The exceptional trail of excellence Toyosi Akerele is leaving on people’s minds.


Happy new year 2010 folks.For me the significance of this year is the fact that it is also the beginning of an entirely new decade.Some four days ago I was deep in thought as to who should be My Young Person of The Decade. Three names became prominent in my mind:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Emmanuel Asuquo Cobhams
Toyosi Akerele
I had a challenge as to which of them to decide for.I leaned strongly towards Chimamanda because of the fact that I just could not look beyond her talents as a writer.She is one Nigerian that inspires me to just write from my heart and let my soul direct the flow of my thoughts. What I had against her choice is the fact that she is not essentially young as I needed someone an average 25 year old could see as ”our mate” not with an air of ”she is way older”.She was born in 1977.Chimamanda published two major books in the past decade i.e. Purple Hibiscus in 2003 which won the Commonwealth writers prize for the overall winner best book and her globally renowned book, Half of a yellow sun published in 2006 and went on to win the 2007 Orange Broadband prize for fiction.Chimamanda Adichie was one of Nigeria’s shining light in the past decade.At 32 years of age though,Chimanda is not in the range of my essentially young person plus her achievements as much as they were very good for Nigeria’s image were not enough for me to choose her.So I paused on her.
Then came my mate from King’s College Lagos 2001 set, Cobhams Asuquo who has since serenaded Nigerian hearts especially when science tells us all he sees is darkness.Far from it,Cobhams’ music,poetry,production skills and general talents have done more to bring light to the hearts of Nigerians more than NEPA could afford to offer Nigerians light in their homes even if they were allowed to operate for several millennia. Cobhams twice had me in tears when I saw him perform at some events.This young man is an inspiration to anyone who needs to know impossible is a crap word and excuse for lazy people.Anytime you enjoy that Asa monster-hit album,please remember that Cobilicious did more than anyone else to make Asa’s music so soulful and sweet.The multi-award winning Cobham’s will be 29 this year and surely will not be envied if he wins an award that says he is the young Nigerian of the past decade.Cobhams was just a touch short of winning my own award as My Young Nigerian of the decade.
My young Nigerian of the decade is Toyosi Akerele of RISE Networks.She is the Chief Executitve Officer of RISE.She has pioneered several youth initiatives.My choice will not come as a surprise to my close friends because I always said No other Young Nigerian was doing as much as she was in trying to help nurture the destiny of young Nigerians and set them on the perfect course for the future.The 26 year old University of Jos trained lawyer has carted home mutiple top-notch awards, long cementing her role as the most recognisable ambassador of Young Nigerians.RISE NETWORK’S’s DARE TO BE DIFFERENT YOUTH gathering is the most prestigious and most inspiring platform for young Nigerians. Somehow, I have not attended any since its inception in 2007 but testimonies from friends and the resultant effect of that programme makes it easy for it to be THE EVENT for young Nigerians to attend every year.Toyosi is directly in the business of rebranding Nigeria because hers is the mission of inspiring,motivating and empowering young Nigerians for change.Rebranding Nigeria started with RISE’s DARE TO BE DIFFERENT Youth Forum because you don’t rebrand a society without engendering the right values in its young population.Who are the armed robbers,the road side prostitutes,the jobless folks,and the several people bearing the brunt of a nation seemingly without direction,they are young people.Save the young population and you have saved the nation.It goes beyond satellite television adverts.She has got two values that for me set her apart from a league of people posing as the voice of Nigerian youths,Toyosi Akerele is contagiously passionate and humble to a fault.I was very recently divinely set up to chat with her on the internet and we chatted for over one hour.Of course that act in itself is special but if you were privy to our gist you’d find a Godly,passionate,and humble person.Having decided to hold my note on My Young Nigerian of the decade, her very amiable personality set me up to just conclude the piece.While we were gisting,I thought to myself ”This can’t be my young person of the decade” because it just felt so unreal but it is so real I can still feel my head swelling as I punch these letters.There’s a wannabe youth ambassador who is anything but that.He has never replied any of my attempt to communicate with him but then who cares about a wannabe when you have THE REAL DEAL. You can not speak for people you don’t speak with. www.omojuwa.com celebrates Toyosi Akerele as the Nigerian of the decade and since we believe here that this has to be the decade of the Nigerian that was referred to as ”young” the last decade,let us celebrate the woman who is in the fore-front of the quest to truly make the young Nigerian lead wherever s/he  finds  her/himself.Toyosi Akerele, keep RISE-ing.I love you Sis.

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In the beginning...Let there be Light http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japheth_J._Omojuwa

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