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Thoughtleaders & Changemakers to speak at the Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders – View the Full Lineup



The Central Working Committee (CWC) for The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders has unveiled the full list of keynote speakers, lead-ins and discussants  for this historic event, which will gather young Nigerian leaders from across the country to discuss governance and leadership.

The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders is scheduled to hold on Wednesday 11th – Thursday 12th January 2012 at the MUSON Centre and it is proudly presented by The Future Project, in association with EiE Nigeria and the International Republican Institute. To be a part of this ground breaking historic event, be sure to nominate yourself or an individual HERE as 50% of the seats have been declared open for nominations. Registration ends Friday 30th December 2011.

Director of The Future Project – Adebola Williams said “We are incredibly excited about all the young people we have managed to bring together, we are gathering some of the brightest and best of young Nigerian leaders from all the six geo-political zones to talk about how the next generation will choose to lead. This generation wants to be different from the last, but how can it be practically done? The target is for a truly transformed and functioning Nigeria – but unless we actually define that leadership ideal, we will be unable to achieve it. This symposium takes the first giant step.”

The Headline Speaker is Obiageli Ezekwesili (World Bank VP for Africa) and she will be supported by Bishop Matthew Kukah (Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese of the Catholic Church) while the opening address will be given by Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi (Minister for Youth Development) and hosts of the event are Tolu Ogunlesi (Winner for CNN African Journalist of the Year 2009) and Adaure Achumba (Correspondent for Reuters).

Check out the full list of speakers at this event;
The Perspective from the government
(A)Emerging Leaders: Public Officers/Civil Servants – Is it Possible to Stand Out in Government?
The challenge of governance in Nigeria is the continuing perception that when “good people” enter government, they become unrecognisable, lost in a web of waste, corruption and deceit. With examples, models and prescriptions, this panel will assess the viability of standing up for positivity in government.
Lead-InDr Kayode Fayemi (Executive Governor of Ekiti State)

  • Hauwa Abdullahi-Booth (Senior State Counsel, Federal Capital Territory Administration)
  • Babasola Alokolaro (General Counsel to the Governor of Lagos State)
  • Dolapo Badru (Special Assistant to Lagos State Governor on Youth)
  • Emmanuel Etim (Programme Manager, AUYVC-PMU/Partnerships and Ext. Relations Adviser, African Union Commission)
  • Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin (Special Assistant to Oyo State Governor on Special Projects)
  • Emmanuel Okocha (Special Assistant, Federal Minister of Youth Development/Former Special Assistant, Kwara State Commissioner for Education)
  • Umaru Tanko-Yakassai (Chief Personal Physician, Executive Governor of Kano State)

Moderator – Mfon Ekpo (Maritime Lawyer/Negotiator)

(B)Emerging Leaders: Technocrats – Understanding the Problem: Politics or Competence?
From the return of democracy in 1999, there has been a clamour for “technocracts” in government – people who are uniquely qualified in their area of appointment. More than a decade after, has this led to any transformative change? Or are we doing it all wrong? We assess the impact and relevance of this set of public officials.
Lead-In –Oronto Douglas (Senior Special Adviser to the President on Strategy, Research, and Documentation) and Prof. Pat Utomi (Director of the Centre for Applied Economics, Pan-African University)

  • Tope Akande (Head of Corporate Affairs, Lagos State Signage and Advertising Agency)
  • Ohimai Amaize (Special Assistant on Advocacy, Minister of Youth Development)
  • Chime Asonye (Associate Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Millennium Development Goals)
  • Asawo Ibifuro (Managing Director, Cinfores)
  • Amara Nwakpa (IT Consultant)
  • Olasupo Olusi (Technical Assistant, Coordinating Minister of the Economy)
  • Hakeem Shagaya (Director, Unity Bank/Former Technical Adviser, Ministry of Finance)

ModeratorAziza Uko (Editor-At-Large, Y! Magazine)

(C)Emerging Leaders: Politicians – The Matter of Mud
One of Nigeria’s more popular borrowed clichés is “Politics is a dirty game”, but with many politicians managing to be in or leave government with either reputations intact and/or praise for their achievements, how can a new generation of leaders achieve this feat and make politics more palatable for greater involvement?
Lead-InRotimi Amaechi (Executive Governor of Rivers State) and Mallam Nasir el-Rufai (Former Minister of the FCT)

  • Jibrin Abdulmumuni (Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance)
  • Olaide Agboola (House of Representatives Candidate, Ijesa South Federal Constituency, Ogun State)
  • Uche Chuta (Board Member, Engage Nigeria Forum)
  • John Lebo (Member of the House of Assembly, Abi Constituency, Cross River State)
  • Egghead Odewale (Personal Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State)
  • Babatunde Sarumi (2011 PDP House of Representatives Candidate)
  • Bilyaminu Shinkafi (Member of the House of Representatives, Shinkafi/Zurmi Federal Constituency, Zamfara State)

ModeratorDeji Badmus (Head of Reportorial Desk, Channels Television)

