In its quest to inspire a generation of women to do greater things in diverse fields of endeavour, Y!/YNaija.com, in partnership with Leading Ladies Africa project brings you Nigeria’s 100 Most Influential Women – #YWomen100.
These are the ladies who steer the course of history in a usually male dominated environment – they have acknowledged the glass ceiling but they would not allow it hold down their lofty ambitions.
In commemoration of International Women’s Day, we present to you, in particular order, the #YWomen100.
Abike Dabiri-Erewa: After an enviable career as a broadcast journalist in NTA, particularly with human angle stories on Newsline, Abike extended her frontiers to what has been a very successful stint in politics. We still expect to see/hear more from her in the future.
Adesuwa Oyenokwe: With over 30 years experience in journalism, Adesuwa has run the entire gamut and is still re-inventing herself. From Today’s Woman and One-on-One on NTA, to being the Publisher of TW Magazine, and now hosting ‘Seriously Speaking,’ she proves that there is always room to evolve.
Admiral Itunu Hotonu: Smart, articulate and very intelligent, Admiral Hotonu is the first woman to attain the rank of Rear Admiral (a two-star General), in the Nigerian Navy.
Agatha Amata: Many will recognize her hugely popular talk-show ‘Inside-out.’ A consummate media entrepreneur, she recently launched Rave TV, and is spreading her tentacles.
Agbani Darego: Former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, and the first black Miss World, Agbani has become a successful entrepreneur with the launch of her AD by Agbani Darego retail clothing line.
Ainehi Edoro: Deeply interested in African literature, Ainehi is the editor of Brittlepaper, an online platform dedicated to promoting and shaping the way African literary works are produced, appraised and consumed.
Alima Atta: One of the very few women to run a successful PR consultancy till date, Alima is the Founder of Sesema PR, one of the longest-running PR Consultancies in Nigeria. Her company has spear-headed perception management campaigns for an impressive list of local and international clients.
Amina Oyagbola: A top HR Executive at MTN Nigeria, she’s also the Founder of WISCAR (Women in Successful Careers) a not-for-profit, gender empowerment and mentoring initiative for professional career women.
Arese Ugwu: Arese is the founder of a personal finance blog http://smartmoneywitharese.com/about-arese/, a platform that provides high quality content and action tools tailored to Africans. She makes finance easy to understand and less complicated.
Arunma Oteh: Arunma was until very recently, the Director General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission. In 2014, she was named West African Business Woman of the Year by CNBC at the Africa All Africa Business Leaders Awards.
Banke Meshida-Lawal: If you want to have your makep done by Banke, you probably have to book a year in advance. One of the pioneer makeup artists in Nigeria, Banke is the CEO of BMPRO makeup, and also has a cosmetic make-up range with the same name. She has shown that one can have a thriving career through make-up.
Benie Uche: The host and producer of the very successful Benie Uche show in the 90s, she presently now works in the Public Affairs section of the U.S Consulate, Nigeria.
Betty Irabor: The publisher of Genevieve, arguably Nigeria’s most popular women’s lifestyle magazine. She is also a philanthropist, and is the founder of the Pink Ball Foundation.
Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola: She is the co-founder of WeCyclers. Her company builds and manages a fleet of low-cost cargo-bicycles to collect recyclable waste in slums. She is a 2013 Echoing Green fellow, 2013 Cartier Women’s Initiative Award winner, and 2013 Tech Awards recipient.
Biola Alabi: The former Managing Director of MNET is amazing on all kinds of levels. Under her tenure, she improved content and direction for the television service. She is currently a 2014 Yale World fellow and Managing Partner at Biola Alabi Media Consulting, a company designed to provide organizations with access to highly qualified professionals in the broadcast, telecommunications, and digital industries.
Blessing Okagbare: Bold, beautiful and uber stylish, Blessing is an Olympic and World Championships medalist in the long jump, and a world medallist in the 200 metres. She also holds the Women’s 100 metres Commonwealth Games record for the fastest time at 10.85 seconds. She became the fourth woman to win the 100m and 200m double at the Commonwealth Games.
Bola Olawale: She is the publisher of GEM magazine – a Christian/inspirational lifestyle magazine. She has a vibrant, unrelenting passion for inspiring women, and is the convener of the annual GEM BSS Summit.
