20 Jan Profiles: 2019 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians
The most anticipated annual list of young Nigerians, 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians, which is curated by leading PR & Rating firm, Avance Media, has been released.
Currently in its fifth year, the annual ranking by Avance Media has helped highlight the works of young Nigerians across the world and has seen notable personalities such Funke Akindele (2016), Victor Moses (2017) and Davido (2018) voted as the Most Influential Young Nigerians in the previous years.
Honourees cut across diverse sectors with these inspiring young change-makers and leaders making great strides as entrepreneurs, musicians, activists, media personalities, social entrepreneurs, public servants and politicians.
According to Prince Akpah, founder and MD of Avance Media, “the list serves as an encouragement to young Nigerians who are accomplished in their industries and continue to build a distinguished brand for themselves and influence over others. This list also urges those honoured to continue striving harder so their stories can inspire other young people to also contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria and the continent of Africa.”
Public voting has been opened via ng.avancemedia.org for the public to decide who among the 100 honourees served as the most influential young person in 2019.
Avance Media is also spearheading related annual rankings for Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and Kenya.
Below are the profiles of nominees arranged in their respective categories:
Abubakar Falalu [CEO, Falgates]: Abubakar Falalu is the CEO of Falgates, a company that farms and mills rice. Falgates owns a rice milling facility that has a capacity of 15 tons per day and has a rice farm that employs more 180 people in Kaduna state in northern Nigeria.
Abubakar founded the company in 2012, but his journey into becoming a farmer and an entrepreneur started way back in his high school days. To build his capacity for establishing a farm mill in Northern Nigeria, Abubakar had to study to obtain a master’s degree in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the Nottingham Ningbo University Business School, China in 2014. He equally holds a graduate degree in Computer Science and a master’s degree in Management from Swinburne University of Technology, Australia.
Adewale Aladejana [CEO, Sapphire Scents]: Adewale Aladejana is an Entrepreneur and investor who is the founder and CEO of Sapphire Scents, the first indigenous Perfume making company in Nigeria.
He started his perfume company, Sapphire scents with only $100 in 2015 and currently has over 300 distributors in 20 states of Nigeria, the US, UK, Ireland, Cyprus, Ghana and Cameroon.
Bella Disu [Vice Chairman, Globacom]: Bella Disu is a Nigerian business executive, arts enthusiast, and philanthropist who provides strategic leadership as the Executive Vice-Chairman of Globacom, a foremost multinational telecommunications company operating in Nigeria and Ghana.
Bella Disu is also the CEO of Cobblestone Properties and Estates Limited, a leading property development company in Nigeria, serves as a non-executive director on the board of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc and as a director at Abumet Plc.
George Omoraro [CEO, The Rage Group]: The George Omoraro is the founder and Chairman of The Rage Group, a conglomerate of several corporations bringing you premium service in Media Communications (Rage Media Global), Technology solutions (Rage Tech), Social Media Marketing for SME’s (Kweek Social) and Printing and merchandising (Kweek Prints).
George Omoraro is a brand communications expert, visibility coach, perception engineer and marketing communications specialist. His vast experience in marketing communications spans across the automobile industry, financial industry, Telecommunications, Beverage, Drinks, FMCG, Real Estate as well as government parastatals to mention but a few.
In just a short time, The Rage Group has worked with over 300 businesses across 3 continents and gained grounds in the West African Market. Recently, the company joined forces with some key organizations in a bid to forge ahead in the revolutionizing of the Global Communication space. This partnership has birthed stronger offerings for The Rage Group, which has positioned her to serve her clients better.
Looking ahead, George Omoraro is focused on the growth of his brand by helping clients achieve their marketing goals through creative & innovative solutions and in bringing positive change to communities in Nigeria. He believes strongly in co-succeeding, which is why rather than focusing on winning awards, he is more passionate about helping its clients win in the market place.
Ogechukwu Alexis Obah [CEO, Bodylikemilk]: Ogechukwu is the founder of Bodylikemilk, a 100% inclusive Nigerian skincare & cosmetic brand which provides powerful, affordable, rejuvenating Organic skincare and cosmetics. The company is currently in over 3 countries, shipped to over 50 countries globally and has a webstore meeting the shopping demands of millions of Africans, Non-Africans and Diasporas around the globe.
In 2019 she introduced an advanced training program called BEAUTYPRENEURAFRICA which is an all-female skills competition with the niche to enhance the skill set in women by providing mentorship and vital funding to small and medium scale businesses. As she told by Forbes her goal is to train 20,000 women, but after the introduction of the new project the numbers have gone up to 10,000,000 by 2030
Olawale Ayilara [CEO, Landwey Investment Limited]: Olawale Ayilara is a passionate entrepreneur with over 10 years’ experience starting and running businesses in the South West of Nigeria, handling transactions worth a combined value of $200 million.
He is the Founder & CEO of LandWey Investment Limited, a real estate investment company employing innovative methods that are disrupting the Real Estate sector in the region. An alumnus of Lagos Business School with an MBA from the London Metropolitan School of Business, he sits on the board of over 10 high profile businesses and is a member of the Sponsors for Young Growing Business Association, a pan African organization comprising a network of leading African professionals thriving in challenging career paths.
He serves as the President of the Nigerian Advocates for Positive Change and the Senior Director of the Beyond School Initiative Organization. He was the host of the Ogun State Business Development Conference in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He is a recent Alumni of the Harvard Business School in Boston where he studied Real Estate Management, Finance, Design and Leadership.
Oluwatobi Ajayi [CEO, Nord Automobiles]: Oluwatobi Joshua Ajayi is is the Founder of Nord Automobiles Limited, one of the first truly Nigerian automobile brands and co-founder of Jetvan Automobiles Limited, an authorized dealer of Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is a respected authority in the automobile industry in Nigeria. He started his career at Mercedes-Benz Nigeria growing very fast to become the head of division (vans) at twenty-four; he developed strategies to increase the market share of Mercedes-Benz vans in Nigeria and was successful. In late 2014 to 2015, after a few years with Mercedes-Benz Nigeria, he met some investors who co-founded Jetvan with him. Oluwatobi is among the most influential people in the Nigerian Auto Industry according to the Nigeria Automotive Industry Awards 2017.
In 2016, in recognition of his contribution to the auto industry, he was nominated for the CEO of the year at the Nigeria Auto Journalist Awards (NAJA), Jetvan won the award for the New Entrant of the year. Oluwatobi is a Fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration. He was listed by Forbes as one of the most promising young entrepreneurs in Africa for 2018.
Sandra Uleyi Itu [CEO, Leyi Ush]: Sandra Itu is the founder and CEO of Leyi Ush, a fashion brand that offers opportunities to emerging and established African fashion brands.
In December 2013, Sandra launched Leyi Ush store, a subsidiary of Leyi Ush and a retail space housing over 30 African brands, committed to promoting and changing the narrative of African Fashion. With an influential clientele base spanning over the years, Sandra has provided unique styling services both home and away to media houses, public figures, celebrities and the average working-class man and woman.
Sandra has spoken on several reputable platforms, to include: Creative Hustle: Key to Sustainable Economic Growth, and Entrepreneurs Panel Talk: Growing a Viable Business, powered by the British Council, Nigeria. In 2019, Sandra was nominated as a mentor for the Youth Empowered Nigeria Workshop, by the Nigerian Bottling Company, in which her team emerged as the winner of the business plan investor pitch.
Sandra Itu is passionate about African Fashion because it resonates more with the African persona; our struggles wins and innovative minds.
Seyi Tinubu [CEO, Loatsad Promomedia Ltd]: Oluwaseyi Tinubu is an entrepreneur and the CEO and Founder of Loatsad Promomedia Ltd, an outdoor advertising company which counts some of Nigeria’s leading blue-chip and multinational companies among its clients. Since opening Loatsad Promomedia, he has overseen 100s of completed advertising transactions.
He received an LLB from the University of Buckingham, United Kingdom, in 2011, and became a member of Nigeria Bar Association in 2013.
He is referred to as a disruptor and an advocate in leading publications like the Punchng and Guardian, Seyi has an unwavering commitment to ensuring positive change in Nigeria and empowering Nigeria’s millennial demographic to achieve their potential through entrepreneurship development through the Noella Tinubu Foundation. Tinubu is also known as a legal expert.
In 2019, he acquired E-motion Advertising, an advertising agency in Nigeria.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun [CEO, LifeBank]: Temie serves as the CEO of LifeBank, a platform that makes blood available when and where it is needed in Nigeria to save lives. LifeBank mobilizes blood donations, take inventory of all blood available in the country, and deliver blood in the right condition to the point of need.
In 2014, the BBC listed her as one of the 100 Women changing the world and was recognized as an African Innovator by Quartz and the World Economic Forum.
In 2019 Temie Giwa-Tubosun walked away with the top $250,000 cash prize from the $1 million available from the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma.
Temie Giwa-Tubosun studied International Public Management from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. She has over 10 years of health management experience with the Department for International Development (DFID), World Health Organization, UNDP, and the Lagos State Government.
Burna Boy [Musician]: known privately as Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, Burna Boy, is an award-winning singer and songwriter and describes his music as Afro-fusion, a genre that blends Afrobeat, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B.
He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside (2018) marked his major-label debut. In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards. He was also announced as Apple Music’s Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019.
Davido [Musician]: Davido, is a singer, songwriter and record producer. He made his music debut as a member of the music group KB International but rose to fame after releasing “Dami Duro”, the second single from his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo in 2012, which earned him the Next Rated award at The Headies.
In 2016. He founded the Davido Music Worldwide (DMW) record label a few months after signing with Sony. Dremo, Mayorkun and Peruzzi are currently signed to the label. In July 2016, Davido signed a record deal with Sony’s RCA Records. In October 2016, he released the 5-track EP Son of Mercy.
He released five singles in 2017 after restructuring his contract, including “If” and “Fall”. The former generated worldwide social media activity, while the latter became the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history. Davido released his second studio album A Good Time in November 2019.
Falz [Musician]: Falz, is an award-winning rapper, songwriter and actor.
He currently owns an independent record label called Bahd Guys Records. He released his debut album, Wazup Guy, in 2014. His second album Stories That Touch was released in 2015. He released 27 as his third studio album in 2017. On January 15, 2019, he released his fourth studio album Moral Instruction
Falz describes his style of music as “Wahzup music”. It is the fusion of comic lyrics with contemporary hip-hop in a faux Yoruba accent.
Mr Eazi [Musician]: Mr Eazi is an award-winning singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He is the pioneer of Banku Music, a fusion sound he describes as a mixture of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian chord progressions and patterns.
He gained an international audience following the release of the Efya-assisted single “Skin Tight”. Mr Eazi signed a licensing deal with Universal Africa, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group.
Mr Eazi is known for pioneering Banku music, a sound “characterized by percolating rhythms and laid-back vocal delivered in Ghanaian Pidgin English”. Mr Eazi’s music largely fits into the category of Afrobeats, a contemporary West African pop genre that marries global pop, highlife, and hip-hop. Mr Eazi’s music has been described as having an R&B-like quality reminiscent of artists such as Beres Hammond and Gregory Isaacs. Lawrence Burney from Noisey.com stated that Mr Eazi uses his deep voice to “give ballad-like qualities to dance-forward production”.
Rema [Musician]: Rema is an award-winning singer and rapper. In 2019, he signed a record deal with Jonzing World, a subsidiary of Mavin Records and rose to prominence with the release of the song “Iron Man”, which appeared on Barack Obama’s 2019 summer playlist.
He released his debut EP Rema in 2019. It peaked at number 1 on Apple Music Nigeria.
Teni [Musician]: Teni is an award-winning singer, songwriter and entertainer.
Teni released her debut single “Amen” while signed to Shizzi’s Magic Fingers Records. She left the record label and signed with Dr Dolor Entertainment in 2017. Teni started gaining prominence after releasing the single “Fargin” in September 2017. She made her breakthrough after releasing the hit singles “Askamaya”, “Case” and “Uyo Meyo”. “Askamaya” was ranked 15th on MTV Base’s year-end list of the Top 20 Hottest Naija Tracks of 2018.
In February 2019, Teni was featured on YouTube Music’s Trending Artist on the Rise.
Victor AD [Musician]: Victor Adere popularly known by his stage name Victor AD, is a Nigerian Recording Artist.
In June 2018 Victor AD released the single Wetin We Gain and in January 2019 he released his third single titled “Tire You” in which he featured multiple award-winning Nigerian superstar Davido.
Victor AD’s most recent project is his first EP titled “RED EYE”, which according to him is dedicated and made for all the ghetto kids out there.
Wizkid [Musician]: Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun known professionally as Wizkid is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. He started recording music at the age of 11 and managed to release a collaborative album with the Glorious Five, a group he and a couple of his church friends formed.
Wizkid’s contributions to the Nigerian music industry have earned him several achievements. He received an ASCAP plaque for his songwriting contributions to Drake’s “One Dance”.
Yemi Alade [Musician]: Yemi Alade, is a Nigerian Afropop singer and songwriter. She gained prominence after winning the Peak Talent Show in 2009, and is best known for her hit single “Johnny”.
Alade’s debut studio album King of Queens was released on October 2, 2014, by Effyzzie Music Group. Her second studio album Mama Africa was released on March 25, 2016, by Effyzzie Music Group.
In July 2019, Alade became the first African female artist to reach one million subscribers on YouTube. Her hit song ‘Johnny’ currently holds YouTube record for the most-watched African Female music video of all time.
Zlatan [Musician]: Zlatan, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and dancer. In 2014, he won the Airtel One Mic talent show held in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Towards the end of 2018, Zlatan released a single titled “Zanku”, with a new dance routine of the same name. In November 2019, he released his debut studio album Zanku, an acronym for Zlatan Abeg No Kills Us.
When he was 19 years old, he won Airtel’s “One Mic Campus Tour” music competition. He gained recognition in the Nigerian music industry after releasing the Olamide-assisted “My Body” in 2017.
On 26 July 2019, Zlatan announced that he signed an endorsement deal with Coca-Cola.
LAW & GOVERNANCE
Abayomi Okubote [Senior Associate, Olaniwun Ajayi LP]: Abayomi Okubote is a Senior Associate and Team Lead in the Dispute Resolution Practice of Olaniwun Ajayi LP – a top-tier commercial law firm in Nigeria. He has garnered 10 years’ experience in dispute resolution and coordinates the Arbitration Practice of the firm. At Olaniwun Ajayi LP, he was part of the teams that represent multinational organizations in high profile commercial disputes and has advised government agencies on several cutting-edge projects in Africa. Beyond leading big-ticket mandates, the Queen’s University Doctoral Candidate and multiple award winner is the prime mover behind several important diversity initiatives in Africa. He is the Founder and President of the Association of Young Arbitrators (AYA). In 2017, under his leadership as the President of AYA, the association organized the first Mentoring Program for young practitioners in Africa. The mentoring program helped to provide transfer of skills to young practitioners and also provided networking opportunities with senior practitioners from around the world. Mentors in the 2017 cycle were drawn from across Africa, America, Europe and the Middle East. The international community adjudged the program as one of the best from Africa in 2017.
Abayomi is also the prime mover behind the Africa Arbitration Academy, which was established due to the rising demand for improved expertise and training of arbitration practitioners in Africa, and to expose the young practitioners to the current trends in international arbitration. The inaugural Academy program held in London, in June 2019, and won the “Innovative of the Year Award” at the Africa Arbitration Awards in Nairobi, Kenya, in August 2019. The 2019 Academy received sponsorship from 13 London law ﬁrms including WilmerHale, White & Case, Cliﬀord Chance, Linklaters, Stephenson Harwood, Allen & Overy, Baker & Mckenzie, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Freshﬁelds, Pinsent Masons, LMS Legal, CMS Cameron, and also ICSID (World Bank).
Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba [Speaker, Plateau State House of Assembly]: Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba is a first-time lawmaker representing Jos East Constituency. He is a graduate of both the University of Jos (Law) and the Plateau State polytechnic (finished in 2007).
He is the current speaker of the Plateau State House of Assembly.
Rt. Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin [Speaker, Oyo State House of Assembly]: Rt. Honourable Debo Ogundoyin is a Nigerian politician.
He is the current speaker of the Ninth Oyo State House of Assembly and member representing Ibarapa East constituency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP.
He is a graduate of Babcock University and was named among the 2019 100 Most Influential Young Africans by Africa Youth Awards.
Akinkunmi Akinwunmi [Managing Partner, Paragon Advisors]: Akinkunmi Akinwunmi is the Lead Partner of Paragon Advisors, a law firm based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is in charge of the firm’s Technology, Media, Telecommunications (TMT) and Business Advisory practice. He is the author of the bestselling book, The Nigerian Internet Law.
Akinkunmi obtained a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from the University of California, Berkeley, United States of America, with specialisation in Law and Technology as well as Business Law. He holds certificates in Software Product Management, Software Processes and Agile Practices from the University of Alberta, Canada.
He has advised on setting up of venture capital and InsurTech firms, operations of FinTech and e-commerce companies, start-up financing, intellectual property advisory and portfolio management, cybersecurity, data protection and licensing of entities for technology or telecommunications services.
Akinkunmi has published several articles such as “Contracting with Electronic Agents under Nigerian Law”, “GDPR: What Nigerian Companies Need to Know”, “eCommerce and Cybersecurity Regulation in Africa”, “The Coming of Age of the FinTech Sector in Nigeria” and “Developing a Cryptocurrency Policy”. He has contributed articles to the International Bar Association and Law Digest Journals. His works are also available on www.paragonadvisors.com.ng
He has attended numerous TMT training and conferences within and outside Nigeria. He periodically organises events for founders where he advises them on doing business in Nigeria.
Akinkunmi is a member of the International Bar Association and Nigerian Bar Association. He runs a series on social media called Internet Tidbit #InternetTidbitWithAkin.
Egbiri Egbiri [Principal Legal Counsel, African Development Bank Group]: Egbiri is a Principal Legal Counsel at the Finance Division of the Legal Services Department of the African Development Bank Group headquartered in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. His role includes ensuring that the mobilization, investment and management of the Bank’s financial resources comply with the applicable Bank’s rules and policies; support and advise the Bank’s Treasury in the negotiation and drafting of documentation to affect the Bank’s borrowings in the international capital and money markets, and draft all legal documents required for the implementation of the Bank’s borrowing strategy and capital markets transactions; draft and review legal documentation for the Bank’s derivatives and other risk management transactions, negotiate relevant master agreements and draft and review individual transaction documents; advise on the legal aspects of cash management, bank account agreements, anti-money laundering (KYC) initiatives and contracts for the custody or investment of the Bank’s financial resources; etc.
He was an associate in the Finance Group of Templars, Lagos, Nigeria where he advised clients on banking & finance, capital markets, mergers & acquisitions and projects & infrastructure transactions.
He was formerly in the Global Finance group at Sidley Austin LLP, New York, where he had a diverse corporate experience that focused on structured finance and securitization of different asset-backed securities. The experience entailed advising and representing clients (issuers, underwriters and loan sellers, originators and sponsors) in public and private offerings of commercial mortgage-backed securities and other asset-backed securities securitization transactions. Egbiri also advised on re-REMIC securitization transactions.
Hon Yusuf Adebisi [Rep, Ibadan South West 1 State Constituency]: Yusuf was elected in 2019 as a member of the state House of Assembly under the platform of People’s Democratic Party (PDP). He defeated the incumbent, Hon. Subair Kehinde Hassan, who was seeking a third term on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Reginald Aziza [Attorney, Chevron Nigeria Limited]: Reginald is an Attorney in Chevron Nigeria Limited, with 7 years post-qualification legal experience and a doctoral student of Law in the University of Oxford.
He had his secondary school education in Kings College Lagos and thereafter proceeded to study law at the Obafemi Awolowo University. In 2012, he graduated from the Faculty of Law as the best graduating student and the only first-class graduate of his cohort, picking up seven awards in the convocation ceremony in 2012. In November 2012, he commenced his studies at the Nigerian Law School, Yenagoa, finishing in 2013 with first-class honours and as the second-best student and picking up six awards at the Call to Bar ceremonies held on 29 November 2013.
Seun Fakorede [Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Oyo State]: Seun is currently the Honourable Commissioner for Youth and Sports, Oyo State, Nigeria and believes more African Millennials are going to lead tremendous impact in the next few years of human history than ever before, your responsibility is to be one of them, and his responsibility is to raise more men to lead this vanguard.
Seun’s passion and work have promoted leadership development and accountability for Millennials as critical indices to Africa’s development through seminars, conferences and other platforms.
He is an engineer, entrepreneur, consultant and author. Seun together with his amazing team run Home Advantage Africa (HAA), a non-profit devoted to promoting local dominance and global stardom in Africa through digital storytelling and other projects of similar ilk. HAA is an international community poised to be at the forefront of a shift towards the creation and strengthening of the African narrative, welcoming Africans from every culture and discipline — from science to business to global issues — who desire to stand tall and tell their stories to the world.
As a proactive, seasoned and dedicated professional with 7+ years of experience providing comprehensive administrative, operational and managerial support to various organisations — Seun’s expertise lies in coordinating and leading administrative and operational functions for senior-level personnel and executives. Backed by exceptional communication and multitasking capabilities, he excels at providing remarkable organizational skills and driving optimal efficiency and success.
The Seun Fakorede as he is professionally known enjoys focusing on the topics of Sustainable Development and Leadership that result in national socio-economic transformation, with an incorruptible passion for Youth Empowerment, Good Governance and Nation Building.
Seun loves reading good books, discovering new ideas, trying new food and travelling — He is keenly interested in everything about Africa — Inspiring and nurturing viable network and relationships across the continent.
Ukinebo Dare [Managing Director, Edo State Skills Development Agency]: Ukinebo is the Managing Director of the Edo State Skills Development Agency. She oversees the Edojobs initiative and is the project coordinator for Edo Innovates (an innovation cluster leveraging on technology to create jobs, upskill youth and incubate businesses) Edo creative hub, Edo food and Agric cluster (impacting over 3,000 farmers in rural communities yearly with improved access to market, equipment, aggregation services etc.), and Edo production centre (providing power supply, shared factory facilities and skills for artisans and small scale manufacturers in the state). Over 150,000 residents have benefitted from this State Government’s job creation initiatives.
Her passion for job creation and human development in Nigeria has seen her receive several awards and recognitions such as Mandela Washington Fellowship in 2017, Ford Foundation Prize for Youth Employment in 2015, and JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award for 2017. Most recently, Ukinebo was also selected as one of the recipients of the Most Influential People of African Descent Under 40 Award for 2019.
