#Y100: These are the 100 Most Influential Nigerians alive today

Lala Akindoju

In between starring in some of the most high-profile films (Surulere, The CEO) to hit the cinemas of late, Lala Akindoju operates a private hustle as the CEO of Make It Happen productions, an outfit that has staged critically and commercially successful iterations of plays like V-Monologues, Femi Osofisan’s The Wives and London Life, Lagos Living. Akindoju also runs Open Mic Theatre, a hub for the expression of fresh talented acts in entertainment.

TY Bello

You know you are one of the most powerful persons alive when you can take a local bread seller, glam her up, present her to the world on the cover of This Day Style no less, and alter the course of her life, perhaps forever. This Day Style may not be the force it once was but Bello’s photographs of the most buzzworthy figures are still as important, and no Sunday is quite complete without her work staring at us boldly, daring us to look away. We dare not.

Ayodele Elegba

Ayodele Elegba is the CEO of Mustardseed Communication, convener of the annual comic, animation, gaming and film convention dubbed Lagos Comic Con, the biggest gathering of comic lovers in the country which is in its fifth year. Elegba’s name and prints appear on some of the most popular intellectual properties on the continent as regards comics, graphics, and animation and he continues to push to unlock the full potentials of his industry.

Edward Keazor

Ed Emeka Keazor trained as a lawyer but for the last couple of years, has worked as a journalist (regional editor for Music in Africa), musician (with traditional group Ikenga) and historian. He has over the last few years been involved in several projects documenting Nigerian history. Keazor’s richly researched lectures on Nigerian history are a hit in corporate and art circles where hs services are in popular demand.

Nnedi Okorafor

Nnedi Okoroafor’s 2015 book, Binti, a HarryPotter-esque space odyssey won the Nebula Award for best novella, awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Okoroafor, who holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois, Chicago and works as an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University at Buffalo also made history by becoming the first Nigerian to win the Hugo award in the novella category.

Bolanle Austen-Peters

Bolanle Austen-Peters is the founder of arts and culture hub Terra Kulture, perhaps the most important space for the promotion of arts in Lagos state. Since inception, Terra Kulture has hosted over 100 plays. Apart from producing and directing Wakaa the musical, another big scale, splashy stage production, Austen-Peters also brought the excellent 93 Days, a chronicle of the nation’s successful fight against Ebola to the big screens.

Lola Shoneyin

The author of The Secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives, Shoneyin’s work with the Ake Book festival, an annual celebration of literature, dance and music has had a healthy and far-reaching impact on the creative industry. Writers and their hangers on look forward to the Ake festival with all the excitement of Hollywood’s awards season.

Chika Unigwe

The author of the NLNG award-winning novel On Black Sisters Street resides in the United States where she is not only a professor of creative writing at Brown University but represents Nigeria proudly and effectively too. Unigwe has won the 2003 BBC Short Story Competition and a Commonwealth Short Story Competition award among other laurels. She is one of the judges for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.

Bibi Bakare Yusuf

An accomplished scholar, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf has through Cassava Republic press contributed to getting the nation reading. Cassava Republic which recently turned ten opened an office in London and published the Nigerian issues of hotly anticipated titles by Toni Kan, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and Leye Adenle. The romance imprint Ankara is also pushing stories by upcoming writers.

ynaija-fashionOmoyemi Akerele

Founder and artistic director of Style House Files, a creative development agency for Nigerian and African designers, Omoyemi Akerele is a driving force behind the burgeoning Nigerian fashion industry. A pioneer in image consultancy and creative direction, Akerele also helps brands gain essential international exposure through presenting showcases at Pitti Imagine in Italy, and through the annual Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

Mai Atafo

Atelier, businessman and showman, Mai Atafo is one of the most dependable names in men- and women’s fashion. His output moves from the production room straight to the red carpet and every celebrity of note; from Ramsey Nouah to Ebuka Obi-Uchendu has been attired by Mai Atafo. Weddings by Mai, perhaps his most popular line caters to every wedding clothing element that exists.

Adebayo Oke-Lawal

Oke-Lawal’s Orange Culture was part of Nigeria’s delegation to the 2015 International Fashion Showcase and was invited to show at premier menswear trade show Pitti Uomo under the Ethical Fashion Initiative. The self-effacing Oke-Lawal continues to juggle multiple balls in the air with the spin-off diffusion labels, Orange by Orange Culture, and a streetwear brand, O.C by Orange Culture.

Joan Okorodudu

A lot of working models, both at home and in the diaspora owe a lot of their success to Joan Okorodudu, founder of ISIS modelling agency and godmother of the Nigerian fashion industry. A former beauty queen herself, Okorodudu started ISIS while trying to fill the need for suitable representatives for models who emerged victorious in a reality competition that she organised.

Amaka Osakwe

Amaka Osakwe’s Maki Oh is white hot, even Beyonce knows to seek the brand out when looking to return to her African roots. And who can blame the Queen Bey? Maki Oh’s 2015 collection Arodan, debuted exclusively on Vogue, instantly making Osakwe the first designer based in Nigeria to achieve this feat. Maki Oh’s first studio in Lekki was commissioned last year and influential figures like Michelle Obama and Kerry Washington have been spotted wearing the label.

ynaija-sportsLucy Ejike

Lucy Ogechukwu Ejike is the Nigerian Paralympic powerlifter who has represented country at five consecutive Paralympic Games from 2000 in Sydney through 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, winning medals at each outing. An elite athlete, Ejike made history when she shattered the Paralympic and world record three successive times before winning gold with a lift of 142kg at the Rio Games.

John Mikel Obi

The Chelsea midfielder may not be known for scoring goals with prolific efficiency but he has steadily built his profile as one of the most successful African football players of his generation, joining Chelsea FC in Europe Championship and Premiership victories. One of the most decorated players on the continent, Obi was head of Team Nigeria’s delegation to the Rio Olympic games and provided leadership that moved his team from being stranded in Atlanta to scoring a Bronze medal.

Florence Omagbemi

Omagbemi enjoyed more than a decade-long stint as player and midfielder with the female national football side, Super Falcons before retiring and eventually serving as coach of the same Falcons. In December, she became the first person ever to win the African Women Cup of Nations as both player and coach when the Super Falcons defeated Cameroon to emerge champions for a record tenth time.

Asisat Oshoala

The most exciting female player on the continent is also one of the youngest. Last year, Asisat Oshoala scored double at the Glo/CAF awards, winning the African Women’s Player of the Year and Women Youth Player of the year. A veteran of two FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cups, Oshoala recently achieved her childhood dream of playing for Arsenal Ladies FC in the English Premier League. She is part of the team that emerged champions of Africa after winning the African cup of Nations in December.

ynaija-mediaMo Abudu

Mo Abudu is the founder of EbonyLife Television and the Inspire Africa Foundation. As a TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant, and entrepreneur, Mo is the poster child for those who keep evolving – for the better. EbonyLife films rolls out its second feature length, The Wedding Party, a star-packed glossy fairy tale starring Adesua Etomi and Banky W.

Tajudeen Adepetu

Tajudeen Adepetu is the managing director of Consolidated Media Associates (owners of ONTV, Televista Movies, Spice TV, Village Square and Soundcity) and Alphavision productions. These two companies together have made him the biggest owner of media properties this side of Africa. And he’s not nearly done. He launched Tribe TV, a new channel for African movies serviced across DStv channels.

Comments (0)

  1. @Chude Being the platform owner doesn’t mean you deflect your influential status.

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