Behold the Faces of the Future! Vol 3

The Freedom Issue of Y! Magazine featured the “50 Young People Who Will Change Nigeria”, former recipients of The Future Awards who are still relevant in their fields today. It is our belief that these people will shape the next 50 years of Nigeria’s story.

Here they are!

Ali Nuhu

A rollercoaster ride

Awwalu Salihu

Ali Nuhu was Actor of the Year in 2008

My first impression of him, as he stood quietly at the periphery of my set in a rather self-effacing manner, was of one deeply enthralled by the production environment.  If he was nervous I was too busy to notice as we struggled to light the supermarket scene during the production of the film Based on the True Story, our entry from NTA Jos for the 1994 NTA Telefest competition.


And Ali Nuhu came face to face with the camera for the first time.

Since then it has been a roller-coaster of successful strides.  He has not only dominated Kannywood, the Hausa Film scene, as an actor and as a producer, but has also created a notable presence in Nollywood and the Nigerian soap opera sector.

What I have always appreciated about Ali is his focus.  He seems to know where he is headed, and is not afraid of putting his nose to the grinder.  That accounts for the numerous awards he has been raking in, including The Future Award.  And in the face of all that he has remained humble and level headed.

If providence brought us together in the Tin City, and his potential talents convinced me as a producer to cast him for that first shot, his zeal and passion have vindicated that decision, and given him the steam to continue to push to the apogee.  We have in this young man the personification of the future Nigeria of our dream.

Salihu is Head of Public Affairs at the National Broadcasting Commission

Bamidele Odufuye

A reason to hope

‘Gbenga Sesan

Bamidele Odufuye won for Best Use of Technology in 2008 and 2009

There may be many reasons to refrain from celebrating a nation whose 50 years of existence have been dotted with embarrassing experiences without much to show for the many efforts invested in its development, but when you think of people like Bamidele Odufuye – and what they have done in the midst of an uninspiring environment – there is every reason to celebrate tenacity of purpose, vision and result-oriented passion.

Bamidele Odufuye is the Managing Director and Lead IT Manager at Nextek Platforms. He has seven years of commercial web/application development experience and has been recognised as a leader and innovator in the graphic design and layout areas of website development.

The two-time award winner of Best Use of Technology at The Future Awards cut his professional teeth with Splashers Tech and Woo Interactive and he is quick to add that “the core of my professional experience is in the area of building internet/intranet applications using PHP, JS, XML and consuming web services to solve business challenges.”

With a portfolio including assignments completed for First City Monument Bank, Samsung Electronics, UBA, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Amazon Energy, Caritas PR, Neuro Psychiatric Hospital Aro, First Standard Insurance Broker, Technology Times, Vmobile, Afriserve-UNAAB, Rekon Rentals, Hallmark Newspaper, Datanss and eDestiny, Bamidele has planted his feet as a shining example of a leader in the new Nigeria – a nation whose citizens are proud to call home, regardless of their present location. Because of Bamidele, and the many more examples of young Nigerians forging an enviable future for Nigeria, a lot of interesting things will be written, and said, about the next 50 years of our beloved nation.

Sesan is one of the country’s leading experts on ICT4Development and Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative Nigeria

Tolu Sangosanya

Love on the streets

Adebayo Omisore

Tolulope Sangosanya won for Best Use of Advocacy in 2010

Tolulope Sangosanya is a philanthropist at heart, in the truest sense of the word. A 2006 graduate of Mass Communication from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, she singlehandedly fed 300 street kids from Maryland to Ikeja on her 24th birthday in 2006.

Tolu started off trying to look after children less privileged than herself and spending her time with them on her birthday. Thus, in 2007, she partnered with friends, family, two corporate organisations and many more individuals to feed, show love and celebrate over 1000 kids at the Oko-Baba area of Ebute Metta.

She partnered with Link-A-Child through Lanre Olusola as sponsors to repeat the feat in 2008. She organized a road show for street kids in Five Local Government Areas on Valentine’s Day with the theme ‘We the children of Nigeria need love too’. The initiative had the sole aim of changing the notion of Valentine’s Day being for lovers alone.

In December 2008, Tolu’s charitable work took on a new dimension with a repackaged initiative under the unregistered name project LOTS (Love On The Street). She fed, clothed and showed love to 2000 kids in both Lagos and Ibadan.

