In its ninth year, The editorial board of Y!/YNaija.com announces a shortlist for its 2019 Person of the Year, following the decision of editors as well as feedback from readers and social media audiences.
The Y!/YNaija.com Person of the Year has since inception, been awarded to individuals of Nigerian origin as a way of recognizing their most visible influence and achievements through acts of social good, personal achievement or innovation with the most outsized impact on the Nigerian society in the year under review; breaking new boundaries or consolidating on gains – and driving the advancement of the public, especially young people.
Previous winners of the award include:
2011: The editors announced there was no winner.
2012: Aliko Dangote – Entrepreneur and Africa’s richest man.
2013: Jason Njoku – Tech industry trailblazer and Co-founder of iROKO Partners.
2014: Obiageli ‘Oby’ Ezekwesili – Former Minister of education and Activist.
2015: Josephine Ugwu – the honest airport cleaner who found and returned the precious sum of N12 million in cash.
2016: The Nigerian Paralympics team was chosen for their excellent outing at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
2017: Wizkid – Entertainer and Songwriter
2018: Segun ‘Segalink’ Awosanya – Activist and ENDSARS Camapigner.
Using this link, vote to tell us who you think best deserves the 2019 award among the underlisted names:
Nothing catapulted Nigeria’s #MeToo movement into exhilarating focus as powerfully as Busola Dakolo’s rape allegation against Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo of COZA. In 2019, she became the voice of rape victims ensconced in the shame, trauma, and limitations from a society determined to suppress them, and the activism built around her case sent shock waves to the foundations of the Church. Dakolo’s response to the court verdict that dismissed her case is still as profound today as it was then: ”awareness is victory.”
Segun Agbaje, Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank and a Director on MasterCard Advisory Board Middle East and Africa, heads one of the country’s most used banks, with subsidiaries in ten other countries including Ghana, Liberia, and the UK.
GTBank has grown to not only be a formidable financial enterprise but a remarkable social outfit serving a large number of Nigerians through financial and non-financial services and initiatives. With events, programs and centres geared towards promoting African talents across the fashion, education, food and tech sector, GTBank has taken great steps in tapping into the abundant youth capacity in the country.
Dr. Tony Rapu is a medical doctor, life-coach, filmmaker and the Senior Pastor of House of Freedom. His work taking drug-addicts off the streets and helping them by providing strong rehabilitation resources through the House of Refuge (a centre dedicated to meeting the rehabilitation needs of drug and alcohol dependents), gained buzz with the transformation story of a widely talked about partaker of the program; Lizzy.
As the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the Freedom Foundation, Dr. Rapu is able to extend his vision for developmental change through other grassroots empowerment programs that cover several needs across, shelter, academia, finance and other provisional necessities.
Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani is a former Enugu state governor(1999-2007) and currently the Senator representing Enugu East Senatorial District. After serving the district from 2007-2011, Dr. Nnamani returned to the house in the 2019 elections, with some controversies trailing his successful reelection.
At the second reading of the infamous social media bill, he was the only senator who opposed the bill, calling it out on its totalitarian features. His opposition, while palpably minute, lent strong support for the championing of freedom of speech and the preservation of our democracy.
Pro-democracy campaigner, Rights activist and Founder of Sahara Reporters, Omoleye Sowore was a presidential candidate in the 2019 general election. Known for his verve and passion for a Nigeria with more young persons in government, he was arrested on 3rd August 2019 and slammed with a charge of treason for planning to convene the now famous #RevolutionNow protest.
While the protest didn’t happen, and Sowore remains incarcerated, the protest sparked off a nationwide conversation around the legitimacy of the country’s democracy, while spotlighting the increased muffling of free speech and protests.
Herbert Wigwe is the GMD/CEO, Access Bank Plc sits as Co-Chair, Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NIBUCAA).
Wigwe, through the Access Bank Polo Charity Tournament, is an advocate for improved education and eradication of HIV/AIDS in Northern Nigeria, raising over N500,000,000 to fund ongoing and new educational projects in Northern Nigeria. Furthermore, the Bank sought to get the buy-in of various state governments to create a more sustainable impact. This goal was achieved as the Kaduna State government pledged to match every project executed by the Bank in Kaduna State. Thus, the Kaduna State government is expected to begin the construction of 60 classroom blocks to cater for an additional 2,400 students in response to a similar project completed in August 2019 by Access Bank.
So far, over 12,000 children in Northern Nigeria have benefitted from the scheme. The most prominent feature of Access Bank’s iconic merger with Diamond bank was the near-zero layoffs, a monumental feat for an industry known for its constant retrenchments while evolving into a wide-reaching financial services provider, with over 30 million customers under its belt.
Damini ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu
Early in the year, Burna Boy threw online tantrums because his name was in small fonts on the Coachella performance flier. And while it appeared ridiculous at the time, Burna Boy has gone ahead to prove how much of a cultural force he is. From winning BET’s Best International Act Award and becoming a Grammy nominee for his album African Giant, Burna Boy coiled himself around xenophobic tensions in South Africa as a pacifist, and nothing could be more on-brand from an artist who calls an African Giant.
Author, essayist, feminist, speaker, reeling out Chimamanda Adichie’s numerous awards would feel arduous. That said, she made history after as the youngest African and first Nigerian to have received the Global Leadership Award. She was recognized for her work, using literature and storytelling to connect with people across generations and cultures on issues of gender and racial equality as well as for being a leader on the frontlines of global progress.
Deployed to serve his fatherland in Cross River State under the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Stephen Teru took the country by storm when he shared on his Facebook page, sometime in October, a post on how he used his carpentry skill to to furnish a health centre as well as produce desks, tables, benches and shelves for the comfort of over 80 students and pupils of Community Secondary School and St. George’s Primary School; the two public schools in his host community and place of primary assignment (PPA); Old Netim, Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State.
The University of Jos (UNIJOS) graduate of animal biology braved the odds amid a dearth of resources required for the project and discouragement and has today brought more young people to reflect on better ways to contribute to their immediate environment.
Named one of the 100 most influential people on the continent by New Africa Magazine, Bosun Tijani is an entrepreneur and doubles as Co-founder/CEO of Co-Creation Hub, a multi-functional space for tech-inclined people to create new solutions to several social problems. In September, CcHUB acquired Kenyan iHub, in what would serve as an expansion of its management. Bosun is also a strong voice against police brutality/harassment, especially as it affects young people with tech-related jobs.
Voting commences today, Tuesday, 3rd December 2019 and ends 12:00 midnight of Monday, 30th December, 2019.