THEY are young and bold. In pursuant of their variegated dreams and missions, they have resisted to be restrained by the barrage of odds in our national politics, social, economic environment — especially the absence of any resources for the youths to explore and exploit their potentials to attain their young goals and dreams. In their little but unique individual and collective ways, they have been making impact on their generation. The Guardian Life digs into its library in recent years and profiles 20 young Nigerians who certainly would impact 2013 and beyond. There are of course, many more of them out there, away from the view lens of the media, who are doing great, lofty things. This is also a tribute to every one of them – their day in the sun will surely come.


(Media entrepreneur, content developer and social mobiliser)

A LAWYER and award-winning journalist, Chude Jideonwo has, for more than 10 years, garnered key experience in all forms of traditional and new media and has worked as a communication professional with blue chips companies including the Nigeria LNG, Virgin Nigeria and Bank PHB’s The Apprentice Africa.

Also known as a development expert especially with regard to the youth demographic, in 2007, he was selected as one of 101 Young African Leaders by the African Business Forum; in 2009, he was selected for the US Government’s International Visitors Leadership Programme (IVLP); in May 2010, he was selected for the Nigeria Leadership Initiative’s (NLI) Future Leaders Fellowship.

In May 2011, he was appointed a member of the awards committee for the Ford Foundation Jubilee Transparency Award, alongside distinguished Nigerians like Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte and Rev. Fr. Matthew Kukah and he sits on the board of the Oando Foundation and others.

He was member of the Editorial Board of NEXT Newspapers; and is a recipient of the Nigeria Media Merit Award. He holds a Master’s degree in Media and Communication from the Pan-African University, Lagos.

He is Managing Partner at RED, and oversees Creative, Content and Communication. He is also Editor of the frontline youth-focused magazine, Y’Naija.

He is, with his comrade, ‘Deboila Williams, the directing energy behind the famous yearly The Future Award, which has unearthed, and launched many young achievers to local and global limelight.


(Social mobiliser and entrepreneur)

TOYOSI Akerele, a University of Jos-trained lawyer, has pioneered countless youth initiatives and is a very sought-after speaker at several youth programmes including what has now undoubtedly become the granddaddy of all inspirational youth gatherings in Nigeria, ARISE Nigeria, an offshoot of the Rise Networks, which she energetically coordinates in spite of her many other commitments.

Toyosi Akerele, the CEO of RISE Networks, Publisher of RISE Magazine and CEO of Rise Printing press, has also attended the International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP), an initiative of the U.S Embassies around the world. Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange programme that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders. And Toyosi is sure one of the great global leaders of the youths.

When the First Lady of the US, Mrs. Michelle Obama, made a historic trip to South Africa Toyosi was one of 76 Young African Women Leaders from across
the continent, invited for a four-day forum in South Africa. Toyosi got a
special recognition from Mrs. Obama, who said, “We’ll be looking to women like
Toyosi, she’s a 28 year old from Nigeria, who every year, assembles 50,000
people for the largest youth conference in the country…”

Starting from her university days, Toyosi has mobilised, mentored, and inspired a great number of young people, some of them older than her. She is vocal, active, and committed to the task of building a virile nation, in which the youths play prominent but focused roles. To this task, she commits her energy, resources and acquired skills. She is also a motivational speaker and life coach but with a difference – strictly focussed on youth and social development.


(Scientist and inventor)

SAHEED Adepoju is a young man with big dreams. He is the inventor of the Inye, a tablet computer designed for the African market. Born in 1983, Adepoju introduced the Encipher Inye, a tablet, which runs on the Google Android operating system and provides a competition to the Apple iPad, into the African market. The Inye is a mobile Internet device. It gives you access to the Internet; it also allows you to play media files and watch movies. It also features local content like the HIV awareness campaign provided in the Yoruba language. Unfortunately, whereas his feat has been well applauded abroad, winning him laurels, he is yet to get the Nigerian corporate world and the Nigerian government to buy fully into the project, but he is not stopping in his mission to be the Nigerian cum African prime tablet inventor.