Bola Atta: While the magazine was still in production, the Editor of Flair (Formerly True Love) Magazine thrilled many of its readers with interesting features, inspiring interviews and insightful information. Many are still awaiting her comeback.
Bola Balogun: She started out as a stylist and fashion consultant, and has steadily grown her brand to include a production company – GlamTV Networks, and a fashion consultancy – Glam Brand Agency. Married with children, Bola makes it all look achievable.
Bola Kuforiji-Olubi: Otunba Ayora Bola Kuforiji, was the first Nigerian woman to be CEO of a multinational company (VYB Industries Limited, with British affiliates (incheape & Co Plc) and first female Chairman of a public quoted company (Bewac Plc). She is presently into philanthropy and improving her local community.
Bukky George: She is the Founder & CEO of HealthPlus Limited and CasaBella International Limited – a one stop beauty store. HealthPlus is Nigeria’s first Integrative Pharmacy and Healthcare Provider and the fastest growing pharmacy chain in West Africa. Bukky’s strengths include a strong academic foundation, a passion for excellence and a determination to raise the standards in retail.
Bukola Elemide (Asa): We absolutely love Asa, because she has taken an indigenous sound and made it international. The singer and songwriter is one of Nigeria’s greatest musical exports of all time, with three albums tucked under her belt, she keeps dazzling us with the beauty and purity of her music.
Bukola Karibi White: The focused, vivacious and hardworking Bukola, is the CEO of the Bobby Taylor Company; a dynamic, steady and strong voice in the PR Industry.
Chimamamnda Ngozi Adichie: From being sampled by Beyonce, to giving insightful talks, to having huge motion pictures made out of her novels, to writing thought-provoking articles, Chimamanda constantly redefines notions of what and who an author should be.
Chioma Omeruah: If you don’t know, or haven’t heard about Chigul, then you are nothing more than a “hanging shimi.” Nuff said.
Deola Sagoe: One of the fore-runners of the Nigerian fashion industry, Deola has been crafting timeless pieces and gorgeous designs for over 25 years. She has placed Nigeria on the world map for all the right reasons. She seems to have passed the baton on to her daughters who are making waves with their CLAN label.
Stella Ameyo Adadevoh: Nigeria may have gone the dreaded way of Liberia during the Ebola crisis, but the quick-thinking, professional and commendable Dr. Stella Ameyo Adadevoh took a decisive and heroic decision. Ultimately, she sacrificed her life for the greater good of the nation.
Ekene Onu: The Founder of Refresh with Ekene helps through her insightful and productive workshops and events, helps women live better, productive, happier lives.
Elohor Aisien: When she launched Beth Modelling Agency, Elohor changed the way fashion and beauty modeling was perceived. Not content with that, she secured the franchise for Elite Model Look, and has recently set up Prive events management. The woman keeps on winning.
Esther Agbarakwe: Climate change is as important an issue to the world, as it is to the bright, vivacious and young Esther. An environmental sustainability advocate, Esther brings to light policy issues on how our planet can be safer… and greener.
Florence Ita-Giwa: Mma Bakassi as she’s fondly called is a political juggernaut, and has been so for over 30 years. Used to working in the background, she has been very vocal and passionate about advocating for a better life for the people of Bakassi in Cross Rivers State.
Folake Coker: In the late 90s, Folake Coker launched her Tiffany Amber label, revolutionizing the way women saw themselves, and fashion. Her timeless, feminine and floaty pieces are considered fashion must-haves.
Folorunsho Alakija: The richest black woman in the world, Folorunsho has business interests spanning fashion, oil and gas, and printing. She’s also a philanthropist and is the founder of the Rose of Sharon Foundation.
Funke Akindele: What Funke has done with the ‘Jenifa’ brand is sheer genius. Her story is one of grit, determination, and hardwok, and a confirmation that dreams indeed do come true.
Funke Bucknor-Obruthe: Diminutive, bright, sparky and creative. Funke is the CEO of Zapphaire events; one of Nigeria’s biggest event management companies. She’s also the author “The Essential Bridal Handbook,” and is set to begin airing her own television series on events management. Go Bucky!!
Funke Felix-Adejumo: With her fiery, fun and no-nonsense approach, Pastor Funke makes learning about God relatable and realistic. She is also the president of Funke Felix Adejumo
Funke Opeke: An experienced telecommunications executive who founded Main Street Technologies, Funke is the C.E.O. of MainOne Cable. In a field that is fiercely dominated by men, we’re inspired by the way she keeps charting new territory.
