#YNaijaNewEstablishment: Anne Adams, Joseph Obanubi, Adeoluwa Enioluwa | Meet the 2021 Class of The New School

Solomon Ayodele (Writer)

Often, when you buy a memoir, or an autobiography, you would usually expect that the publication is filled with fantastical experiences that are made to inspire its readers. Ironically, this wasn’t the case for this author who decided to be unorthodox with his approach to inspiring people.

Solomon released his memoir with a sort of satirical narrative titled ‘Works in Progress.’ It tells of a, well… ordinary life, and yet, somehow this managed to work.

The book projects his imperfections to the world, flaws most people can relate to, and the book encourages people to embrace the fact that they are never going to be perfect, and that is fine, in fact, it is human.

Asides being an author, this 28-year-old is the founder of Boy Quarters Africa, an initiative that focuses on the often neglected task of liberating the boy child. He is currently a business analyst for Stanbic IBTC Bank. For six years, he worked his way to the top in the organisation from Junior Business Manager to Business Analyst. He is an ambassador for the World Literary Foundation.

Laila Johnson (Journalist)

If you frequent Twitter, particularly last year, you no doubt must have heard about or seen something relating to a fascinating group, simply referred to as Feminist co or the Feminist coalition, a growing community of feminists. Laila just happens to be one of the brains behind this group. She uses her journalistic flair to shed light on the inequalities women continue to be faced with.

She began her career early when she set up her first blog – LAffairs. Fast forward a year later, she launched ‘Our Vision Nigeria,’ her first NGO. She interned at the House of Commons in the UK and shadowed Chris Williamson, an MP representing a constituency in the midlands. She also had a hand in a number of advocacy projects in the US, during her university days at the University of Westminster, including becoming an ambassador for Girl Rising, a US organisation, supported by Michelle Obama.

She would later launch her current NGO, We Rise Initiative, a women inspired organisation with the goal of empowering disenfranchised females in Nigeria.

In 2019, she fully became a journalist. She also contributes for The Financial Times and The Commonwealth Secretariat. She is the Executive Director of Forth strategies and solutions.

Seyitan Atigarin (Journalist)

AriseTV has shown that it has no qualms hiring brilliant beautiful ladies, and Seyitan seems to be a part of their impressive lineup. It goes without saying that she is a TV host and an Anchor for the aforementioned network, but even more impressive than that is the fact that she is an award winning presenter, having won the best TV Presenter in 2017, in the Nigerian Entertainment Awards. She is also a TV producer, and the creative director of her own kimono online store called Abebibytan.

Seyitan studied at Covenant University, where she bagged a Bsc in Mass communication. To ice the cake, she completed her masters at Birmingham University, where she graduated with a Commendation in international broadcast journalism. While there, she created a documentary titled “Putting an End to Child Marriage.” And as the name suggests, it is a documentary that speaks of the nagging problem of forcing young African girls to forfeit their future for the sole purpose of being domesticated.

In march 2019, she hosted the SME 100 Africa international Women’s day conference and in the same year, prior to this, she was the presenter at Kitchen Dash, with Arcadia premium TV Africa.

As for her Kimono line, the brand received some recognition when it was selected as one of the top ten fashion lines to feature on the 2019 social media week ‘Shop Africa,’ for its bridal collection.

Abdulhamid Hassan (Tech)

This tech wiz is best known for the tech solution he created in 2017 known as Mono. And as he describes it, Mono helps businesses and developers to access financial accounts in Africa. Under the platform’s list of connections are notable financial institutions like Barter, JaizBank, Cowrywise, and Piggyvest.

Prior to founding his own company, Abdul already had a rich portfolio in the tech world, at least for someone this young. He had already served in the capacity of CEO for two very innovative tech companies Oyapay and Hypen, and in this case the term innovative is not used loosely.

For Oyapay, the company sought to and successfully found a way to carry out financial transactions offline, using Bluetooth. The idea of the tech was to use Bluetooth-powered BluePay and the camera-powered ScanPay to transact money. Unfortunately, this idea had some complications and went under water. Hassan ran it from 2018 to 2019.

Prior to this, Hassan had been the CEO and founder of Hypen a tech solution that helps businesses automate conversations spanning from sales, support, and marketing with their customers.

Victony (Musician)

Taking the approach of fellow new school kids, like Omay Lay, Oxlade and Rema, Victony last year, while most people were locked indoors during the pandemic, recorded an EP.

EP’s, unlike albums, are high reward, low risk ideas, not to mention that they take less money for production and promotion, but could somehow get you the recognition and income a full blown album can, and for Victony’s EP; Saturn, the low risk, high reward strategy paid dividend. His songs on the EP did millions of streams across different streaming platforms with Jo Riddim, a track on the EP really catching young people’s attention.

