In the last year we have brought over 4,000 stories to 600,000 readers within and outside Nigeria covering Nigerian celebrity news, style and gossip.
We decided to mark this first 12 months by covering the 12 most influential celebrities in Nigeria. Our selection process was pretty tough with several names coming up across the media and entertainment.
Those who made this list are not just celebrities, they are also very influential. Their level of influence was measured by their impact in their industry and their celebrity status by their reach and impact on the lives of people on a large scale.
Don Jazzy, whose real name is Michael Collins Ajereh, is a quintessential producer and hit maker. The natural born Mavin challenged the Nigerian music industry like a matador, grabbed the struggling bull by the horns and conquered it.
Don Jazzy exemplifies the term ‘boss’ in all ramifications and this can be seen in his multifaceted talents including singing, songwriting and producing. Engineering hits after hits with Mo Hits, Don Jazzy mentored the likes of D’Prince, Dr Sid, Wande Coal and Kay Switch, partnered with Dbanj and ushered them into to success and limelight.
The Mo Hits ship sank but Don Jazzy rose like a phoenix from the ashes establishing the Mavin Records and churning out household anthems one of which is his recent viral track, Dorobucci. With numerous awards and endorsements to his name prominent of which are MTN, Samsung and Loya Milk, Don Jazzy has really improved the music/entertainment industry in Nigeria and is truly a force to reckon with in the Nigerian music scene.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer who has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors that is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”. Adichie was an A student who often butted heads with her teachers. Despite her reputation, she received several academic awards.
Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), received wide critical acclaim and was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (2005). Her other prize winning books include, Half of a Yellow Sun, named after the flag of the short-lived nation of Biafra, is set before and during the Biafran War, The Thing Around Your Neck (2009)and Americanah (2013).
Kenyan Oscar winner, Lupita Nyong’o has also gotten the rights to adapt Americanah as a screenplay making it Chimamanda’s second novel to be adapted after Half of a Yellow Sun. Her fellow advocate of Feminism, Beyonce featured one of Chimamanda’s speeches on one of her recently released tracks, ”Flawless”.
Her readers are addicted to her blog, some log in several times a day, others leave them permanently open leading to the joke that many offices have a “Linda Ikeji department”.When she started blogging seven years ago, she had no clue where it will lead. Today her blog rakes in millions per year for her.
With an estimated 3 million monthly readers, her stories become instant talking points among internet-savvy Nigerians on and offline. The comments generated help many get through their boring or annoying day.
Linda Ikeji is one of the few creating a Nigerian dream others can relate to and believe in. Little wonder there are thousands of Nigerian bloggers trying to make it like her. Her story is indeed remarkable and without doubt is one of the most influential individuals on the Nigerian web.
Charles Bruce Chukuma, popularly called Chaz B by his radio audience, hails from Delta State, Nigeria. With over 20 years of experience in the Hospitality Management Industry of the United States of America, Chaz B consults on management turn around in the hotel and entertainment sectors in Nigeria.
With a distinct voice purring through the Lagos airwaves, Chaz B’s hallmark show is “SHARING LIFE ISSUES WITH CHAZ B”, which earned him the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Awards for 2010 as the best On Air Personality in Radio and the show is rated the number one show across the city of Lagos.‘Listening to Chaz B is like listening to a clergyman, a man of strong moral conviction and religious beliefs. And you begin to wonder if he is an ordained priest, and if he is, what is he doing in broadcasting’
Chaz B continues to be a strong voice through his program, ‘Sharing Life Issues with Chaz B’, which airs on the Rhythm Radio Network every Monday to Friday at 5.30-7.oo pm, as well as other network programs in the works.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye
The life of Enoch Adejare Adeboye is a fulfillment of the scriptures in Zechariah 4: 10 which declare “despise not the days of small beginnings.” Born in 1942 into a humble family, Enoch Adeboye often humorously states that his family was so poor that even the poor people called them poor. He unashamedly tells his congregation that he never owned shoes until he was eighteen years of age. What he possessed though were physical intangibles such as focus, consistency, diligence, ambition, a brilliant mind and a determination to succeed in life.
In 1977 when he was ordained a Pastor in RCCG, Enoch Adeboye manifested an incredible passion for the work of the Lord, pioneering Bible Study meetings, Crusades, Revivals, Outreaches and the evangelistic programs known as the Congress.
Although the founder left a sealed document pronouncing Enoch Adeboye as the succeeding General Overseer, his transition into office was not smooth but met with some resistance. For several years, he has been honored to serve as Pastor and /or spiritual counselor to Heads of States, Ministers, political leaders and national decision-makers.
Bright Okpocha prominently known as Basketmouth wears the crown as Nigeria’s ‘lord of the ribs.’ From humble beginnings in the University of Benin, the Lagos State born comedian has organized quite a lot of comedy concerts across the globe. Only 35 years of age and brimming with significant potential, Basketmouth shot into widespread recognition when he came in contact with Nigerian comedy pioneer, Ali Baba in 2001.
His hit comedy concert, Basketmouth Uncensored, holds in different countries and it rakes in a lot of millions. He has mentored a lot of upcoming comedians and has been instrumental in carving out the niche that the Nigerian comedy industry is today.
With an array of awards and endorsements from big wigs like Glo, the ever humble Basketmouth refuses to see himself as the best in his chosen field. He is a happy father of two and husband to a gorgeous wife.
The billionaire was once again featured on TIME magazines 100 most influential people in the world in 2014. His Dangote group employs over 21,000 people with revenues of over 450 billion naira per year. His companies account for about 30% of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Aliko attributes his success to faith, foresight, prudence, hard work, passion for service, choosing the right businesses to pursue, generosity and taking calculated risks. He has donated over 5 billion naira of his wealth personally and through his foundation to political, social and health programs.
His prudence doesn’t stop him from living the life as he’s said to have three private jets in his hanger. He once said that it took him 30 tortuous years to become a billionaire but youths of today want to become gazillionaires faster than Usain Bolt. Even though he is usually found in the company of Tony Elumelu, Femi Otedola and Bill Gates, Dangote still finds time to hangout in the entertainment scene and mentor the young ones. He once did an interview with MTV base and attended PSquare’s wedding and Davido’s album launch
After many unsuccessful auditions, Funke made her first screen appearance at the age of 21 in a popular TV family drama I Need To Know which was sponsored by the United Nations in which she acted as a 15 years old teenager. And from then on, she began to star in yoruba movies. Developing a passion for writing, she began to write, produce and feature in her movies which include ‘Taiwo Taiwo’, ‘Apaadi’, ‘Jenifa’, Return of Jenifa, Omo Ghetto, ‘Maku’, ‘Agbefo’, ‘Ekuro’.
Of all her movies, Jenifa (comedy/drama) which was written and produced by Funke Akindele has been her most successful movie till date. What made the movie outstanding was the fact that she convincingly translated her role which was an unsusual one as she was not a comedy actress. Her Endorsements include: GLO, Klin Detergent, Jobberman, Lagos Inland Revenue Service, Vitafoam, 1960Bet and The BRT,
A precocious genius, ‘intellectually omnivorous, hyperenergetic child’ and a voracious reader, Wole Soyinka started reading when he was barely three. One fateful day, he took some of the books in his father’s collections, followed his older sister’s path to the school, sat by her side on the bench and declared to the teacher he wanted to learn how to read the books he brought. The bemused teacher who remains a mentor put down his name in the class register and that was it. A legend was born. In his autobiographical memoir, Ake: The Years of Childhood , he narrated his growing up. In 1982, the book was selected as one of the 12 best books by the New York Times Book Review.
His two novels are The Interpreters (1965) and Season of Anomy (1973) while his plays include The Swamp Dwellers, The Lion and the Jewel (a light comedy). Soyinka’s latest dramatic works are A Play of Giants (1984) and Requiem for a Futurologist (1985).
Extremely inquisitive, rascally and witty as a child, he will be 80 next month. Adults warned themselves: ‘He will kill you with his questions.’ He is very vocal as regards the current political situation in the country.
Jay Jay Okocha
Augustine Azuka “Jay-Jay” Okocha is widely regarded as the Best Nigerian Player of his Generation and also known for his step overs, skill and techniques. On the club scene,Okocha’s influence on the pitch was remarkable as he played for some of the biggest clubs in Europe such as Fernabahce ,Bolton Wanderers and Paris St-Germain(PSG).
Though Okocha never won the African Player of Year award throughout his career, he is supposedly the best player never to win the award despite coming second twice in 1998. In 2004 he was listed in football legend Pele’s FIFA 100. He was also voted number 12 on the greatest African footballers of the past 50 years list in 2007. He was recently listed among World cup’s 100 best footballers of all time.
Jay Jay’s multiple endorsements no doubt show how relevant and influential he is outside the field of play as several brands like New Age mobile Chargers,Bullet Energy Drink and Star Lager Beer to mention a few have signed him on as their ambassadors .
Referred to as Africa’s Oprah Winfrey, Mosunmola Abudu, popularly referred to as Mo Abudu, is a talk show host, TV producer, media personality, human resources management consultant and entrepreneur. who keeps stretching herself beyond her limits.
Abudu started her foray into entertainment as the Executive Producer & host of popular TV talk show, Moments with Mo, which is the first syndicated daily talk show on African regional television. The show has featured various celebrities,Presidents, Nobel Laureates, and the 67th US Secretary-of-State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Aired on M-Net with TV coverage in 48 African countries, the show now also airs on terrestrial and cable TV in other parts of the world.
Ebony Life Television
The screen tv personality sealed her title as the queen of TV defying all ‘Pull her down Syndrome’ odds by launching Ebony Life Television, “Africa’s first Global Black Multi-Broadcast Entertainment Network” on 1 July 2013 which is “a multi-platform broadcaster set to reach Africa’s most important target demographic, the custodians of the present and the future.
Amaka Igwe (nee Isaac Ene) who hailed from Obinagu, Enugu State worked as a lecturer at the Anambra State University of Technology and briefly in oil and Gas, before settling for the motion picture industry.She hit national limelight with her award-winning TV soap, “Checkmate” and its off shoot ‘Fuji House of Commotion’. Her Nollywood works include Rattle Snake and Violated, two critically acclaimed movies that set Amaka Igwe Studios apart in the much-criticised Nollywood industry.
Igwe’s first major production, “Decrees of Fate”, won four awards at the National Festival of Television Programmes in 1988.An accomplished writer, producer, director, entrepreneur and teacher,She was the founder and organizer of BOBTV, CEO of Top Radio 90.9FM, Amaka Igwe Studios, and the newly-launched Q Entertainment Networks.
This female colossus stamped her authority on numerous roles she played in the Nigerian TV drama sector, as well as film production, popularly known as Nollywood.For her significant contribution to TV drama and movies in Nigeria,she was awarded with an MFR award by President Jonathan in 2011.
It will be worthy of note to say Amaka Igwe may be singularly the most important WOMAN in the creation & evolution of Nollywood. She died on April 29th of this year. We at Stargist.com celebrate the works and contribution of the late Mogul to the entertainment Industry.