InsideMainland’s 25 Most Inspiring Personalities of 2016

Published:28 Dec, 2016

The‘s 2016 list of ‘Lagos Mainland Most Inspiring Personalities’ is a compilation of men and women who, against all odds, thrived in 2016 and whose professional and social endeavours served as an inspiration to members of communities of the Lagos Mainland.

Since the turn of the year, these personalities have continued to extend their personal achievements, but their motivation to stay the course and push the envelope in their sphere of influence is the key reason for being on this list.

The team, which is dedicated to reporting events on the Lagos Mainland, believes it is critical to celebrate these individuals, not only we need to have them do more, but so that many others will be inspired to create their own story of achievement.

From Prince Ogaga and Stanley Oghenerukevwe, Ajegunle’s resilient fashion entrepreneurs, to street music mogul Olamide Badoo who runs one of the biggest music label in the country, to charismatic youth advocate, Dayo Israel who is vying for the Lagos Mainland Local Government chairmanship position and Hon. Jimi Benson, the popular Ikorodu lawmaker whose innovations have directly impacted positively on the members of his constituency, here are the Mainlanders that inspired us in 2016 in no particular order of importance.

  1. Jimi Disu

A keen advocate of communal development in Lagos State, Jimi Disu is the voice of reason for the average Lagos residents, especially those on the Lagos Mainland. His candid commentary on public affairs on radio is well listened to within the seat of power in the Lagos State.

In 2016 alone, Jimi Disu has through his radio shows – The Discourse and Front Page News, fearlessly questioned some of government policies and actions. One of such battles was against the State Government’s shut down of communities to enforce the ‘environmental sanitation’ exercise. He inspired those who took the case to court to stay their course until the policy was revered later this year after 21 years.

  1. Hon. Jimi Benson

Born Babajimi Adegoke into the popular Benson family of Ikorodu, Lagos, JB as he is fondly called, built a career that has taken him through both the private and public sector with a proven track record in public administration.

As part of his plans aimed at communal development, Hon. Jimi Benson who represents the Ikorodu Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives initiated different people-oriented projects in 2016. Among such projects is the iCare Foundation solely funded by him which operates the iCare Food Bank where the elderly ones get monthly food items.

Furthermore, as part of Hon. Benson’s pet project, 80 beneficiaries graduated in the first phase of the #StartUpIkorodu three-month Accelerated Skills Acquisition Programme (ASAP) in November 2016.

The applicants were tutored by seasoned facilitators on a three month skills acquisition programme which covers areas such as information technology, fish farming, computer graphics, computer programming, among others.

These aforementioned projects alone sets the lawmaker apart from other politicians on the Lagos Mainland.

  1. Chude Jideonwo

Born in Surulere axis of Lagos, media and Public Relations expert, Chude Jideonwo is a young man who has grown to be a force to be reckoned with in his career. His goal is to inspire young people across Africa through his youth-targeted platforms such as Y!Africa, Y!Naija, The Future Project Africa, among others.

Despite his countless achievements, his friendliness and humility is impeccable. In 2016, Chude and the Red Media, a company he co-founded was prominently featured on CNN’s Inside Africa platform for their stride and continuous growth of the brand and the impact on the African youths.

  1. Hon. Abiola Gbenga

At only 28 years old, Hon. Abiola Gbenga was sworn by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode as the Sole Administrator of Agege Local Government alongside 56 others across the State, in June 2016. He currently the youngest Local Government Administrator in Nigeria.

But don’t let the age, and calmness deceive you, Hon. Abiola Gbenga exudes undiluted confidence and eloquence. This single achievement is truly an inspiration to youths on the Mainland and across Nigeria.

Hon. Abiola Gbenga set the notch higher in December 2016 when he donated his monthly pay – the sum of Two Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira (N210,000:00) – to three students who graduated top in the annual Agege Local Government vocational training programme. Watch out for this young polician!

