Wizkid, Boyega, Adedumola, Iyeh, Okoye battle for TFAA ‘Young Person Of The Year’
After much anticipation, organisers of The Future Awards Africa (TFAA), has unveiled nominees for this year’s edition of the awards amid the excitement. Dubbed, as the ‘Nobel Prize’ for young Africans by the World Bank, the awards now in its 11th year is the leading prize on the continent that recognises hard work, talent and achievement in young people, aged 18 – 32.
Previously, the organisers had announced that it was returning its focus of the awards from a continental one to country specific: Nigeria. Hence, about 105 trailblazing Nigerians have been nominated across 21 categories to compete for the coveted awards, with ‘Young Person of the Year’ as the biggest and most keenly contested category.
Past winners include Ghanaian clean water activist, Sangu Delle; Indian entrepreneur and founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, Ashish Thakkar; Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and music star, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo well known as D’banj.
This year’s nominees were chosen for their impacts across different fields of endeavour. They are Dr. Olumo Adedunmola, a doctor and a serial entrepreneur; John Boyega, BAFTA-winning British-Nigerian actor; Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun popularly known as Wizkid, multiple award winning artiste now signed to Sony Music; Mark Okoye, Honourable Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development in Anambra State, and Iyeh Kennedy, a youth empowerment advocate.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun (Wizkid), 27
Started his career in 2008 as a rapper. He got his big break on M.I Abaga’s debut album singing the chorus for Fast Money, Fast Cars. This was quickly followed by a record deal with Bankole Wellington’s (Banky W) Empire Mates Entertainment and critically acclaimed album, StarBoy that spawned half a dozen hit songs in 2010.
His streak of unbroken hits has continued all the way to today, with features on songs by Drake, Justine Skye and Tinie Tempah. Wizkid struck gold this year as he won the keenly contested ‘Artiste of Year’ at the third edition of All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA) that held in Lagos.
On the same night, he clinched the MTV EMA for ‘Worldwide Act. In South Africa, he won ‘Artiste of the Year’, ‘Best Male Act’ and ‘Best Collaboration out of Africa’ at the 2016 MTV MAMAs. In London, he received the ‘Best African Act’ award at the 2016 MOBO Awards, all without a major record.
John Boyega, 24
As Storm Trooper and lead character, Finn in the new instalment of mega-successful science fiction franchise, Star War, John Boyega, became the first black empire soldier in the Star Wars franchise and an avatar for a new era of multi-racial representation in global science fiction. It also helped catapult him to global super stardom as an A-list actor.
The British-born Nigerian actor’s biggest sell is his ability to straddle many cultural worlds, drawing inspiration from each and infusing these quirks into his roles and performances.
His feature debut in 2011’s sci-fi comedy, Attack the Block introduced him to British audiences and poised him for bigger roles. Then came roles in Live Another Day, Imperial Dreams and a star turn as the brooding Ugu in the Biyi Bandele divisive adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. Boyega has proved himself as a global star in touch with his heritage and eager to take on the world.
Kennedy Iyeh, 21
A believer in the power of words to change mindsets, Iyeh’s vision is to bring change to the society through knowledge sharing, public speaking and mentorship. He started his career in public speaking through a well-researched word press blog, where he chronicled his thoughts and presented his ideas on leadership and self-empowerment.
He is the founder of KennySpeaks, a public speaking brand, which he describes as the ‘wellspring of knowledge’. The website features fresh content on jobs, scholarships, fashion, entertainment and poetry.
In July this year, Iyeh founded the Tall Walker Foundation as a non-profit Non-Governmental Organisation to help secure funding for his community empowerment projects.
Dr. Oluwo Adedunmola, 24
Call her a wonder woman you wouldn’t be too far off. The saying that education in Medicine is a difficult path to follow isn’t a fiction but reality. Dr Adedumola, a recent graduate of the University of Debrecen Medical School in Hungary did this excellently while also managing four successful businesses across varied industries.
Just 24 years old, Adedumola achieved financial independence from her retired single mum; became an entrepreneur, finished her medical studies all in one fell swoop. She runs Dedun’s Cakes, a four-year-old cake and pastry company; Hair by Dedun, a six-year-old hair styling business that caters to every hair texture; DedunCooks, a six-year-old Nigerian food catering business, and Belle Artistry by Dedun, a new beauty-focused business she started earlier this year.
“I was able to combine all these without repeating a year in the seven years of medical school. I was able to make enough to pay for my Masters. I’m sharing my story to inspire others that it doesn’t matter what your situation is; you can always challenge yourself to achieve great things whether you are a 17-year-old (like when I started) or older,” she said in an interview.
Mark Okoye, 30
Though 30 years old, Okoye is the youngest member of the Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra-led cabinet in this year. He is the Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development in the state.
Prior to his joining the government, he was a senior member of the investment banking division at Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited, where he was instrumental in executing numerous capital raising and financial advisory transactions to his new position.
He left his illustrious investment-banking career to join the Anambra State Economic Think-Tank. This led to his appointment as special adviser to Governor Obiano on Economic Planning, Budget and Investments in 2015.
His role involved running the day-to-day activities of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget. In addition, he has operational and strategic oversight over Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency.