Nigeria is a country with a rich history and culture, and it has produced many famous people in various fields.
In this article, we will be grouping these famous Nigerians into different categories and discussing their major achievements and where they are mostly known from.
Famous Nigerian People
Famous Nigerians in Music
1. Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti was a Nigerian musician, composer, and political activist who is credited with pioneering the Afrobeat sound. He is considered one of the most influential African musicians of all time.
Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter who has won several international awards. He is known for his hit songs like “Ojuelegba” and “Come Closer” featuring Drake.
David Adeleke, known professionally as Davido, is a Nigerian-American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is known for his hit songs like “Fall” and “If.”
4. Burna Boy
Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and rapper. He is known for his unique sound that fuses African rhythms with reggae and dancehall.
5. Tiwa Savage
Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress. She has won several awards for her music, including the MTV Africa Music Award for Best Female Artist.
Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian actress, producer, and director. She is one of the most successful actresses in Nigeria and has won several awards for her performances in movies like “Lionheart” and “Road to Yesterday.”
Famous Nigerians in Activism
1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Adichie is a Nigerian author and feminist who has gained international recognition for her work in promoting gender equality and the rights of women. She has written several books, including “We Should All Be Feminists” and “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions”, which have been widely praised for their insightful and powerful commentary on issues of gender and social justice.
2. Aisha Yesufu
Yesufu is a Nigerian activist who gained international recognition for her role in the #EndSARS protests that took place in Nigeria in 2020. She has been a vocal critic of police brutality and government corruption in Nigeria and has been at the forefront of the movement to bring about meaningful change in the country.
3. Bukky Shonibare
Shonibare is a Nigerian human rights lawyer who has gained international recognition for her work in promoting the rights of women and girls. She is the founder of the Girl Child Africa Foundation, which seeks to empower and support girls in Nigeria and other African countries.
4. Emmanuel Ogebe
Ogebe is a Nigerian human rights lawyer who has worked on issues such as religious freedom, the rights of minorities, and access to justice. He has gained international recognition for his work in advocating for the rights of Christians in Nigeria who have been persecuted and discriminated against because of their faith.
5. Yemi Adamolekun
Adamolekun is a Nigerian activist who has worked on issues such as good governance, democracy, and the rights of citizens. She is the executive director of Enough is Enough Nigeria, a civil society organization that seeks to promote transparency, accountability, and good governance in Nigeria.
Famous Nigerians in Sports
1. Kanu Nwankwo
Kanu is a former Nigerian footballer who gained international recognition for his impressive skills on the field. He won numerous accolades during his career, including the UEFA Champions League with Ajax Amsterdam and the English Premier League with Arsenal. He is also known for his philanthropic work through the Kanu Heart Foundation, which aims to provide lifesaving heart surgeries for underprivileged children in Nigeria and other African countries.
2. Blessing Okagbare
Okagbare is a Nigerian track and field athlete who has gained international recognition for her success in sprinting and long jump. She has won several medals at the Commonwealth Games and the African Championships and has also competed in the Olympics and the World Championships.
3. Hakeem Olajuwon
Olajuwon is a retired Nigerian American basketball player who is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He won two NBA championships with the Houston Rockets and was named the NBA Finals MVP both times. He is also known for his philanthropic work through the Hakeem Olajuwon Foundation, which aims to provide education and healthcare opportunities for underprivileged children in Nigeria and other countries.
4. Chioma Ajunwa
Ajunwa is a former Nigerian track and field athlete who gained international recognition for her success in the long jump. She won a gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, becoming the first Nigerian woman to win an Olympic gold medal.
5. Anthony Joshua
Joshua is a British-Nigerian boxer who has gained international recognition for his success in the heavyweight division. He has won multiple world titles and is considered one of the best heavyweight boxers of his generation. He has also been recognized for his philanthropic work, including establishing the Anthony Joshua Foundation to support young people from underprivileged backgrounds. Joshua’s success in boxing has helped to elevate the profile of Nigerian athletes on the global stage, and he is a source of inspiration for many aspiring athletes in Nigeria and beyond.
Famous Nigerians in Politics
1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and international development expert. She served as Nigeria’s Minister of Finance twice and was the first woman to hold that position. She also served as the Managing Director of the World Bank and is currently the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), becoming the first woman and the first African to hold the position.
2. Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo is a Nigerian statesman, politician, and philanthropist who has been involved in numerous humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts in Africa. He served as the President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007.
3. Amina J. Mohammed
Amina J. Mohammed is a Nigerian diplomat and politician who is currently serving as the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. She has previously served as Nigeria’s Minister of Environment and was instrumental in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015.
Famous Nigerians in Business
- Aliko Dangote – Dangote is a Nigerian businessman who has gained international recognition as one of the wealthiest people in Africa. He is the founder and CEO of the Dangote Group, a multinational conglomerate with interests in cement, sugar, salt, and other commodities. Dangote has been recognized for his philanthropic work, including his contributions to education and healthcare in Nigeria.
- Tony Elumelu – Elumelu is a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist who has gained international recognition for his work in promoting entrepreneurship in Africa. He is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which provides funding and mentorship to African entrepreneurs. He is also the chairman of Heirs Holdings, a Nigerian investment company.
- Folorunso Alakija – Alakija is a Nigerian businesswoman who has gained international recognition for her success in the fashion and oil industries. She is the founder of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil company, and is also involved in philanthropic work through the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which provides support to widows and orphans in Nigeria.
- Mike Adenuga – Adenuga is a Nigerian businessman who has gained international recognition as the founder and CEO of Globacom, a telecommunications company that operates in Nigeria and other African countries. He is also involved in the oil and gas industry through his company, Conoil.
- Ibukun Awosika – Awosika is a Nigerian businesswoman who has gained international recognition as the chairperson of First Bank of Nigeria, one of the largest banks in Africa. She is also involved in the manufacturing industry through her company, The Chair Centre Group.
Famous Nigerians in Science
1. Philip Emeagwali
Philip Emeagwali is a Nigerian computer scientist, mathematician, and engineer who is known for his contributions to the development of the internet and supercomputing.
2. Ola Orekunrin
Ola Orekunrin is a Nigerian medical doctor and entrepreneur who is the founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, which provides air ambulance services in West Africa.
Famous Nigerians in Literature
1. Chinua Achebe
Chinua Achebe was a Nigerian novelist, poet, and professor who is regarded as one of the most important African writers of the 20th century. He is best known for his novel “Things Fall Apart.”
2. Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian playwright, poet, and essayist who was the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. He is known for his plays like “Death and the King’s Horseman.”
Famous Nigerians in Fashion
- Deola Sagoe: Deola Sagoe is a Nigerian fashion designer who is known for her modern African designs. She has showcased her collections at fashion shows around the world, including New York Fashion Week.
- Lisa Folawiyo: Lisa Folawiyo is a Nigerian fashion designer who is known for her use of African textiles and embellishments. She has been featured in Vogue and other fashion magazines, and her designs have been worn by celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o.
Famous Nigerians in Media
- Funmi Iyanda: Funmi Iyanda is a Nigerian media personality, talk show host, and journalist. She is known for her talk show “New Dawn with Funmi,” which addresses social and cultural issues in Nigeria.
- Mo Abudu: Mo Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul, talk show host, and producer. She is the founder of EbonyLife TV, a media network that produces original content for African audiences.