Later in 2008, she discovered a settlement called the Dustbin Estate situated in the Ajegunle area of Lagos state. Tolu, along with her freshly registered NGO under the name LOTS Charity Foundation, executed six projects simultaneously. They include the LOTS Literacy Class, LOTS Soup Kitchen, Health Outreach, Sharing of clothes, toys and other minor necessities of life and Family Housing Relocation.

With all these milestones, Tolu still believes there’s so much ground left to cover. With God and her continued passion for humanitarian effort, she believes that she will make a massive difference on the streets and for Nigeria. I believe her.

Omisore is was editor of Soundcity Blast and is Creative Director of Jus’ Kiddin’ Entertainment Platonique PR.

Denrele Edun

Kudos to my son, Denrele

Charles Oputa (CharlyBoy)

Denrele Edun was Producer of the Year in 2007

“You will move on, yes, you wouldn’t stop here, you will go on and on even to the great hay day of the Roman Empire, through the various emperors and leaders. But you wouldn’t stop there; you would even come up to the day of the renaissance, and get the quick picture of all that the renaissance did for the cultural and aesthetic life of man. But you wouldn’t stop there; you will move on and on…. for some are born great with the feather of greatness around them.” Behold my wish for a son!

A son with bigger artistic wealth, reaching far to the sky; a son who is already wearing my shoes even while I’m still here; he is adopted son in this large entertainment industry.

Many have misconstrued the son-and-father relationship that exist between Denrele and me, and call him my prototype or my clone. Denrele might have taken after me; he might have even taken a clue from me in his definition of being artistic, and he might have looked like the Charlyboy of the ‘early’, but I tell you my guy, Denrele has got a different pattern, approach and even philosophy that make him exceptional.

Can you fault the artistic prowess and ingenuity that characterise this bunch of talent? Let’s talk about the razzmatazz, the eloquence, fluency and the pictorial appeal. Let’s talk about the stage personality of my son Denrele. I call him the crowd-puller, the crane that lifts performance to its apogee; my son is the screw that unfastens or tightens the nuts that hold the proscenium arch of the Nigerian stage together. Add to this his hard work and tenacity of purpose and you have a complete package.

Before my very eyes, I saw this talent climbing relentlessly to the point he is today, and I can’t help but say “well done son.” Denrele will continue to excel and his root shall touch every part of this large industry. Charlyboy says so.

Oputa is a musician, TV presenter/producer and a publisher

Tolu Ogunlesi

A man of many callings

Chika Unigwe

Tolu Ogunlesi was finalist for Young Person of the Year 2010

I first met Tolu in 2005, almost a year after we had begun corresponding by e mail.  Tolu sent me several of his works to read. I was fascinated by this young man, who had a science degree but the soul of a poet.

I loved his poetry, and so when I was given carte blanche by one of Belgium’s top cultural organisations to bring some African poets and writers over for a festival, I did not hesitate in inviting Tolu.  And he did not disappoint. He entertained with both his poems and his performance. But more than that, I realised in the private discussions I had with Tolu, that he was also very socially conscious and extremely well read.  I was impressed and adopted him on the spot as my “younger brother.”

Tolu was born in 1982, but he came out of the womb with the wisdom of the ancients. The prodigiousness of his enviably diverse talent is witness to this. He is like an octopus with a tentacle in each pie: pharmacy, poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, journalism. He has won deserved prizes in literature and in journalism including the 2009 Arts and Culture prize in the annual CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards, and has been shortlisted for many more, including the inaugural PEN/Studzinski literary prize. He is a social activist who does not shy away from  difficult questions: his articles for NEXT are not only brilliantly written but they pack  a punch. He amazes me every single day.

Tolu has a calling (or more appropriately, several callings) and Nigeria is lucky that he has decided to answer them all.  We are the richer for it. To say that greater things are expected of him is to state the obvious.

Shortlisted for the 2003 Caine Prize for African fiction, Unigwe’s second novel, On Black Sisters’ Street, was published in Dutch in 2008 (as Fata Morgana) and in English in 2009

One comment

  1. Talent dey naija for real. I shud b included in ds article cos i gat a lot to offer My nation NIGERIA

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