A new Nigeria is rising and at the fore of this revolution are the youths. This is a revolution that had been in motion long before the not too young to run bill was signed into law, it had started since the birthing of the digital era, driven largely by the social media. To label the youths as lazy is to belittle their becoming. And there are beacons of hope, who are a sample of the larger population of youths redefining the Nigerian narrative. Below are my top five.
Japheth Joshua Omojuwa, 34 (Social Activist; Founder, Alpha Reach) — He is a socio-economic and political commentator, public speaker and social media expert. Over the years, he has distinguished himself as a thought leader in the areas of social activism and policy-making. He has had his article featured on CNN and other reputable platforms across the globe, including Metropole Magazine, Sahara Reporters, BBC, The Financial Times, ThisDay and Naij. In 2014, the leadership of the African Union invited Omojuwa to be part of the Africa Re-imagination Creative Hub (ARCH) to fashion an agenda for Africa 2063 project. He participated as a panelist at a side event during the 2013 United Nations General Assembly in New York City where he spoke on the need to use data and facts as tools in activism and policy-making.
YNaija, in 2012, named him one of the most influential young Nigerians under 35 in Business, Fashion, Media, Entertainment, Technology and Politics. Omojuwa was named by Credit Suisse Bulletin as one of the 50 Movers and Shakers of Africa in 2015. June 2016 saw Omojuwa named as the Best Twitter Personality Of The Year in the annual African Bloggers Awards. He was listed among the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians by Avance Media. He loves sports and is an avid Arsenal F.C fan. He is currently one of the leading savages on Twitter and writes under eponymous blog, omojuwa.com.
Osagie Alonge, 30 (Journalist; Editor-in-Chief, Pulse.ng) — He is a journalist and digital media publisher, pop-culture enthusiast and Editor-in-Chief, Pulse Nigeria. His career was shaped and boosted when he encountered journalist and publisher, Adekunle Ayeni, who mentored and gave him the opportunity to express his creative and journalistic abilities through news platform, the NET. He has risen in influence and gained mainstream popularity not just for his journalistic prowess but his significant contribution to the Nigerian pop-culture scene, establishing himself as a go-to source on everything art, history and politics.
He has risen quickly through the ranks at Ringier Nigeria’s news platform, Pulse.ng, first serving as Editor-in-Chief then Managing Director, Editorial Content. He is the co-host of popular podcast, Loose Talk, on which he leads culturally important conversations. Since January 2019, he has been the Head of Editorial and Editor-in-chief for Pulse Africa under parent company, Ringier Africa Digital Publishing (RADP). He is listed among other honorees on the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians.
Rosemary Ajuka, 28 (Media Personality; Founder/CEO, Kravark Ltd) — She is an award-winning Media Personality, Communications Specialist, Brand Consultant and Project Manager. She has created and anchored shows on New York’s Party93 online radio in the U.S and on several radio stations across major Nigerian cities including Cool Fm Lagos, Nigeria Info Fm and Cool Fm Abuja, Wave Fm Port-Harcourt and Rythm Fm Awka, Anambra State. She is the Executive Director of the Ajuka Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Organization focused on youth leadership/empowerment, women/girls empowerment and literacy advocacy.
She is one of Africa’s most influential youth voices. In 2015, she was a member of the delegation of young African leaders selected by the Swedish Embassy for the Swedish VP. In 2016, she was one of the Media representatives from Nigeria to Bénin République for the country’s 56th Independence anniversary. In 2017, She was the Media liaison for the Finnish Embassy’s CodeBus Africa project in Nigeria that taught over 100 public high school students how to write code. In 2018, as the Deputy Spokesperson for the New Nigeria 2019 youth political group, she and her co-conveners held high power meetings with former Presidents of Nigeria, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
She has several accolades to her name including being the winner of the Tush Awards Female
She was a partner at NaijaHacks 2018 www.naijahacks.com Nigeria’s biggest tech invention competition event which featured over 1,000 tech innovators from across the country.
Seun Onigbinde, 33 (Entrepreneur; Co-founder/CEO, BudgIT) — He is an entrepreneur and open data analyst. He came to mainstream popularity with his civic startup, BudgIT, that applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change. He started his career at Access Bank and later moved on to First Bank where he got the idea that became BudgIT. He is passionate about civic responsibility and data-driven journalism, one that inspired the launch of Tracka, a project tracking tool. Through BudgIT, Civic Hive, an innovation hub that incubates solely civic tech start-ups, was established.
In February 2016, he made a presentation at the Chatham House under the African Project on issue of accountability and governance.
He is a recipient of several awards including Ashoka Fellowship for Global Entrepreneurs, The Future Awards, 2012, 2016 Aspen New Voices Fellowship, 2016 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship, Stanford University (Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of the Law), Obama Foundation Scholar, 2018 Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow. He is also listed among the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians.
Bashir Ahmad, 27 (PA to the President, New Media) — He is a journalist and digital communications expert. In February 2016, at the age of 24, he was appointed as the Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, a role in which he oversees President Buhari’s communications and engagement on social media and new media platforms. Prior to this appointment, he was an online Editor for the Hausa version of Leadership Newspaper. Prior to working with Leadership Newspaper, he was an online editor and reporter with Rariya Hausa Newspaper and was the Personal Assistant on New Media to Sam Nda-Isiah, the publisher of Leadership Newspaper. He is a honoree on the 2018 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians.