by Isi Esene
We kick off the 2014 YNaija.com Power List with those who hold the levers in the media – all, as usual, under the age of 40. They have gone beyond their own careers and their own empires, and they are influencing trends, leading on success, and driving people to action. From OAPs to moguls, these are the most powerful in Nigeria’s media space.
Okosi is the Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa. As an executive, he made his mark by bringing by bringing the urban-music themed MTV Base music channel to Africa back in 2005. It was perfect timing; African music was at the cusp of a renaissance and the presence of MTV Base on the TV screens led to an explosion of quality visuals and great video content from artists. Okosi was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and his influence in entertainment circles is undeniable. Only recently, Nigerian radio OAPs were nominated for honours at the Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards and they probably have Mr Okosi to thank for it.
Ayeni the great started his career as a journalist working for the likes of Enconium and Vanguard but has evolved to become one of the most important media men this side of the Atlantic. His Black House Media group has worked with a range of important clients from Nigerian Idol and Nigerian Breweries to superstars D’banj and Ice Prince and he publishes Nigeria’s biggest entertainment website The NETng as well its weekly newspaper equivalent. In 2013, he convened the Nigerian entertainment conference that attracted the movers and shakers of the entertainment industry and business world, sparking dialogue and creating networking links.
No one has a presence on radio quite like Gbemi. Sweet, sassy and slighty tart, she has been working on the radio for over eight years and has quietly built a formidable fan base and listenership that has followed her from her days at Cool FM to her present gig at Beat FM where she hosts the Drive Time Show in the evening. A graduate of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, Gbemi has also risen through the ranks to become head of programming at Beat FM’s sister station Naija FM. She is currently working on her upcoming television show.
Everybody visits Linda Ikeji’s all powerful blog. It’s futile trying to deny, the Alexa rankings state otherwise. The blog has become the one stop shop for gossip, heart to heart dialogue, the occasional political commentary and yes, breaking news. Even the federal government is not unaware of the power of her platform, tipping her as one of the media partners for its centenary celebrations. She may do battle with a celebrity or two, but even they would agree that the publicity she offers is pretty much unparalleled. She generates millions in advertising but still manages to retain that girl next door persona.
The television presenter and co-host of Channels television’s must-watch breakfast magazine Sunrise daily may be the only woman in the room most of the time, but she has managed to come across as one of the smartest. And articulate. And fearless. Always compulsively watchable, with her probing and unflinching questions, many an unprepared guest have been known to shrivel under her piercing gaze. Educated at the University of Lagos and the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, Ogun participated in president Obama’s town hall meeting with young Africans.
Nsehe’s prolific work with Forbes magazine Africa and Ventures Africa has resulted in the eventual recognition of previously under the radar Folashade Alakija as one of the richest people on the planet. As a staff writer with Forbes Africa, Nsehe’s brief is to profile Africa’s success stories and chronicle the lives of its rich and famous. Shunning the hype and the gloss, the Akwa Ibom-born journalist and blogger goes in to uncover the real picture.
Tolu is a two-time winner of the CNN/Multichoice African journalist of the Year, most recently in 2013 when he won in the Economic and Business category for his reporting on Eko Atlantic City. Ogunlesi once worked as a features editor for the defunct NEXT newspapers and his writing has appeared in various international media like The Huffington Post, CNN, UK Guardian and The Economist. He runs a weekly column on The Punch, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper.
Tolu ‘Toolz’ Oniru may get plenty of notice for her stunning physique but she has proved there is more to her than meets the eye. Bodacious, beautiful and brainy, she has parlayed her OAP duties on Beat FM into a position of power, being able to fast track or stall careers with her choice of playlist. Her other gig on the Guaranty Trust Bank sponsored Ndani TV is about to commence its second season and the accolades pouring in for that stint thanks to the probing-yet-breezy comradarie she exudes while interviewing her guests. Those skills translate from the radio to the small screen and her performance on the debut season of the X-factor Nigeria is sure to net her next year’s deal. Is there anything that Toolz cannot fix?
Ogunseye became one of the youngest editors of a major newspaper when she was promoted to editor of the Sunday Punch. She may be tasked with preparing the weekly but she still finds time to churn out powerful features like her three-part piece on the impact of gases released by a steel company on an upscale estate in Lagos state which won her a second CNN/Multichoice African journalist of the Year trophy, this time in the Environment category.
The now married founder of BellaNaija, the most popular lifestyle/entertainment website in the country has overseen the growth of BellaNaija from a single girl’s blog to mentions by Oprah Winfrey, CNN and a permanent home on internet web traffic assessor Alexa’s top 40 listings. Quiet, unassuming and loath to step out in public glare, Uche Pedro wields a lot of power as her site has been known to dictate the latest fashion trends, attract advertising mega bucks and corner the market on wedding photography.