She started her career in the Information Technology department of Oando Plc, Nigeria. Her passion for people development then led her to set up PGFA in 2010 which achieved an 87% employment rate of its graduates and earned endorsements from the Nigerian National Universities Commission and multiple reputable employers.
Her exploits in tackling the menace unemployment in Edo State as the SSA to the Governor on Skills Development and Jobs saw her appointed as the Managing Director of the Edo State Skills Development Agency as soon as it was established by law.
She has been credited for the execution of employability interventions projects and vocational skills programs statewide in partnership with organizations such as Oxfam International, SOS Kinderdorpen, Google Nigeria, Microsoft Nigeria, Butterfly Works Netherlands and so on.
She has written many publications including 40 First Jobs, Wake Up This is Your Life and so on. She is also the author of ‘The Impact Blog’ a resource for people interested in learning about effective job creation strategies for Africa.
Her website is www.ukinebodare.com
Uzoma Nwagba [COO, Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme]: Uzoma Nwagba has built his expertise at the intersection of technology and finance. Today, he is the Chief Operating Officer of Nigeria’s Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme (GEEP), managing the world’s largest microcredit scheme. GEEP to date has leveraged on the power of a technology-driven operation to disburse and manage a portfolio of two million loans to underbanked Nigerians, demonstrating the biggest advancement of financial inclusion via credit in Africa.
Uzoma started his career as an Analyst at Goldman Sachs, New York, and then proceeded to be a Product Manager at Microsoft, Redmond, where he received a Gold Star Award, one of the highest honours in the company, for his effective management and leading of a vast mobile technology team. Following an MBA at Harvard Business School, Uzoma returned to Nigeria to a career in private equity at African Capital Alliance, driving investments in financial services and healthcare. This he did before making a turn to public service where he felt he could have an impact on a larger scale. Uzoma is passionate about running public enterprises like ethical, results-oriented businesses.
In lighter settings, Uzoma plays the guitar and sings. He is also co-founder of Leadership Seed, an organisation focused on case-based teaching of ethics and governance in high schools.
LEADERSHIP & CIVIL SOCIETY
Adetola Onayemi [Assistant Chief Negotiator, Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations]: Adetola Onayemi is the head of Trade Remedies and Assistant Chief Negotiator at the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN). He is an international lawyer with expertise in international trade, investment, transactions, technology (specializing in intellectual property) and competition policy.
Before NOTN, ‘Tola provided technical policy advisory on industry, trade and investment in the Office of the Nigerian Vice President. He doubled as Reform Leader within the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES), and in this capacity, was responsible for driving reforms in several Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) World Bank indicators including in Lagos state, and at the federal level.
A Future Awards nominee in the category of public service, ’Tola has written on several development/economic policy issues and presented papers at the conferences of the Society of International Economic Law (SIEL), African Foundation for Economic Law Network (AfIELN), and African Association of International Law (AAIL). With Dr Femi Elias (Assistant Secretary-General, UN), he co-authored a chapter in the festschrift in honour of Judge Koroma of the International Court of Justice on Africa’s contribution to the development of International law.
Esther Agbarakwe [Communications and Public Mobilization, UN]: Esther Agbarakwe founded the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition and served as the youngest chairperson for the General Assembly of ActionAid Nigeria. She was one of the four Youngers selected to join the Elders+Youngers debate ahead of the Rio+20 summit. She has served as an international advocacy fellow at Population Action International. Agbarakwe participated in the Ministerial meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. She has also served as an Adviser to Amina J. Mohammed in 2015 while she was the Nigerian Cabinet Minister of Environment. Agbarakwe currently works in the Climate and SDG Action team in the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.
In 2012, Agbarakwe participated in the UNICEF supported debate on Climate Change where she advocated for the right of young people to lend their voice to the conversation. In 2015, she joined the Guardian conversation on ways to powerfully communicate climate change solutions. On the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Agbarakwe alongside other Nigeria Climate Change Activists like Hamzat Lawal met with the Nigeria President, Muhammadu Buhari where they made a case for the value young people are bringing to the conversation.
Funke Adeoye [Cofounder, Hope Behind Bars Africa]: Funke Adeoye is a Nigerian lawyer, social justice advocate, and international development enthusiast. She founded Hope Behind Bars Africa in 2018 to increase access to justice for indigent inmates across Nigerian prison facilities as well as help correctional facilities in Nigeria in achieving inmate rehabilitation and reintegration.
As a lawyer with over 6 years of experience, she has personally handled over 20 pro bono cases from the lowest courts up to Court of Appeal, most of which she secured an acquittal for inmates who had been wrongly accused. Funke is passionate about volunteering and involving people to be part of the change they seek to see. She believes no box nor boundaries are required for thinking.
Hamzat Lawal [CEO, Connected Development]: Hamzat Lawal is an activist who has successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with over nine years experience in the non-profit sector and specializes in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities.
He is currently the Chief Executive of Connected Development (CODE), Hamzy! seats on the Executive Board of the largest Youth Movement in Africa: African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), Before his role at CODE, he was an Executive with the International Centre for Energy, Environment & Development (ICEED) working on high-level advocacy for Nigeria’s energy needs and climate actions.
Ibukun Onitiju [Head of Digital, Nestle Central and West Africa Region]: Ibukun Onitiju is a Digital Marketing expert with over 10 years’ experience in Digital Advertising and Content creation, creating highly converting Sales Funnels and Digital Strategy for global brands operating in Africa.
He is passionate about helping young professionals succeed in the Marketplace through effective leadership, training and mentoring. He runs a highly acclaimed newsletter with over 20,000 subscribers.
He studied Civil Engineering with Business Management from the University of Birmingham, UK and recently completed a Professional Development training on Innovation and Strategy at Harvard University, USA.
In his prior role as Country Head, Ghana and Director of Digital at Ringier Africa Digital Publishing, Ibukun led the Digital Strategy team in Nigeria before taking the lead of the team in Ghana and establishing them as a Digital leader while educating and innovating for businesses.
Ibukun has spoken at TEDxOsu on Digital Marketing and was awarded as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Persons in Nigeria in 2015 by Junior Chamber International.
Ibukun is currently the Head of Digital, Nestle Central and West Africa Region.
OluTimehin Adegbeye [Writer]: OluTimehin Adegbeye is a Nigerian writer, editor and activist. Her work concentrates on questions of gender, sexuality, poverty and feminism.
Adegbeye was a speaker at TEDGlobal in 2017, where she gave her talk ‘Who Belongs in a City? The talk was eventually selected by TED lead curator Chris Anderson as one of the ten most notable talks of the year.
OluTimehin Adegbeye is a prominent figure among Nigerian and African feminists of her generation. Through her website, blog, Twitter, journalism, public speaking and online activism, she has gained a wide readership among feminists and activists. She is known for the way she combines her experiences as a single mother in a male-dominated Nigerian society with gender theory and social struggles. Besides the TED stage, she has also spoken at global conferences like the AWID Forum, the inaugural Urban 20 Summit, the Oslo Urban Arena, the Women Deliver Conference and the Up Close and Liveable festival, as well as at various universities.
She was awarded the 2019 Gerald Kraak Prize for her nonfiction piece “Mothers and Men”
Peter Tega Oghenejobo [COO, Mavin Records]: Peter Tega Oghenejobo is the COO of Nigerian record label, Mavin Records and boasts of a wealth of experience in Africa’s entertainment industry.
Philip Obaji [Founder, 1 GAME: Football without Violence initiative]: Philip Obaji Jr. is a Nigerian journalist, activist, and founder of 1 GAME: Football without Violence initiative. He was elected into the Executive Committee of the Cross River State Football Association in January 2011 and later appointed Chairman of the Association’s Media and Marketing Committee.
On March 30, 2011, he received a letter from the President of the Nigeria Football Federation commending his efforts to combat violence in football through his 1 GAME initiative. It is believed that the 1 GAME initiative which he founded has recorded more than 100,000 sign-ups on its website including endorsements from celebrities such as Jamaica’s reggae musician Shaggy, Hip-hop duo P-Square, former Nigeria senior national football team coach Samson Siasia, and former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) President Aminu Maigari.
In 2015, he won the Future Awards Africa Prize for Young Person of the Year.
Richard Akuson [LGBTQ+ rights activist]: Named one of Forbes Africa’s 30 Under 30 change-makers in 2019, Richard Akuson is a 26-year-old New York Times published writer and essayist. He is a Nigerian-trained lawyer with degrees from the Nasarawa State University, Keffi, and the Nigerian Law School, Lagos. In 2017, Richard founded Nigeria’s first LGBTQ+ publication, A Nasty Boy. The publication was founded to challenge and confront the misinformation and propaganda campaign championed by the Nigerian media against queer Nigerians.
Since launching the boundary-pushing publication, Richard has been profiled in Forbes Japan (as one of their 30 Under 30 change-makers from around the world), Forbes Africa, i-D, GQ France, Dazed, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, OkayAfrica, amongst many others.
In 2017, Richard was named one of the 40 Most Powerful Nigerians Under the Age of 40 in the 6th annual YNaija Powerlist, and later that year, he was nominated for The Future Award Africa’s esteemed Prize for New Media Innovation. As a fashion journalist at Cosmopolitan Nigeria and BellaNaija, Richard earned two ASFA nominations for Best Fashion Writer of the Year in 2016 and 2018.
After surviving a brutal attack in Nigeria, he sought Asylum in the United States of America in 2018. In the U.S., he lives in Washington D.C. where he continues his work in advocacy as an LGBTQ+ and asylum rights activist.
Samson Itodo [Executive Director, YIAGA]: Samson Itodo is the Executive Director of YIAGA AFRICA, a community of change-makers focused on building sustainable democracies in Africa anchored on the principles of inclusion, justice, accountability and constitutionalism. He plays a leading role in implementing the organization’s mission and objectives which entail strategic planning, policy research and analysis, grant seeking and stakeholder engagement. He has 12 years of experience and expertise in elections management, legal research and analysis, parliamentary strengthening, constitution building and social movements.
Samson is the convener of the Not Too Young To Run movement that led the successful advocacy for the reduction of age limits for running for public office in the Nigerian constitution. The campaign was adopted by the United Nations, African Union and ECOWAS as a global campaign. He has facilitated the development of policy documents on electoral reform, international development cooperation, constitution review, public governance and political inclusion. He also provides strategic policy advice to parliamentary committees, electoral commissions, political parties, civil society organizations and academic institutions. Samson leads one of Nigeria’s largest citizens movement on electoral integrity, Watching The Vote. Watching The Vote is a citizen-led election observation initiative promoting electoral integrity using technology and data. He has led international election observation missions to Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, United States of America and South Africa.
Samson is an avid reader and writer. He has published several articles and papers in local and international journals to his credit. He’s also co-authored publications with notable industry experts. Samson is a radio and TV host and he co-founded Amplified Online Radio; a pan African youth talk and music radio station.
Abisola Akintunde [CEO, MakeupbyAshabee]: Abisola Akintunde is a make-up artist and the Creative Director of MakeupbyAshabee and Beelashes. She is an entrepreneur extraordinaire, who left her paying job at Africa Magic to start her company.
Through Makeupbyashabee, she has made up over 200 brides across Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Congo, South Africa and Kenya and Beelashes sells over 5,000 units of beauty lashes per quarter.
