by Chi Ibe
- This post has been updated.
It’s a fact that Twitter has become a medium for every Nigerian to be heard and bare their minds, express their opinions, and weigh-in on any discourse.
A look at this year’s list would reveal that while some regular faces have retained their places, there are emerging Twitter handles that have started shaping the narrative, hereby constituting a threat to the ‘Traditional Overlords’.
So Twitter Nigeria, here we are with the definitive list of the 100 Most Influential Nigerians on Twitter for the year 2015 – and when we say influence, it’s never about the number of followers but how the tweep influences his followers.
Read through and let us know if you agree with us.
Politics & National Issues
Japheth Omojuwa is a ‘principality’ and that is putting it mildly. He is without doubt one of the most popular Nigerians on Twitter Nigeria.
He is perhaps one of the few ‘Overlords’ who engage with decorum and utmost humility. His knowledge of people and almost ‘everything’ under the sun makes him a ‘peoples tweep’.
Mature, knowledgeable, intelligent and calm, Uncle Twitter is one of our favourite tweeps. His ability to educate and inform others without having to go the ‘crass’ way endears him to his followers. Tunde appears to have no political leanings and holds politicians from all parties to the same standards. It is rumoured that he is the brain behind @sbmintelligence
Madam Oby Ezekwesili is so passionate about the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that she won’t stop clamouring for the return of the girls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. She manages to stay calm when she comes under a barrage of attacks from PDP tweeps who have little love for her.
The former FCT Minister achieved Twitter fame in 2013/14 when he opposed former President Goodluck Jonathan on his policy direction. He is now the Governor of Kaduna under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The ‘camel senator’ as he is widely called, Senator Shehu Sani is never tired of reminding Twitter of his days in detention under former dictator, General Sani Abacha. His feather ruffling of @Elrufai has fetched him not just many enemies on Twitter, but a suspension by his local chapter of the APC in Kaduna State.
Ever since he crept into our consciousness with the #LindaGate scandal, he has refused to go away. He played a huge role in former President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election bid which failed. He continues to make his position known on issues of national interest.
The former VP and successful businessman continued to be relevant on TwitterNG. He tends to say all the right things at the right time. His Twitter account is highly engaging as he takes his followers on on a variety of issues which includes, but is not limited to, Arsenal FC, his favourite football club, businesses and of course, politics.
A passionate ‘GEJite’ who claims to be a member of the ‘APGA’ party. Ebube, who is a lawyer, has in 2015 become one of the leading drivers of ‘conversations’ on Twitter. And he adds a bit of humour to it which makes him even more interesting a character.
He is a London-based accountant whose intelligence and analytical skills is not in doubt.
He continues to command the respect of tweeps who look forward to his articles and views on issues. Tolu’s clarity of thought and articulate delivery is a remarkable attribute.
Editor at Ekekeee.com and one who describes himself as ‘bald as a baby’s bottom’, Jude has over the years distinguished himself as one of the very few who can say the truth irrespective of political leanings. Although not a few people believe he is an APC sympathiser – he denies that though.
‘Disliked by many, respected by a few and followed by many’, Deji Adeyanju is one of the PDP’s most vocal ‘Voltrons’ and was recently appointed the party’s social media director.
The former spokesman to President Goodluck Jonathan has returned to his first love which is writing. He has also stood by his boss and has seemingly being his unofficial mouthpiece on Twitter. His tweets get people talking.
Former Banker, Seun is the founder of Nigerian Civic tech organization, @BudgIt. He is highly respected and drives conversation on social media.
The Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bukola Saraki has managed to keep his Twitter account active and engaging.
Olumide is without doubt one of the most influential tweeps in Nigeria. His bar @BarEnclave is renowned for its popular grilled turkey and is basically the meeting point for tweeps.
She is the brain behind NewswireNGR, Mercy has excellent insight into politics and general issues.
A BBC Business commentator, markets analyst and FDI specialist, he is the resident top business and economic analyst on Twitter. His analysis makes you want to dust off your economics textbooks just to keep up.
The man who previously called himself “Mwalimu” (meaning “teacher” in Swahili) and now goes by the name “Onye Nkuzi” retained his influence with his expert opinions on Nigerian and global political issues, and knowledge about almost everything. We still do not know anyone who has met him nor have we seen a picture of him. Of late, he is more likely to be seen ranting against President Muhammadu Buhari and his persistent campaign for the Second Niger Bridge.
Leader of the APC Youth Forum and without doubt, one of the most influential young politicians in Nigeria. Ismaeel commands huge respect particularly among young APC folks on Twitter.
