In keeping faith with Pleasures magazine annual tradition, we reflect on the past year 2017. We evaluate the top most 100 people who defined, re-defined and shaped the year in focus one way or the other. They are those extra ordinary Innovators, creators, political players, entertainers and activists that their impacts sounded loudest – you won’t find a more definite list anywhere else than this.

The list is spread across categories: politics and governance; business and entrepreneurship; professionals, civil society and activism; media; arts and culture; religious and traditional leaders, sport, including Diaspora Nigerians.
The criteria used is the extent of their activities on the society. After public nominations were opened in October, the lists was compiled and the review process commenced. Public nominations accounted for 70% and the Committee consisting of editors, bloggers home and abroad and panel of the African Development Recognition Award scored 40% of the total.

POLITICS / GOVERNANCE

President Buhari, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, SAN – Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, is named in this list for his meritorious to Nigerians so far, particularly as safe pair of hands during President Muhammadu Buhari’s enforced absence for most part of 2017.”Prof. Osinbajo has been commended on different occasions for his exceptional leadership, loyalty to the President and commendable service to the country. It would be recalled that, on his return from medical vacation in the UK, President Muhammadu Buhari praised Prof. Osinbajo, for his efforts at leading the country in his (President’s) absence. Yemi Osinbajo has the highest number of votes. Congratulations VP extra-ordinary.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo – Touted as one of Nigeria’s strongest politicians ever, Baba Iyabo as he is widely known, a former Nigerian president, is one of the most influential Nigerians of this generation. He has also been within the corridors of power since he became Nigeria’s democratically-elected president in 1999. Chief Obasanjo, a respected Ogun high chief, has also parleyed with every president who has emerged since he left the post.

Alhaji Turaki Atiku Abubarkar – Atiku Abubakar is a politician, businessman and philanthropist, who served as the second elected Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. He is one of the most influential politicians in the country and un-official confirmed presidential candidate on the platform People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Senator Bukola Saraki – Senate President and chairman of the eighth National Assembly. Despite a stormy takeoff as President of the Senate, the number three citizen has in two years shown resilience and capacity, such that regardless of the array of mines seemingly strewn in his path, before and after assuming office, has remained undeterred in steering the affairs of the upper chamber. A former governor of Kwara State and erstwhile chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Saraki is unarguably one of the most influential politicians around. With a network of associates and colleagues across 109 senatorial districts, he is certainly one politician to watch out for in the coming years.

Goodluck Jonathan – The immediate past president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Jonathan has won a place in the hearts many Nigerians for his acceptance of the results of the elections that led to the emergence of Buhari as the country’s new leader on April 1, 2015. The fact that millions of Nigerians voted for him in the March 28, 2015 presidential elections and that he remains a daily topic of discussion across the country is also an indication of his influence in the Nigerian polity.

Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu – The Jagaban of Borgu, as he is fondly called, is arguably one of the most powerful politicians in the country at this moment. Asiwaju’s influence extends across all states and in Nigeria. Tinubu is sure and well close to the president and one of the major people behind the president’s victory in the 2015 elections. Report has it; Tinubu requests for whatever he wants from all APC governors, senators and more. Which indirectly puts him in a powerful and influential position in Nigeria.

Akinwunmi Ambode – Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s performance has been wonderfully excellent. He has performed creditably well to the admiration of Lagosians, onlookers and stakeholders alike. The transformation he has carried out in Lagos has been extraordinary. With an overwhelming high figure popularity rating for Governor Ambode, as he continues to deliver good governance, promoting infrastructural development and people-centered policies that better the lives of the people of Lagos.
The most surprising thing is that he is doing all this without making noise. He is not bragging, making empty noise or using the media to bamboozle the people about what he has done.

Mamman Daura – A former journalist and industrialist, Mamman Daura holds no official cabinet or government position but his family ties to the President Buhari and the complete trust that the President has reportedly in him has placed him in a position where he is able to influence who and what gets the president’s approval- or attention for that matter. According to inside sources, federal appointments almost always receive the Mamman Daura seal of approval.

Nyesom Ezenwo Wike – The inclusion of the Rivers state governor Wike is in recognition of his outstanding achievements and activities in office. His fast rising profile in the management of state resources, projects execution, massive constructions of roads, renovation of general hospitals and schools in the state. Rivers state is one of only a handful of states that has not owed salaries since the economic downturn began.

Abba Kyari – The Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari is no ordinary domestic aide. Kyari enjoys a close and robust relationship with his principal and leverages on it to influence everything within government from policy making to presidential appointments.

President Muhammadu Buhari – As the leader of the most populous black country, the Daura born politician is of course influential. His long absence from the country in the year, made Nigerians worry about the future and their daily lives. Eventually, the President came back and the way he handled the IPOB situation made Nigerians speak on the issue for months.

Ayo Fayose – You may not always agree with Fayose’s methods- and there is too much to disagree with,- but it is clear to see that Fayose swings from the uncouth rabble-rouser image to a thorough leader of the opposition. His party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won all the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Ekiti State.

Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi – Rotimi Amaechi, former Governor of Rivers State is another heavyweight politician in the country. He is currently the minister for transportation and one of the strongest backers of the then candidate Muhammadu Buhari. President Goodluck Jonathan lost his second term bid, in advance, the day he allowed Amaechi and his fellow Governors and others to leave the PDP.

Femi Fani-Kayode – Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of culture and tourism and also a former avaiation minister of Nigeria. He is a lawyer and very outspoken. Femi Fani-Kayode is one of the most influential figures in the main opposition, PDP. He is also regarded as controversial because of his outspokenness, but the shine can never be taken off his influence in the political landscape of Nigeria of today.

Senator Dino Melaye – The distinguished Senators of the 8th National Assembly, under the leadership of the Senate president Bukola Saraki have all in one way or the other contributed immensely to the successes and achievements of the 8th Senate thus far and most importantly to the growth and development of Nigeria as a whole. One of such senators is Senator Dino Melaye, representing Kogi West senatorial district, Dino Melaye is a very popular and out-spoken senator of the 8th Senate. A key ally of the Senate president, Melaye has sponsored a number of motions in the Senate.

Boss Gida Mustapha – Boss Mustapha is a lawyer, management consultant, politician, and businessman and boardroom guru of considerable repute. Until his new appointment as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss was the Managing Director/CEO of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA).

ADVOCACY AND CIVIL SOCIETY

Mrs Aisha Buhari, Dr Ahmad Isah and Mrs Zainab Bagudu

‘Ordinary President’ Dr. Ahmad Isah – Founder of the very first and, presently the only 100% human rights centered radio and TV station in the whole world dedicated to giving unlimited and potent voice to the voiceless. Dr. Ahmad Isah, Executive Media Strategist / President and Founder of Brekete Family programme, a reality radio/TV reality talk show and programs which have become a great succour to many, irrespective of social status, religion, tribe, colour or nationality. Brekete Family is airing on his newly founded Human Rights Radio 101.1 FM, Abuja.

Aisha Buhari – Mrs Aisha Buhari is the wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Aisha is the Founder of the Future Assured programme, the initiative is a non-governmental Organization set up with the aim of advocating for the wellbeing of women, children and adolescents in Nigeria. The programme has trained and empowered over 40,000 in the last two years.

Zainab Bagudu – Zainab Bagudu is the Founder of Medicaid Cancer Foundation/CEO Medicaid Diagnostic Centre and the Wife of the Executive Governor of Kebbi State in Nigeria. She is a strong advocate of breast and cervical cancer awareness, and is instrumental to have gotten thousands of women screened for these diseases, especially in the Northern part of Nigeria. In 2017, Zainab was awarded the Silverbird Man of the Year Award for her outstanding contribution to the medical field.

Ikponwosa Ero – UN’s Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism.

Seun Onigbinde – Seun Onigbinde is so powerful, Bill Gates knows his name, and shady government officials know to fear him. He fights for institutionalized transparency in government processes through BudgIT, a Co-Creation Hub-incubated. BudgIT was instrumental in blowing the lid off the budget padding mess that tainted the Buhari led federal government a year ago and has consistently led the charge for an open national assembly in terms of finances and budgeting.

Dr Fatima Akilu -Fatima Akilu is a psychologist and a public speaker in the areas of Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) and Counter Terrorism. She is currently the Executive Director of Neem Foundation, and the former Director of Behavioural Analysis and Strategic Communication at the Office of the National Security Adviser in Nigeria, where she worked on the country’s Countering Violent Extremism Programme in 2014. She also is a part of The Global Strategy Network team with industry expert Richard Barrett and other individuals. Fatima is also a children’s book writer, and a partner of the Women’s Alliance for Security Leadership (WASL)

Ibrahim Mustafa Magu – One of the most feared personalities in the country, Ibrahim Magu, a Deputy Commissioner of Police and Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. Magu has recorded unprecedented achievements in the history of the Commission. Amongst the over 200 convictions he recorded in a period of about one year is the convictions of the final forfeiture of N34 Billion which was traced to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani Allison Maduekwe; Others are the sentencing of former governor of Adamawa State, Bala Ngilari to five years in jail for procurement fraud; sentencing of former Director General of NIMASA, Temisan Omatseye to five years in prison for fraud and sentencing of former Local Government Chairman in Kogi State, Gabriel Daudu to five years in jail for money laundering; recovery of 17 vehicles from Ex- Comptroller-General of Customs, Abdullahi Dikko Inde; uncovering of Diezani’s $37.5million Mansion and the securing of Interim Forfeiture Order of N50 million on Former Enugu CJ’S Bank Accounts, the list is unending.

Aare Gani Adams – The leader of the Oduduwa Peoples Congress , a secessionist and nationalist organisation based in Nigeria, which supports a sovereign state for the Yoruba people. Gani, a focused, committed and pragmatic Nigerian whose unrelented efforts and sense of devotion in the vanguard of making Yoruba tradition a reference point in global circles is inspiring, laudable and worthy of emulation. On October 14, 2017, Adams was declared as the 15th Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland by Oba Adeyemi III, which in the pre-colonial Yoruba history was a supreme military title conferred by the Alaafin of Oyo. The title was last held by Moshood Abiola before his death in 1998.

