Nigerians are known for being resilient, passionate, and creative. The country's people have made significant contributions to the world in many areas - from music to films, fashion to technology. Nigeria is currently one of the most populous countries in Africa with a population of more than 177 million people.
This list includes 10 famous Nigerians who are influential in their field. They have all helped change the game for their country and beyond. Scroll down to find out about these fabulous Nigerians!
Nigeria is a country that has produced some of the most amazing people in the world, in many different fields. It is not hard to imagine why so many African-Americans are proud of their Nigerian heritage and culture.
The following list includes 10 of these influential Nigerians, who have helped change the game for their country and beyond.
Funmi Iyanda is a Nigerian author, speaker, and activist. She is best known for her work on using and understanding the power of language to shape our world. Her work includes novels, essays, children's books, and non-fiction.
She was born in Lagos in 1967 and attended the University of Ibadan where she studied English Literature. In addition to writing, she speaks at various events around the world with a focus on language and politics.
Iyanda has worked as a columnist for The Guardian Nigeria newspaper since 2008.
She has written two novels: "The Joys of Motherhood" (2013) which won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize For Best Book in Africa; "The Book of Chameleons" (2010) which was nominated for the Man Booker Prize; an essay collection called "Notes On African Women" (2011); and two children's books: "A Tale Dark and Grimm: A Collection of Tales About Hansel & Gretel" (2010), which won a Dolly Gray Award for Best Children's Books; and "The Day My Grandma Gave Up Chocolate" (2012).
She delivered a TEDxTalk in 2016 called How Language Shapes Our
Wale Adebayo is a Nigerian musician and actor. He was born in 1978 and released his first album "The Beginning" when he was 16 years old. His music career started with hip-hop but soon went on to include R&B, soul, jazz and funk.
In 2004, Wale released his third album "Renaissance," which included the hit single "Fallin'." In 2006, Wale released his fourth album, "Attention Deficit."
Wale has won two Grammy Awards - one for Best Rap Performance in 2008 for the song "Ambitionz Az a Ridah" from his fifth studio album and another for Best Rap Album in 2013 for "The Gifted."
He's also starred in films such as "Something New" (2003), opposite Queen Latifah, and more recently the 2015 film "The Wedding Party."
Abimbola Akingbade is a Nigerian-American entrepreneur and author. She graduated from Harvard University in 2003 with a degree in economics. She is the founder of the non-profit organization, African Success Initiative.
Akingbade has received numerous awards for her work including being named to Forbes 30 under 30 list, and the Most Powerful Woman in Africa by Forbes.
Omawunmi Abioye is the founder of Project Solar, a company that provides solar energy solutions for the Nigerian market. His mission is to help Nigerians secure their energy needs and reduce their carbon footprint. He was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 Africa in 2018.
No.6: Chika Orioke
Chika Orioke is a director, writer, and filmmaker who has made award-winning films such as "Igbo Orphan" and "Alive in Peace." She graduated from UCLA with a degree in African Studies and began her career by working as an assistant at a film production company. Today, she's one of the most prominent voices on Black cinema.
No.9: Femi Otedola
Femi Otedola is one of Nigeria's wealthiest businessmen - he also happens to be the managing director of Forte Oil Plc. In 2008, he founded ForteBank, which now stands as Nigeria's largest bank with over 52 branches across the country and approximately $4 billion in assets under management!
Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright and author of more than 35 books. His notable works include "The Lion and the Jewel," "The Trials of Brother Jero" and "Death and the King's Horsemen." In 1975, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka
Soyinka has been called "the most important African dramatist of this century" by prominent Nigerian critic Kenneth Dike. He is considered one of the foremost writers of African literature. He served as Chancellor of the University of Nigeria from 1968 to 1975.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is the former Minister of Finance and former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Born in Nigeria, she is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley. She also has an honorary degree from Harvard University.
Okonjo-Iweala was born in 1940 and raised on her family's farm. She attended secondary school at Queen's College in Lagos and then moved to the United States for her undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley where she graduated with honors in economics with a highest distinction in economics. After college, Okonjo-Iweala entered law school at Harvard Law School from where she graduated first class as part of the first African student group ever admitted to Harvard Law School.
After graduating from law school, she returned to Nigeria and became an attorney for two years before founding a law firm in 1970. Just 3 years later, she became one of the youngest practicing lawyers. In 1976, Okonjo-Iweala founded one of the country's largest law firms specializing in corporate transactions and general commercial matters.
She served as Minister of Finance under President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 until 2007 when he
Oby Ezekwesili is a Nigerian politician and activist. She was the first black African woman to run for president of Nigeria, and she ran against Goodluck Jonathan for the People's Democratic Party.
In her youth, she was a member of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP), which protested against oil pollution in the Niger Delta region. Her activism earned her a scholarship to study at Columbia University in New York City, where she obtained a PhD in International Relations.
Ezekwesili has served as United Nations Special Representative on Youth Employment and is currently a senior fellow with the Center for American Progress.
She was born in Anambra State, but now lives in Washington D.C., where she has worked with development organizations since 2006. She is married to Tony Ezekwesili, who also serves as UNICEF Special Representative on HIV/AIDS in Europe and Central Asia.
Lanre DaSilva-Alabi is the founder and CEO of Zain Nigeria, the largest mobile network operator in Nigeria. He has also been selected as one of the top 50 entrepreneurs in Africa by Forbes Africa.
DaSilva-Alabi has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
The former McKinsey consultant founded Zain in 1999, and it now covers more than 75% of Nigerians with its coverage reaching over 50 countries across Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.
In 2005, Lanre DaSilva-Alabi was named one of Forbes Magazine's "40 under 40" business leaders in Africa.
Akinwumi Adesina is the current president of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The AfDB was established in 1964 and is an international financial institution that aims to accelerate sustainable economic growth across Africa. He has been working with the bank since 1987, when he was appointed as its first Head of Policy & Planning Division. In 2006, he became deputy managing director and in 2008 he was appointed to head the division of Economic Development and Social Affairs.
In 2013, he became president of the AfDB.