This young artiste uses his soothing voice and a modern punk infused afrobeat sound to talk about his life and some of the challenges his lifestyle brings about.

His lyrics perfectly describe scenarios a lot of modern-day teens can relate to, talking about boys that may want to get high and girls that want to ‘faji’ and the problems it could lead them to.

Ozioma Ogbaji (Scriptwriter)

As a writer, specifically a scriptwriter, there is an indescribable satisfaction that comes from seeing your name roll up the credits once a movie is done. It is a moment like no other, one that makes you feel as though you were an important part of a truly influential project, and rightly so.

For Ozioma Ogbaji, it must have been one heck of a feeling when she saw her name roll up the credits as scriptwriter and co-producer during the premiere of one of the biggest Nigerian movies of 2020; Kambili.

To be fair, it’s easy to see that this young creative had always been a prospect, as her career trail seems to have been leading up to big moments like this. In 2018, she came in top 5 in the accelerate TV filmmaker project. In the same year, she wrote a movie for Iroko TV titled Over the Fence. She has also gone ahead to write more movies for the network. She was a contributing scriptwriter for Africa Magic’s EVE series and has been involved in a few other Nollywood projects.

Laju Iren (Writer) 

Although, the name Iren is synonymous with the young pastor Emmanuel Iren who has a massive following among young Nigerians today with his ministry; Celebration Church International, his wife Laju Iren is quickly making a name for herself as well. How?” How about best-selling author?

That achievement sure has a ring to it, and this author can say she is one. She has a number of published books under her belt, but none more critically acclaimed as her most popular book; Mirror Mirror, which became a best seller at Amazon.

She is not only an author but also the founder of her own publishing company; Laju Iren publishing, which allows young upstarts to self-publish. She is a filmmaker and a life coach. She does all this adhering to the virtuous doctrine and ethos of the Christian faith.

She specializes in empowering women using faith messages. She recently released a short film titled the Nigerian Son, which she made available on YouTube. Prior to this, she produced a mini-series titled During Ever After, which starred popular comedian and actor S.L.K.

Chisom Winifred (Content Creator)

When it comes to content creation, this creative embodies the craft in every sense of the word. From voicing her opinions and ideas on notable media platforms to creating a platform of her own in which her peers can, in turn, have their own ideas and opinion heard, it is apparent that Chisom is all about creating a safe space for young creatives in Nigeria to be free to simply create.

She is one half of the C, in C&C digital, an advertising agency in South Eastern Nigeria. The company also owns the patent to Creatives Launch, a quarterly event in Enugu where young creatives and entrepreneurs in the region come together to share ideas and discuss the future. The event has quite the testimonial, including having inspired a similar event with practically the same name, all the way in Yobe.

When she isn’t running her own enterprise, she is a contributing author for Glam Africa, and a featured writer for BellaNaija, where she is tasked with curating positive content for young Nigerian creatives.

Emeka Nwagbaraocha (Actor)

If there is a young actor who has the potential to become one of the biggest Nollywood stars, given that he/she continues to ride on the already uphill momentum they are currently on, it’s this guy. While Nigerians are still hung over more established actors who have had years, or maybe decades of experience, this actor in his short span in the Nigerian movie industry may soon begin to rival said big-name players. The sheer number of productions he has been on, some of which are blockbuster projects, would make you wonder why this actor isn’t more discussed.

Just to mention a few, this actor has been on MTV Shuga, Tinsel, Life101, Kasala, RattleSnake: The Ahanna story, For My Girls, Zena and more.

Promising is the best word to describe this young actor’s career, and if he continues to put in the level of work he has been putting in thus far, he is sure to get that big break that would put him in the same tier as the Nollywood elites.

Uzoamaka Aniunoh (Actor)

Best known for her role as Cynthia in the hit series MTV Shugga, standing as one of the series main cast and a recurring character, Uzoamaka is an actress who has been gaining traction in the Nigerian film industry for some time now.

Inspired by the character Maria, in sound of music, this actress decided at an early age that acting is the career path she would love to thread. She eventually bagged a BA in English and History from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham, England, preparing her for the acting career that lay ahead.

However, a dismal reality check fueled by some skeptical family members, threatened to hinder her from chasing her true passion, as they questioned why she would opt for an acting career. To them, the craft just didn’t seem lucrative enough. But after some soul searching, she summoned the courage to quit her job, and begin trying out for roles in casting auditions. It was in one of these auditions she would land the role in MTV Shuga.

She has also starred in other movies including; Rumour has it by Ndani TV, Ananze and the Zipman, and Ife which was released mid-way into last year.

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