Funmi Iyanda: She is an award-winning broadcaster, journalist, columnist and blogger. She produced and hosted Nigeria’s popular and authoritative talk show New Dawn with Funmi, which aired on the national network for over eight years. She was recently named one of Forbes 20 Youngest Power Women in Africa. Funmi is also something of a thought leader and a social commentator. We love her energy, her passion and her focus, and yes, we want her back on T.V!
Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi: From her early days as an OAP on Cool FM, Gbemi has displayed a consistency and earthiness, that is so refreshing. Now at Beat FM, Gbemi continues to be at forefront of On Air Personalities that are a genuine delight to listen to.
Genevieve Nnaji: The rags-to-riches story of one of Nollywood’s greatest actresses is as inspiring, as it is heart-warming. With her impeccable diction, super acting skills, and a slew of brand endorsements, who says hard work and talent don’t pay? She’s also dipped into the entrepreneurial pool with the launch of her St. Genevieve clothing label. You go girl!
Hadiza Bala-Usman: At 38, Hadiza is the initiator of the Bring Back Our Girls campaign – a global online and offline campaign aimed at freeing 219 school girls abducted by the vicious Boko Haram sect. She deserves the honour and praise for stepping out to do something.
Hajara Adeola: Hajara Adeola is the Managing Director of Lotus Capital Limited, a Nigerian pioneer in Shari’ah compliant Asset Management, Private Wealth Management Advisory Services and Financial Advisory Services. A first class graduate of Finance, her company is also the first to successfully raise a Halal fund in Nigeria.
Helen Paul: A co-presenter on Africa Magic’s ‘JARA,’ Helen is also a comedian, singer and actress. She is best known as a stand-up comedian and popularly known as Tatafo. Her style is quirky and spontaneous, and her petite stature and voice range makes her sound, hilariously like a child.
Omobola Johnson: Asides being a smart as a whip, the visionary Omobola, used her very influential position as Minister of Information, Communications and Technology to create programs and policies that will ensure that Nigerian girls become active participants in the ICT sector by launching the ‘SmartWomen Initiative’ and the ‘1000 Girls in Training’ program. She’s also the founding chairperson of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ), a non-governmental organization seeking to improve the success rate of female entrepreneurs as well as increase the proportion of women in senior positions in corporate organizations.
Ibukun Awosika: She is the Founder and Chairperson of The Sokoa Chair Centre Ltd, a market leader in the office furniture and banking security systems industries. Ibukun exemplifies the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit, represents the true face of Nigerian business and highlights the opportunities that Nigeria presents to entrepreneurs. She is the host of a popular television programme, Business His Way, where she shares ethical business values and principles, distilled from The Holy Bible, with the business community in Nigeria and neighboring countries.
Ifeoma Obianwu-Fafunwa: Ifeoma has over 20 years of professional experience in both the US and Nigeria, designing and directing artistic projects in theatre arts and architecture. She is the founder and creative director of iOpenEye; a performance art production company in Nigeria that challenges the status quo when it limits the potential of women and progress of the collective African society. Her most recent project is the touring stage production titled “Hear Word!” – a collection of monologues based on true stories of inequality told by 20 Nigerian women.
Iheoma Obibi: She is an African feminist writer, human rights activist and also, the creative director and business owner of Intimate Pleasures Desires of the Heart, Nigeria’s first female online intimate shop – offering the best selection of sexual health products and erotica sourced from around the world.
Ini Onuk: Ini is a seasoned speaker, trainer, mentor, facilitator, and an international consultant on project research and strategy. She is the Chief Executive Officer of ThistlePraxis Consulting Limited– a Strategy & Assessments Management Consulting firm with a niche on a range of sustainability solutions in Africa and also sits on a number of boards of organizations in Nigeria. In her spare time, she mentors female professionals, advises SMEs on Strategy and teaches at the CSR Centre of Pan-Atlantic University and Lagos Business School.
Josephine Okei-Odumakin: She is s a Nigerian women’s rights activist, and is also the president of the rights groups Women Arise for Change Initiative and the Campaign for Democracy. In 2013, Odumakin was presented an International Women of Courage Award from the United States Department of State.