The Private Sector Alternative
(A)Emerging Leaders: Professionals – The Degrees of Separation
Is there a need for a greater interest in government by professionals or is it enough to sit behind desks and do our jobs well? The historic EnoughisEnough rallies last year and the #ABSURape saga this year signpost a new era of professional involvement which is effective because of its independence from government and politics. This panel will assess impact and the future
Lead-InAustin Edoja-Peters (Head of Corporate Communications, Access Bank) and Folake Ani-Mumunney (Chief Marketing Officer, First Bank Nigeria)

  • Jumoke Adekunle (Communications Manager Nigeria, Girl Hub)
  • Idiare Atimomo (Manager of the Youth Segment, Etisalat)
  • Kunle Durojaiye (Cranfield MBA Grad)
  • Austine Imoukhuede (New Business Development Manager, Nutricima Ltd)
  • Mariah Mogoli (Petroleum Economist, Sahara Energy Field Limited)
  • Jennifer Obayuwana (Executive Director, Polo)
  • Femi Odusote (Reservoir Engineer, Chevron)
  • Akintunde Oyebode (Head SME Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC)
  • Nana Shehu (Senior Analyst, Lotus Capital Limited Kano)
  • Kehinde Shote (Consultant, Shell Petroleum)

Moderator Ferdinand Adimefe (Research and Development Executive, Century Energy Services Ltd)

(B)Emerging Leaders: Artistes – When is it More than a Job?
The last presidential elections threw up a new and dominant scenario where several high profile entertainers endorsed candidates for office. While this is proper practice in many developed democracies, the transactional nature of our politics led to criticism as to motivation and reward. We seek to explore the burden on entertainers, the criticism over discharge of professional duties and the correct context within which to situate such engagement
Lead-InAbiola Alabi (Managing Director, M-Net Africa) and Obi Asika (CEO Storm 360)

  • Funke Akindele (Actress/Producer)
  • Ikhane Akhighe (CEO, AbOriginal Productions)
  • Lanre Dabiri a.k.a eLDee (Rapper/Producer)
  • Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde (Actress/Producer)
  • Audu Maikori (CEO, Chocolate City Group)
  • Ebuka Obi-Uchendu (TV/Event Host)
  • Stephanie Okereke (Director, Del-York International, Actress and Producer)
  • Nkiru Sylvanus (Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo State)
  • Bankole Wellington a.k.a Banky W (Director, EME)

ModeratorMatse Uwatse (Presenter, Nigeria Info FM)

(C)Emerging Leaders: Entrepreneurs – Building an Alternative Resource-Base to Affect Governance
Is it time for young people with thriving businesses to put their monies where their mouths are? Is it possible to be a force for good from the outside, financing candidates, and marshalling resources to support positive change in the Nigerian society? This session will stimulate thought and action – as well as effective strategy for engagement.
Lead-In Tonye Cole (CEO, Sahara Group) and Dumo Lulu-Briggs (CEO, DLB Marine Ltd)

  • Toyosi Akerele (CEO, RISE Group)
  • Segun Demuren (Managing Director, Evergreen Apple Nigeria – EAN Hangar Jet Center)
  • Bisola Edun (Managing Director, Tae)
  • Gbolahan Fagbure (Managing Director, Road Repair Company)
  • Kingsley James (Deputy Managing Director, DigiPrints)
  • Chioma Nwagboso (Private Sector Specialist, World Bank)
  • Tayo Oviosu (CEO, Pagatech)
  • Hassan Rilwan (CEO, Focal Point Group)
  • Perez Tigidam (Creative Director, Arden and Newton)
  • Mosunmola Umoru (CEO, Honeysuckles PTL Ventures)

ModeratorOhimai Atafo (Creative Director, MAI)

Driving Change from Outside
(A)Emerging Leaders: New Media Commentators – Questioning The Effectiveness of Arm-Chairs
The evolving phenomenon of the online commenter and thought leader is extensively explored, perhaps for the first time in our nation’s history. It is important to identify the dichotomy between the arm chair critic and the force for change. The accessibility and egalitarianism of the online space – blogosphere and social networks – can be a veritable tool for development – but how? And what are the rules of effective engagement?
Lead-InDele Momodu (Publisher, Ovation)

  • Nmachi Jidenma (Programme Coordinator, Sub-Saharan Africa, Google)
  • Daibat Garuba (Lawyer)
  • OO Nwoye (CEO, SOLUTION Y/Founder, TechCircle Nigeria)
  • Henry Okelue (Presales Consultant, Galaxy Backbone Plc)
  • Japheth Omojuwa (Editor, AfricaLiberty.Org)
  • Babatunde Rosanwo (Economy and Society Research Student, Graduate School for Social Research, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland)
  • Seyi Taylor (CEO, Blouuve)

Moderator Kola Oyeneyin (CEO, Venia Business Hub)

(B)Emerging Leaders: Traditional Media – The Challenge of Responsible Influence
The Nigerian media has consistently been accused of duplicity and corruption, severely weakening its moral authority to drive the conversation. It is important to explore how much of this is exaggerated and how much is reality with a view to establishing a new credibility and moral order for the media in an information age where the consumer drives the news via a 24-hour media cycle. This panel will look at that future critically.
Lead-InIbim Semenitari (Former Editor, Tell Magazine/Commissioner for Information, Rivers State)