(Life Coach)

JOSHUA Awe, or Joshua Awesome, as he is popularly known’s dream is to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro. A certified public relations expert by training, human performance consultant by profession, and motivational speaker by vocation, Joshua, in his career spanning over a decade, has delivered speeches at seminars and sessions, including training and coaching over of 100,000 persons and professionals.
A prolific writer, Joshua is the author of Wisdom Nuggets, Stretching for Success, Personal Grooming Principles (both audio books — personal development resources and the book Monday Morning Motivation, Your Work Week Starter, released with abridged audio book. As a writer, he has for five years running, maintained his Monday Motivation column with BusinessDay, which is patterned after his life mission to inspire and inform individuals so they can be well involved in life.
Half a decade ago on AM Express (Nigeria Television Authority’s national breakfast show) after a devastating plane crash, Awesome was asked to inspire the nation out of grief, giving him the singular opportunity via that platform to help hundreds of thousands including President Obasanjo, whose wife passed on that season, heal the agony of that disaster.
Joshua is a professional member of the International Federation for Professional Speakers (IFFPS) USA, Member, International Third World Leaders Association (ITLWA) chaired by Dr. Myles Munroe. He is Founder/Executive member Motivational Speakers Network (MSN) Nigeria; Managing Consultant, Awesome Associates, Lagos-Nigeria and Awesome Impact Media South Africa.


(Social Advocate)

ORODE Okpu (nee Uduaghan) runs the Pink Pearl Cancer Foundation. In the last few years, Pink Pearl has run a lot of cancer awareness campaigns and seminars in various locations across the country. She has also organised cancer awareness walks in various locations. Pink Pearl is also heavily involved in the treatment of cancer cases. Orode, a motivational speaker, is patron of the Hearts of Gold Children Hospice.


(Social Advocate)

TOLA Sunmonu is a graduate of Stanford University where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economics with honours. Tola is a social entrepreneur with a clear focus on the economic and social development of Nigeria. Her main focus is the agricultural sector due to its potential to provide economic gains for those at the bottom of the pyramid. This passion led her to the role of President of Harambe Nigeria, an NGO which creates links between business, civil societies and academic institutions to transform the Nigerian youth into leaders and entrepreneurs who are capable of tackling problems in Nigeria’s agricultural sector. Currently, Tola and her team are working on an online agricultural resource network called the Harambe Farmland.


(Media owner and entrepreneur)

JASON Njoku is the CEO and founder of iROKO Partners, the world’s largest online distributor of African entertainment. It has become one of the most respected private sector-driven development platforms with a history of verifiable impact, including in under-privileged and grassroots communities. Since its launch in 2010, the company has registered over 4.5 million unique visits from lovers of African entertainment in over 150 countries around the world, across its three platforms, iROKOtv, iROKING and iROKtv, as well as on its YouTube channels. In July 2012, iROKOtv+ was launched — subscription services where viewers can access brand new Nollywood movies in HD for only $5 a month. iROKOtv has been groundbreaking in bringing over 5,000 Nollywood films to the African Diaspora. To date, over 13 million hours of Nollywood movies have been watched on His company raised $8 million in venture capital from Tiger Global Management, a New York based Private Equity and hedge fund run by billionaire Chase Coleman and has distribution deals with Dailymotion, iTunes, Amazon and Vimeo. His net worth is estimated a whooping $30 million. Recently, Njoku won ModeMen magazine’s Johnnie Walker Special Striding man Award.



IFY Aniebo has broken boundaries as a research scientist outside of the country. She was the youngest person, the only black person and the only Nigerian in the Wellcome-Oxford-WHO unit in Thailand and in the Malaria Department at the Sanger institute in Cambridge.

She is currently working on finding a vaccine of malaria while she is studying for a Ph. D at Oxford University. She has tested plasmodium falciparum strains from Rwanda, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Bangladesh. She carried out molecular biology techniques such as quantitative PCR and gel electropherisis to check for mutations in certain candidate genes that are important for resistance to anti-malarial drugs, and cloned those candidate genes and sequenced them for analysis, finding different types of mutations in certain locations. Due to her success in finding candidate genes responsible for resistance, she is now involved in parasite culture using the high throughput equipments at the Sanger institute in Cambridge. She has conducted Clinical Research in Thailand, done field work in the Thai-Laos border, presented at the 21st World Malaria conference in Mae sot and the Genome conference in Cambridge, collaborated with research unit in Rwanda after working on Plasmodium Falciparum strains from Rwanda, and as charity, distributed of parasite impregnated bed nets to children in the age 2 -8 at a motherless children’s home in Bangkok. She currently edits the online magazine, African Health Magazine, an online resource that aims to redefine the health of the average African. She started the website because she realised that accurate health information is not always available.


(Scientist and inventor)

MUHAMMAD Abdullahi, a 24-year-old physics undergraduate, takes old cars and motorbikes to pieces in the backyard at home and builds his own helicopters from the parts. The chopper, which has flown briefly on six occasions, is made from scrap aluminium that Abdullahi bought with the money he makes from computer and mobile phone repairs. It is powered by a second-hand 133 horsepower Honda Civic car engine and kitted out with seats from an old Toyota saloon car. Its other parts come from the carcass of a Boeing 747, which crashed near Kano some years ago. For a four-seater it is a big aircraft, measuring twelve metres (39 feet) long, seven metres high by five wide.



BORN on December 12, 1990, Victor Moses is a Nigerian footballer who plays for Chelsea. Moses can play in a variety of positions, but in the first-team games he has taken part in so far, he has mostly played as a left winger. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he has represented England at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels, but opted to play for the Nigerian national team as opposed to being fully capped for England. He attended Stanley Technical High School (now known as the Harris Academy) in South Norwood, during which time he was scouted playing football in the local Tandridge League, where scouts from Crystal Palace approached him, with the club’s Selhurst Park stadium just streets away from his school. The scouts were so impressed that he was offered a place in the Eagles’ academy, which he accepted.

Moses was selected to play for Nigeria against Guatemala in February 2011, but the friendly was cancelled. He accepted a call-up in March 2011 for Nigeria’s games against Ethiopia and Kenya. However, he was ruled out of those games because his application to FIFA to switch nationalities was not received in time. It was announced on November 1, 2011, that FIFA had cleared Moses and Shola Ameobi to play for Nigeria. He scored two goals for Nigeria against Liberia in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and was voted man of the match. He is the 23-man squad for the AFCON 2013.



AHMED Musa is a Nigerian forward playing for Russian side CSKA Moscow as a second striker. He is also a member of the Nigeria national football team. Born ON October 14, 1992 in Jos, Musa began his career in the Aminchi Football Academy. In 2008, he was loaned to JUTH FC, where he played 18 games, scoring four goals in his first two professional seasons for the Healers. He was subsequently loaned to Kano Pillars FC., in the 2009 to 10 season where he set the league record with 18 goals as Pillars finished second. Musa previously held the record for the highest goals ever scored in one season in the history of the Nigeria Premier League until November 2011 when Jude Aneke of Kaduna United F.C. set a new goals record of 20 goals. On March 8, 2011, Musa won the AIT Footballer of the Year award (national). The same year, he was also nominated for the Confederation of African Football Most Promising Talent Award, however, the award went to Tottenham Hotspur’s Souleymane Coulibaly. He is in the 23-man squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.



CHIBUNDU Onuzo was born in 1991. Her novel, The Spider’s King Daughter, won her a two-year deal with the international publishing firm, Faber and Faber. She’s the youngest writer to be so signed by the firm. Her writings are often geared towards determining the place of nurture to the human person especially amidst the unique Nigerian environment. Onuzo is winner of the prestigious UK’s No.1 Best Black Student Award. She has also been featured in the 2010 International Frankfurt Book Festival. She was also one of the celebrated writers at the 5th Garden City Literary Festival from October 15 to 20 2012. The Spider King’s Daughter has already started garnering critical acclaim including being longlisted for the £10,000 Desmond Elliott Prize for debut novelists alongside a Booker prize nominated Oxford professor.


(Events Manager)

TOKINI Peterside was born in 1985. She holds a Law degree from the London School of Economics (1st Class Honours), Solicitors Legal Practice Course Certificate from the College of Law (UK) and a Fashion Marketing Certificate from Istituto Marangoni. She is the Communication and Events Manager for Moet Hennessy. She manages the Media and Public Relations, Sponsorship and events for Hennesy, Moet and Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Perignon and Belvedere. She also spearheaded the Hennessy Artistry 2010.


(Music video producer)

CLARENCE Peters was born in 1983 to the popular actress Clarion Chukwurah and the famous musician, Sir Shina Peters. He started production as a 10-year-old in a production called ‘Dudu’s Birthmark’. He resumed as an assistant director with various sitcoms including Everyday People. He also worked on various projects while attending City Varsity in South Africa where he bagged a degree in Cinematography. In the past years, he has worked on the Tom Tom Advert for Cardbury, Seven up PLC, Only Me for Tuface, Goldie’s You know it, 2010 for Sound Sultan, Nobody Test Me by Choc Boiz and If you want me by Mo’Cheddah. He has also worked on Montage for various brands.


