.
Speaking on the award, Popoola said: “The news made me happy, but happier is the Nigerian community in Luton, Bedfordshire who have been bursting with pride at the achievement."
Aside taking on the role of charity organiser both in Nigeria and the UK and Chairlady of charitable organisations across the globe, her involvement in helping the needy and deprived children in Nigeria has put her in the spotlight.
Popoola was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, and has decades of achievement and experience in civil service. She is also the founder and chair of VOS foundation, a charity organisation helping children in many schools in Nigeria.
Speaking on the award, she said: "I am both humbled and honoured to have been awarded an OBE.
“I would like to take this opportunity to celebrate the diverse nature of the UK society; the basis of my local government involvement services come from my upbringing in Nigeria, but I could have not reached what I did if the UK had not offered me huge opportunities to practise and enhance my skills and contributions.
"I have been lucky to live in a country without frontiers, free to move, to exchange ideas without any barrier. My hope is that the future generations can enjoy the same opportunities I had and be able to freely move, participate in elections as diasporans, embrace the dynamic nature of modern-day electioneering to be enriched by diversity if youths are allowed to be involved in the process."
Speaking in an interview with Jide Tai Shodeinde, Popoola commented on the need for the Nigerian society to recognise individuals and groups with outstanding achievements.
She also made reference to the just concluded election in Nigeria, and made recommendations for the electoral process in Nigeria to embrace digital transformation by e-voting.
"Electronic voting is the key to electoral credibility," she said.
She also pointed out the need for citizens in the Diaspora to be involved in subsequent elections in Nigeria, stressing that as stakeholders remitting $22billion yearly to the country, she "hopes the present administration can make this happen by 2023, which is equally possible".
Popoola is married to Mr. Kenny Popoola with three children.