  1. Seyi Taylor

If you are an avid Twitter user or a Techie, then you must have heard of or encountered Seyi Taylor. Although he graduated as a Medical Doctor, he has grown to become an authority in the Nigerian Technology and Digital media ecosystem.

Seyi is the Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of the Big Cabal (owners of Zikoko, Techcabal and Radar). His name and company has been featured on major platforms like Financial Times and Bloomberg.

Seyi who resides in Ikosi on the Mainland, continue to extend his influence in the tech space by setting out to create a band of young world-class developers in Lagos. He also connects them with employers around the globe who are in search of top tier talents.

  1. Dayo Israel

A restless polymath and disruptive innovator as he succinctly describes himself, Dayo Israel is one of the leading youths on the Lagos Mainland today.

A chairmanship aspirant vying for the post of Lagos Mainland Local Government, Dayo Israel has successfully hosted various community-based programmes all through 2016. In August 2016, Dayo organized a three weeks intensive skills acquisition and mentoring programme where 10,000 residents of the Mainland Local Government, including school leavers, students, artisans and unemployed adults who intend to learn to be self-dependent were trained.

A globally recognized personality with over 15 years of professional experience in international development having worked with organizations such as The United Nations, British Council, Save the Children UK, UNICEF, in various capacities, Dayo was selected by the United Nations to represent all delegates to the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children on a special CNN Live Interview. Also, he was specially invited by Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh to a private reception at Buckingham Palace as a result of his contribution to Africa Diaspora Development.

Also, Dayo Israel in 2016 renovated the All Progressives Congress (APC) party secretariat in Lagos Mainland. Similarly, he surprised many when he surprised a homeless family by renting and furnishing an apartment for them. During the process, a relative of Dayo also offered to pay for the rent for another year and while Dayo financed the fish business of the man in question.

Dayo has also secured the support of influential politicians such as Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Former Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Mrs. Sarah Adebisi Sosan, Mrs. Orelope Adefulire, among other several others in his quest to become the first citizen of the Lagos Mainland Local Government.

  1. Olawale Adigun

A graduate of Mass Communication from the Lagos State Polytechnic, Olawale Adigun is the Head of Sports of urban radio station, Top Radio 90.9 few years after he first interned at the station.

Starting out as a radio OAP, his career has now progressed to TV appearances as he now features on different sports programmes both on satellite and terrestrial stations.

Olywal as he is fondly referred amongst his peers against all odds scooped the prestigious Nigerian Sports Award for the Sports Journalist of the year (Radio) 2016 beating the popular Murphy Ujemba of Brilla FM among others to the most coveted prize. As a result, the focus driven Ogba resident has grown into a household name.

Currently, his radio programmes – Back to Back Sports, Sports Café, and Lets Talk Nigerian Football – has created the needed avenue for youths who desire to talk sports across the community giving them the opportunity to test their ability via the medium.

Some of those youths who fondly revere Olawale publicly include his protégé, Adeshina Peter, Adepoju Tobi, Joseph Bassey, Olawale Quadry, alongside his gang of radio journos.

  1. Kenny Blaq – Kehinde Peter Otolorin

For Ejigbo based Kenny Blaq, 2016 was the breakthrough year. Despite the increasing competitiveness of the comedy industry, Kenny Black distinguishes himself through his brand of music and comedy shows.  From his rib-cracking performance at Ali Baba’s January 1st concert and AY Live 2016, to winning the Naija FM Comedian of the year award, the talented comic act was a speaker at the TEDx Ikeja and was also the only comedian that performed at Darey Art Alade’s ‘Love Like a Movie’ Concert.

The young man can be aptly described as the next big thing in comedy.

  1. Olamide YBNL

Born as Olamide Adedeji, the rapstar cum label executive has never been shy of his Bariga roots. As a matter of fact, his works has put the once dreaded community on the world map for positive reason. The superstar, now residing in Magodo, has been an inspiration to youths of all classes.