As part of her philanthropic efforts, she has partnered with the Archbishop Vining Anglican Church in Lagos to train young women in the art of makeup. She has also partnered with Afribeautyhub to empower young women in Ibadan in Oyo State, Nigeria, on makeup.
She recently joined the list of Forbes 30 under 30 Africa 2019.
Broda Shaggi [Comedian]: Animashaun Samuel Perry popularly known as Broda Shaggi is Nigerian Comedian, Actor, Dancer, Scriptwriter and Visual artist born on 18th September 1992.
With over 3million followers on Instagram, Broda Shaggi is also a Singer and voice-over artist whose musical genre is Pop. He created a lot of characters before he later settled for Broda shaggi.
He is presently a brand Ambassador for Globacom, Merrybet and Tradefada.
Crazeclown [Comedian]: Emmanuel Ogonna Iwueke popularly known as Craze Clown or Papa Ade is a comedian who became famous for his comedy skits on Instagram and YouTube. He is also an actor having featured in a lot of short movies including the series ‘Tales from the big apple’ which recently got nominated in 2018 at the American black film festival(ABFF) as BEST WEB SERIES. He is a master of occasions and has hosted a lot of comedy shows and music concerts (His annual show in Ukraine ‘The Good, The Mad and The Funny’). He is also a medical doctor, who graduated from medical school in 2017. Emmanuel was born on 24th December 1991 and hails from IMO state Nigeria.
He started his comedy career from 2009 where he started posting his funny videos on Facebook, then later he moved to Vine and Keek (a social media video platform) before he finally joined Instagram in 2012. He was one of the pioneers of what we know today as comedy skits on Instagram.
DJ Cuppy [DJ]: Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola, famously known as DJ Cuppy, is a musician and entrepreneur with a rapidly increasing empire. Born in Lagos, Nigeria in 1992, Cuppy’s musical endeavours began at a young age. By the time she turned18, whilst attaining a BSc Economics at Kings College London, she was already producing her tracks and DJing around the world. To this date, Cuppy’s DJ skills have taken her to over 30 countries and she continues to fill dancefloors across the globe. Cuppy’s open-format DJ style and unlimited genre catalogue take audiences on an exuberant journey. She is praised for her ability to seamlessly fuse global tunes, relating with any diverse crowd. With her lovable personality and undeniable hard work ethic, she has quickly risen and continues her pop-culture supreme lead role as an international pan-African brand. In 2017, she released her debut single, ‘Green Light’, which won the hearts of afrobeat lovers around the world. Cuppy has since followed up with hit singles ‘Vybe’, ‘Currency’, ‘Werk’ and ‘Abena’.
Before this, Cuppy released her first compilation House of Cuppy, which saw her pioneer a fresh new sound dubbed “Neo-Afrobeats” an electric blend of Tropical House and Afrobeats music. The compilation was launched successfully in London, New York and Lagos, and was succeeded by an 8-country tour, Cuppy Takes Africa, now a TV show on FOX. Having been featured by the likes of Forbes, Vogue, Paper and the Financial Times, Cuppy has worked with some of the biggest and most exciting international organizations and publications.
Cuppy is making a triumphant break to the global music scene and is one to look out for…
Funny Toheeb [Comedian]: Toheeb Adedokun but popularly known as Funny Toheeb is 21 years old.
His career started when he picked Wizkid’s picture online and recreated it with a mask on his face using nylon and took an exact selfie just to mimic him.
Funny Toheeb uses noodles, plastic bottles and even peanuts to recreate celebrity looks.
Helen Chukwu [CEO, Helen Couture]: Helen Chukwu is the creative director of HELEN Couture, a fashion brand present in Dubai, London and recently opened her atelier in Lagos, Nigeria. We are a young business, a startup looking to ‘redefine the perception of luxury in Africa’. We design garments for women (Ready to wear, couture & bridals), looking to expand to male apparels soon.
Sydney Talker [Comedian]: Sydney Egere, popularly known as Sydney Talker, is a Nigerian online comedian. He became popular after he posted a skit on Instagram in 2016 that ended up accumulating over 10,000 views on his account which grew to an average of 280,000 views as at September 2019.
He is also the founder of a reality web series “BADMOUT” which airs at University of Benin and has over 22,000 subscribers on YouTube and on the 28th of November 2019, he hit a million followers on Instagram.
He is a student of the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria where he currently studies Computer Science.
Tolani Alli [Photographer]: Tolani is the Special Assistant, Photography to The President in The Office of The Vice President & Personal Photographer to The Vice-President at The Nigerian Government
She is a Published International Documentary Photographer, Award-Winning Visual Story Teller & Personal Documentary Photographer to Vice-President of Nigeria Prof. Yemi Osinbajo SAN.
Uche Pedro [Blogger, Bella Naija]: Uche Pedro is the Founder of BellaNaija, Africa’s leading lifestyle digital media company with a distinct focus covering a diverse range of areas including entertainment, cinema, fashion, culture and advocacy.
BellaNaija has a digital footprint of over 200 Million impressions and 10 Million Followers across platforms.
Uche pioneered the monetization of media technology in Nigeria. Along with an amazing team, 12 years after the journey began, she continues to spearhead the revolution of the lifestyle sector through Africa’s No 1 weddings and fashion digital media super-brands – BellaNaija Weddings and BellaNaija Style.
In 2018, Uche was one of 10 emerging African leaders selected for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – Gates Letter campaign. She was also named as a business leader on the OkayAfrica 100 Women list. In March 2019, Uche was honoured with the Forbes Woman Africa New Media Award for BellaNaija’s innovative impact on media in Africa.
Uche is passionate about the progress of youth in Nigeria and across Africa. As a board member of Pan-African youth non-profit LEAP Africa, she contributes to the development of impactful programmes for youth across Africa. Through BN DoGood, she has led campaigns and actions for active change. Uche was recognised at the Frown Awards by UNICEF/UNFPA for her efforts toward the abandonment of Female Genital Mutilation in Nigeria.
She co-founded PVCitizen to encourage millennials and Generation Z Nigerians to register, vote and become active citizens.
Uche holds a Bachelors degree – Honours Business Administration (HBA) from the Ivey Business School at Western University in Canada where she graduated with distinction.
Yagazie Eguare [Photographer]: Yagazie Eguare is the owner and head photographer at Gazmadu Studios.
She won The Edwin George Prize for Photography amongst other male nominees, proving that her career success is not based on media hype, but on the quality of her works.
Eguare’s foray into photography started at The Future Enterprise Support Scheme (TFESS). She became a professional in wedding documentary and portrait photographer in 2013.
Arit Okpo [TV Host, CNN Africa]: Arit Okpo is a Nigerian journalist and television host. Okpo is the host CNN International’s African Voices Changemakers and former presenter/producer at EbonyLife TV.
Didi Akinyelure [Journalist]: Didi Akinyelure is an Award-Winning Journalist. In 2016, she won the prestigious BBC World News Komla Dumor Award. In December 2018, Didi received the University of Nottingham’s Special Excellence Alumni Laureate Award.
She is an accomplished multimedia journalist with extensive experience working in television, radio, text and digital for the BBC, CNBC Europe, CNBC Africa and Reuters News Agency.
Didi presented the CNBC International television series IOT: Powering the Digital Economy and Living on the Edge on the BBC World Service, a radio series focused on the impact of climate change on communities around the world.
In April 2018, her freelance report for the BBC, on Female Entrepreneurship in Nigeria, was recognized in the World Bank Women Entrepreneurs Reporting category at the One World Media Awards, held at BAFTA London.
Didi has built an impressive career as a Moderator and Speaker hosting and moderating panel discussions at the GECF 2nd International Gas Seminar, the Africa Oil Week, the Africa CEO Forum, the Future Energy conference, and London Business School, amongst other leading international summits.
In May 2019, she chaired a high-level conversation on technology for sustainable development at the United Nations in Geneva (amongst other events). Panellists at the UN included Dame Wendy Hall, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Carlo Rubbia and Prof. Jurgen Schmidhuber.
The year before, Didi chaired a United Nations high-level conversation with Sir Roger Penrose and Nobel Laureate, Jacques Dubochet.
Didi is the Founder of REAP, a media production, reputational management and communications strategy firm.
Didi Akinyelure has interviewed world leaders, policymakers and captains of industry all over the world.
Idia Aisien [OAP]: Idia Aisien is a Nigerian model and TV presenter.
Aisien has worked with Fox 5 News, the AARP Foundation, Discovery Communications, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the United Nations and Atlas Mara. She has modelled for many brands, such as BMW, Vogue, LAN Airlines, Black Opal, Nivea, Alice + Olivia, J Brand, Cashhimi, Samantha Pleet, Jovani, Evelyn Lambert, Nikki Angelique, An Alili and Sway Hair Ltd. In Nigeria, Idia currently hosts You Got Issues and Style 101 on Spice TV, and the Mega Millions Lottery Draw on Silverbird.
Joey Akan [Journalist]: Joey Akan is a writer, broadcaster, host, public relations consultant and commentator on current affairs, including African music, Urban pop culture, politics, sport, race, gender and sexuality.
A multi-award-winning writer and music journalist, he spent over 5 years as the Music Editor of Pulse Nigeria, where he led a team of creatives at the Pulse Entertainment Desk. Currently, he is the Editor of Universal Music Group, Nigeria. Joey who holds a degree in Biochemistry is a two-time winner of the Nigerian Writers Awards (2015, 2016) and also bagged the Scream Awards for the Entertainment Journalist of the Year, and many more
He’s written on a variety of topics for the music industry, including investigations into the music distribution business, Africa, it’s sounds and the culture of music.
His works have appeared in Pulse, Guardian, OkayAfrica, Genius, CNN and many more publications.
He has numerous nominations including OYA, MAYA Awards, and many others. Joey has several years of Entertainment industry and pop culture experience, acting as a consultant for major record labels.
He provides record labels, actors, musicians and creatives with carefully-tailored advice on their A&R, communications and promotion strategies. He is the host of the No Ketchup Podcast.
Joey has also covered some of the continents biggest events, including the MTV Africa Music Awards, Red Bull Culture Clash, Headies, African Music Awards, and many others.
Joey also engages in speaking engagements across the country, where he delivers masterclasses on Entertainment Journalism. He has also spoken at TEDx Uyo.
In 2017, Joey Akan was a judge and mentor under CreetiQ Africa’s “The Critic Challenge,” where he helped discover emerging culture critics and journalists.
Kiki Mordi [Journalist]: Kiki Mordi is a journalist, media personality, filmmaker and writer. In 2016, she won the award of Outstanding Radio Program Presenter (South-South) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards.
She is currently a BBC Africa Eye reporter and the head of presenting with WFM 91.7. In 2017, she started an online petition to end police extortion and exploitation after some Nigerian policemen invaded their home and accused her and her boyfriend of being cultists. In 2015, she was nominated for The Most Promising Young Presenter (TV/Radio) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards. In 2016, she won the award of Outstanding Radio Program Presenter (South-South) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards. She was nominated for the On-air Personality of the Year (Female) at the Scream All-Youth Awards. On 3 November 2019, she was nominated for The Future Awards Africa in Prize for Journalism category.
Oluwamayowa Tijani [Journalist]: Oluwamayowa is a development journalist, a multi-award-winning public speaker, and a 2017 Chevening Scholar. He’s a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan; the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos; and just concluded his master’s degree (with distinction) in Media Practice for Development and Social Change at the University of Sussex, UK — via the prestigious UK government Chevening scholarship.
He was named as one of 50 young leaders — and only African journalist — from over 144 countries around the world to discuss and proffer solutions to sundry education and human rights issues at the Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park, UK.
In 2013, JCI named him the Most Outstanding Student in Campus Journalism at the University of Ibadan. He also won the Nigerian Championship of Public Speaking.
In his capacity as a development journalist, ‘Mayowa has worked with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).
In 2015, ‘Mayowa was one of the few journalists from across Africa, trained by the United Nations Millennium Campaign as media ambassadors for the SDGs.
In 2017, he won the best team award at the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa (BMIA) cohort three. He was also a finalist for The Future Awards Africa prize for excellence in journalism, and the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist of the year 2017.
He attends and reports many international development-oriented events, including the World Bank/IMF Spring and Annual meetings in Washington DC. His nation-defining reports from the Commonwealth Head of Government Forum (CHOGM 2018) inspired the #LazyNigerianYouth hashtag and the consequent national revolt.
Sandra Ezekwesili [OAP, Nigeria Info FM]: Sandra Sopuluchukwu Ezekwesili is a Broadcast Journalist, Radio Presenter, Public Speaker and Compere. She currently hosts the drive time News and Current Affairs radio show, “Hard Facts” on Nigeria Info 99.3FM in Lagos, Nigeria.
Sandra is an accomplished events host and compere. She has hosted many local and corporate events in Port Harcourt including Praise Jam, an annual Gospel and Christmas Concert held in Port Harcourt. She is also a Public Speaker and gave a TedxYouth talk in 2014.
Following the sexual assault of one of the participants, while she slept by another participant on Big Brother Nigeria, Sandra has become a fierce advocate for Consent Education in Nigeria and a growing voice against sexual harassment.
Shola Lawal [Journalist]: Shola Lawal is an independent filmmaker and freelance West African correspondent for the Mail & Guardian, a South African-based newspaper. Lawal is currently based in Lagos, Nigeria. Her work focuses on development issues, women and the environment. Lawal has reported from Ghana, Togo, Finland and the Nigerian/Cameroonian border.
Her reporting calls attention to stories that deeply affect people and the environment: Her stories have taken her to volatile oil fields in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, endangered forests in Ghana and the troubled streets of Lomé, Togo. Apart from Mail and Guardian, Lawal’s work, (video and words) have appeared in Al Jazeera, TRT World and IRIN News. Lawal is currently working on a documentary film that chronicles the lives of indigenous faith believers in Nigeria, and the discriminatory attitudes they face. Lawal previously worked as a video producer with Zikoko – the Nigerian media company aspiring to be Africa’s Buzzfeed – where she helped start a video department. In 2018, Lawal represented Nigeria at the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme in Helsinki, Finland. Lawal graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass communication in 2015, second class upper division, and received her masters in the same field in 2018. Lawal attended the University of Lagos.
Stephanie Coker [OAP]: Stephanie Coker is a versatile and fearless multiple award-winning television presenter, producer and entrepreneur, who continues to shine on TV screens across the globe.
She has received high acclaim for her work on The Voice Nigeria, Ebony Life TV and MTV Base. She is no stranger to the red carpet, interviewing some of the biggest names in music, entertainment and politics. Not to mention her notable work reporting ground-breaking news on Arise TV’s, The Morning show. She has also hosted radio shows including Baileys sponsored fashion talk show, “Bailey’s Boutique”.
On arrival to Nigeria, she experienced some challenges that although not unique to Nigeria, led her to want to help young girls who didn’t have the skills or connections in their chosen ﬁeld. This led to the birth of “The Future is Her” an initiative that aims to empower young African girls with skills required to make it in the workplace. The Future is Her alongside Ace charity, allowed 6 women to learn how to code. Stephanie was a keynote speaker at the 2019 United Nations Commission on the Status of women where she gave ideas on how technology could be used in Africa to achieve gender equality.
Her quirky but engaging personality continues to open doors for the ambitious go-getter who has worked with multinational brands as an ambassador and inﬂuencer. Stephanie decided to pass on her knowledge and skills to aspiring TV Presenters and Journalists to help them reach their full potential.
VJ Adams [OAP, Soundcity TV]: Adams Ibrahim Adebola but popularly known as VJ Adams is a Nigerian video jockey, television presenter, entrepreneur, musician cum executive producer. His journey into limelight came after he contested at the 2008 edition of Next Movie Star West Africa. VJ Adams is renowned as a presenter on Soundcity TV, a Nigerian music channel based in Lagos. He co-anchored the Official Red Carpet at the 8th Africa Movie Academy Award with Nollywood Actress, Alex Okoroji and co-anchored 2014 edition of City People Entertainment Awards ceremony which was held in Lagos.
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT & ACADEMIA
Bright Jaja [Founder, iCreate Africa]: A talented passionate creative Jaja started carving a niche for himself from his early teens and exercised persistence regardless of prevailing oppositions.
His company iCreate Africa was founded in 2016 and is a hub for skill excellence and development based in Abuja. As a social enterprise, it promotes the need for a renewed focus on deriving the benefits of technical skills through skill competitions, grassroots community projects and training.
With this great mandate, this promising young man is an icon to look out for in future. His listing in Forbes Africa 30under30 is truly a huge success to be celebrated.
Edirin Edewor [Founder, Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network]: Edirin Edewor is a Multiple Amazon Bestselling Author, an award-winning Entrepreneur, International Speaker, Coach, Principal Consultant and Founder at Edagho Solutions with footprints in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania and the UAE. She is a foremost Thought Leader on Mindset and Business Strategy for Entrepreneurs, and Online Publishing for Personal and Business Brands.
She is the founder of the Online Publishers and Entrepreneurs Network (OPEN), a community of over 24,000 Authors, Writers and Entrepreneurs, dedicated to helping Africans tell their original stories from their African perspective; showcasing Africa’s literacy skills by helping writers become published as well as profiting from their skills using new media. Till date, she has helped over 1,200 authors get published online and in print, with more than 100 Amazon bestsellers emerging.
She is also the convener of the annual Breakthrough Experience Business Retreat (BXBR) in Dubai, an event where she invites speakers and business executives for a 5-Day Luxury Retreat and Business Strategy Session; as well as the School of Influence- a platform for empowering entrepreneurs with the mindset, skillsets and toolsets to build income, impact and influence.
Edirin is committed to work that focuses on youth empowerment, women-focused organizations, education, and employment as part of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She has collaborated with several NGOs and organizations directed at youth empowerment, entrepreneurship, education for the girl child and Women’s Equality, such as the LCCI (Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry), WED (Women Entrepreneurship Day), WELTI (Women Economic and Leadership Transformation Initiative), AXA Mansard, Google’s WomenWill Initiatives in the Republic of Benin and Lagos Chapters, Facebook’s Boost Your Business and Community Leadership Circles Initiatives, Redrick Accelerate Workshops and more.
Edirin Edewor has been nominated for, and has won many awards, including the SkillUp Africa Hero Award, 2019; Ladies of Honour Award for Leadership, 2019; Iconic Brand Award for Young Personality of the Year, 2019; Nominee, The Future Award Prize for New Media, 2019; Nominee, The Entrepreneur Africa Prize for New Media, 2019; Nominee, Unsung Heroes Award for Exceptional Millennial, 2019. Her Facebook Community has been listed in the top 100 Facebook Groups for Entrepreneurs by WSJ Bestselling Author Nathan Latka.
Eyitayo Ogunmola [CEO, Utiva]: Eyitayo Ogunmola is a Technology Education Entrepreneur that is helping the African talent market accelerate premium digital skill training for the Future of Work. Today, his company Utiva has the biggest Data School, Artificial Intelligence School, Product School and Design School across 4 cities in Nigeria. Eyitayo’s company uses technology to accelerate learning and training for professionals and young graduates.
Eyitayo is a 2020 Halcyon Incubator Fellow(US), 2019 Global Good Funds Fellow (United States); 2018 Chevening Scholar (Funded by the UK Government); 2016 Atlas Corps Fellow (United States), 2019 Unleash Talent (Shenzhen, China), 2015 NLI Associate Fellow, 2014 Carrington Youth Fellow.
His aspiration, above anything, is to reEducate the Nigerian Human Capital; helping post-secondary school leavers learn digital skills and helping employers hire trained talents.
Started his career in international development, Eyitayo has worked on USAID Funded programs across 6 countries. He also studied Business Strategy and Change at Edinburgh Business School and freelances as an AI Product Manager.
Till date, Eyitayo’s organization has developed more than 20,000 young people. With a large network of about 14,000 students across 25 Universities, an ecosystem of about 6,000 Data Professionals, AI Developers, Product Managers, Design Professionals etc, the organization currently leads in Premium Skill Learning.
Gideon Olanrewaju [CEO, Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative]: Named by Zenith Bank Plc as one of the Nigeria’s 2019 “Heroes of Our Time”, Gideon Olanrewaju is an Educational Development Practitioner with 6 years of transnational experience leading and working with diverse teams in Canada, Nigeria, South Africa and the United Kingdom to promote quality education for disadvantaged populations.
Having established Aid for Rural Education Access Initiative (AREAi) in 2014 and serving as its Chief Executive Director in Nigeria, he has championed significantly successful interventions that have ensured access and bridged gaps between learning and employability for over 6000 disadvantaged children across communities in Nigeria.
His outstanding leadership accomplishments have earned him global accolades having being recognised as a 2019 One Young World Ambassador, 2019 Deloitte Scholar, 2018 UNESCO Young Leader in Africa and 2015 YALITechCamp South Africa Alumnus.
As an outspoken Youth campaigner and Education policy analyst, he has represented Nigeria at and contributed to, several high-level consultations including the 2019 Global Education and Skills Forum Dubai, 2018 UNESCO NGO Forum Moscow, 2018 Education World Forum London, 2017 UNESCO NGO Forum Riyadh to mention a few.
In 2017, Gideon was awarded the United Kingdom’s Chevening Award to study for a Masters in International Education and Development at the University of Sussex, UK. In 2018, he was appointed by UN Special Envoy Gordon Brown’s Theirworld as its Youth Representative to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) where he presented a Global Youth Declaration, world leaders and over 116 leaders of global educational agencies. In 2019, Gideon was invited by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Megan Markle, alongside 9 other young leaders from across the world to Windsor Castle in the united kingdom for a roundtable discussion on girls education and gender equality. He’s currently a Doctoral Researcher at McGill University, Montreal, Canada.
Grace Ihejiamaizu [Founder, OpportunityDesk.org]: Grace is a social entrepreneur and educator working to promote quality education and empower the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. She is a Lecturer at the University of Calabar currently pursuing a PhD in Rural Sociology and Community Development. Grace is the founder of iKapture Centre for Development, an organization focused on raising the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs, as well as OpportunityDesk.org (OD), the largest online platform with over 200,000 users monthly, where she constantly shares relevant global opportunities. Her experiences running OD since 2012 is a major inspiration for writing her first book, Go Global with Opportunities.
A World Economic Forum Global Shaper, Grace is committed to shaping a world where young people have unlimited access to quality education and opportunities. She volunteers her time to mentor young people especially women. In 2015, she coached a team of young girls to develop a mobile app to solve a problem in their community. The group, Team Charis, presented at the Technovation World Pitch in San Francisco where they emerged global winners, first-ever from Africa. Grace has since become a Technovation Regional Ambassador to help get more girls into technology.
Her passion and dedication to the development of youth have won her several awards including being named one of Google’s Brightest Young Minds (2011) and Future Awards Africa Young Person of the Year Honoree (2013). In 2016, she became a Mandela Washington Fellow of the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) and in 2017, was named one of 50 Youth Leaders to watch in Cross River State. Following the launch of her book in 2018, Grace has been featured in several leading media platforms across Nigeria and has been invited to speak on both local and global platforms about her work.
John Obidi [CEO, Headstart Africa]: John Obidi is a computer science graduate with a major in computer programming from Benson Idahosa University. He founded Headstart Africa Community (formerly SmartBcamp), a community dedicated to closing the knowledge gap among working professionals in Nigeria.
He started as a Web Development and Programming Instructor in Benin in 2012. In 2013, he started his career in Social Media Strategy. Then, he worked with several brands and businesses. Onwards, John’s kept rising till he landed a giant client; MTN.
Intending to take his brand to the next level, he started ObidiSocial.com, a website that creates exposure for brands and businesses on the Internet; using Social Media.
In 2014, John started SmartBCamp; a community that bridges the gap between working professionals across various professions in Nigeria. SmartBCamp sprang up from John’s weekly Smart Business Teleseminars with people tuning from various countries; all around the world.
Nike Folagbade [Lead Consultant, Nike Folagbade International]: Nike Adedokun Folagbade helps men and women experience emotional healing, personal transformation and build healthy relationships.
She is a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and a Results Coach. She is also an associate of Family Systems Engineering and an Emotional intelligence/Anger management coach.
She is also the Creative Director of Hevar Solutions, a business support company for entrepreneurs and professionals and the Human Resource Manager at WORITAL, a book branding and publishing firm.
The Accountant turned Human Resources Officer is passionate about people and their productivity, transformation, spiritual growth, healing and making healthy choices.
She hosts frequent live seminars and hangout for singles to get equipped with the right knowledge to make better relationship decisions.
She has authored several books, audio tracks and video courses.
She has been featured on media platforms like WeFM Nigeria, Core TV News, Channels TV, The Guardian, Galaxy TV, City FM, Radio Nigeria and others.
She’s currently a relationship contributor on Bella Naija, Punch, Business Day News, Women of Rubies and She leads Africa.
Olaseni Cole [Founder, Young Empowered Programmers]: Olaseni the founder of YEP! is an initiative that trains children and teens on the rudiments of coding (computer programming) and robotics in a fun and immersive manner.
His passion for presenting innovative ideas and proffering solutions are part of the many qualities which consistently single him out in every area of his endeavour. He is driven with the zeal to place Nigeria at the peak of Information Technology in the global space, and that’s the reason why he founded YEP!
Otosirieze Obi-Young [Writer]: Otosirieze Obi-Young (born 1994) is a Nigerian writer, editor, and literary journalist. He is Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. In 2019, he won the inaugural The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. His short stories and literary commentary have appeared in The Threepenny Review, Transition, and Dazed Digital. His work in LGBTQ advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His essays focus on sexuality and literary culture. He has been described as among the “top curators and editors from Africa”.
Otosirieze Obi-Young was born in Aba, Nigeria. He studied English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. In 2018, he was named a judge for the Gerald Kraak Prize, an initiative for writing and visual art about on gender, social justice and sexuality. In 2019, he was announced as a judge for the Miles Morland Foundation Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective. He is the founder of the Art Naija Series anthologies which include Enter Naija: The Book of Places and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations.
Otto Orondaam [Founder, Slum2School Africa]: Orondaam Otto is a community organizer, a social entrepreneur and a development consultant, passionate about education and social reforms, nation-building and community development.
Disturbed by the alarming number of out-of-school children in the slums and across Nigeria, Otto Orondaam resigned from his job in the bank in 2012 and founded Slum2School Africa, which has grown to become one of Africa’s leading volunteer-driven developmental organizations, providing quality education, entrepreneurial skills, and psychosocial support for underserved children in slums and remote communities to enable them to realize their full potential and become social reformers.
In 8 years Otto has worked with over 10,100 volunteers across 35 countries to provide educational scholarships and series of development support to over 72,400 children from 42 communities across Nigeria, built various early childhood development centres, e-library, health centre, technology and Innovation Labs serving thousands of children.
He has a bachelor’s degree in Health Science from the University of Port Harcourt, an executive master’s in Project Management from CUPE, UK, a certificate in Social Change, Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship from the United Nations University for Peace, Costa Rica and various development based courses around leadership, development finance, governance from Henley Business School, University of Stellenbosch Business School, MIT etc.
Otto is a founding member of the Commonwealth Alliance for Young Entrepreneurs – West Africa, a member of the Human Capital Development commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, a co-founder of the Education Reform and Innovation Team and an Ambassador for Junior Achievement Nigeria. He has received various awards and recognition together with his team.
He is a LEAP Social Innovator Fellow, a common purpose African fellow and a Mandela Washington Fellow. He served as the Chair of the West and Central African Regional Advisory Board for Presidents Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative and sits on the Board of the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Anna Ekeledo [ED, Afrilabs]: Anna Ekeledo is the Executive Director of AfriLabs- a Network Organization of 178 Technology Innovation Hubs across 45 African Countries, leading AfriLabs to develop programmes; Catalyst, EdTech, and Africa Capacity Building Programme (ACBP), building partnerships that support Innovation Hubs and other stakeholders, raise high potential entrepreneurs that stimulate economic growth and social development in Africa.
She is the Regional Innovation Lead, Africa – at the EdTech Hub; the world’s largest education technology research and innovation project which seeks to help improve education technology in developing countries.
Passionate for Africa’s development, vast experience in Network Leadership, Stakeholder Engagement, Innovation and Organizational Development. Anna’s focus at AfriLabs aligns with its vision of an African Continent characterized by open collaboration, African made solutions and jobs for all, driven by technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Anna is a renowned international Speaker, Trainer, Innovation Consultant and Mentor; Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa for Entrepreneurs. She is an Advisor; amongst several advisory roles, a Member of the Presidential Advisory Council on Technology and Creativity, led by the Vice President of Nigeria. An Advisor-The eFounders Fellowship; a smart partnership between the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Alibaba Business School (ABS), and she sits on the Advisory Board of the Africa Europe Innovation Partnership – a European Commission Initiative which aims to support and connect innovation and technology Incubators and Accelerators between Africa and Europe.
Before joining AfriLabs, with M.Sc. International Marketing Management from Leeds University Business School, U.K. Anna was involved in pioneering various impact-driven projects with organizations such as the Visiola Foundation, Wild Fusion Digital Centre, Google, Lagos Business School – Nigeria and Ingenico – a French global financial technology company.
Anna is enthusiastic about leveraging technology for social impact and inclusion, creating social and economic opportunities for all.
Chinedu Azodoh [Co-founder, Max.ng]: Chinedu Azodoh is co-founder and CGO at MAX, a technology company building the infrastructure for last-mile mobility in Africa. Chinedu has always had a passion to change the African experience. Chinedu attended the Sloan School of Management in Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he graduated with a master’s degree in finance. He also possesses a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Chinedu is a multi-award winner. He is a recipient of the Prestigious Lila Self Leadership Academy Scholarship – a $200,000 academic scholarship given to up to 4 first-year students at the Illinois Institute of Technology for exceptional leadership in the community and the classroom. In 2015, he was invited to the Plug and Play Startup Accelerator but decided to join the Techstars New York Accelerator Program. In 2017, he was admitted into the first XL Africa Program as one of a select 20 innovative companies across Africa leading growth and development. He was also admitted to the Alibaba eFounders Program, organized by Alibaba under the guidance of Jack Ma. In 2018, he was admitted into the Mastercard Startpath program and won the LAComotion Mobility Competition. He is a finalist for the 2019 Forbes Africa 30-under-30 in Business and Technology.
Etop Ikpe [CEO, Cars45]: Etop Ikpe is the CEO of Cars45, Africa’s largest digital automotive trading platform. Cars45 is an innovative technology platform that empowers the mobility industry across Africa, by making it easier to trade cars. Cars45 also provides access to finance, insurance and other value-added services.
Etop is a seasoned entrepreneur and has been at the forefront of African technology and innovation for more than a decade, working across several sectors ranging from media to fashion, transport and e-commerce.
Before launching Cars45, he was CEO at dealdey.com, Nigeria’s largest discount store. Etop also served as commercial director at konga.com, one of Nigeria’s largest eCommerce platforms.
Etop founded Cars45 in August 2016, inspired by the challenges he had faced after buying and selling several cars. He has overseen the company’s rapid expansion across Nigeria and recently into Ghana and Kenya, with plans for further expansion across Africa.
He is passionate about supporting the development of young people and promoting entrepreneurship across Africa.
Evans Akanno [CEO, Cregital]: Evans Akanno is a design-driven entrepreneur with love for tech, nature, and excellence! The results are in Cregital, Farmkart, Disha & Forbes Africa.
After graduating with a degree in Industrial Chemistry in 2010, he started building his skill in design by studying design articles and case studies. In the same year, he started freelancing for small businesses, designing logos, brochures and simple websites, while applying for a job that aligned with my degree.
In 2012, he launched Evans Akanno Creative Agency, working with clients such as DStv and Recycle Points. Later that year, I worked at Jumia.com shortly before they launched, contributing skills in branding, and social media marketing. In 2013, he joined Konga.com as a creative strategist designing digital campaigns to drive sales for a year.
In April 2015, he founded Cregital (a fusion of Creative & Digital) where they design brands, create websites and digital products for startups and established businesses.
In 2018, he co-founded Farmkart an Agric-tech platform, which enables people to bank in agriculture by investing in farm projects.
Fred Oyetayo [CEO, Fresible]: Fred Oyetayo is the co-founder and CEO of Fresible and serves on its Board of Directors.
Fred is responsible for setting the overall direction and product strategy for the company. He leads the design of Fresible’s service and development of its core technology and departments.
A TEDx speaker, Fred has been named to Forbes 30 Under 30, SME100 Africa’s 25 Under 25, Interviewed by the BBC World Service Radio and was a Finalist at the Aso Villa Demo Day organized by the office of the Nigerian President in 2016.
Before resuming full-time duties as the CEO of Fresible, Fred was an Associate at Probitas Partners LLP. Fred also spent 16 Months with the Law firm of Olujinmi & Akeredolu as an associate during and after his Youth Service.
Fred attended Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) and graduated with a law degree in 2014. He was called to the Nigerian bar in 2015 and is a practising lawyer.
Ire Aderinokun [Cofounder, BuyCoins]: Ire Aderinokun is a self-taught Frontend Developer and User Interface Designer from Lagos, Nigeria. She is currently the co-founder, COO, and VP Engineering of BuyCoins (YC S2018), a cryptocurrency exchange for Africa, and previously worked with eyeo, the company behind products like Adblock Plus and Flattr Plus, building open-source software to make a better internet.
Obi Ozor [Founder, Kobo360]: Obi Ozor is the CEO and Co-founder of Kobo360, the digital technology platform disrupting African third-party logistics. The company’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients. The Kobo360 mission is to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
Before Kobo360, Obi, a University of Michigan and Wharton Business School alumni worked as an investment banker at J.P. Morgan in the US. In 2015, he moved back to Lagos, Nigeria, to work as Director of Operations for Uber, where he was responsible for the introduction of the cash payment option which led to the growth of the ride-sharing app in Nigeria. It was during his tenure at Uber that he looked closer into how people and goods moved around Africa. Starting with just $50,000, Obi and his Co-founder, Ife Oyedele, started work on beta testing an app that could solve the challenges faced by both enterprise-level companies and SMEs, when moving goods around Nigeria. What they developed, tested and brought to market was a proprietary logistics platform that utilises technology to assign trips via a mobile app, with real-time visibility and monitoring of goods, with the help of GPS trackers. By servicing multinationals and SME’s across the country, Kobo360 is uniting a community of cargo owners, truck owners, truck drivers and cargo recipients, to ensure a reliable, cost-effective and more efficient logistics supply chain.
Launched in December 2017, Kobo360 is disrupting the $150 billion Africa logistics industry, which still primarily relies on telephones, opaque pricing and a marketplace full of expensive middlemen. In 2018, they were accepted into the prestigious San-Francisco-based Y Combinator. In August 2019, the start-up completed a $30M fundraise, led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation and Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. Kobo360 is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020, as well as add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, which is expected to catalyse intra-African trade.
Odunayo Eweniyi [Cofounder, PiggyVest]: Odunayo Eweniyi is the co-founder & Chief Operations Officer, PiggyVest. She previously co-founded pushcv.com, one of the largest job sites in Africa with the largest database of pre-screened candidates. She has 5 years’ experience in Business Analysis and Operations and is a First-Class Graduate of Computer Engineering, Covenant University, Nigeria.
She was named one of Forbes Africa 30 under 30 Technology in 2019 and one of 30 Quartz Africa Innovators 2019. She sits on the advisory board of TrainFuture, an Education Technology company based in Switzerland, as well as the Gender Lens Acceleration Best Practices Initiative, a collaborative effort of Village Capital, US and the International Finance Corporation (IFC)’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (WeFi). In 2019, she was named SME Entrepreneur of the Year West Africa by The Asian Banker’s Wealth and Society and she is the youngest Nigerian on Forbes Africa list of 20 New Wealth Creators in Africa 2019.
She was also one of the featured speakers at the World Bank-IMF Annual Meeting in 2019.
She is one of Business Day’s Spark 2019 Women to Watch and made the World Women in Fintech Power List for 2017; the YNaija Most Influential People in Technology 2017 and 2018; she is a 2018 Westerwelle Young Entrepreneurs fellow, and she is a recipient of The Future Africa Awards Prize in Technology 2018.
In honour of her work, she was named one of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria 2019 by Leading Ladies Africa, one of 50 most visible women in Tech by Tech Cabal in 2019. She is also included on the #YTech100 2019 list of the brightest Nigerian technocrats.
She works to support the inclusion of women in technology by working with hubs and female-focused networks like For Creative Girls, GreenHouse Labs, She Leads Africa, Itanna etc. She is also the co-founder of the women’s community, Wine and Whine Nigeria.
Oluwatobi Oyinlola [IoT Evangelist, Intel]: Oluwatobi Oyinlola is a Nigerian-born inventor and entrepreneur. He is a Software Innovator at Intel, Embedded System Engineer and IoT Evangelist. He is currently implementing Pay-As-You-Cook technology to promote the use of affordable LPG in Africa. Recently he has been working in the avionics sector with rLoop Incorporated (a company sharing the dream of realizing the fifth mode of transportation initiated by Elon Musk, i.e. the Hyperloop) applying some of his experience in Robotics.
Zang Luka Bot [CEO, Zang Technology]: Zang is the founder of Zang Technologies, developers of “Foot Mouse” that helps people living with disabilities affecting their arms, gain access to the internet by operating computers with their feet.
At the 2nd National Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Awards, Zang won the NITDA Award of Excellence in Technology Innovation. Zang is a nominee for the 2019 The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) Prize for Technology.
Zang Technologies has distributed about 1000 Foot Mouses and over 500 power banks across the country.
SOCIAL ENTREPRISE & PHILANTHROPY
Alli-Bob Cinwon [Founder, Evergreen Initiative]: ALLI-BOB CINWON is a community mobilizer, humanitarian and sustainable development advocate. He is the Founder and President of Evergreen Initiative a youth-focused platform for capacity building and human capital development, Founder of the CEOs Network Africa. He is a certified Project Manager, Human Resource Personnel and an Alumni of Babcock University where he obtained a first degree in International Law and Diplomacy. He is currently a student of the National Institute of legislative studies undergoing a masters degree in Legislative studies. Alli-Bob is also a social commentator, he is a columnist at the newsdigest.ng and has written opinion articles that have featured in Aljazira newspapers, Ynaija, Signal.ng, youth digest.
Along with his team, he has been able to cater to over 3000 displaced and vulnerable children. He runs the Summer school for internally displaced children which have been able to provide quality basic education for over 300 children, skill acquisition sessions for 75 of them, medical check-ups, sports activities and life coaching sessions since its inception in 2017. In 2019 Evergreen initiative announced the evergreen scholarship trust fund which currently provides academic scholarships for 15 internally displaced children.
He hosts the National Youth Dialogue a platform for young people to dialogue on pressing national issues, policy and social welfare. Chairs the award committee of under the Under 30 CEOs forum which hosts and awards outstanding young entrepreneurs under 30 annually. He Sits on the advisory board of the Nigerian technology market Co-convener advocates for integrity in leadership coalition.
ALLI-Bob is also an advocate for quality basic education, good governance and youth inclusion. I believe Education is the key that unlocks human potential, as it provides hope for the most disadvantaged and marginalized in the society and gives the courage to keep striving for a better future so we must continue to invest in education and human capital development.
Ayodeji Osowobi [Founder, Stand to End Rape]: Ayodeji Osowobi is a graduate of Development Studies from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations with specialization in Gender Studies from Swansea University, United Kingdom. She started her advocacy work by interning at the United Nations Headquarters, New York and Half the Sky Movement where she wrote articles on women, girls, children and social justice.
She is a 2015 fellow of the Vital Voices Women Lead Fellowship. Ayodeji has worked as a project manager for Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE). She is currently the Executive Director of Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) and under her leadership, at the 2014 Social Media Awards Africa, STER Initiative won an award for the Best Use of Social Media by an NGO in Africa.
Ayodeji was selected as the only young activist from Nigeria to attend The Carter Center’s “Mobilizing Action for Women and Girls in West Africa” Forum in Ghana. She uses her voice in the social media space to create awareness amongst Nigeria’s growing social media users on rape and gender-based violence among other issues.
Bisayo Busari Akinnadeju [Founder, Project One Productions]: Busari Bisayo is the founder of Project One Productions, an organization aimed at instilling in the Nigerian youth the right leadership and political values appropriate for national development through political education, mentorship and scholastic awards.
She became a graduate of law from the renowned Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, in the year 2008 after which she went further to round up at the Nigerian law school in the year 2009.
Bisayo, whose biggest life project is to encourage, inspire and invest into the lives of young and most times, less privileged Nigerians, believes that sound education is the solution to solving many national challenges prompting her to engage fiercely in the support for girl child education.
Isaac Success Omoyele [Founder, Dreams from the Slum]: Isaac Success Omoyele is a multiple award-winning social activists and child advocate, Founder of Dreams from the slum; an initiative committed to making the dreams of vulnerable persons a reality through access to quality education, empowerment and mentoring.
He is an Alumni of the United Nations University of Peace, Aileen Getty School of Citizen Journalism, Pan Atlantic University, Leap Africa Social Innovators Programme, and the Commonwealth Discovery Young Leaders Program.
Kelechukwu Nwachukwu Lucky [Founder, Youth Network Against Female Genital Mutilation]: Kelechukwu Nwachukwu is passionate about implementing programs and activities aimed at ending harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation and cutting.
He received a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree in Public International Law from Baze University Abuja. As the Country Programme Officer at The Girl Generation, he is responsible for leading, coordinating and implementing the Options managed program on ending FGM/C in Nigeria, a Department for International Development (DFID)-funded program, supporting the entire Technical and Management Team, and supporting the Human Dignity Foundation’s End FGM Small Grants Programme in Nigeria.
Since becoming a Young Leader, Lucky is proud to have built the capacity of more than 250 adolescent girls on comprehensive sexuality education and equipped them on where to go to if they need services. He also raised the conversation about changing the restrictive laws on safe medical abortion and has received governmental buy-in from two states in Nigeria, Edo and Delta. Additionally, Lucky has won three new grants for his organization.
Ola Brown [Founder, Flying Doctors Nigeria]: Dr Ola Brown is a medical doctor, a trainee helicopter pilot and an entrepreneur who founded West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service, the Flying Doctors Nigeria (https://www.flyingdoctorsnigeria.com/) which saves hundreds of lives across the West & Central African region every year especially in the oil and gas industry, rendering medical evacuation services.
Along with two other directors, Dr Ola runs leading early-stage venture capital firm, Greentree investment company which provides growth capital to some of Africa’s most exciting tech start-up’s.
She is an international speaker who has spoken at the TED global conference, the European Union, the Swiss Economic Forum, the UN, the World Bank, the World Economic Forum, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge University and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Dr Ola and her work have been featured by CNN, the BBC, Forbes and Al-Jazeera.
Olumide Idowu [Co-Founder, International Climate Change Development Initiative]: Olumide is a Nigeria with over 10 years of experience working on Communications, Environment Sustainability, Agro-ecology, Monitoring & Evaluation and Sustainable Development issues. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics from the University of Abuja in 2010. Olumide is communication and digital expert and trainer with extensive experience in creating, facilitating and managing projects. He has represented Nigeria and Africa at over 20th high-level global governance meetings on sustainable development and has served as the African Youth Champion for UNISDR. He co-founded the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition, the biggest youth environmental movement in Nigeria. He was selected as a facilitator for UNISDR in Japan in 2014 and Mexico 2017 for his strong interest in Youth and Disaster Risk Reduction. Serving as an Expert of the Week by UN environment and UNISDR 2014/2016 respectively. Olumide is the recipient of the 2015 Save the Children Award of Contribution toward Sustainable Development in Nigeria and Commonwealth Youth Climate Fellow. He co-founded the International Climate Change Development Initiative a platform that identifies key environment-based issues affecting development across Africa. He is currently the Youth Lead Author for Global Environmental Outlook of the UN Environment. Adding to his achievement, He was recently selected by the US Embassy in Nigeria for International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) where he spent almost 3 weeks in the United State learning the culture of the United State in the area of Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation.
Onyeka Akumah [Founder, Farmcrowdy]: Onyeka Akumah is a Nigerian-born entrepreneur and the Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy, Nigeria’s first digital agriculture platform with a network of over 25,000 farmers across 15 states in Nigeria since launching in November 2016. Onyeka is also the Founder & CEO of Crowdyvest Holdings, an Impact-driven platform designed on the background of the 17 SDG Goals, focused on connecting its members to multiple sponsorship opportunities that are safe, secure and trusted.
Before Farmcrowdy and Crowdyvest, Onyeka held several top management positions in high-profile organizations like TravelBeta, Jumia, Wakanow, and Konga. He also worked for Deloitte, The British Council and Guaranty Trust Bank.
