#YNaijaNewEstablishmentList: Adekunle Gold, Ebi Atawodi, Odion Ighalo… Meet the class of 2016

In what has become an annual tradition, YNaija.com/Y! Africa Magazine has yet again, painstakingly and thoroughly scouted the breadth of the country to uncover vibrant, upwardly mobile and entrepreneurial Nigerians who are blossoming in spite of the challenges associated with becoming successful in Nigeria.

The 2016 picks for the New Establishment list were carefully selected from various sectors; from sports to media, entertainment to technology- by a panel of seasoned stakeholders.

Some of our future 25 may not yet be household names, but it’s only a matter of time before their deeds are etched in the consciousness of Nigerians.


Ijeoma Grace Agu
The chocolate-skinned thespian has over the years proved her mettle in the movie industry, bringing a rare form of grace and undiluted openness when playing a character. Ijeoma has starred in several movies but shot to limelight in the movie, Taxi Driver (Oko Ashewo) and in the widely acclaimed movie, Misfit, wherein she acted the role of a prostitute. She is a graduate of Biochemistry from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka and an alumnus of Royal Arts Academy where she graduated summa cum laude.

Chidi Ajaere
He is the Chief executive of God is Good Group of Companies, which includes the popular God is Good motors. Chidi, who inherited the company from his late father late, Deacon Edwin Ajaere, has since gone on to reposition the company. Through a combination of business smarts, dexterity and foresight, Chidi has expanded the company into a business conglomerate, increased revenue and profitability, and built modern terminals throughout the country.

Seun Ajayi
Seun is a brilliant actor in his own rights and a talent to be reckoned with. He is a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Lagos and has featured in several films, TV series, stage productions and web series. He played the lead role, Arinze, in the yet to be release movie, Surulere, -a film produced and directed by Mildred Okwo and Rita Dominic’s jointly owned company, The Audrey Silva company.

Evans Akanno
An entrepreneur, design, marketing and start-ups specialist. He is the founder and CEO of Cregital Design Agency, a futuristic company specialized in branding, web design, digital marketing and helping brands grow their projects and make smart impressions. The company, founded less than nine months ago, has gone on to work with several big brands such as African Magic, Globe motors, United Bank for Africa (UBA), amongst others. His latest project is the creation of internet forum, Zegist.

Isabella Akinseye
Bubbly, even tempered with a girl next door character, Isabella is a TV personality, on-air-personality, writer, communication specialist and educationist. She is the host of a half-hour current affairs radio program on Radio Continental, The Frontpage. Akinseye is also the host and producer of the upcoming Africana Literati Television Show – a show that hopes to promote reading culture in youths. She is the editor of the Nollysilver Screen, an online publication that provides information on Nollywood movies showing in cinemas.


Ebi Atawodi
Ebi is a former Head of Corporate Communications at Etisalat Nigeria. She currently serves as the General Manager of Uber Lagos, an international technology company renowned for its transportation and taxi network. Ebi holds a degree in Electrical Electronics Engineering from the University of Nottingham and a master’s degree in Computer Science from Imperial College. Ebi is an unapologetic believer in the arts and has published two books of photography –Nigerians Behind the Lens and FIVE.

Betta Edu
Betta Edun is the youngest political appointee in the country presently. She was appointed by the Gov. Ayade led Cross River state government. Betta, who serves as the Special Adviser to the Government on Community Health, also heads the Cross River State Government Department of Community and Primary Healthcare. She is a University of Calabar trained Medical Doctor, a program she completed in 2010. Betta also holds a master degree in Public health in developing countries from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She is also an ambassador of the state of Arkansas, USA.

Kingsley Ezeani
He is the founder and owner of informationng.com, the first website in Nigeria to get up to a million fans on Facebook. Kingsley, who is also a social media consultant, was the 2013 winner of the prestigious Future Africa award for new media. He was also recognized as an under 30 achiever in 2013. Kingsley has proven over the years, through his entrepreneurial dexterity that he is a force to be reckoned with. He is the cofounder and managing editor of stirring websites that produce original contents: music website- sounds.ng, and fashion and lifestyle website- theotherstyle.com and PartyJollof.com.

Adekunle Gold

Adekunle Gold
Aided by a unique beat, with a highlife undertone, and a melodious voice to accompany, Adekunle Gold broke into the music scene with a bang. Adekunle, who was born into the royal Kosoko family of Lagos, has already carved a niche for himself and established himself as an artist to be reckoned with. Adekunle recently won the Best Alternative song category at the 2015 Headies award, beating out other popular and well established singers to clinch the coveted award. His first single ‘Sade’ enjoyed massive airplay on radios and television. To prove to us that he is here to stay, Adekunle went on to record and release a second single, ‘Orente’ and followed it up with ‘Pick up. Adekunle Gold is signed to YBNL Nation.

Toke Ibru
Toke is the executive director of The Guardian Newspaper Nigeria. He is the son of the former Minister of Internal Affairs and founder of The Guardian newspaper, Alex Ibru. Toke, a United Kingdom educated young man, has over the years demonstrated remarkable shrewdness as he manages his late father’s business and explores new business opportunities. He is also the co-founder of IPB partners, a private equity boutique investing in SMEs in Nigeria.

Ada Igboanugo
Ada, who wields the pen as her weapon and tool, is the Editor and content curator of The September Standard, an exciting, trendy fashion and lifestyle portal. A certified PR consultant, Ada is also the associate editor at YNaija, a former reporter on lifestyle and culture for ThisDay newspapers and editor for 360nobs.com. Ada is the founder and CEO of Rockhill PR.