An Oxford Doctoral candidate, Zainab Usman has been quite vocal and influential on Twitter on issues from politics to socio-cultural issues, particularly those that are related to the northern part of Nigeria.
As someone who has been in government for a considerable amount of time, Sam Hart tweets politics as someone who knows, especially from the inside. His opinions are not to be taken lightly.
The young media entrepreneur who runs Red Media Africa does not make his opinions known often, but when he does, he steals attention. He was a vocal supporter of Muhammadu Buhari’s presidential bid as Statecraft Inc., the governance communication arm of his company, played a critical role in the president’s successful run.
The former president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and former editor of The Sun Newspapers was appointed Special Adviser on Media to President Buhari after his inauguration in May 2015.
Mallam Garba Shehu works with Femi Adesina as Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity. He appears to be learning the ropes of social media engagement quite fast.
Dogara Yakubu literally came from almost nowhere to clinch the Speakership of the House of Representatives in a move that shocked even the most intelligent pundits. The Bauchi-born legislator is still quite active on Twitter in a personal capacity but has reduced his rate of engagement apparently due to the demands of his position.
The brain behind www.demolarewajudaily.com and is without doubt one of the most respected writers on Twitter. He is a member of the PDP and he consistently dissects the policies of the APC and the FG.
Lagos-based banker, Eloka, makes his first appearance on this list by virtue of his constant criticism of President Buhari and the APC, of which he is evidently not a fan of. He is a member of APGA.
London-based insurance professional and lawyer, Michael is a member of the PDP and gives excellent political analysis while engaging with decorum. He is rarely caught engaging in bitter confrontation that has come to define political talk on Twitter.
Erratic? Well…. Intelligent? That’s not disputable. A manager working with Cadbury Nigeria, Uche leans slightly towards the APC but he keeps his engagement very civil.
Emeka is a PDP member and a staunch supporter of former President Jonathan. He has quite acclimatized to his new role in the opposition by constantly sparring with APC supporters oer the policies and actions of the FG. He hasn’t lost his insight into political happenings in many states across the country but is still humble enough to keep mute or ask for opinions when he does not know.
Dino Melaye made it back into the Senate this year. He was mainly in the news for his unflinching loyalty to Senate President Bukola Saraki by accompanying him and his wife to their court cases. His support of a frivolous Public Petitions Bill which has a controversial clause to regulate social media earned him a lot of knocks and attacks.
Lawyer and writer, he is majorly seen as controversial and quite erratic while some insist he is ‘soft’. He is never afraid to get into the most heated arguments when it comes to defending PDP/former President Jonathan and delivering jabs at President Buhari.
Based in the US, Pa Ikhide writes on about everything under the sun, and his opinions on politics cannot be ignored. He is quite critical of the APC and President Buhari.
Mark Amaza is intelligent and likes to be seen as ‘politically unbiased’. Most people however see him as leaning towards the APC. He is best remembered for his famous U-Turn of 2015 when he ditched former President Jonathan for President Buhari, who eventually won.
‘The Oracle’ as he is fondly called is one leading authority on Twitter when it comes to the law and politics.
Nana Nwachukwu is an Abuja trained lawyer and writer. She is a PDP member and manages to command a large following from the non-PDP folks.
Arguably Africa’s best music producer. He continued to blaze the trail in 2015. And did he share recharge cards all through the year? We don’t recall.
Edward Israel-Ayide is a top dog at Chocolate City Entertainment where he is Business Development Executive as well as Executive Assistant to @Audu, the President of the group. An emerging player in the entertainment circle, he has worked and done PR for top artistes like Reminisce, Koker and Kiss Daniel.
The self-styled greatest rapper of all time crept into TwitterNG consciousness when he singlehandedly ended Drake and Meek Mill’s rap career… yeah, right. We hear a Grammy award is next.
Africa’s number one blogger grew bigger. Ruffled feathers. Got everyone talking and got a home in Banana Island. Mission accomplished.
Twitter broke when we all woke up to find out that his smash hit ‘Ojuelegba’ had been remixed by who else? Drake! That was some ‘Chairman’ level movement, innit? He also had an infamous spat with Skales. Don’t ask us who won.
‘OBO’ has had an excellent year. He had successful hit singles and got a number of endorsements. He kept us entertained with his end of the year show – a spat with his baby mama, Sophia. And the blockbuster featured famous columnist, Uncle Dele Momodu.
Arguably one of hottest artistes in Nigeria right now, he held Nigerians spellbound with hit after hit. Twitter basically stayed woke when his smash hit ‘Bobo’ was released. He also headlined the second edition of his sold out show #OLIC2.