  • Al-Kassim Abdulkadir (Contributor, CNN)
  • Abdulkarim Baba-Aminu (Saturday Editor, Daily Trust)
  • Tosyn Bucknor (On-Air Personality, Top Radio/Columnist, The Guardian)
  • Biola Kazeem (Head of Strategy, Elev8)
  • Cheta Nwanze (Chief Information Officer, Daily Times)
  • Ahmed Shekarau (Editor, People’s Daily)
  • Funke Treasure (Controller of Presentation, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria)

Moderator Dr Peju Adeniran (Editor, DocSays)

(C)Emerging Leaders: Issue Advocates/Activists – How Far Away should we stay from Government: Driving a Credible Agenda
Nigeria’s vibrant activism culture has seen many erstwhile activists make a quick cross over to government – leading to cynicism within the populace, convinced that activism is often an open invitation to patronage. This session will ruthlessly assess youth-led civil society organisations and how they can succeed with regard to motivation, intent and, sustainability.
Lead-InNdidi Nwuneli (Founder, LEAP Africa) and Osayi Oruene (Executive Director, FATE Foundation)

  • Yemi Adamolekun (Executive Director, EnoughisEnough Nigeria)
  • Esther Agbarakwe (International Advocacy fellow, Population Action International, Washington DC, USA)
  • Kingsley Bangwell (Team Leader, Youngstars Foundation)
  • Mosun Layode (Executive Director, LEAP Africa)
  • Zaynab Lukat (State Representative, Department for International Development, DFID Nigeria)
  • Linus Okorie (President, GOTNI International)
  • Gbenga Sesan (Executive Director, Paradigm Initiative Nigeria)

ModeratorRebecca Enobong Roberts (Executive/Operations Officer, Youth Empowerment and ICT Foundation)

Special Africa Session – Identifying a Continental Leadership Context
We often speak of leadership incidents that happen “only in Nigeria” – but the continent is replete with governance that is seen as corrupt, inefficient and pre-modern. The possibility of a continental push for good governance or creating a ripple effect through a network of countries working together is explored at this special session, alongside alternatives for development and growth.

  • Hon. Evelyn Anite (Youth Representative, Parliament of Uganda – Uganda)
  • Ewajesu Asala (Commonwealth Youth Representative for Nigeria/Deputy Chair, Commonwealth Youth Panel for Africa – Nigeria)
  • Uzodinma Iweala (Author/Medical Doctor – Nigeria)
  • Roselyn Kangara (Agribusiness Consultant – Kenya)
  • Acha Leke (Partner, McKinsey and Company/Founder, African Leadership Academy – Cameroon)
  • Kathleen Ndongomo (Ideation Consultant – Cameroon)

ModeratorEmmanuel Etim (Programme Manager, AUYVC-PMU/Partnerships and Ext. Relations Adviser, African Union Commission)

Photo Credit: is an official media sponsor of The Nigeria Symposium for Young and Emerging Leaders


  1. adenike

    December 28, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    How come I’m not part of this? *wailing and rolling on the floor*

  2. madman

    December 28, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    What were the nominations for, if they already people that they were already going to select ? I am confused because I nominated someone and they are not noted on the list.


    December 28, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    not so sure they wud wana take a madman serious. lol *runs away*

  4. madman

    December 28, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    you better keep running *lol*

  5. Salama

    December 28, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    “Egghead Odewale (Personal Assistant to the Governor of Ekiti State)” ??? I haff die! LOL. Is that really his first name?

    • AnonymousPesin

      December 28, 2011 at 9:24 pm

      Lmao! Me thinks that his name was supposed to be Edgar but his parents not knowing the spelling kuku name him Egghead. O_0

  6. AnonymousPesin

    December 28, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Maybe my definition of youth might be flawed but all I see on the list are *cough* old people. Anyway sha, carry go

  7. Dami

    December 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    won’t miss this opportunity!!!

  8. madman

    January 4, 2012 at 2:21 am

    With fuel subsidy removal, how I go take reach the place ? Will my transport fare be subsidized…

  9. Ngozi

    January 5, 2012 at 2:29 am

    Omg Nkiru Sylvanus is a Special Assistant to the Governor of Imo state? Lol for what, Crying Affairs!!! Lol she needs to get back to Acting, no one’s cried to her level. I mean a Cry for Help……… LOOOOOOL

    PS Where are the supposed youth, Nigerians have totally misconstrued the term youth. Last time I read Genevieve Nnaji and Banky W were up for YOUTH awards…..takes the right liberty to be honest.

  10. madman

    January 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    Indeed there are no youths on this list. How can one describe a 40 yr old as a youth ? LMAO

  11. madman

    January 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Bella and team, I am told this has been postponed, could you provide us with some updates ?

  12. Tosin

    January 6, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    I see somebody I don’t like, but I see a lot of people I like, then my girl EJ (go girl) and somebody I need to meet/talk to. Just might crash the party, people 🙂

  13. Ivie K. Evbuomwan

    January 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    this message is late but i soooo hope it is not tooo late to be a part of the event?

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