Odion Ighalo
He is a professional footballer who currently plays for the English club, Watford and the Nigerian Super Eagles. Odion has played for several football clubs both in Nigeria and abroad. He first played for Nigeria clubs, Prime FC and Julius Berger FC, before being discovered by a FIFA agent from where he went on to play for Lyn FC, Udinese FC, Granada FC and Cesena FC. Odion was awarded the Premier League Player of the month for December 2015. His goals have helped establish Watford in the English Premier League.

Lil Kesh
2015 would not be complete without mentioning Lil Kesh. He ruled the airwaves last year, releasing hits back to back and thrilling fans with his titillating music and energetic dance steps. He was also featured on a single in the joint album of hit-makers, Phyno and Olamide. The single, Ladi, went on to become the most popular song on the album. Lil Kesh’s lyrics are liberally spiced with Yoruba and possesses an endearing earnestness that makes it hard to forget. His 2015 singles Gbese, Efejoku, and Is it because I love you were massive hits. He was nominated for the Headies 2015 next rated award.

Uju Marshall
Gliding through the runway as if she was born walking or adorning advertorials or magazine cover, Uju Marshall is a model that has carved out a niche in the modeling industry. A self confessed camera lover, Uju has over the years built a strong portfolio and has gone on to work with several reputable brands and designers and appeared on fashion shows within and outside Nigeria. She also participated in the Lagos 2015 Fashion and Design week, appearing in a total of 32 shows at the event.

Cynthia Morgan
Cynthia Morgan is an artiste with unforgettable distinctive style music that many describe as a unique hybrid of pop, rap, hip-hop and reggae. She won the Best Reggae/Dancehall award at the 2015 Headies awards. The Edo state born German Juice crooner is signed to Northside Entertainment Inc. She was thrown into the limelight following the release of her singles Don’t break my heart and Lead me on.

Philip Obaji Jr
Philip is the founder of the GAME campaign –an organization working towards ensuring that children (popularly called Almajiri) in the insurgence ridden states in the North-east acquire primary education. Philip, who also oversees the organizations operations, was awarded the Young person of the Year at the 2015 Future Awards Africa. The graduate of Marine Biology from the University of Calabar, has shown remarkable courage and an exemplary character through his social activism and innovative strategies that are helping young indigent children acquire an education that they deserve.

CJ Obasi
He is a film maker, film buff, editor and screenwriter. CJ has been honoured with several awards, both locally and internationally, including the Best Nigerian Film for his surreal horror film, ojuju. He was also the recipient of the 2015 Trailblazer award at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. His works have been described as “daring” and “different”. CJ holds a degree in computer science from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Yahaya Bello
A tragic turn of events saw Yahaya Bello- who initially placed second in the All Progressive Congress (APC) Kogi gubernatorial primary- become the Kogi sate governor-elect. The 40 year old civil servant and business man, turned politician, was before then, virtually unknown in the political sphere of the country. He was, however, nominated as the APC governorship candidate for Kogi state following the death of Prince Abubakar Audu (the initial winner of the primary) and the declaration of the election result as inconclusive. Bello went on to win the supplementary election conducted by INEC. Bello is known for his philanthropy and financial dexterity. Through his business, Bello has provided employment opportunities for several unemployed youths in Kogi.

Chigozie Obioma
Chigozie is the author of critically acclaimed book, The Fisherman, and was among the bestselling novels of 2015. He has been described “as one of the original voices in modern African literature.” Chigozie’s works have appeared in several publications, he was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction and winner of the FT/Oppenheimer awards. He is also a lecturer at the University of Nebraska, where he lectures on literature and creative writing.

Bamikole Omisore
Banks Omishore (Bamikole Omishore) is the Special Assistant on New Media to the Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at AbiBanks –a media and reputation management company. Through his works as the Special Assistant to the Senate President, Banks have helped, in no small measure, to reconnect the Senate to the youths and bridge the perceived gap between those in governance and the masses. He has also worked with UNESCO and other reputable organizations.

Chinaza Onuzo
Chinaza is a screenwriter and movie producer. Chinaza’s works have been great successes and held movie enthusiast spellbound. He wrote and co-produced the romantic/crime movie The Department and wrote the cinema movie Out of luck.


Chioma ‘Chigul’ Omeruah
She is a fast raising comedienne, television host, voice over artiste, actress and an all round entertainer. Chigul shot to prominence after she sang and released a viral audio and is known for her thick Igbo accent. The United States educated entertainer has since been featured on several music, films and videos. She recently became a TV host on Mo Abudu’s Ebony Life television.

Nosa Oyegun
How do you create a guide on how and where to get a good meal in a chaotic city like Lagos? Well ask Nosa! He is the co-founder of Eat Drink Lagos, the premier Lagos food and drink blog. Nosa, a self-confessed foodie, is also a writer and content developer for several media outfit. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master degree in Systems Engineering from Texas A&M University. Nosa recently appeared on CNN’s African Voices show.

Udomboso John Saviour
The words “Young John, the wicked producer,” are probably one of the most consistent words that rode the airwaves and club scenes last year. The year 2015 saw John, a formerly unknown, attend star status through his collaborations and sound production for YBNL label acts. His works includes Olamide’s story for the gods, Lil Kesh’s Gbese and Efejoku, Phyno, Olamide and Lil Kesh’s Ladi. John is an undergraduate student at the University of Ibadan where he is currently pursuing a degree in Communication and Language Art.

Asking if you know Simi would probably attract a surprise look and “Jamb question,” as a reply. The beautiful and doll face pop singer and songwriter, Simi (Simisola Ogunleye), stormed the Nigerian music industry with her hit song, Jamb Question. She has since held the music industry by the jugular as she pelts out song and after song. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from Covenant University, Nigeria.

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