Hair splitter? Yes. Controversial? Yes. Insult him but Tosin is going to say what he has to say. One whose opinions are never to be taken lightly in the entertainment industry, Tosin’s knowledge of music and the industry is indisputable.
The filmmaker has opinions on everything. No seriously, everything. And many times, he has gotten into trouble for those opinions. His support for former President Goodluck Jonathan as well as his incessant criticism of President Buhari has time and again put him in trouble.
The Orente singer can easily be rated as the Revelation of the Year as he followed Orente up with another hit jam, Pick Up. He is quite taciturn but has a very engaged fan base.
Did Alaga Ibile have a good year? No. We think he had an excellent year. Reminisce dropped his 3rd studio Album ‘Baba Hafusa’ which was a huge success. According to reports, the album sold millions in weeks, topped iTunes chart for weeks. To cap it all up, he became the first African rapper to be featured on the Billboard 100 Chart for best albums.
Her reviews of Nigerian music are gets Twitter rumbling with people arguing for and against are assertions.
The brain behind Nigeria’s biggest and most popular music blog, NotJustOk.com. Upcoming artistes covet his favor as he has the power to propel them to stardom.
Basking in the euphoria of the huge success of his album ‘Chairman’, Jude Abaga was made President of Chocolate City Music. A huge feat, yeah? He regales people with his grasp of issues and ability to argue very intelligently. One won’t forget how he took ‘PDP Tweep’ @RadicalYouthman to the cleaners during the course of the year.
The boss of the Chocolate City Group, stable to M.I and Ice Prince, is influential even beyond entertainment circles.
Qualified lawyer, Falz started by dropping hilarious videos on Twitter and Instagram. We didn’t have an idea what was about to hit us until he dropped his song, Karishika feat Phyno and Chigurl. As they say, the rest is history.
It is late 2015 and almost everyone agrees he can rap. But the Jos-born rapper is loved, especially by the ladies and he commands a Twitter influence base in the hundreds of thousands.
The actress continued to dazzle with her beauty, and also threw her hat into the ring to run for the ticket of the PDP for the Calabar Municipal Federal Constituency. Sadly, she was unsuccessful. Heartbreaking for her teeming fans. She however continues to tweet sometimes her ‘pro pdp’ tweets.
Osagie Alonge is the Editor-in-Chief of Pulse Nigeria. He is generally seen as an ‘authority’ when it comes to reviewing albums and his views are never taken with a pinch of salt. His show ‘FactsOnly’ is largely followed.
Noble Igwe is the boss of leading music blog, 360Nobs.com. 2015 was a great year as he landed mouthwatering endorsement deals. He also showed a side we all had never seen… TROLL!
Has to be on this list because she has been using social media to push and drive causes close to her heart, including feminism and responsibility in governance.
Though he does not tweet much, his Nairaland site continues to be influential in shaping perceptions through the discussions among its over 1 million followers.
The boss of iROKOTv and SPARK, Jason is one person who knows his onions when it comes to running a tech business in Nigeria.
Bankole basically ‘owned’ 2015 with the launch of ‘ZikokoMag’ which happens to be his brainchild. The blog has being hugely successful. He is the Editor-in-Chief or “convener” as he loves to call it, of leading tech blog, Tech Cabal. He is also a lawyer.
Lagos-based, Ikot-Ekpene born software developer, he runs hotels.ng, Nigeria’s biggest hotel booking platform.
Self-acclaimed technopreneur and business architect, he runs BuyNowNow, Nigeria’s equivalent of eBay.
Mobile and linked open data technologist, he is also the founder of Next2.us which is a company that provides advanced communication services to people and organization in emerging markets. Emeka is a leading semantic Mobile Application developer.
Vocal on Twitter on technology and politics, he is part of the team at Tech Cabal.
It takes guts and brains to start and run two tech startups at the same time, especially when one of them is a major e-Commerce site. Sim Shagaya is the founder and CEO of Konga and DealDey and is highly respected among Nigerian techies.
Bosun is one of the founders of the incubator, Cc-Hub. He is also the brain behind Truppr.com, where people connect online and engage in fitness activities offline together. He spends his time in Leicester, England and Lagos, Nigeria.
With many years of experience as a venture capitalist at Intel Capital under his belt, Eghosa now runs EchoVC Partners, a venture capital firm. Tech entrepreneurs looking to get funding for their ideas lean on his every word.
Polish by origin but fast becoming a Nigerian, Marek Zmylowski runs Jovago, a hotel booking platform funded by Rocket Internet and competitor to hotels.ng.