Joke Silva: Veteran actress and director Joke Silva fondly dubbed the “Silva’ lining of the Nigerian film and entertainment industry, is an award winning Nigerian actress, with a successful and influential career which has spanned well over 3 decades. A talented writer, director, producer and performer, Joke is renowned for the memorable roles she has played both off and on screen. Her award winning career is rivaled by few and respected by many.
Kafayat Shafau-Ameh (Kaffy): Despite discouragement from family and friends and the seemingly unlucrative nature of her passion, Kaffy proved beyond reasonable doubt that her career choice – Dance was viable and danced her way into the Guinness World Record with her team, ‘Imagneto’ at the Nokia Silverbird Danceathon. She is an inspiration to young people to not give up on their dreams and to not let anything stop them from achieving their dreams.
Kate Henshaw: One of the leading lights in Nollywood, Kate has, bthrough the sheer dint of hard work and talent, stayed at the top of her game. With a career spanning over 20 years, she is a brand ambassador for Onga and Samsung and has continued to re-invent herself and her brand. She recently made her first foray into politics, which proved unsuccessful, but we’re hoping she makes a successful comeback.
Kemi Adetiba: Kemi is a music video director, filmmaker, and television director whose works have appeared on Channel O, MTV Base, Soundcity TV and BET. She has seen tremendous success as a music video director, and has directed music videos for an impressive variety of international artistes. Kemi’s other upcoming projects include multiple films and a social-media-driven charity, #PayItForward.
Lala Akindoju: Bright, talented and vivacious, Kemi Lala Akindoju is one of Nigeria’s most talented actresses. Beyond acting in movies like Dazzling Mirage, and Alan Poza, Lala is a thespian of note, having featured in over 70 stage productions. In 2014, she produced the immensely successful stage play “The Wives” and is also the casting director for Ndani’s “Gidi Up.” Is she phenomenal or what?
Linda Ikeji: Her blog which started out as a gossip column has become one of the most celebrated blogs in Africa and the one stop portal for information, entertainment and gossip. Her use of technology to carve a niche for herself and create an innovative platform for information and empowerment, has made her a source of inspiration to many young entrepreneurs.
Lisa Folawiyo: She is the founder and creative director of eponymous fashion label, Jewel by Lisa. The brand that has continually captivated people from Lagos to Cape Town, London, Paris, New York and Hollywood. With the launch of her diffusion line – J Label, and other household items, Lisa Folawiyo is steadily expanding the “jewellette” empire.
Lydia Idakula-Sobogun: CEO of Gbagyichild entertainment, Lydia is best known as the convener of the very popular Taruwa – a bi-monthly gathering for lovers of art and diverse expressions of it. Taruwa has been the ‘gestation’ site for a lot of popular and mainstream artistes like award winning rapper, M.I Abaga as well as soul musician, Bez Idakula – who co-incidentally, happens to be her younger brother.
Mary Olushoga: Mary is a women and small business advocate. She is founder of com, a platform powering small business success for African entrepreneurs. She is a 2015 Vital Voices Global Leadership Fellow, an IndiAfrica Young Visionary Fellow (2014), a Women4Africa International Media Woman of the Year (2014), a Crans Montana ‘New Leader’ (2014), the first-ever GOOD Maker/Oxfam America International Women’s Day Challenge Winner, a Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Associate, and an Oxfam America Sisters on the Planet Ambassador.
Mildred Okwo: She is the co-founder of the Audrey Silva company. Okwo is a well-recognized film director and producer whose film “The Meeting,” has won several awards to include the Nigerian Entertainment Award, Africa Movie Academy Award, and the Nollywood Movies Award.
Minna Salami: She is a writer, blogger, and commentator on African feminism. Minna is also owner of the MsAfropolitan Boutique, an online shop featuring designs by women of African heritage.
Modupe Ozolua: Modupe boldly pioneered body cosmetic surgery in Nigeria as far back as 2001. She is the CEO of Body Enhancement limited in Nigeria. Also a philanthropist, she’s the founder and president of Body Enhancement Annual Reconstructive Surgery (BEARS) Foundation. Ozolua has helped people “achieve an admirable weight, attain the best standard of beauty and be fashionable without regard to age”.
