Ayo “Wizkid” Balogun, Mary Njoku, Amaka Osakwe and Iyin Aboyeji are nominees for “The Future Awards Africa, the continent’s highly-coveted “Young Person of the Year’’ Award, the organizers announced on Wednesday.
The award, at which Silas Adekunle, Chief Executive Officer of Reach Robotics will be recognized, has the theme, “Nigeria’s New Tribe’’, and will hold on December 9 at the Federal Place Hotel, Lagos.
Bukunyi Olateru-Olagbegi, Chairman, Central Working Committee, The Future Awards Africa (TFAA), said it was to celebrate and accelerate innovation among Nigerians aged 18 to 31.
She said that the TFAA acknowledges inspiring young people making a difference through social enterprise, social good and creativity.
Olateru-Olagbegi noted that the award was presented in conjunction with The Future Project which has a mandate to build and empower citizens across Africa, through inclusive enterprise and active citizenship.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that TFAA is regarded as the “Nobel Prize for Young Africans’’, and the “most important youth awards” by Forbes.
It has produced over 150 winners and over 1,550 nominees since its first edition in 2006.
Olateru-Olagbegi, analyzing how the nominees emerged, said that arguably, Nigeria’s most influential artiste this year, Wizkid released one of the biggest albums of the year, “Sounds from the other Side’’.
“He recorded ‘One Dance’ with Canadian superstar, Drake and also signed a major publishing deal with international music giant, Sony RCA records, while grabbing three awards at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards and a Grammy nomination.
On Mary Remmy Njoku, an actress and movie producer, she said that she was also the Chief Executive Officer of ROK Studios.
“Launching her production company in 2013 with 25,000 dollars seed money, it has consistently grown — producing television series and films on a platform that has successfully launched two cable channels in Europe and Africa.’’
Amaka Osakwe, the creator of Africa-focused fashion label, Maki Oh, has established a reputation as one of the leading designers on the continent.
Her outfits are worn by international superstars like Beyoncé, Rihanna, Kerry Washington and the former U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama.
With the launch of Andela, Iyin Aboyeji committed himself to the task of nation building through personal innovation.
He left the highly successful tech incubator to start Flutterwave, the tech startup has become a global sensation and winning the Fintech Award at the 2017 Apps Africa digital innovation awards.
Another nominee, Silas Adekunle, is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Reach Robotics, a company developing the world’s first gaming robots.
Silas, in partnership with the University of West England, Bristol, managed the Prince’s Trust “Robotics in school” programme in Bristol.
He led a team of engineering students into schools to develop the interest of young students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) through robotics.
Expatiating on the award, Bukola Adebakin, Team Lead of TFAA, said the focus on Human Capital Development was informed by its value proposition: Africa’s growth needs a generation of young people who are gainfully employed and able to demand and secure better leadership.
She said that TFAA’s projects include “Aiki.ng’’, an employability portal presented with Microsoft; “Nigeria Symposium for Young & Emerging Leaders’’, “StartupsAfrica’’, “Intern4Jobs’’, “YMonitor.org presented with National Endowment for Democracy (NED)’’ and “The Future Enterprise Support Scheme”
Adebakin disclosed that The Future Project was founded by the Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams, and supervised by a Global Board of Advisors drawn from Africa, Europe, North America and the Middle East.