(Social mobiliser)

NNAEMEKA Ikegwonu founded the Smallholders Foundation in 2003. It provides rural communities in and around Imo State with information – via the radio – on contemporary agricultural techniques and environmental conservation. He has a bachelor of arts in history and international studies and a master’s degree in cooperation and development, is a change-maker fighting poverty using new interactive technology. He is a 2010 Rolex Young Laureate and his dream is to spread the impact of his foundation throughout the country.



BORN in the late 80s, Toluwaloju Olowofoyeku (Toju Foyeh) is a lawyer-turned fashion designer. The 2012 Future Awards Best Designer of the Year developed a passion for fashion at a young age. Growing up, she was surrounded by several family members who were into fashion. In the early ’90s, her mother sold unique fabric pieces and her grandmother was a designer who attended the London College of Fashion. Putting education before her passion, she obtained an LLB Law from the University of Reading, UK and an LLM from the University of Manchester, also in the UK. Determined, however, to make a name for herself in the fashion industry, Toju embarked on a degree programme at the world famous Instituto Marangoni in Milan. Toju Foyeh declared open her flagship store amidst pomp and fanfare late last year.


(Medical Advocacy)

BORN and raised in England and of Nigerian parentage, Ola Orekunrin made history when at the age of 21; she became a medical doctor thus becoming one of the youngest medical doctors in England. She started her medical degree at the University of York and passed with flying colours. She was raised by foster white parents and went to a primary school run by Catholic nuns and her family often struggled to make ends meet. According to her, her foster mother, Dorren was a tremendous influence in shaping her life. Orekunrin is founder of The Flying Doctors, the first air ambulance service in West Africa. She was prompted to start the new venture after her younger sister died of anaemia. Her sister was always in and out of hospitals and eventually died for lack of the availability of an air ambulance. But starting this venture was not easy. She gave up a high flying job in England and her dreams of becoming the president of the British Medical Association and minister for the conservative party and moved to Nigeria.


(D’Banj) (Musician)

D’BANJ is not just an artiste – he is an idea! Having broken every single boundary in the Nigerian and African music industry through Mo’Hits Records, he has become a trailblazer for artistes reaching for an international market with his exploits with GOOD music and his newly formed D’Banj Records.


(Change advocate)

TOLULOPE Sangosanya is the founder of LOTS charity foundation, which, since registration, has been able to cater to the hungry stomach of thousands of street kids and vulnerable children, feed the intellect of over a hundred children in ‘DUSTBIN ESATE’, relocated a family from ‘dustbin’ to ‘sanity’, serviced the people in basic health care services, not mentioning the clothing drive, fun days and celebrity visit to the estate. LOTS started off in 2005 by Sangosanya, then a university student, who could not stop thinking about the face of a girl she saw on Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, in Lagos, leading her blind father to beg on the street, without any form of ‘spark’ or ‘hope’ of a better tomorrow. It was formally registered in 2009 as an NGO in Nigeria. Sangosanya won the Future Awards 2010 for the Best Use of Advocacy.


(American Footballer)

BORN on November 16, 1981, Ositadimma ‘Osi’ Umenyiora is an American football defensive end in the National Football League for the New York Giants. Umenyiora, the son of the traditional ruler of Ogbunike, Anambra State, has won a Super Bowl ring. He missed the 2008 season, undergoing surgery for knee cartilage damage suffered during an exhibition against the New York Jets. Umenyiora has been selected for the Pro Bowl twice, and holds the Giants franchise record for most sacks in one game, coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. He attended the prestigious Atlantic Hall in Epe, Lagos. Later he attended Auburn High School with Dallas Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware. At Troy University, Umenyiora became a starter at defensive end in his junior year after starting his career as a defensive tackle. He shifted to nose guard as a sophomore. He started 36 of 48 games for the Trojans.

Umenyiora established himself as a premier pass rusher in 2005, his first year as a starter. His stellar play earned All-Pro recognition and a trip to the Pro Bowl. Umenyiora achieved 14.5 sacks and 70 tackles, second only to the sixteen sacks obtained by Derrick Burgess of the Oakland Raiders. On December 23, 2005, the Giants signed Umenyiora to a six-year contract extension for $41 million with $15 million guaranteed. On November 5, 2010, Osi Umenyiora was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month after recording 18 tackles (10 solo), 7.0 sacks, and six forced fumbles in the Giants’ four October wins. Umenyiora and teammate Justin Tuck recorded 11.5 sacks for the year, and combined for 16 forced fumbles.