Onyeka was appointed to the E-Agric Stakeholders Forum by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigeria and was also made one of the youngest members of the Honorary Council of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
Onyeka was named one of Quartz Africa’s 30 Innovators of 2018 and as one of the 100 most influential Africans of 2019 by Africa Report. He has been recognized with several awards locally and internationally and currently sits on the Board of leading tech start-ups in New York and Lagos.
Sipasi Olalekan Ayodele [Founder, Protect Ozone]: Sipasi Olalekan Ayodele popularly known as the Hunger Fighter is a PhD student at Kansas State University in the United States of America, the CEO/Founder of ProtectOzone Sustainable Livelihood Initiative where he trains indigent Children, Youths, Active Citizens and Farmers in Sustainable Agricultural Practice and Climate / City Smart Agriculture to alleviate poverty, fight hunger and systematically protect the ozone layer from depletion. His work has attracted the support in funding of the U.S. Consulate, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany Lagos, WorldConnect US, The Pollination Project, Idea4US to mention but a few to implement grassroots hidden hunger and poverty alleviation projects where he was awarded the Nigeria – America partnership award and the U.S. Consul Generals’ award in 2018 amongst several others. He has helped indigent youths, women and farmer create sustainable businesses across Nigeria.
The Future Award Africa for Agriculture winner attended The Federal University of Technology, Akure for his Bachelor in Technology (Agriculture), Masters from the University of Ibadan, got a certificate in Business Administration from African Management Institute, Nairobi, Kenya and Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan-African University, Lagos. Sipasi was selected to represent African youths at the G20 summit in Germany to develop and amend the Berlin Charter on “Creating Opportunities with the Young Generation in the Rural World”
Sipasi worked under the office of the Vice President of Nigeria as an N-Power Agro volunteer on The National Livestock Transformation Plan where his work focused establishing / Reviving Cattle Ranches in the Northern part of the Country and across the country at large, under the same office, he worked to connect the rural farmers to the National Home Grown School Feeding Program to improve their livelihood and nutrition of the school children.
Sipasi is a Mandela Washington Fellow who was also selected as a YALI influencer in Washington D.C. He contributed to a feature on Climate Smart Agriculture at the Centre for Technical Agriculture CTA in the Netherland.
Vivian Sonny – Nsirim [Founder, Young Moms Support Initiative]: Vivian Sonny-Nsirim is the founder and CEO of Young Moms Support Initiative, a non-governmental organization (NGO) seeking to support and empower women and children for a better society.
Before starting Young Moms Support Initiative (YMSI), Vivian has worked both in the UK and Nigeria for such illustrious organizations like NHS UK, Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau UK, Partnerships-In-Care UK, Aspirations Care UK, Oiltest Group Nigeria and most remarkably, as the Special Assistant to Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Rivers State, Nigeria.
YMSI was founded out of Vivian’s passion to inspire, motivate and educate mothers and soon-to-be mothers on parenting, motherhood, relationships, business, career and other matters of mutual interest. It is a platform whereby women from all works of life come together to share ideas on issues and challenges facing women and children; provide advice, personal experience and suggestions on how to manage such challenges. YMSI provides career guidance and empowerment programs for women and children. YMSI goes on visitation to Orphanage and Widows Homes and creates Health-related awareness campaign i.e Cancer Awareness Campaign; HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign etc.
Vivian’s guiding philosophy is to make a positive and sustainable difference in a young mother’s life.
Her Humanitarian drives and passion have given Vivian a global feel in the International community. Vivian has basked a host of awards and accolades, both local and international. She has featured in multiple Online and Print platforms globally, including the United States and the UK.”
Alex Iwobi [Footballer, Everton FC]:
Alexander Chuka Iwobi is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Everton and the Nigeria national team.
On 27 October 2015, Iwobi made his first-team debut for the club, starting in a 3–0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Round of 16 of the League Cup. He made his Premier League debut four days later in a 3–0 win against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, as a stoppage-time substitute for Mesut Özil. Iwobi made his Champions League debut as an 85th-minute substitute in a 5–1 defeat against Bayern Munich. Iwobi started in the first team for the 2015–16 FA Cup 3rd and 4th round home wins against Sunderland and Burnley respectively.
On 8 August 2019, Iwobi signed a five-year contract with Everton. According to BBC, Arsenal received a fee of an initial £28 million, rising to £34 million with potential add-ons.
Asisat Oshoala [Footballer, FC Barcelona Femení]: Asisat Lamina Oshoala MON (born 9 October 1994) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Spanish Side FC Barcelona Femení in the Primera División as a forward. She was named best player and was the highest goal scorer at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup. She was also named best player and second top goalscorer with the Super Falcons team who won the 2014 African Women’s Championship.
On 10 February 2017, Chinese club Dalian Quanjian F.C. officially signed Oshoala.
On 31 January 2019, Spanish club FC Barcelona Femení signed Oshoala on a loan deal until the end of the season. She scored Barcelona’s only goal in a 4–1 defeat to Lyon in the 2019 UEFA Women’s Champions League Final.
Desire Oparanozie [Footballer, Guingamp]: Ugochi Desire Oparanozie (born 17 December 1993) is a Nigerian football forward last playing in the Division 1 Féminine for Guingamp and the Nigerian national team.
For the 2014–15 she joined Guingamp of the French Division 1 Féminine, where she was joined by Nigerian international captain Evelyn Nwabuoku during the following season.
Ahead of the 2019-20 season, Oparanozie was named club captain and began her leadership reign well with a win over Metz on the opening day of the season.
Efe Ajagba [Boxer]: Efe Ajagba (born 22 April 1994) is a Nigerian professional boxer. As an amateur, he won a gold medal at the 2015 African Games and bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. As a professional, Ajagba holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history after his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring 1 second after the opening bell.
In 2016 he won the gold medal in the super heavyweight event at the African Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament held in Yaoundé, Cameroon. By doing so Ajagba qualified to represent Nigeria at the 2016 Summer Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the first round Ajagba beat Ugandan Michael Sekamembe on points, he defeated Tunisian boxer Aymen Trabelsi in the semifinal to secure his qualification, then in the final, he beat Mohamed Arjaoui of Morocco. Ajagba was the only Nigerian boxer of the ten who competed to qualify for Rio through the tournament, leading to claims from Nigeria’s coach Konyegwachie that judges had been bribed. On 24 August 2018, Ajagba scored the fastest victory in boxing history in a match against Curtis Harper, winning via a 1-second disqualification after Harper walked out of the ring in protest over a pay dispute.
Francisca Ordega [Footballer, Shanghai Shenhua]: Francisca “Franny” Ordega (born 19 October 1993) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Shanghai Shenhua in the Chinese Women’s Super League.
She represents Nigeria women’s national football team (Super Falcons) at both the FIFA Women’s World Cup and African Women’s Championship. She was also nominated for best female African footballer
In 2018, She was also a member of the Nigerian squad who won the 2018 Africa Women Cup of Nations in Ghana, A tournament where she had two goals and two assists and won the woman of the match award at the final game against South Africa.
Isaac Success [Footballer, Watford FC]: Isaac Success Ajayi is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for English club Watford as a forward.
On 1 July 2016, Success agreed a five-year deal with Watford in a record transfer fee, estimated around £12.5 million from Granada. Success scored once in 19 appearances in the 2016-17 season and, after just one appearance in 2017-18 was loaned to Malaga on 31 January 2018.
Kelechi Iheanacho [Footballer, Leceister FC]: Kelechi Promise Ịheanachọ (born 3 October 1996) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Premier League club Leicester City and the Nigeria national team. He has made appearances for Manchester City, as well as the Nigeria squad that won the 2013 FIFA U-17 World Cup and the Nigeria U-20 team at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Ịheanachọ was called up to the Manchester City senior squad for the 2015–16 season.
Ịheanachọ was signed by Premier League club Leicester City on a five-year contract on 3 August 2017, for a reported £25 million fee. He made his debut for the club in a 4–3 defeat to Arsenal on 11 August 2017. He scored his first goal for Leicester in an EFL Cup tie against Leeds United on 24 October 2017. On 16 January 2018, Ịheanachọ became the first player in English football to be awarded a goal due to VAR, as the referee deemed that the player had been incorrectly ruled offside for his second goal. The goal was Ịheanachọ’s second in a 2–0 win over Fleetwood Town in the FA Cup Third Round replay. At the beginning of 2019–20 season, he was completely frozen out of the squad owing to the arrival of Ayoze Pérez and the stunning form of Jamie Vardy. Nonetheless, he managed to make his debut league appearance of the season as a substitute against Everton and was rewarded by scoring a dramatic yet controversial late winner in the 94th minute despite suspected to be in an offside position. However, the goal still stood under VAR as he was marginally onside.
Leke James [Footballer, Molde FK]: Leke James is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for Molde FK in Eliteserien.
On 30 April 2018, Molde FK announced the signing of James on a three-year contract. He got his Molde debut on 26 July 2018 when he came on as a 67th-minute substitute in Molde’s 3–0 win against Laçi in the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League second qualifying round. James scored Molde’s third goal in the game. On 22 June 2019, James scored a perfect hat-trick in the first half in Molde’s 4–0 away win against Strømsgodset. He scored with his right foot, left foot and his head and completed his hat-trick in 13 minutes and 45 seconds. On 11 July 2019, James scored his second hat-trick for the club, his first in UEFA competitions, in Molde’s 7–1 win over KR in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round. James scored a brace in Molde’s 4–0 win against Strømsgodset on Aker Stadion. He scored the third and fourth goal of the game that secured Molde their fourth league title, his first. James finished the 2019 season scoring 24 goals in 38 matches in all competitions.
Samuel Chukwueze [Footballer, Villarreal CF]: Samuel Chimerenka Chukwueze (born 22 May 1999) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays for Villarreal CF and the Nigeria national team as a winger.
Chukwueze made his first-team debut on 20 September 2018, replacing Nicola Sansone in a 2–2 home draw against Rangers, for the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League. He also made his league debut on 5 November 2018, playing a 90-minute full play in a 1–1 home draw against Levante, for the 2018–19 La Liga.
In April 2019 he won the Nigeria Football Federation’s 2018 Young Player of the Year award.
In May 2019, Chukwueze was invited to represent Nigeria’s senior team at the Africa Cup of Nations and the Under-20 team at the Under-20 World Cup. However, club side Villarreal said he could only play in one of the tournaments. He was part of the Nigerian squad for Africa Cup of Nations hosted in Egypt. He scored his first senior goal in Nigeria’s 2–1 win over South Africa in the quarter-finals.
Victor Osimhen [Footballer, Lille]: Victor James Osimhen (born 29 December 1998) is a Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a forward for French Ligue 1 club Lille and the Nigeria national team.
In July 2019 he signed for Lille OSC.
On 11 August 2019, Osimhen made his Ligue 1 debut for Lille OSC, scoring a brace against Nantes. The match ended 2–1 in favour of Lille.
In October 2019 he became ‘Player of the Month’ for Ligue 1.
On 14 August 2019, the coach of the Nigerian National Team, Gernot Rohr, invited Osimhen for a friendly against Ukraine, that was played on 10 September 2019 in Dnipro Arena, Ukraine which ended in a 2-2 draw. He was also included in the Super Eagles team to face Brazil in a friendly match in Singapore on 13 October 2019.