A young-world revolution is unfolding before our eyes, rupturing the idea that only experience can change the world. Increasingly, young people are participating actively in all aspects of human life, and changing the way we think, look and do what we do.
At YNaija, we know these stars from across Nigeria – the decision-makers, changemakers, and influencers breaking boundaries in Nigeria; and we’ve made it our duty annually, to celebrate them over the last nine years. In delivering this year’s edition, we have worked with an eminent jury to review and ensure it remains truly ‘powerful.’
Honourable Adebo Ogundoyin
At 32, Adebo made history as the youngest Nigerian to occupy the seat of the Speaker, House of Assembly, Oyo. And he has gone on to lead beyond the hype and the idea that inexperience enables bad leadership.
Recently, Adebo was able to champion a collaboration with NURHI, other local and international bodies towards improving both the supply of and demand for modern contraception, improving health care quality and access to contraception, ensuring there is adequate supply of these services because of the economic reality on ground.
Among other things, he has mentioned his House will give legislative support to the State’s tourism sector – which is almost non-existent.
Samson’s name is always mentioned when we discuss think tanks on democratic governance and citizens participation in Nigeria and beyond. He leads the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) – a youth non-profit promoting democratic governance and youth participation in Africa through research, capacity development and policy advocacy.
He was the pioneer National Coordinator of the Youth Alliance on Constitution & Electoral Reform (YACORE) – the first Youth coalition on constitution and electoral reform in Nigeria and is a co-founder of Amplified Online Radio; a pan African youth talk and music radio station.
Having spent more than 10 years working on widening civic space for youth in Nigeria and Africa at large, he has facilitated the development of policy documents on electoral reform, constitutional review, open governance and youth participation. He has a decade experience working on elections and has led election observation teams to Ghana, United States of America and South Africa.
He has also initiated several voter and civic education projects aimed at increasing youth participation in the electoral process, including the Not Too Young To Run Movement which led the successful advocacy for the reduction of age limits for running for public office in the Nigerian constitution.
Samson is the co-editor of African Youth Journal of Democracy, an annual publication of the AU African Governance Architecture, Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Hamzat has since founding Connected Development (CODE) in 2012, become a towering voice in the civil society and development circle, having successfully led grassroots campaigns in over 40 African countries with over nine years’ experience in the non-profit sector.
The 2019 Future Awards Africa Prize Winner for Advocacy in practical issues associated with Climate Change, Open Data, advocacy campaigns and development policies as it affects rural and deprived grassroots communities.
Besides CODE, a non-profit organization that comprises data analysts, journalists, activists and students, Hamzat founded Follow The Money, a Pan-African grassroots data-driven movement and leads a team of technology and innovation driven campaigners to amplify voices of marginalised communities in promoting accountability as it affects utilisation of public funds focusing on specific communities across Africa.
He seats on the Executive Board of the largest Youth Movement in Africa: African Youth Initiative on Climate Change (AYICC), advising on communications strategies and campaigns using technology tools in shaping and actualising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and has joined his voice on different platforms and policy influencing coalitions across Africa such as the Not Too Young To Run movement which drives youth political inclusion.
Timi is a technology lawyer, researcher, and policy expert with keen passion for leveraging technology and innovation to accelerate human advancement and prosperity within Africa and globally.
A member of the board of Feed To Grow Africa, and also co-founder, Youths in Motion (YIM), which operates in Nigeria, Liberia and New York, he is notable as a professional in the intersection of policy, law, technology/AI, and innovation.
Through his platforms, Timi has trained a combined number of over 40,000 youth across Africa, on the subject of ethical leadership, social entrepreneurship, open governance, and human rights.
He has also been invited to make presentations on the subject of open governance, open elections, and AI-ethics, at the Department of State’s Educational Affairs Division and Association of Public and Land Grants Universities (APLGU) in Washington.
Deservedly, Adetola went home with The Future Africa Awards (TFAA) 2019 Prize in Public Service and has continued to serve.
In furtherance of the mandate of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and Nigerian Economic Management Team (EMT), Adetola worked with a global law firm to develop a Trade Remedies Infrastructure for protecting the Nigerian economy from injurious and unfair trading practices from foreign countries and companies. He is presently working on the full implementation of the Nigerian Trade Remedies Infrastructure.
Through the NOTN and select committees in the Negotiating Forum, he also participated in the pivotal work of negotiating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
He is an international lawyer who is widely consulted on international economic policies, investment law, trade law and policy, intellectual property as well as technology law, and currently serves as the Assistant Chief Negotiator for Nigeria & Head, Trade Remedies and Investigating Authority at the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN).
Efe’s story is inspirational – going from football to boxing is not a decision you make in a jiffy, and he had to make that decision when he had no support. Today, he has become one of heavyweight’s most feared boxers.
Known as “The one and only,” Efe has an impressive record of 13 conservative wins, and with the decorated trainer, Ronnie Shields, in his corner as well as Al Haymon’s PBC to promote him, his journey just began.
He holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history after his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring 1 second after the opening bell. But that’s not about it. His rise to the top is already has a bearing and we are here for it!
The Last Stylebender won his last fight against Yoel Romero and the most popular question centred on which middleweight will be able defeat him.
With that win, Israel solidified himself as the best middleweight and the 30-year-old, added one of the scariest fighters in the division to a list of victims that already includes Anderson Silva, Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.
Adesanya’s ascent to UFC stardom has been drastic since he made his UFC debut in February 2018, and is no doubt, an impressive champion in 2020.
Known as Sugabelly on Twitter, she invented a new writing system for Igbo language called Ńdébé – to fill the gap created by the suppression of natural growth of the Igbo language due to colonialism and missionary evangelism.
“Ńdébé pays homage to the old Nsibidi logographs, as well as Nwagu Aneke’s proto-script, but is a unique, original, but more importantly, functional creation,” she says.
Lotanna also runs Sexy Igbo – where you can nurture your Igbo language fluency to an advanced level; in a fun way. The website includes articles on the Igbo culture and society.
Bella is an experienced specialist with a demonstrated history of working in international affairs and public diplomacy as well as proven experience working collaboratively with government officials at local, state and national levels; civil society groups, and socio-cultural organisations.
She has seven years of experience in cultural and public diplomacy and currently works as the Cultural Affairs Specialist at the U.S. Embassy, Abuja, where she is responsible for strategically directing U.S cultural diplomacy initiatives in Nigeria and increasing the reach and impact of people-to people exchange in Nigeria.
The comedy industry in Nigeria is largely dependent on English language, or pidgin, but Oli Ekun is doing it differently and has built an interesting brand for himself – using the Yoruba language as the means.
His skits have made more people interested in culture and early 2020, when John Boyega wanted a Yoruba version of a short video, Oli Ekun seemed to be the answer, sparking conversations on the language and the Yoruba traditions in itself.
Omoleye Omoruyi… an apprentice web/game developer, novelist, sensitive to happenings in the world. Meet him @Lord_rickie on Twitter/Instagram