MEDIA

John Momoh, Mo Abudu and Omoyele Sowore

John Momoh – John Momoh is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Channels Television. He is a renowned broadcast journalist with a vast experience spanning over three and half decades. Before founding Channels, John worked variously as News Anchor, Senior Reporter and Senior Producer for Nigeria’s National Radio and Television Stations, (Radio Nigeria and Nigerian Television Authority). His television station Channels TV, is the only Nigerian and indeed African Broadcaster to have won the “Television Station of the Year” Award, a record Ten times, five of them consecutively. Channels is the Most Awarded Television station in Africa.

Mo Abudu – Mo Abudu needs no introduction and is globally recognized as a leading media icon and entrepreneur in Africa. As the CEO/Founder of Ebony Life TV, she has created a platform for Africa to tell its own stories in a way that resonates with audiences all over the world. Through Ebony Life Films, she’s constantly redefining African cinema, and pushing bold and audacious narratives. Mo is the producer of 2016 box-office record breaking movie ‘The Wedding Party’ – a movie that endeared itself to critics and fans alike. Regarded as one of the most influential and inspiring names in the Nigerian media and entertainment industry, Mo is constantly fueled by her passion to help change the narrative about Africa. In 2015, she was listed by Forbes as one of Africa’s most successful women.

Linda Ikeji – Everyone’s favourite girl next door has continued to build on the runaway success of her eponymous brand. Ikeji’s blog continues to be the place to go for breaking news, celebrity culture, and gossip. Her give back project, ‘I’d rather be self-made’ helps young girls along their road to entrepreneurship.

Dele Momodu – Dele Momodu is a Nigerian journalist/publisher, businessman, philanthropist and motivational speaker. He is the CEO and publisher of Ovation International, a magazine that has given publicity to people from all over the world, mainly in Africa.

Dapo Olorunyomi – No one gets to the root of breaking stories like Premium Times and it is all because of Olorunyomi’s singular vision. In 4 short but eventful years, he has led the team at Premium Times, an online investigative reporting platform that has been relentless in its pursuit of government accountability.

Fati Abubakar – Armed with a camera and an Instagram handle, @bitsofborno, Fati Abubakar strolls the streets of her hometown, Maiduguri and attempts to capture that other side of the terrorism ravaged state the mainstream media will not show you. Inspired by Instagram handles like @humansofny, Abubakar’s simple but powerful pictures of humans triumphing in the midst of affliction and their heart-warming captions have been able to tell a narrative of Borno beyond death and destruction.

Omoyele Sowore – A political activist, Omoyele Sowore is the founder of the popular Saharareporters.com , a news site that has been named “ the Wikileaks of Africa” by The Daily Beast . Based in New York City. Although, Mr. Sowore is based in New York, 5, 269 miles from Nigeria, he has become the nemesis of many a corrupt and inept official in his country. He has amassed a long list of trusted sources within Nigeria’s ruling establishment and its corporate world. And his website, in recent years, has become one of the most visited and trusted sources of news in the oil-rich West African nation. Sahara Reporters has received several threats from individuals whose illegal activities has been exposed on the website as well as from the Nigerian government.

Daddy Freeze – In 2017, Freeze was not only the man Nigerians loved to hate but he was also the most influential. For decades, some Nigerians had wondered about the concept of tithing. Freeze took the bull by the horn and questioned pastors about tithing and their flamboyant lifestyles. His Instagram posts gave many Nigerians to speak up about what they think is wrong about the Nigerian church.

Japheth Omojuwa – Japheth is the founder of Omojuwa.com, a very influential platform with a large following. He is a writer, blogger and political commentator. Omojuwa has lectured at Berlin’s Free University on Africa’s Civil Disobedience Culture and New Media. His opinions on socio-political issues in Nigeria and beyond are delivered with passion and analytical depth.

SPORTS

John Obi Mikel , Eniola Aluko and Anthony Joshua

Eniola Aluko – Eniola Aluko, the Lagos born British is the football star who stood up and exposed a racism in the English FA
Dominic Solanke, Fikayo Tomori, Josh Onomah), Sheyi Ojo , Ovie Ejaria and Ademola Lookman – On Sunday June 11 2017, in South Korea, England won the under-20 soccer World Cup with the help of six Nigerians, —the country’s first piece of international silverware in half a century.

Anthony Joshua – Boxing was a dead sport until Anthony Joshua challenged Wladimir Klitschko for the title and won. His successful defence made Nigerians sort of care about a sport that was on the brink of extinction.

John Obi Mikel — The inspirational figure at the heart of the current very successful Super Eagles side. The Tianjin Teda man might no longer be a flashy No 10 but his ability to control proceedings from deep with a calm efficiency and astute reading of the game which is almost peerless. Deployed in a free and advanced role for Nigeria during the qualification series, the Super Eagles’s skipper has recently added goals to his toolkit, as he showed against Algeria and Cameroon.

Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga – A trio of Nigerian women made history in 2017 as the continent’s first-ever bobsled team to compete in the Winter Olympics. Seun Adigun, Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga are expected to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, as the first-ever African representatives — male or female — to qualify for the Winter Games in the sport of bobsled.