This year alone, Olamide won the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEA) Album of the Year, City People Entertainment Awards’ Rap Artist of the Year, and Rap Act of the Year.

Away from that, established mainland youths such as Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Young John among others all owe their successes to Olamide’s creative ingenuity and the opportunity he afforded them to showcase their talents.

Gearing up for the third edition of his forthcoming show, Olamide Live In Concert (OLIC) III, Olamide has announced he is set to release his sixth studio album titled ‘Glory’ today, December 26, 2016.

  1. Eva Etese

Organizing a food fair in a community as large and diverse as Festac is no easy feat, but that didn’t perturb community blogger, Eva Etese. She proved her passion for community growth when in November 2016 she hosted the Festac Food Fair, the first of its kind in the Festac community.

Eva embarked on this mission in a bid to help local food vendors – and other community businesses – thrive despite the nationwide recession.

The Food fair served as platform to connect small business owners with prospective customers which is the first of its kind in the history of Festac.

  1. Simisola Ogunleye – Simi

Born in Ojuelegba and now residing in Magodo, Simisola Ogunleye better known as Simi is truly a pure-bred Mainlander. Popular for her sonorous vocals and storytelling style of music, Simi made major waves this year.

Her hit single ‘Love Don’t Care’ gained widespread international attention in 2016, same year she was awarded Female Artiste of the Year in the 2016 City People Entertainment Awards.

Additionally, she proved her dexterity as a talented sound engineer when she mixed and mastered Adekunle Gold’s 16-track debut album entitled ‘Gold’ – save the song ‘Sade’ – which was released in July 2016.

  1. Dayo Akintobi

Dayo Akintobi is the publisher of Ilupeju Today, a community themed newspaper that focuses on Ilupeju axis of Lagos under the Odi-Olowo Ojuwoye Local Government area.

Since the inauguration of the newspaper, Dayo has through the platform told exclusive stories and also thrived communal issues that require the urgent attention of the government of the day.

As a result of this, he has grown into a force to be reckoned within the community and also an inspiration to other members of the community.

Presently, Dayo’s newspaper, Ilupeju Today ranks as one of the widely distributed community newspapers which also has the recognition of the Lagos State Government.

  1. Davidson Obennobo

20 year old Davidson Obennobo made history in 2016 when won the ninth edition of the Aquafina sponsored Elite Model Look Nigeria and also became the first overall winner of Elite Model Look from Africa.

Following Davidson’s win in Nigeria, he represented the country at the 33rd edition of the Elite Model Look World Finals in Lisbon becoming the first black man to win the most coveted prize as the overall winner.

The Elite Model Look is considered as the gold standard in the fashion and modeling world and Davidson emerged winner with international contracts worth €150,000 (you are free to calculate that against the Naira at 1$-480).

His feat at the World Finals proved that Mainlanders apart from brains and knack for success, also have the swags, talents and looks to succeed at the world stage.

  1. Demola Olanrewaju

Born and bred in Surulere, Lagos, Ademola Olanrewaju aptly known in social media circles as Demola Rewaju is one of the most vocal voices on governance and communal development in Nigeria.

Now a resident of Oko-Oba, Agege axis of Lagos, he is a creative writer and presently the political analyst and strategist of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). A youthful Demola looks set to be the poster boy of a rebranded PDP (if they ever do rebrand) as his leaning supports a professionally-run political party. He was actively involved in all the PDP electioneering in 2016 across the country.

on the side, he runs a portal where he dishes out thought provoking articles, opinion posts, and other notable activities that has gotten the attention of key decision makers in the public and private sector.

Also via his social media platforms, Demola engages youths and continually educate them in issues relating to governance, politics, economy, education and many more.

As a result, Demola who describes himself as ‘sapiosexual’ and idolizes late writer and critic, Bola Ige, is well celebrated for his advocacy for community developmental growth across the Lagos Mainland.

  1. Olabinjo Olanrewaju – Onyabo Vigilante Head
Provost Marshal of the Onyabo Vigilante Group, Olabinjo Olanrewaju

Mr. Olanbinjo Olanrewaju is the Provost Marshall of local vigilante group, Onyabo, headquartered in Ikorodu, Lagos. Since the creation of the group several years ago, Lanre, as he is simply called has been at the fore front of fighting crimes such as cultism, armed robbery, rape, kidnapping, and land grabbing among other illicit acts in Ikorodu community.

In 2016 alone, the Onyabo group led by Olanrewaju arrested more than 150 cult members as part of the efforts to ensure sanity returns to the once peaceful Ikorodu community.

Olanrewaju and his team have foiled several cultist attacks as well as arrested prominent members of the various cult groups wreaking havoc in Ikorodu and its environs.

  1. Cheta Nwanze – Chxta

Magodo based Cheta Nwanze better known as Chxta in social media circles initiated the popular #HistoryClass as a response to Nigeria’s removal of history from its school curriculum. Chxta currently reviews the headlines on Smooth FM, Lagos, with his unhinged candour loved and hated in the same breath by his listeners. Yet, his commentary on local, regional and national issues are believed to be largely unbiased.

in 2016, Cheta through his SBM Intelligence, undertook researches into some of Nigeria’s most troubled regions. His works were referenced by influential national and international media organisations.

As an author, Chxta has written various articles, opinions, as well as contributed to important topics that got the attention of key decision makers in the public and private sector.

  1. Megan Chapman

Although of British descent, Megan who resides in Yaba when in Lagos, is one of the few individuals who are in the fore front of advocating for a responsible advancement of waterfront settlers across the Lagos waterfronts.

In 2016, Megan and her colleagues through the Just Empower Initiative, organized different workshops, engagement programmes and also staged various peaceful protests to advocate for the rights of waterfront settlers in Lagos.

Recently, Megan and her team protested at Alausa to call for the revisal of the the eviction order and planned demolition of waterfront structures across Lagos State.

  1. Tayo Nathan

It takes real guts to pursue a career in the highly dominated Nigerian fashion industry considering the influx of international brands and the dominance by established brands. While the industry continues to grow in leaps, only a courageous few like Tayo Nathan could take the bold step of venturing onto the the trade.

First winning the Farouz L’Original fashion contest, Tayo Nathan who lives in Ketu, Lagos, ventured into the industry in 2012 has weathered several challenges – great and small – to arrive where he is now. He has since participated at international fashion shows such as the London Fashion Week.

In 2016, Tayo was among the elite fashion designers selected to showcase their collections at the annual Heineken sponsored Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

Since launching his T.I. Nathan brand, Tayo has worked with international and established celebrities such as Noble Igwe, Richard Mofe Damijo – whom he styled for his milestone 20th anniversary in the movie industry – Ramsey Nuoah, OAP Akah, Dice Ailes, among others.

Through his fashion brand, Tayo engages various youths across the Mainland where he affords them the platform to express their creative talents.

  1. Adekunle Kosoko – Adekunle Gold

2016 was a big year for singer-songwriter and graphics designer, Adekunle Kosoko, popularly known by his stage name Adekunle Gold. Just two years after the Magodo based YBNL star shot into prominence with his single ‘Sade’, Adekunle Gold has really come a long way.

His album ‘Gold’ released in July, 2016 was a massive hit. Although it was released three days before the original scheduled date, it peaked at number #7 on Billboard’s World Album Charts for the week of 13 August 2016.

Also, the graduate of Lagos State Polytechnic won the awards for Best Song and Best New Act to Watch in the Nigerian Entertainment Awards (NEAs) 2016.

  1. Dolapo Oni

Dolapo Oni is an Africa-focused Energy analyst and also the Head of Energy Research at the Ecobank Group.

Still in his youthful days, Ebute-Metta based Dolapo who joined Ecobank in 2012 is responsible for research and market intelligence on the energy sectors of countries in Sub Saharan Africa.

As a result of his resourcefulness and unbeatable knowledge of African energy market, Dolapo has grown to be one of the most sought after energy analyst across Africa. He has featured in all the high level discussion platforms and has been referenced by mainstream national and international media platforms such as CNN, CNBC Africa, Channels, Bloomberg, among several others.

  1. Paul Kehinde

Surulere, Lagos resident, Paul Kehinde is a Nigerian power lifter famous for his record breaking feats since he ventured into the sports. The 28 year old power lifter competed in the men’s 72 kg power lifting event at the 2014 edition of the Commonwealth Games where he won the most coveted gold medal.

In 2016, the bundle of talents who is not deterred by his physicality became the toast of many across the world after he twice smashed the world record with a 220 kg lift in the men’s power lifting category in the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games held in Brazil between 7 and 18 September 2016.

As a result, Kehinde broke his own world record in the category beating Peoples Republic of China’s Hu Peng and Egypt’s Ibrahim Shaaban to the gold medal in the process.

In fact, Kehinde who was untouchable during the games, effectively competing against himself, lifting 210kg after opening his account at 205kg and going on to lift a world record of 218kg. Roared on by the spectators, Kehinde was buoyed as he smashed the world record lifting 220kg in the process.

To cap an amazing record breaking year, Paul Kehinde also beat superstars such as Nigerian footballers, Odion Ighalo and Kelechi Iheanacho, sprints star, Seye Ogunlewe and Bose Omolayo to emerge winner of the 2016 edition of The Future Awards Africa Prize in Sports.

  1. Emmanuel Oyeleke

A photographer and tech enthusiast, Emmanuel Oyeleke is an inspiring individual whose childhood began with the quest to find fulfillment in developing computer applications which he excelled at until his passion for photography took him over.

Emmanuel has spent the past few years paving his own path with camera in hand, learning new things, living fully and taking on new challenges each day.

He was amongst the few photographers that participated in the 2016 edition of the annual Heineken sponsored Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

In 2016 alone, he has worked with influential personalities such as Mai Atafo, Toke Makinwa, Tosin Martins, Yemi Alade, DJ Spinall, etc. not leaving aside his photography work with other amazing brands ranging from magazines, fashion designers, international beauty brands, event planners and NGOs.

  1. Laila Rahman – Leylarh Cadne

Born Laila Rahman, Leylarh Cadne is one of Lagos and Nigeria’s most sought after make-up artistes. She is famous for her compelling make-up videos popular among enthusiast, brands and her followers.

Leylarh shot into prominence after her team won the Fayrouz L’Original show in 2014, an occasion that preceded the release of her make-up look book which blew a lot of her followers away.

In her career, she has worked with faces such as Fade Ogunro, Zainab Balogun, Aphrodija, Stephanie Coker, DJ Cuppy, Toyin Jalapomo of Ndani TV as well as entering into a partnership with popular fashion platform, ThisDay Style for the various editions of her make-up projects and Bold Magazine.

In 2016, Agege-based Leylarh has taken her craft a notch higher by recording make up videos as well as other instructional projects, which have inspired huge followers who continued to learn and be influenced her progress.

  1. Prince Ogaga

Born and brought up in Ajegunle axis of Lagos, Prince Ogaga has continued to inspire young residents of Ajegunle for over 15 years. This year, he and his business partner, Stanley Oghenerukevwe, successfully hosted the second edition of Ajegunle Fashion and Design Week, which attracted big names in the Nigerian fashion industry. The event also provided the platform for young models and designers across different parts of Lagos to showcase their skills.

  1. Stanley Oghenerukevwe

A partner to Prince Ogaga, Stanley teamed up with his colleague in 2004 on a mission to ‘change the face of Ajegunle’. 15 years later, they have made an evident mark in their community, with countless initiatives like the Ajegunle Fashion and Design Week and other Skillpreneurship training programs aimed at improving the lives and well-being of members of the community.


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