Ipalibo Harry Banigo, born on December 20, 1952, in Obuama, Degema, Rivers State, hails from the esteemed Harry family. During her formative years, she displayed remarkable academic prowess, earning accolades such as the West African School Certificate (Division One) and the Higher School Certificate at Queens College, Lagos. Notably, her exceptional performance in Chemistry, Biology, and English Literature earned her recognition, including the BBC award for Students Poetry in 1968.

Banigo’s academic journey continued with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, followed by a master’s degree from Harvard University School of Public Health. She furthered her education with diplomas in Tropical Hygiene and Dermatology from the University of London between 1990 and 1992.

Her distinguished professional career began at the Rivers State Port Health Service, where she served as Registrar of Births and Senior Medical Officer-in-charge. Throughout her career, she held various esteemed positions, including honorary consultant dermatologist at the University of Port Harcourt and principal of Rivers State School of Health Technology in 1985. Within the Rivers State Ministry of Health, Banigo assumed several roles, including Director of Public Health Services, Acting Commissioner, Director-General, and Permanent Secretary. She served as Secretary to the Government of Rivers State from October 5, 1995, until July 5, 1999, concurrently acting as Head of Service from May 1998 for five months.

Even after retirement, Banigo remained actively engaged, providing professional services as the Public Health Adviser of the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria. She held executive roles at the National Primary Health Care Development Agency and served as a member of various committees and boards, including the Governing Council of the University of Calabar and the Rivers State Food and Nutrition Committee.

In December 2014, Banigo was selected as the running mate of gubernatorial candidate Ezenwo Wike in the 2015 election. Following their successful election, they assumed office on May 29, 2015, with Banigo serving as the 6th and first female Deputy Governor of Rivers State.

Her dedication to public health was further evidenced by her participation as a Health Consultant at a colloquium organized by St Racheal’s Pharmaceuticals Nigeria in April 2021, where she shared strategies for achieving a Zero-Malaria environment in Nigeria. Additionally, she was appointed as the Chairperson of a seven-man panel inaugurated by Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on September 20, 2020, tasked with revitalizing moribund health facilities in the state.

Through her extensive contributions to public health and governance, Banigo has established herself as a respected leader and advocate for the welfare of the people of Rivers State. Her unwavering commitment to public service and her significant accomplishments continue to inspire positive change and progress in the region.