Asisat Oshoala – She is probably the most popular sportswoman in Nigeria at the moment. Since leading Nigeria to the final of the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Since then, Oshoala has become the best Nigerian female player winning the 2015 BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year. In recognition of her influence in Nigerian women’s sports, she was invited to speak at second edition of the FIFA Women’s Football and Leadership Conference in 2016.

ARTS AND CULTURE

Davido , Kaffy and Wizkid

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde – Actress, singer, activist and philanthropist, Omotola is a celebrity of international repute. In 2013, she was honoured in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Kate Middleton, her influence cuts across different countries. With a great resume of acting performances, she stands side by side the best Actors in the world.

Stephanie Linus-Okereke – Actress, film director, model and activist, Stephanie just keeps on re-inventing herself to the utter delight and joy of her fans. In 2011, she was honoured by the Nigerian government with a National honour (Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR). She is the Regional Ambassador of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA for Central and West Africa.

Nathaniel Bassey – In 2017, Nathaniel Bassey proved that nice guys can finish first. His Instagram Live concert #HallelujahChallenge was a rallying cry for Christians to come online and worship God. For a month, Christians tuned in to his live ministrations. At one point, 70,000 were streaming his concerts live. He expertly used social media to gather Christians online in a manner that no one before him had done. In 2017, Nathaniel Bassey was the storm no one saw coming.

Davido – After a lacklustre 2016, Davido bounced back in fine form in 2017 with three hit singles. Critics thought he had lost his touch but Davido showed us that he has the blueprint for Naija singers who are plotting a comeback.

Ali Baba – Atunyota Alleluya Akporobomerere, stage name Ali Baba, is one of the most sought after Nigerian stand-up comedian and the father of Stand-up comedy in Nigeria. He was inducted into the Johnny Walker ‘Striding Man’ Society in 2009 which recognizes men who have achieved great strides in their chosen fields of endeavour and who share the strides they have taken to motivate and encourage others. and was featured on CNN’s African voices in 2015.

Kafayat Shafau-Ameh (Kaffy) – Despite discouragement from family and friends and the seemingly unlucrative nature of her passion, Kaffy proved beyond reasonable doubt about her choice of career as she danced her way into the Guinness World Record with her team, ‘Imagneto’ at the Nokia Silverbird Danceathon. She is an inspiration to young people to not give up on their dreams and to not let anything stop them from achieving their dreams.

AY – AY Makun is presently one of the most successful Nigerian comedians. From AY Live to The AY Show, AY’s Crib to AY’s Open Mic, the span of products his Corporate World Entertainment has been able to turn into money-spinning business ventures is quite something to behold. A Trip to Jamaica, the sequel to 2014’s record breaking 30 Days in Atlanta has quickly become the most successful Nollywood film ever in terms of box office receipts

Richard Mofe-Damijo – A former commissioner in his native Delta state, Richard Mofe-Damijo returned with his trademark charisma to the screen big time with high profile roles in television (Hush), lead roles (Oloibiri, The Grudge) and supporting turns (Dinner, The Wedding Party) in big screen productions.

Wizkid – Wizkid (Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun)’s contribution to the Nigerian Music Industry has earned him several achievements. He is the recipient of two BET Awards, three Billboard Music Awards, two iHeartRadio Music Awards amongst others. He r beat Jay-Z, Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar and others to clinch the best international artist award at the 2017 MOBO Awards in November, three times at the American Music Awards, four times at the World Music Awards, and once at the Grammy Awards. Moreover, he received an ASCAP plaque for his songwriting contributions to Drake’s “One Dance”.

Kunle Afolayan – Mr. Afolayan’s big budget, pan-African production, The CEO may have been a critical misfire what with its problematic final act, but the box office receipts and accolades received only proved that Afolayan is one of the few names that are a genuine box office attraction. For The CEO, Afolayan gathered a cast from Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Benin Republic and South Africa and premiered the film aboard an Air France flight to Paris, France.

Odunlade Adekola – For a spell now, Yoruba Nollywood fans have been in on Odunlade Adekola, the genre’s biggest leading man. A veteran of over 100 movies, Adekola has been quite prolific, producing and starring in some of the biggest and most successful Yoruba films of the last decade, building a cult following along the way.

Joke Silva – Veteran actress and director Joke Silva fondly dubbed the “Silva lining of the Nigerian film and entertainment industry”, is an award winning Nigerian actress, with a successful and influential career which has spanned well over 3 decades. A talented writer, director, producer and performer, Joke is renowned for the memorable roles she has played both off and on screen. Her award winning career is rivaled by few and respected by many.

BUSINESS / ENTREPRENEURIAL

Nnamdi Ezeigbo , Aliko Dangote and Adewale Aladejana

Aliko Dangote – Aliko Dangote is the the king of the Nigerian manufacturing industry and perhaps Africa. Despite a weaker Nigerian currency and strife in the northern part of Nigeria, Aliko Dangote is still Africa’s richest man by far, even after a net worth decline of nearly $5 billion in the past year.

Nnamdi Ezeigbo – Nnamdi is the founder and CEO of Slot Systems limited, and also the brain behind TECNO and INFINIX, the fastest selling phone brands in Nigeria and across West Africa.

Adewale Aladejana – Adewale Aladejana is the founder and chief executive of Sappire Scents, one of Nigeria’s biggest perfume makers, headquartered in Abuja. Formerly with TY Danjuma Foundation, Adewale has enjoyed first mover status in the world of perfume making industry in Nigeria, raking in millions of naira in a business which he founded in 2015 with only 30,000 naira has grown into a multi-million naira business venture, having over 200 distributors in 19 states of Nigeria, the UK, US, Ghana and Cameroon, employing hundreds more.

Tayo Oviosu -Tayo Oviosu might as well be the king of mobile money. His company, Paga which only last year secured about $13million in Series B financing remains focused on continuing its rapid expansion across Nigeria. With over 10,000 agents across the West Africa , Paga has a significant market base for its banking partners to leverage. The company also has over 3,800 businesses using its
services to accept and make payments and over 5.5 million users on the platform.

Adebayo Ogunlesi – A former member of the White House’s economy advisory team, Adebayo Ogunlesi is the chairman of Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm and one of Fortune 500 companies. Ogunlesi has a majority stake in London Gatwick airport. In 2009, Global Infrastructure Partners acquired the majority share in London Gatwick Airport in a deal worth £1.455 billion.

Leo Stan Ekeh – Multi-millionaire Leo Stan Ekeh’s new business venture, Yudala, a premium online shopping store, which made its entrance last year has already become a big hit, beating other existing online stores with a combination of aggressive campaign, celebrity endorsement, and efficient delivery services. Yudala is the first company to combine an e-commerce platform with offline retail stores located nationwide.

Tony Elumelu – Entrepreneur and investor Tony Elumelu owns a controlling interest in Transcorp, a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production and power generation. The Heirs Holdings’ boss through various initiatives like the Tony Elumelu Foundation, is committed to leadership, entrepreneurship and community development.

TY Danjuma – He was formerly Nigerian Army Chief of Staff from July 1975 to October 1979. General Theophilous Yakubu Danjuma is a Nigerian politicians and multi-billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He also has influence in the governance of the country having contributing millions of dollars to finance presidential election campaigns. He is among the list of 20 richest men in Nigeria, according to forbes.

Ifeoma Anyanwu – Ifeoma Anyanwu is the power behind Ogodor Fashion House, an Abuja based fashion house that caters for women who have an eye for style.
For 10 years, Ifeoma’s name has been synonymous with the pinnacle of glamour and haute couture, creating extraordinary, beautiful and timeless designs. Throughout her career, Ogodor’s garments have graced the bodies of popular figures including celebrities, business executives and political giants in the country.

Akin Alabi – Otunba Akin Alabi is the founder and chief executive of NairaBET, Nigeria’s first and biggest online sports betting portal, headquartered in Lagos. Licensed by the Lagos state lotteries board, Alabi, a former internet marketer has enjoyed first mover status in the world of online betting, stoking and benefitting from this market and has seen his company which he founded in 2009 grow to over 100 outlets around the country, employing hundreds more.

Abdulsamad Rabiu – Abdulsamad Rabiu is an influential business man and the founder and chairman of BUA Group, a privately own conglomerate active in sugar refining,cement production, flour milling, among others. Rabiu set up his own business in 1988 after working for his father and started importing rice, oil, iron rod and steel. Rabiu is one of the richest Africans and well respected for his generosity.

Jerry Uwangue – Jerry Uwangue is the chairman and founder of J&G Engineering and Construction Services Limited, one of Nigeria’s largest privately-held conglomerates. J&G Engineering has interests in oil and gas trading,(upstream, downstream and midstream)

Tara Fela Durotoye – Tara is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. She is also the CEO of renowned international make up brand, House of Tara International and is highly regarded as the pioneer of the bridal make-up profession in Nigeria.
Folorunsho Alakija – The second richest black woman in the world, Folorunsho has business interests spanning fashion, oil and gas, and printing. She’s also a philanthropist and is the founder of the Rose of Sharon Foundation.

Mike Adenuga – Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the second largest operator in Nigeria with 36 million subscribers; it also has operations in Ghana and the Republic of Benin.

Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh – A trail blazer in Nigeria’s IT industry, Stanley Ekeh set up Zinox Technologies Limited in 2001 determined to fill the gap in the market for manufacturing computers locally. To achieve this, Zinox Computers was launched – Nigeria’s First Internationally Certified Branded Computers, which came with a Naira sign and a power supply designed to be compatible with the country’s unstable power output. With Task Systems Limited, his first company, he computerized 95 percent of the Print Media, Publishing Houses and Advertising Agencies in Nigeria, winning several outstanding industry awards. In 2013 Eke’s Zinox released its Zipad tablet, another pioneering feat by the indigenous company.
Scott Tommey – One of the smartest entrepreneurs around, Chief Scott Tommey, a philanthropist billionaire, has built a world class multi-billion business empire in Osmoserve Group, whose specialty has brought physical infrastructural transformation to the Niger Delta region and given jobs to countless of the region’s hitherto unemployed youths. Osmoserve Global is an indigenous company that provides marine and engineering services to the oil and gas industry, States and Federal Government parastatals in Nigeria with its operational base in Port Harcourt.

