Over the past decade, Nigeria has been blessed with countless youths who have risen against the odds; who continue to show, in their different fields of influence, that excellence is not the preserve of any race, culture, creed or national. This list is by no means exhaustive, and there are of course countless young Nigerians impacting their world every day.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
This pharmacist-turned-writer continues to show Nigeria, and indeed the whole of Africa, that speaking the truth is not the exclusive preserve of aging men. At 28, he has been a Features Editor at NEXT Newspapers, and has also been able to combine writing a refreshing column in the same editorial with a postgraduate program at the University of East Anglia. This 2009 CNN Multichoice Arts and Culture award winner has published a novella for young adults and has been published in countless articles in literary publications and magazines across the world.
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
This 34 year old, debuted with the award winning novel – I Do Not Come to You by Chance, and has become a force to reckon with in the literary scene. She is also the editor of Elan, of NEXT Newspapers, a columnist and a short story writer affiliated with many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times and the Guardian, UK. Her book, which threw a beam of light on the popular email scam known as 419, won the Commonwealth First Book Prize for the African Region. As shown by her work, Adaobi represents the true African who is capable of looking at serious issues in a light hearted manner.
Also known as Wild Child, IK describes himself as free and very childish at heart. This graduate of Economics from the University of Lagos has showed Africans that talk is certainly not cheap. A one-time radio presenter on Rhythm 93.7, where he attained the moniker Wild Child, he soon crossed over to the screen, presenting the M-Net’s magazine programme Studio 53, the Nigerian game show Temptation Nigeria and the stand-out stand-up series Comedy Club: Live in Lagos. Most recently, IK took over from KB Ngakane as the new host of the hit reality TV show, Big Brother.
This young woman is a radio presenter with the indigenous pidgin speaking Wazobia FM. At 29, she has blazed a trail in pidgin radio presenting and given a voice to those who prefer to use the peculiar variant of English synonymous with Naija. Matse won the Club Unique awards in 2008 for “Most Outstanding Radio Presenter of this Generation”; and in 2009 won the Women in Media and Entertainment Awards for her “Excellence in Radio Presenting”, and the African Voices Awards in Nairobi, Kenya as the “Most Outstanding Radio Presenter in West Africa” amongst others. Revolutionising radio is what she is about, and she is certainly achieving her aim, as ‘Eko, how una see am’, her show on Wazobia FM has helped open up the hinterlands of Lagos to government intervention.
Uche Eze is a 26 year old who has shown that technology has the power to change lives tremendously. I’m sure the founder of BellaNaija.com, didn’t envision that the amount she paid for her first laptop was a seed sown for this very bright future she is experiencing. Uche, who was featured on CNN i-List on the 28th of September 2010, has also appeared on the world renowned Oprah Winfrey Show. The online magazine BellaNaija.com; a lifestyle, fashion and entertainment blog grew out of a smaller blog which she started 4 years ago, and has grown to become one of the hottest destinations for celebrity news and fashion trends on the Internet.
This queen of Nollywood, has shown us all what celebrity really means, climbing the ladder to become arguably the most popular actress in the whole of Africa. She has starred in over 80 films, and is tagged in some circles as the Angelina Jolie of Nollywood. Recently awarded with an endorsement contract to become the new face of MUD Nigeria, Genny as she is popularly called, has received several awards and nominations for her work, including the Best Actress of the Year award at the 2001 City People Awards and the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the 2005 African Movie Academy Awards. The multi talented actress has launched a cloth line, St. Genevieve and released an album; One Logologo Line, a mixture of R&B, Hip-Hop and Urban music.
Over the past decade, Tuface brought the essence of Michael Jackson’s star quality to the Nigerian music scene. Tu Baba, as he is fondly called, has a classic grass to grace story, ascending from a humble Idoma background to clinch dozens of continental and international awards over the years. Refusing to be bogged down by criticism, domestic scandals, and public misunderstanding, he has forged ahead to become the quintessential African music sensation.
P-Square is a Nigerian R&B duo composed of identical twin brothers; Peter and Paul Okoye, born in 1981. They provide powerful instruction on the power of unity and cooperation to produce sustainable progress. They are the first Nigerian group to, in 2005, get a whooping sum of one million dollars as reward for their Kora All Africa Award. This vibrant duo released their second album, Get Squared under their own label, Square Records, the video of which held the #1 position on the MTV Base chart for four straight weeks. They have an ever growing fan base across Africa, and are dexterous dancers too. They have received numerous awards over the years, including the Channel O Best Video Award in 2008 for their song, Do Me.
Performing alongside the international artists like Ginuwine, Sean Paul, Akon, they maintain as their distinguishing factor a mastery of musical instruments such as the keyboard, bass drum and rhythm guitar.
Audu Maikori has made remarkable strides in developing the entertainment industry, paving the way for music sensations like Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, Jeremiah Gyang and M.I amongst others with Chocolate City, his entertainment outfit. This International Young Music Entrepreneur of 2007 has been described by the judges of the British music award as showing a remarkable combination of market knowledge, clear thinking and a calm approach to business.