Mosunmola Abudu: Mo is the founder of Ebony Life Television and Inspire Africa Foundation. She’s also the host of ‘Moments with Mo,’ a popular Pan-African talk show. As a TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant, and entrepreneur, Mo is the poster child for those who keep evolving – for the better.
Ndidi Nwuneli: An advocate for social and economic change, She is the founder and managing partner of LEAP Africa, a leadership training and coaching organization which is committed to empowering, inspiring and equipping a new cadre of leaders in Africa. She is also a director of Sahel Capital Partners, a leading advisory firm focused on the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors, and the co-founder of AACE Foods, an agro-processing company. Through her work with Sahel and AACE, she has also shaped agriculture
Nike Adeyemi: Co-Pastor, of Daystar Christian Centre and Founder, Real Woman Foundation, Pastor Nike is at the forefront of reformation of dysfunctional families, with the belief that right parenting and godly values shape children into exceptional Leaders.
Nike Davies-Okundaye: She is an Artist, Curator, and Founder of the Nike Art Gallery. Nike has used her international success to launch a cultural revival in Nigeria. She is the founder and director of four art centres which offer free training to over 150 young artists in visual, musical and performing arts – one of which is the largest art gallery in West Africa, compromising over 7,000 artworks. We love her for her talent, sass and warm, toothy grin.
Nike Ogunlesi: She is the founder of Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, a childrens clothing line in Nigeria. From a tiny shop with her and her mother as the main staff, Nike turned Ruff ‘n’ Tumble into an instantly recognizable, international brand. She has built a reputation for being one of the best manufacturers of children’s clothing from Nigeria.
Nimi Akinkugbe: She is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bestman Games Ltd, the African distributor of customised editions of Hasbro’s Monopoly board game. The City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly, the first African city edition of Monopoly, was launched in December 2012. A special commemorative edition of Monopoly, the Nigerian Centenary was launched in February 2014. Achieving financial security ranks as a major source of anxiety and Nimi seeks to empower people regarding their finances. Through the Monopoly board game, speaking engagements, television and radio appearances and social media, she offers frank, practical insights and advice to create a greater awareness and understanding of personal finance and wealth management issues.
Nkiru Olumide Ojo: Co-Founder, Lighthous network, and also Director Marketing Communications, Stanbic IBTC, Nkiru represents the new wave of women in corporate Nigeria who are breaking boundaries and charting new territory. A columnist with a national newspaper, and a professional compere as well, Nkiru shows that there are no limits to what women can achieve.
Nkem Uwaje: She is the Managing Director of Future Software Resources Nigeria Limited. Her company is also winner of the 2012 Etisalat Nigeria Prize for Innovation. Nkem’s company created the iConnect project, focused on making ICT and education more accessible to youths in Nigeria.
Nse Ikpe-Etim: Beautiful, talented and immensely creative, is an award-winning actress and winner of the 2014 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards for playing “Nse” in Journey to Self. Her style is distinct, bold and confident; we expect to see more from her in the future.
Oby Ezekwesili: With the interesting moniker of “Madam Due Process,” Oby is as fiery as she is intelligent. A major voice in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign, she shows strength of character, vision and decisive leadership. A trained accountant, she is a co-founder of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany. She also served as Federal Minister of Solid Minerals and then as Federal Minister of Education during the second-term presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.
Ojoma Ochai: As the Director Arts, of British Council Nigeria, Ojoma is charged with the responsibility of expanding the reach and growth of the creative industries in Nigeria. The long-term project aims to link artists and organisations in Nigeria and the UK and support Nigeria’s arts and creative sector development ambitions.
Oke Maduewusi: Soft-spoken and beautiful Oke, is the Founder of beauty and makeup brand, Zaron. Together with her formidable team, she has painstakingly built a hitherto unknown and small brand into an enviable and competitive makeup and hair range.
Ola Orekunrin: She is an innovator and a 2013 New Voices Fellow at the Aspen Institute. She is a TED fellow, medical doctor, helicopter pilot, and Managing Director of the Flying Doctors Nigeria Ltd, West Africa’s first indigenous air ambulance service and a crucial link for critically injured people.
Olajumoke Adenowo: She is a multiple Award winning Architect, and has been called the “Face of Architecture” in Nigeria. She was recenty featured on CNN African Voices, and profiled on CNN as Africa’s Star Architect, and has been featured in the world’s leading Architectural Publications such as America’s Architectural Record Magazine. In 1999, she founded Awesome Treasures Foundation to raise Transformational Leaders, its summits and other initiatives have attracted well over 50,000 attendees.
Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi: Nigeria’s first super-model, the story of Oluchi is one that inspires millions. After winning the Face of Africa competition in 1998, she took to the world stage of modeling and fashion and made it big. Currently the host of Africa’s Next Top Model, her humble beginnings and current success in her modelling career is a stimulating story of passion, focus and hard work.
Oluremi Shonaiya: The Presidential candidate for Kowa Party in the forthcoming national elections, Professor Oluremi Shonaiya represents the breed of women who will get involved in changing the fortunes of Nigeria. We admire her courage, dedication and grit.
Omotoke Makinwa-Aiyida: From starting out as an OAP on radio, Toke has shown incredible skill and determination in forging a successful media career. She’s now a TV host, curates her very popular vlog series and shows no signs of slowing down. Love or hate her, the girl just keeps on moving forward!
Omotola Jalade Ekeinde: Actress, singer, activist and philanthropist, there is almost something magical about Omotola. Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995, the leading actress has appeared in 300 films, selling millions of video copies, she really is in a class of her own, and should give lessons on how to build a relevant brand. In 2013, she was honoured in Time Magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyonce and Kate Middleton.
Omoyemi Akerele: Founder and artistic director of Style House Files, a creative development agency for Nigerian and African designers, Omoyemi Akerele is widely regarded as a driving force behind the burgeoning Nigerian fashion industry. A pioneering agency in image consultancy and creative direction within the West African country, Style House Files works with Nigerian brands on brand positioning and retail strategies. Akerele also helps brands gain essential international exposure through presenting showcases at Pitti Immagine in Italy, and through Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
Ono Bello: Fashion savvy, focused and creative, Ono Bello is the founder and editor of Onobello.com, and also the Lead PR Consultant in PR Uno – a PR fashion agency that boasts of an enviable list of clientele. We love how she’s turned her passion for fashion into a money spinner.
Osayi Alile – Oruene: The current Chairperson of WIMBIZ, Osayi is what you would call a “connector.” She connects women with their dreams by giving them the necessary tools that enable them thrive and succeed in their careers and businesses. Before exiting in 2013 Ms. Alile was the Executive Director of FATE Foundation, a leading private sector led not-for-profit organisation in Nigeria with a mission to foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerians for 8 years.
Oyindamola Honey Ogundeyi: Driven by the desire to impact lives, she is the founder of e-commerce platform, Fashpa. She’s all about building a sustainable online retail businesses and is also convinced women are essential to the “Africa Rising” narrative.
Peace-Anyiam Osigwe: She is the founder of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMMA). Founded in 2005, the awards have since grown into one of the most prestigious film award shows on the continent, changing the way Nigerians are seen around the world. Her passion is film; and by turning that passion into a mission, she has given the African continent a voice on the big screen.
Rita Dominic: With almost 20 years of acting under her belt, the sultry and well-spoken Rita Dominic keeps getting better. Her performance in the movie “The Meeting” showed her versatility and amazing skill. She is also the co-founder of the Audrey Silva company.
Ruth Obih: She is the CEO of 3Invest Limited, a real estate acquisition company in Nigeria. She is a trained lawyer who has a passion for property and real estate. Her company also has several platforms to promote the real estate sector. From her blog to radio shows she talks about property and real estate investing. She’s also the convener of Real estate Unite – an annual Real Estate conference.
Ruth Osime: In 2003, Ruth started out as a columnist in This Day, two years later she became the editor of This Day Style, a 24-page, colour, glossy pull-out. Years later, This Day Style has become a staple for fashion and style aficionados, and is has spawned others trying to imitate and copy its style.
Stephanie Linus-Okereke: Actress, film director, model and activist, Stephanie just keeps on re-inventing herself – to the utter delight and joy of her fans. In 2011, she was honoured by the Nigerian government with a National honour (Member of the Order of the Federal Republic, MFR). In 2014, she produced the movie ‘DRY’ to rave reviews.
Taiwo Ajayi-Lycett: She has been acting since the 70s and is one of Nigeria’s most celebrated actresses. Her grace, diction and poise are one of a kind. On February 2008, at an All-Star Gala held at Theatre Royal Stratford East on the 10th anniversary of Tiata Fahodzi, she was honoured as a leader of British-African theatre.
