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Nkemdilim Ilo is the Chief Executive Officer for the Public Private Development Centre (PPDC)

Location: Nigeria

Nkemdilim Ilo

Public Private Development Centre (PPDC)

Chief Executive Officer


Nkemdilim Ilo is the Chief Executive Officer for the Public Private Development Centre (PPDC), a non-governmental organization with thematic focus on public procurement and contracting. Nkemdilim coordinates projects involving civil society organizations, professional bodies, youth groups and individuals monitoring public contracting in Nigeria, advocating for improved citizens participation in governance and open disclosure of public contracting information. Experienced at monitoring public projects from budget processes through to project implementation, she is passionate about improving public infrastructure and services, promoting social value and accountability, and creating spaces for collaborative governance between government and its citizens. With experience in resource mobilization and public expenditure tracking, she uses evidence-based contracting data to evaluate public sector projects and generate public participation in governance. Nkemdilim ILO is a graduate of Law and a member of the Procurement Professionals Association of Nigeria.

What is your professional background and how did you become involved in the world of commerce and contracting? 

I trained as a lawyer in Nigeria. My interest in contracting, public procurement and governance began in 2010 and was spurred by a confluence of several issues I observed in my country Nigeria. Looking at the state of public infrastructure, the absence or dilapidated state of basic public facilities in the health, education and works sector, I became interested in how much of the public infrastructure deficit was occasioned by compliance issues in the public procurement and contracting pipeline or the absence of an effective regulatory and public disclosure/accountability system. My involvement in contracting was further piqued by my interest in the relationship between public taxation and the responsibility of government in the provision of basic amenities. This led me to begin a career in the non-government sector in the field of public procurement governance, open contracting, and public disclosure. 

What are two personal achievements and contributions through your career. 

Three criteria that illustrate my personal achievements and contributions in my career are leadership, leading in technology and raising the reputation of contracting in your organization or geography or industry.  I have spent more than 8 years working in the development sector, as a frontline advocate for public procurement and contracting reforms that improve the provision of effective service delivery in Nigeria. In my current role as the Chief Executive Officer for my organization, the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), I have played a pivotal role building a strong CSO network which has been central in in opening procurement and contracting processes in Nigeria in a way that elevates accountability and citizens’ voices. This has further led to me playing a central role in shaping fiscal transparency in contracting under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Nigeria, formerly as the co-chair of the open contracting committee and now as steering committee member (the highest decision-making committee under the OGP framework). One of the crucial outcomes of my work has been the improvement of sub-national contracting and disclosure process through the replication of a groundbreaking technological platform, Budeshi , across several states in Nigeria. 

Covid-19 has illustrated the critical importance of helping women to realise their professional aspirations - what role have you played or are you currently playing within your organization to support women in their roles? 

One of the learnings that has come from the Covid-19 pandemic has been the increased domestic burden on working mother. As a working mother of 2 young children, I am uniquely aware of the significant increase in the domestic work of women in catering to the basic needs of their family, in addition to paid responsibilities. This puts a constraint on our ability to be top performers, especially in a society where women must work twice as hard to climb up the ladder. A second learning has been the challenge in sustaining the earning power of women as more businesses are negatively impacted by the pandemic. As the lead of my organization, one step I have taken is to ensure that women have the space and support they need to meet their responsibilities to the organization, this means making adjustments to working hours and deliverables to accommodate the needs of the family. Additionally, I have taken steps to ensure that the status quo is maintained in ensuring the availability of economic power through income (simple language- you have ensured staff continue to get their full salary). Finally, the availability of a support system of safe spaces in ensuring the mental and emotional health of my female employees given the rise in sexual and gender-based violence during this pandemic period.