1 – Aliko Dangote
He’s the richest black man in the world and Africa’s richest man, with an estimated wealth of $10.3bn. Within Nigeria, Senator Ben-Murray Bruce called him “more influential and powerful than (President Muhammadu) Buhari”. The billionaire’s latest project is a $10.5bn oil refinery that will be Africa’s largest, so Dangote will not be sitting on the sidelines when it comes to oil-sector reform debates there. He is investing in the continent’s manufacturing and agribusiness capacity, and plans to launch the long-awaited London IPO of Dangote Cement in late 2019. Meanwhile, his philanthropy is taking flight.
4 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Nigerian author-cum-public intellectual continues her stratospheric ascent and is as often seen behind a mic as in print these days – engaging audiences about racism, sexism and the human condition. She started the year 2018 slaying a French journalist for her lack of knowledge about Nigeria and ended it on stage with former US first lady Michelle Obama. Who’s next?
7 – Davido
Naija Pop Artiste,
He has riches (he’s worth $16m), good looks, fast cars and political clout. Using his music to inspire Nigerians to vote in the 2019 elections, he also lent his star appeal to presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar’s campaign, seriously upstaging the 72-year-old politician. His next act will be to crack the tough US market, with his eyes set on a gig at Madison Square Garden, having filled the 15,000-seat O2 Arena in London in January.
8 – Enoch Adeboye
In 2017 Pastor Adeboye’s resignation from leading his five-million-member church in Nigeria was greeted with dismay by congregations around the country. Nigeria’s highest-profile pastor, who numbers the Nigerian vice-president Yemi Osinbajo among his followers, had to step down from running the domestic operations of the church he had built up almost from scratch after a new law put a 20-year cap and 70-year-old age limit on the leadership of non-profit organisations. Adeboye could have argued that The Redeemed Christian Church of God was not, strictly speaking, “non-profit”, with Forbes quoting the net worth of the man born into poverty at €39m, but he chose not to.