Raphael Kofi Afaedor, one of the two co-founders of Jumia Nigeria resigned to start his own e-Commerce venture, SuperMart.
Young and well-respected, Ahmed Mukoshy is the CTO and founder of GigaLayer.com, a domain and web hosting company
Through his organization, Paradigm Initiatives Nigeria, Gbenga Sesan is using technology to change the lives of disadvantaged youths and empowering them. He is also active in social and political issues.
The founder of mobile payments company, Paga, which continues to grow exponentially.
Self-described as a lover of African technology and fondly called “Big Chief”, Victor Asemota shares his thoughts and experiences on technology on his timeline and blog.
One of his crowning moments was managing the online campaign of former VP Atiku Abubakar through his digital marketing firm, Anakle. He did that after launching viral web app, BridePrice in 2014. He was also the brain behind #ThankASoldier on Twitter a fairly successful effort.
One who prefers to keep a very low profile, Niyi Abiri, an Ogbomoso born entrepreneur is the brain behind @cMapIt.
Iyin Aboyeji is the co-founder of @andela. He almost always drives the conversation on technology related issues on Twitter.
On Air Personalities (OAPs)
Pretty, big, and happy with her size, Dami Elebe is one of the happy voices on Beats FM, Lagos.
Osi evokes mixed emotions from tweeps, while he is a wannabe to some, he is a liar and braggart to others. Some tease him with the ‘Honda and Benz’ joke. LOL.
Top huncho at Beats FM Ibadan and basically one of the most popular male on air personalities in Oyo state, Wale is well regarded within and outside the ‘Ibadan Twitter sphere’ where he has carved a niche for himself.
The brand strategist continues to woo minds and hearts with his insights into relationships and religion through his #LetterToJill, #LetterToJack and other tweet series.
The motivational speaker continues his motivation magic on Twitter to his teeming fans.
The founder and pastor of Covenant Christian Centre and the convener of The Platform, he shares scriptures on his timeline regularly.
Lawyer, writer, blogger, satirist, activist, nominee for Caine Prize for Literature, he continues to hold people spellbound with his tweets and articles.
Another lawyer, writer and activist, he built on the success of his book, Sorry Tales last year with the release of Everything In Nigeria Is Going To Kill You. His tweets pack punch and influence.
Despite not having many followers, his influence is very obvious in how often mentioned in political conversations and the caliber of people who swear by his two books, Oil, Politics and Violence and Soldiers of Fortune. A third book is eagerly being awaited.
Molara Wood is a critic, writer, arts enthusiast and former Arts Editor of the defunct Next Newspapers. Her tweets on the Ake Festival are always a delight to look forward to.
Writer and cultural producer, Lola Shoneyin is the director of Ake Festival. Talk arts on Twitter Nigeria, Lola is considered an authority.
@olorisupergal (promoting art and cultural events)
She is not just a blogger per excellence, Tosin Ajibade promotes arts and cultural events via her blog.
No exaggeration, Colin remains one of the most respected sports journalists in Africa and the most influential in Nigeria. When it comes to sports and football especially, he tweets with authority.
The former captain of the Super Eagles was appointed the Manager of the Super Eagles this year. He has shown that TV and Twitter analysis can land you a job as Super Eagles head coach.
Popular TV sports analyst, his views are not taken lightly.
Nigeria’s leading football blogger and head sports reporter at Today FM 91.5
Charles Anazodo is one of the most eloquent and recognizable faces in sports analysis in Nigeria. He peddles his trade with SuperSports.
Emmanuel Nwachukwu, a Senior Sales Manager at Slot Nigeria is one of the most respected sports ‘pundits’ on Twitter Nigeria. A huge Arsenal fan, he has a ‘little bit ITK niggle niggle’ but look, he knows his onions.
Life & living
The host of the now defunct TV show, New Dawn, continues to be influential, judging by not just the number of followers she has, but also their caliber. She also got an Etisalat endorsement in the course of the year.
What started as an account to give updates on Lagos traffic, which is a necessity if you live in the Lagos, has grown to answer questions on even the most mundane and ridiculous stuff, which it answers with humor and wit.
Very controversial account, ‘it’ is an anonymous person or group of persons who deliver subs or anonymous messages whether good or bad on Twitter. The account has livened up Twitter in its own way.
There has scarcely been a more controversial account on Twitter this year than Sugabelly. A single tweet from her on an issue can alter the discussions on the platform for a whole day. It reached a crescendo in November when she published allegations of rape against a scion of late politician, Prince Abubakar Audu. That dominated discussions on Twitter for quite a while.