Behold the Faces of the Future! Vol 4

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!

The best of Banke is yet to come

By Betty Irabor

Banke Meshida was Style Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008

There is a difference between being born with a clear vision of your talent and learning on the job. Banke Meshida Lawal came into the world holding a colour palette and brushes.

Definitely a trail blazer in the art of cosmetology, her skills are those of a woman with great insight about her profession. It is not by chance that she has captured a great number of women and especially brides. Her growing clientele of high profile women is an indication of her expertise.

My encounter with Banke dates back to nearly eight years ago when she ‘air brushed’ my face for my editorial page Morning Dew. Her make-up transformed me and I couldn’t wipe it off when it was bed time. I wanted to keep that radiant look for as long as I could.

The beautiful thing about Banke is that she continues to improve on her skill and continually updates her art. Gentle as a lamb, this lady remains humble, a virtue which most successful entrepreneurs fail to imbibe. You are only as successful as your clients say you are.

The best of Banke is yet to come!

Irabor is the Editor-in-Chief/CEO of Genevieve Magazine. She pioneered the breast cancer awareness drive in Nigeria and has inspired many to run with their dreams

Stephanie’s a real star

By Adesuwa Onyenokwe

Stephanie Okereke was candidate for Young Person of the Year 2010

Stardom is a tough act to achieve, and to keep. There are many young women in the media and entertainment these days – radio, television, film, stage – who have achieved stardom, and managed to stand out from what can be described as a motley crowd. Staying relevant therefore means being one step ahead, especially in the difficult Nigerian environment.

Into this mix comes Stephanie Okereke who, after finishing up as a runner-up at the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant those many years ago, decided that she had more to offer than her looks and took a plunge into Nollywood, emerging time and again with awards and recognitions. Whatever you say about her, you cannot dispute is that the girl has talent; especially for recreating herself!

After several years in Nollywood she went beyond looking pretty under the klieg lights, to going behind the cameras. I was very impressed to see her take a detour from the fast lane to gain skills to help her do this, at the New York Film Academy. Her attempts at being a director gave life to the movie, Through The Looking Glass, which was very well accepted by an adoring public, as a good first effort.

I was even more proud to see that, beyond learning at the Academy, she decided to make that knowledge available to other youth back home, by bringing the programme coordinators of the NYFA to Nigeria: most of the young people that attended were restive youth from the Niger Delta.

It was therefore gratifying to see her at the at the ‘Women in the World’ event in America in March this year, sharing the stage with notable women like the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and six other actors led by the legendary Meryl Streep; reading for SEVEN, the documentary play created to honor the courage of brave female activists across the world. This is a woman who understands that there is stardom and there is legacy. She has chosen legacy.

Onyenokwe, a veteran broadcaster, is publisher of TW.

The farmer as hero

By Audu Ogbeh

Mosunmola Umoru was Business Owner of the Year in 2009

We live in a very harsh, demoralising business and social environment. If the climate is bad for most businesses, it is even worse for the young entrepreneur and near hopeless for anyone who opts for agriculture. There is hardly a sector as misunderstood, not to say looked down upon, as agriculture. Governments pay only lip service to it, while banks with their already impossible interest rates will not lend to the farmer.

These are the circumstances which make a hero out of Mosunmola Umoru, who has engaged in agriculture for many years; showing incomprehensible endurance and faith in an enterprise so full of risk and challenge in a society so indifferent to a sector so strategic.

She could, like many other young ones of her age, fold her bag and go off to greener climes. She has resisted that temptation and instead, persisted; showing to hundreds of other youth that she has mettle and will power and will overcome, the present trials notwithstanding.

She is the real success story. Her success lying in her determination to reach her destination in agro-enterprise, no matter the pains of the moment. It is young persons like her who constitute the pillars of a nation’s strength.

Ogbeh (OFR) was chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for four years and is managing director, Efugo Farms, Makurdi

D’banj is a bad sharp guy

By Innocent 2face Idibia

D’banj was Musician of the Year in 2008 and Young Person of the Year in 2009

When I think about D’banj, I am struck by the image of a man that decided to do his thing and he’s doing without waiting for manna from heaven. Dogged, focused, straight up and I like that about him.

Anything he puts his hand on, he puts it all and goes all the way to make it happen and e dey crase join too.

Long time ago, before he went to London to live, during a Plantashun Boyz show, he came and played the harmonica. This was in 2001. We didn’t really meet then, but I knew of him. We met again in London and we used to hang out with the guys at JJC squad, and it struck me that this was one artiste who was determined.

In 2006, a Beenie Man show in Nigeria, I sat beside him and I told him “Guy meeehn, meeehn, I already won the MTV (Awards)” and I told him “na u go collect this thing next and somehow he came to pass.” Serious prophecy.

I think the franchise idea that he has started with his brand is the way to go, It’s like a double edged sword, cut go this side, cut go that side. Some people have only music, some have only entrepreneurial ability. D’banj and Don Jazzy have both. And they are doing it excellently well.

It’s the way forward mehn! Way to go.

Idibia is the first Nigerian winner of the MTV Europe Awards, winning in 3005 for Best African Act

Asa: The Observer

By Yinka Davies

Asa (Bukola Elemide) was finalist for Young Person of the Year 2010

Hmm… well, what can I write about the soul in Asa?

Not much of a talker, we don’t share jokes, just thoughts that keep a soul in check.

She’s has a very withdrawn personality, a vaguely reminiscent line on her brow, loads of sighs, coy smiles plus, roving eyes through them glasses of hers: like Tracy Chapman, who dropped from the skies, dazzled the world and fades into oblivion yet again.

I remember when Eye Adaba was created, I was called to listen. Simply put-heaven: very moving. We (Cobhams, Asa and I) stayed silent a while when she finished playing. Cobhams and I usually would analyse the songs we hear or the surroundings we’re in with a “what would Jesus do?” sets of ‘eyes’. This time, we stayed still, gazing into space with bottles of Coca-cola. A truly reflective time.

When Jailer was born, it was hilarious because of the rebel in her person. If she was born in the 1900s, she would have been a butcher of men in war times for any tribe that needed her services for war (and she would probably fight for free!).

And when Cobhams played me Bibake two years later at Eko Reel Mix studios, oh, I cried: WHAT?!  I loved every note, every mood, every pause. Indeed.

I believe she’s still searching for her place in the scheme of things in this world, as are we all. Prayerfully, it won’t be for long.

Whenever you get to meet Asa, simply ask her “how goes the day?” You’ll probably get a nod, a smile and her backside. But leave her be: she’s a “son” of the soil.

Asa has severally pointed to the iconic Davies as her inspiration and model

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