Tara Fela-Durotoye: She is a Nigerian makeup artist and lawyer. A pioneer in the bridal makeup profession in Nigeria, she launched the first bridal directory in 1999, set up international standard makeup studios and established the first makeup school in Nigeria. She is the founder and CEO of House of Tara International, and creator of the Tara Orekelewa Beauty range, Inspired Perfume and the H.I.P Beauty range. In 2007, She was awarded the Africa SMME Award and the Entrepreneur award in South Africa and in 2013, Forbes listed her as one 20 Young Power Women In Africa. She is a graduate of the prestigious Stanford SEED Transformation Program and this has aided her work as a mentor for thousands of young women across Africa and a standout entrepreneur.
Tosin Ajibade: The Editor of popular online site Olorisupergal, has done really well for herself. The site kicked off as a blog on in 2010 and later transformed to a website in 2012. According to the site, OloriSupergal.com is the product of what’s trending and the latest news in the entertainment industry.
Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji: A Social entrepreneur, Toyosi is the Founder of RISE NETWORKS, a Nigeria-based private and public sector funded Youth Interest social enterprise with a primary focus on wholesome youth and education development. The organization focuses on creating intellectual development and capacity building programs for young Nigerians between 16 and 30 and receives generous support from several state governments and blue-chip companies. She is also an alumnus of the United States Government’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
Tunde Aladese: She is an actress, writer and producer. She has written for several prominent film and TV productions including Tinsel, The Child and most recently Africa Magic’s Hotel Magestic and Shuga. Tunde worked as one of the writers of the V Monologues: The Nigerian Story and also performed with the production in 2008 and 2010. Her performance in the 2008 production led to her role in the film Confusion Na Wa, which has also earned her an AMVCA nomination for ‘Best Supporting Actress.’
Uche Pedro: She has most recently been named as one of the ’30 Most Promising Young Entrepreneurs In Africa in 2014′ by Forbes. She is the Managing Director of BellaNaija and Creative Director of BellaNaija.com, an online company that develops and manages exciting online media content aimed at Pan-African and Nigerian audiences. Under Uche’s outstanding leadership BellaNaija.com, the premier lifestyle, entertainment and fashion website in Afirca,has established a loyal following, with over 1 million unique visitors and 9 million page views each month.
Udo Okonjo: She is the C.E.O & Founding Partner, Fine & Country West Africa. She’s also a Possibilities Igniter, Wealth Strategist and Passionate Teacher whose life’s vision is to democratise success by creating platforms and experiences that get people to transform their lives through changing their minds. Participants who have had the opportunity to attend an event championed by Udo Okonjo, or heard her speak, testify to having had a transformational experience.
Uduak Oduok: She She is the founder of the pioneering fashion and music law online blogs LadyBrille and Africa Music Law and is also a Partner and Co-Founder of Ebitu Law Group, P.C. whose practice areas include contract drafting and negotiations, business litigation, entertainment and fashion law. Uduak also has over two decades hands on fashion and entertainment industry experience, which runs deep and diverse encompassing the disciplines of media, publishing, fashion, modeling, music, branding and public relations.
Wana Udobang: Wana Wana as she is popularly called is a journalist, writer, poet and gender activist. She currently works as a radio presenter/producer at 92.3 Inspiration FM in Lagos, and presents the popular “Sharing Life Issues.” Wana is also an arts and culture curator and uses spoken word to address some very important issues, especially those that affect women.
Yasmin Belo-Osagie: She is co-founder of She Leads Africa – a platform providing the most talented female entrepreneurs across the continent with access to the knowledge, networks, and financing needed to build and scale strong businesses.
Yetunde Taiwo: Yetunde founded ICY Public Relations, an international PR company in July 2007 in Miami, Florida. The company was created from the desire to give an international representation (Africa, Europe, Caribbean, North America) to emerging business owners who want to reach a global world audience with their products or services.
Uzoamaka Aduba: Uzo is an Nigerian-American actress, best known for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix television series Orange Is the New Black (2013–present), for which she won the 2014 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series and the 2015 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series.
List & story by Y!/YNaija.com
Photo description: Uche Pedro, Founder of Bella Naija