Igho Sanomi – The young and dynamic Sanomi is the founder of Taleveras, a $2 billion (revenues) international commodities trading company active over a wide spectrum of global energy markets including crude oil and refined petroleum products, natural gas and power. Taleveras’ trading arm, now based in Dubai and Abuja, is one of the largest independent energy traders in Africa, with additional offices spread across West Africa, Europe and Asia. Founder of the Dickens Sanomi Foundation, Chief Sanomi donates millions of dollars annually to causes in education and health in Africa and elsewhere. He has twice been recognized by the world-renowned Institute Choiseul based in France, topping the ranks of the Choiseul 100: Economic Leaders for Tomorrow, which ranks young African leaders under 40 who will play a major role in the economic development of the African continent.

Ikye Williams –Ikye Williams is arguably one of Africa’s and Nigeria’s top fashion icons and designers. His Ghana based brand, Dee-Ikye fashion, has dressed top celebrities, chiefs and politicians, which has earned him a legion of followers. His brand provides expertise in distinctive and wearable clothing range combining exceptional West African textiles with the trend and styles; such as African Native wears, Political suits, Shirts, trousers & chieftaincy wears. His clients include the former President of Ghana, H.E President John Mahama , Members of Parliament of Ghana, Prophet Emmanuel Badu Kobi, Bishop Titi-ofei amongst others.He is also into real estate, bakeryand other ventures.

Alhaji Nasiru Haladu Danu – The first Dan Amana of Dutse, Nasiru Danu has achieved monumental successes in politics at a relatively young age. Chairman of NHD Interbiz Projects Limited and Casiva Nigeria Limited, from where he garnered experience and made a mark in construction, procurement, logistics, security services, as well as, up and downstream oil and gas industry. Most of those who come across Alhaji Danu note his quiet humanity, limitless compassion and philanthropy. It is a mark of his boundless generosity that Danu is quietly supporting many Non-governmental orgaisations and assisting the less privileged in the society without fanfare. However, it is his foundation dedicated to funding of education for indigent children in Jigawa, Abuja and other places, gives Alhaji Danu out as a gift to humanity.

Emeka Okonkwo aka E-Money – E-Money is one of the most popular requests on the Internet today which resulted from his constant display of wealth on social media platform like Instagram and Twitter. As an ordinary man , he started his hustle from nothing but today we know him as one of the wealthiest business tycoons in Nigeria. E-Money has several source of income, he is the CEO of Emmy Cargoes Limited, President of Five star Music that produced artistes like KCee (The Limpopo crooner), Harry Song, and Skibi. He is also one of the biggest players in Nigeria’s shipping, oil and gas industries

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi – Lanre is an Award-winning International designer and the founder of eponymous design label. In nine years her passion for fashion has gotten stronger making the label a fashion favourite among the media, celebrities and fashion lovers. For her contributions to the Nigerian and African fashion industry, LDA has received numerous accolades and awards for excellence.

PROFESSIONALS

Akinwunmi Adesina , Thomas Ilube and Lanre Olusola

Dr Oluyinka Olutoye – US-based Nigerian surgeon, Dr Oluyinka Olutoye, who successfully removed tumour from a baby in her mother’s womb. He carried out the operation on a 23-week-old foetus in the U.S. “The baby, Lynlee Hope, who suffered from a tumour known as Sacrococcygeal Teratoma, was removed from her mother’s womb, operated on, and returned to the womb. “The baby got healed and continued to grow until she was finally delivered at 36 weeks.”

Akinwunmi Adesina – A former Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development,- and a pretty decent one too,- Akinwunmi Adesina is president of the African Development Bank Group (AFDB),where he contributes to reducing Africa’s poverty burden via economic development and social progress. He recently walked away with the World Food Price 2017 award in the US.

Sandie Okoro – Sandie Okoro is a lawyer and the Senior Vice President of The World Bank Group. She also serves as the Global General Counsel for HSBC Global Asset Management and Deputy General Counsel of HSBC Retail banking and Wealth Management. She is a globally respected foremost woman leader and has been described as “a highly regarded thought leader with a strong track record of developing new legal approaches in the field of international finance” by President Of The World Bank Group, Jim Yong Kim.

Temie Giwa – Temie Giwa is the Founder and CEO of Lifebank Nigeria, a platform that tackles blood shortage in the country. She is a healthcare manager who is passionate about saving lives and making blood available when and where needed in Nigeria. Her humanitarian and social enterprise led to the establishment of LifeBank in 2015, following a near-death experience, and the difficulties she faced giving birth to her son. Using an app, LifeBank provides records of blood banks available all over Lagos, which allows health centres to find the relevant blood types and order for delivery. Her lifesaving initiative has earned her a commendation from Facebook Founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a feature on ‘CNN’s Africa Start-Up.’

Thomas Segun Ilube – Thomas Ilube is a British entrepreneur and educational philanthropist. He is ranked first in the Powerlist 2017, an annual listing of the UK’s 100 most powerful people with African or Afro-Caribbean heritage.
Rimini Makama – Recognized by Forbes as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women under 40 in Africa, Rimini is the Head of Corporate & Governmental Affairs Director at Microsoft Nigeria. She was formerly the Communications Director at Africa Practice; Africa’s foremost strategy and communications consultancy. A Lawyer by profession, Rimini previously worked at (INTERPOL) in Lyon, France where she was instrumental to the drafting of cooperation agreements between the 190 member countries and reviewing notices and individual requests safeguarding international security and safety across borders.

Ibukun Awosika – Mrs Awosika is the Chairman, First Bank of Nigeria. She is the first woman to take up this position since the establishment of the bank. Before her appointment, she was a non-Executive Director of the Bank. Ibukun Awosika graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and holds an MBA from IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain. She is an alumna of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme. She is also a board member of the Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ) and Convention on Business Integrity.

Adebola Williams – Adebola Williams, chief executive officer of StateCraft Inc, the communication agency that helped power Ghana’s three-time presidential aspirant to a victory, becoming President in January 2017, just as he did with the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. Adebola is co-founder of RED, which is the 12-year-old parent company that houses StateCraft Inc. It’s a network of four media companies focused on Africa’s youth: Red Media Africa, a Public Relations company working in West Africa for Facebook, Uber, Union Bank and Heineken; Generation Y!, a TV and online content company with one of Nigeria’s most popular online newspapers and The Future Project, a social enterprise that hosts Africa’s biggest youth social change event, The Future Awards Africa.

Lanre Olusola – The man behind the reconciliation between Nigerian singer, Tiwa Savage and her estranged husband, Tunji Balogun aka Teebillz, Lanre Olusola is recognized as one of Africa’s Premier Life, Mind, Emotions and Behavioral Change Coaches who works with individuals and organizations to transition from where they are to where they desire to be. Having worked extensively in Nigeria, across Africa and other parts of the world in various capacities with organizations such as the World Bank, the UK Government through the DFID and The British Council, Ericsson, Total, Argentil Capital, EbonyLife TV, GTBank, First Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC, FCMB, FBN Capital, The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Nigerian Government and so much more, Lanre has been able to impart exceptional problem solving, motivational, human developmental, leadership and management skills to his clients.

Omokehinde Adebanjo – Omokehinde Adebanjo is the Vice President & Area Business Head for West Africa, MasterCard. In Nigeria, Omokehinde is responsible for advancing acceptance and issuance of MasterCard’s payment products in Nigeria and other English-speaking countries in West Africa.Prior to her appointment as Area Business Head, she fulfilled the role of Vice President for Business Development in the West African region.Before joining MasterCard, Omokehinde was employed by the Guaranty Trust Bank, where she spent four years as the Head of Cards and Product Development. She is committed to introducing the benefits of a cashless society to Nigeria and the region, and focuses on building relationships with government, financial institutions and merchants to realise both MasterCard’s vision of a world beyond cash, and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s goals to reduce the circulation of cash in the country’s economy.

Olajumoke Adenowo – She is a multiple Award winning Architect, and has been called the “Face of Architecture” in Nigeria. She was featured on CNN A’s leading Architectural Publications such as America’s Architectural Record Magazine. In 1999, she founded Awesome Treasures Foundation to raise Transformational Leaders, its summits and other initiatives have attracted well over 50,000 attendees.

Charles O’Tudor – Anyone who knows about business, marketing, luxury and politics in Nigeria has definitely heard of Mr. Charles O’Tudor or met him. O’Tudor began his career in advertising and branding with a three-year stint as an Advertising Executive at Shops Bankole Sagie Advertising. He went on to become the Deputy Manager at Explicit Communications where he managed Multinational Accounts before he moved to become the Client Services Manager at Solutions. In 2001, he founded ADSTRAT BMC, a branding and advertising company, of which he has been Principal Consultant till date. ADSTRAT has handled accounts of brands spanning the Construction, Aviation, Fashion, Telecommunications, Banking, Furniture, Entertainment, Education, Hospitality and Pharmaceutical industries.

Segun Agbaje – The Guaranty Trust Bank boss has taken to the task of building the brand into a premier national institution and under his watch, GTBank has enjoyed some of its most profitable years. Agbaje’s GTB is the undisputed market leader in game-changers like online banking, SMS banking, and mobile apps. He has also invested in entrepreneurs via the SME Market Hub, the GTB Food & Drink Fair and the GTB Fashion Weekend.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – After her second stint as finance minister came to an end, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala did not go quietly into the good night. A world renowned global thinker and economic development expert, Okonjo-Iweala was appointed a member of the international advisory panel of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). She combines this with her roles as a senior adviser at Lazard and Board Chair of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

Abimbola Alale – It is a big deal to know that in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, Abimbola Alale is the only female boss of a major satellite company. As CEO of NIGCOMSAT, Abimbola is championing the move to bridge the digital divide Nigeria is experiencing with great passion.

LITERATURE/ARTS

Nike Davies, Akunyili Crosby and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – The most compulsively readable writer of her generation in all of Africa is a 41 year-old Nigerian mother of one who has won numerous book awards and has been nominated for a Grammy. An unapologetic feminist who is now required reading in Norway, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie easily sparks debates and influences thought whenever she decides to publish her work or speak her mind. Thankfully for humanity, she does this with some degree of prolificacy.

Nike Davies Okundayem – An original product of the famous Oshogbo Art Movement, Nike Davies Okundaye is one of the internationally known and renowned female artists and textile designers from Africa. The veteran textile designer brings a vivid imagination as well as a wealth of history and tradition regulating the production of adire which is the traditional Yoruba hand painted cloth. Nike continues to trumpet her designs worldwide through exhibitions and workshops in USA, Belgium, Germany, Japan and Italy to mention a few.Nike has used her international success to launch a cultural revival in Nigeria. She is the founder and director of four art centres which offer free training to over 150 young artists in visual, musical and performing arts – one of which is the largest art gallery in West Africa, compromising over 7,000 artworks. The centre also serves as a rich source of knowledge for traditional arts and culture to scholars and institutions.

Njideka Akunyili Crosby – Njideka is a Nigerian-born visual artist working in Los Angeles, California. Her works on paper combine collage, drawing, painting, printmaking, and photo transfers. Akunyili Crosby negotiates the cultural terrain between her adopted home in America and her native home in Nigeria, creating works that expose the challenges of occupying these two worlds. She has created a sophisticated visual language that pays homage to the history of Western painting while also referencing African cultural traditions. Akunyili Crosby depicts personal imagery that transcends the specificity of individual experience and engages in a global dialogue about trenchant social and political issues.

TRADITIONAL LEADERS

Sultan of Sokoto , Ooni of Ife and the Emir of Kano

Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi – 42 year-old Ogunwusi is the Ooni of Ife, the paramount traditional ruler of Ile-Ife, one of the most revered traditional institutions in the country. A descendant of one of the ruling houses in Ife kingdom, Ogunwusi’s high wire politicking saw off challenges from about 21 other candidates. He has been engaged actively in using his platform to export Yoruba culture to the rest of the world

Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III – Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar the 20th Sultan of Sokoto wields great power and influence among the Muslims not only in Nigeria but the whole Muslim Ummah throughout the world. As the sultan of Sokoto, Abubakar is the leader of the Qadiriyya Sufi order historically the most important Muslim position in Nigeria, Sa’ad Abubakar is also 16th most influential Muslim in the world.

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II – Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has remained an active and engaged citizen, speaking out fearlessly on matters of national and economic interest, and standing as a principled and effective conscience for the Muhammadu Buhari led federal government. At a time when members of the elite have found it more convenient to maintain an uneasy silence, Sanusi’s voice has become a vital one, speaking truth to power and affecting change in the process.

CLERGY/RELIGION

Prophet TB Joshua, Imam Faud and Pastor Adeboye

TB Joshua – Millions of faithful, from all over the world flock to Prophet TB Joshua’s Synagogue Church of All Nations for his famous prophecies and life-altering interventions, millions more follow his teachings from the safe spaces of their home televisions and also online where his YouTube channel presently boasts over 400,000 subscribers.

Enoch Adeboye – The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God is your favourite GO’s favourite GO. Perhaps the most influential religious leader in the country, Pastor Adeboye has stated that his aim is to put a branch within five minutes of every human on earth. Every year he comes closer to this goal as he continues to minister to his devoted flock.

David Oyedepo – The founder and presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church World Wide, (also known as Winners’ Chapel) is in many ways also the most important private Nigerian investor in education. His work with Covenant University, Landmark University and the Kingdom Heritage model primary and secondary school franchise is unrivaled in its commitment to excellence.
Anthony Cardinal Okogie – His Eminence, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie at 80 years of age may be settled into retirement but he has certainly not lost his voice, nor the importance of his calling, as he continues his fight for good governance, equality and speaking truth to power at every turn.

Sheikh Alhaji Adeyemi Ademola Fuad – Imam Faud is well known for his social commentary and penetrating Friday sermons, which has aided the rapid growth of the Al-Habibiyyah Mosque, He has attended and represented Nigeria in many international ISLAMIC fora including his legendary lecture at Pentagon, USA defense Headquarters in Washington DC, during his IVLP in 2005. He also presents the popular Ramadhan NTA programme SAHUR LIVE since 2003 till date. Today al-habibiyyah ISLAMIC society has grown into a world class multi projects islamic organization. Among the arms of al-habibiyyah organization are Al-habibiyyah food bank, National unity Ramadhan lecture, al-habibiyyah zakat and welfare foundation .
Imam Fuad is Commissioner, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria NAHCON and a recipient of several awards including the American ambassador award on humanitarian services in 2012, an award that was purposely created for him.

Funke Felix-Adejumo – With her fiery, fun and no-nonsense approach, Pastor Funke makes learning about God relatable and realistic. She is also the president of Funke Felix Adejumo.

Chris Oyakhilome – Popularly known as Pastor Chris, he came to mainstream prominence through his Atmosphere for Miracles television programme. He is the founding president of the Believers Loveworld (Christ Embassy Church) and his ministry oversees several arms including the Healing School, Rhapsody of Realities, LoveWorld Books, and an NGO called the Innercity Missions for Children as well as three Christian television channels: LoveWorld TV, LoveWorld SAT and LoveWorld Plus.

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