In Nigeria's history, she is the first female to emerge as a governor. She took office after the Anambra State House of Assembly impeached Peter Obi, who was the state governor at that time, for gross misconduct.
When Obi's impeachment was overturned by an appeals court three months later, she returned power to Peter Obi.
Etiaba is from Ezekwuabor Otolo-Nnewi in the Nnewi North Local Government Area.
She had her secondary education in Kano State in the North. She married the late Bennet Etiaba of Umudim Nnewi.
She taught for 35 years and was the principal of many schools in Kafanchan, Aba, Port Harcourt, and Nnewi. In 1991, she left the Anambra State Government and established the Bennet Etiaba Memorial Schools, Nnewi, of which she served as the proprietress. She resigned in March 2006 to contest for the office of Deputy Governor of Anambra State and she won.
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