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And the 2012 Future Awards Young Person of the Year Is?…Coming Soon! Banky W, P-Square, D’banj, Raheem Temitope Bello & More Make the List



The Central Working Comittee (CWC) for The Future Awards has unveiled the complete list of its biggest award – the Young Person of the Year. As ist tradition, the nominees for the coveted award category has been taken out of the various categories as always and identified as trailblazing role models for young Nigerians – all except for the Science and Technology categories as it is deliberate attempt to encourage and spotlight more high-impact activity in those sectors.

Mai Atafo (Chairman, The Central Working Comittee)  spoke on the award category saying “ All of the Young Person of the Year nominees are winners, they are honorees and will yet again all be given plaques. Also, they will not go through the four stages of judging for the awards, only one stage for voting and one stage for judging. These guys inspire us!” He further said “Note that, due to the adjusted The Future Awards calendar – it was moved from its traditional January to August, the period in review is October 2010 – May 2012, nominees who were still 31 years as at March 2011 (six months into the period in review) are therefore eligible.”

Bankole Wellington (Banky W)
Occupation: Musician/Entrepreneur/Activist
Age: 31
Known primarily as a musician, Banky W has however transcended that label; emerging not just as one of the nation’s leading talents, but also building an inspiring business with Empire Mates Entertainment that has created superstars like Wizkid and Skales. The EME Boss also leads the stage as an activist passionate about Nigeria – proving this with his involvements in everything from the What About Us? Youth Debate to #OccupyNigeria. Banky W is not just an entertainment personality, he is a national figure of hope and love of country and a leader.

Chinwe Njoku
Occupation: Engineer
Age: 26
Njoku recently won the The Sir Robert Martin University Prize at the Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, which is the premier award of the University and consists of an award of £1,500 plus a commemorative medal. Beyond that, Njoku stands out for including significant published research that has benefited the wider community. In total she has 12 peer-reviewed publications (10 as 1st author). This includes the IEEE Transactions on Antennas & Propagation Journal (the most prestigious journal in the field) and the IEEE Antennas and Wireless Propagation Letters (Special Issue on Metamaterials). This groundbreaking research will continue in a major £600,000 major interdisciplinary government grant.

Dapo Oyenbajo (D’Banj)
Occupation: Musician/Entertainment Entrepreneur
Age: 32
D’banj is not just an artiste – he is an idea!  Having broken every single boundary in the Nigerian and African music industry through Mo’Hits Records, he has become a trailblazer for artistes reaching for an international market with his exploits with GOOD music and his newly formed D’banj Records. As he told the UK Observer, “I see what I’m doing now as the bridge that we’ve been looking for from Africa to the mainstream world. I want others to see the potential in my country, other than our oil and natural resources.” He’s on his way to achieving that.

Jason Njoku
Occupation: Media Entrepreneur
Age: 31
Njoku is at the forefront of Nigeria’s digital revolution – he didn’t begin it, he doesn’t own, but for much of the world he impressively represents it. With his Iroko TV brand tagged the ‘Netflix of Africa’, he is the world’s largest distributor of African movies. His company raised $8 million in venture capital from Tiger Global Management, a New York based Private Equity and hedge fund run by billionaire Chase Coleman and has distribution deals with Dailymotion, iTunes, Amazon and Vimeo. He is net worth is estimated a whooping $30 million dollars.

Peter & Paul Okoye (P-Square)
Occupation: Musician/Entertainment Entrepreneur
Age: 31
This inspiring twin brothers have been tagged one of the very best in African music. That success is apparent in their high-profile shows/tours across the continent, their endorsements and the mega-launch of their last album in 2011. Their  recent video “Beautiful Onyinye Remix” featuring American rap star Rick Ross continues to be a talking point across the music industry as well as their official signing with Akon’s Konvict Muzik and also signing with Universal Music Group. Presently, the music duo are the artistes with the highest number of Youtube Video views of over 25,000,000 in the continent.

Linda Ikeji
Occupation: Blogger/Media Entrepreneur
Age: 31
She is one of the most famous bloggers in Nigeria. There are those who see her as a blogger peddling soft stories, but she has become much more than that, influencing issues, driving conversations and doing good. Linda’s influence can be seen in her spotlighting #ABSURape, involving a young woman in Abia State, profiling Oke, the young man who almost lost his leg due to complications from diabetes, and taking up the cause of Blessing Effiom. These three issues caught the attention of the nation and it was Linda who took it very seriously.

Idris Akinbajo
Occupation: Journalist
Age: 30
Starting with NEXT Newspapers and now as Head of the Investigative Desk at Premium Times, Idris has worked quietly and stealthily to reveal most of the rot in Nigeria’s politics and economy with exclusive revelations in aviation, campaign finance and more. That work has not gone unnoticed, winning him awards including African Investigative Journalist of the Year, Nigerian Investigative Journalist of the Year, Best Nigerian investigative story in print, and second best Nigerian investigative story (online). He has now been announced a finalist for the CNN/Multichoice African Journalist 2012. Akinbajo is a journalist’s vision.

Raheem Temitope  Bello
Occupation: Scientist
Age: 19
Bello has two undergraduate degrees –  in Astronomy and Physics with Special Honours and is already a doctoral student; all before he turned 19. For most of his undergraduate years, he conducted research in a condensed matter physics lab; refurbishing the thermal conductivity probe and fabricating unique thermocouples of 0.001” in order to measure temperature gradient. During his 2+ years of research, he has presented his work at various conferences and given an oral presentation at the American Physical Society (APS). Presently, he is working on the devolvement of a startup energy utility company GeoUtill. GeoUtill leverages geothermal energy to supply homes with clean, sustainable, and dependable energy. Since receiving feedback from applying to startup incubator competitions, GeoUtill has refocused on its mission. GeoUtill believes that there is an abundance of energy all around us, which can supply all of the energy demands. We are currently working on the development of a new type of a low cost solar panel, that may be deployed any where in the world without access to an energy grid. And he is still in his teens.

Previous Young Person of the Year winners include Malaria scientist Ify Aniebo, award winning writer Chiamanda Adichie, NASA scholar Tosin Otitoju and many others. Just last year, agriculture entrepreneur and advocate Nnaemekan Ikegwuonu beat Nollywood star actress Genevieve Nnaji, Don Jazzy, Psquare and others to clinch the top prize.

So BellaNaijarians, who do you thin k will win The Future Awards 2012 Young Person of the Year? Hard choice right? Air your views!


  1. me

    July 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    How can someone have two undergraduate degrees b4 the age of 19 ? I ll like to be enlightened? .. Considering each degree would take approx 3yrs to complete? When did u leave secondary school? Wat country did this happen? Wat university?

    • eesha

      July 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      lol. mebbe he was running it concurrently. he is naija’s doogie howser.

    • Bukky

      July 17, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Ever heard the word “Genius?”

    • me

      July 19, 2012 at 5:18 am

      Am sorry but that doesn’t still ansa my questions now? Does it? …

  2. gurly

    July 17, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    I want Raheem Bello to win. Everyone on the list is very deserving of that award, but somehow they all have to do with entertainment (except the engineer). Science is something we haven’t really paid any attention to in Nigeria.. or at least its not spotlighted enough. I’m sure everybody knows our fashion n entertainment industry has gone int’l. Its time to focus on another sector, and this is a good way to encourage n inspire people, especially kids, to take up an interest in science.


      July 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      i totally agree with u!

  3. kayode

    July 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I will give the award to Linda Ikeji. Though many may not see much in her contribution with her blog post,but her timely post and simplistic ways of presenting recent and burning issues in her blog has really affected lives for good.

    Linda is the girl.


  4. Dan

    July 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Science won in 2010 , Agruculture in 2011, Media is the game changer now so I think a media person or entrepreneur is apt!
    My vote for Banky W.
    Read his interview in Y! ; what depth!

  5. Jennifer

    July 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Jason Njoku! Cheers to a Nigerian businessman bringing the spotlight to Nollywood. And making good money while at it! He is increasing the awareness of Nigerian culture on such a massive scale, you have no idea. Transcending borders, opening new business opportunities for others and attracting global investment. I’ll vote for the successful businessman any day!

  6. MizV

    July 17, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Now that’s not a flattering picture of D’banj #just saying. Either Banky W or D’banj should win the award

  7. UsaveOne

    July 17, 2012 at 7:13 pm

  8. christy

    July 17, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Am cool, if Dbanj or psquare will not win

  9. fajana

    July 17, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    am so happppy for Raheem Bello……..i pray he wins……..plz hw do we vote cause dis dude was ma class mate den in jjs1 b4 e left texas…….Gosh i knt beliv dis

  10. opemipo

    July 17, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    i want Raheem Bello to win……….d guy rili deserves it, e was ma class mate bk den in secondary skul b4 e eft 4 texas,plz hw do i vote cause i rili respect dt guy! though am also a graduate and d same age as e is nw, i rili want im 2 win, so dt e kn encourage young kids 2 read nd learn well!e is rili d tru future of naija! am proud 2 say dt i no Raheem Bello nd 1 day i wld also b known 4 smtin positive

  11. Me2me

    July 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    Some universities permit u to major in two areas. Mine did. So its possible. As for Linda winning I agree cos she affected 3 lives positively thru her business. She excelled and used the position positively

  12. well

    July 18, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Go linda! Go linda!

  13. RevvyJ

    September 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Raheem has good chances considering what he has accomplished at such a youthful age and Linda also has a chance with the number of views and comments she receives on her blog, it’s massive and stunning. In fact i don’t know oh!!!. The truth is that they all deserve it, it’s a very tough one so whoever wins it am happy for the person.

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