50 Influential People You Wouldn’t Believe Are Nigerians Part 1

When a non-Nigerian or foreigner hears of the country ‘Nigeria’ – I guess the 1st thing that comes to mind are all the negative things that has been said about the country in the media (especially foreign media – Duh its a no brainer that it would be them) or what they have read so far Online.
A friend told me his classmates at Harvard kept asking if it’s true that their are lions and zebras walking on the streets and major highways in Nigeria, So i asked him what was his reply to them, he said and I quote “The movie ‘The gods must be crazy’ is kinda mis-educating you all, seriously Africa is way more develop than what you see on all the Project save Africa mini-documentary on TV” well i wasn’t impressed with his answer though! but i’m sure he made his point clear cause I would have asked if they think Africa is one big animal reservation because that’s what you see on discovery channel, in fact does the word “Zoo” ring a bell? (oh, well that is just me).
Every country has it’s ups and downs and Nigeria is certainly not excluded from it but what we all fail to see is that their is beauty in every country.
Anyways i got fired up and decided to share with you the story of beautiful Nigerians outside of Nigeria that have broken social barriers and climbed the steps of success – You might see most of them in your favorite sport teams, and they might also be your favorite actor, musician, politician and so on but what made them who they are today isn’t cos they are Nigerians but because they are human beings with a fighting spirit first and drive.  With all that said I hope this motivate every one of us.

1. Hugh Njemanze


  • Hugh Njemanze
Hugh Njemanze is the Co-Founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President of Research and Development at ArcSight. He leads product development, information technology deployment, and product research at the firm. He has strong recent enterprise software experience from 18 years of relevant responsibilities.
ArcSight headquarters are located in Cupertino, California, USA, with sales offices around the globe including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Latin America, Japan and India. In September 2010, HP (Hewlett Packard) announced it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire ArcSight for $43.50 per share, or approximately $1.5 billion. On October 22, 2010, HP announced it had completed its acquisition of ArcSight
      Mr. Njemanze is also an Advisor at Silicon Valley Internet Capital. He worked as the Chief Technology Officer at Verity, where he led product development. Mr. Njemanze was also employed at Apple in Software Engineering, where he was one of the key architects of the Apple Data Access Language (DAL). He was the co-architect of CL/1 (Connectivity Language One) at Network Innovations, which was later acquired by Apple in 1998.

Prior to that, Mr. Njemanze co-developed several language compiler products at Hewlett Packard. Hugh who was named in 2010 as one of Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists received a B.S. in Computer Science from Purdue University.

2. Phina Oruche


  • Phina Oruche

 Phina Oruche born  31 August 1972 is a British actress, radio presenter and former model best known for her performances as Liberty Baker in ITV‘s Footballers’ Wives, for which she won a Screen Nations Award for Favourite TV star. Oruche was born in Liverpool, England, to Nigerian parents.

She began her career as a fashion model In London before she emigrated to NYC. She represented Gap for five years in the United States, and was featured as a cover model on many US magazines. But had a special relationship with Essence magazine and was often featured on its pages and doing a cover. She was discovered for the TV screen by British commercial turned film director Tony Kaye he featured her in many of his TV commercials and her desire to be an actress was born, She has appeared in American and British television shows including The Bill, Nip/Tuck, Charmed, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Diagnosis Murder, NYPD Blue and The Unit. Her film credits include The Forsaken (2001) and Happy Ever Afters (2009) plus She also made a cameo appearance in a January 2008 episode of the British sketch comedy show Little Miss Jocelyn. Phina has been married to Stefano Mariani since August 2007, They have one child and she compete in the 2007 and 2006 London Marathons, raising £35,000 for the Anthony Nolan Trust.

3. Ngoli Onyeka Okafor


  • Ngoli Onyeka Okafor

Ngoli “Ngo” Onyeka Okafor born 30 December is a Nigerian American male model, actor and Two-time Golden Gloves boxer and actor. He is of Igbo decent, with both of his parents being Igbo. Ngo has been called one of the quickest studies the boxing world has ever seen. He started boxing at the late age of 31, an age that most boxers retire, and within 3 years, he won 2 heavyweight Golden Gloves boxing championships. Search engines proclaim Ngo to be the most downloaded black male model and actor on the internet and has worked the likes of supermodel Gisele Bündchen, Lil’ Kim and Mary J. Blige. He has been featured in Vogue, W, Vibe, Men’s Health and The Wall Street Journal Magazine. As an actor, he has worked on soap operas, TV shows and film including ‘The Rebound’ with Catherine Zeta-Jones. Throughout his career, Ngo has been dedicated to giving back, which can be most recently demonstrated by his determination to build boxing gyms and develop a strong amateur boxing program in his home country of Nigeria.

4. Antonia Okonma


  • Antonia Okonma

Antonia Okonma  born 24 July 1984 in London, Engkand is a British actress of Nigerian descent. She is best known for playing the role of Darlene Cake in the ITV1 series Bad Girls from 2004–2006. In 2004, Okonma won a Gathering of Africa’s Best (GAB) award for Best Newcomer and a Screen Nation award for Best Emerging Talent for her work in Bad Girls.

Her other work includes roles in the British feature films Screaming Blue Murder and Rabbit Fever and an appearance in the short RUF 992m. She once worked as an extra on an episode of Hollyoaks. On stage, Okonma has acted at the Royal Court and the Riverside Studios. She starred in Torn at the Arcola Theatre alongside Brooke Kinsella and Jocelyn Jee Esien. She is currently playing the title role in the production of Iya Ile (The First Wife) at Soho Theatre and She has also taken part in the realityTV programmes Strictly African Dancing. She also performed as Tina Turner on celebrity Stars in Their Eyes. In late 2007 she was a contestant on the second series of Cirque de Celebrité on Sky One. Okonma has a degree in Accounting and Finance from London South Bank University. She trained with the Royal Court’s Young People’s Theater for two years.

5. Chike Nwoffiah


  • Chike C. Nwoffiah

Chike C. Nwoffiah born July 22, 1965, Nigerian is an actor,theater director,educator and award winning filmmaker, and consultant on theater, film, television and multimedia projects. Listed as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans” in the San Francisco Bay Area by CityFlight Magazine in 2000. He has served on several regional and national grant review panels including: the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Sacramento Arts Commission, San Francisco Arts Commission, Arts Council Silicon Valley, Walter and Elise Haas Fund and the Center for Cultural Innovation. His latest project is a feature length narrative film “Sabar” based on the African dance movement in the United States.

Education Background


  • President – Rhesus Media Group, California, USA
  • Executive Director – Oriki Theater, California, USA
  • Adjunct Faculty – Menlo College, California, USA
  • Principal Partner – C3 Media, Abuja, Nigeria
  • Director – Silicon Valley African Film Festival, California, USA

Community Service

  • Board of Trustees – Arts Council Silicon Valley (Chairman of Grants Committee)
  • Board of Directors – Alliance for California Traditional Arts (VP Development)
  • Advisory Board – California Black Arts Alliance
  • Former President – Mountain View Community Television
  • Former Vice President – Chamber of Commerce Mountain View
  • Former Board member – Palo Alto Red Cross

Community Recognition.

  • 2000: San Francisco Bay Area Top Ten Most Influential African Americans – CityFlight Magazine.
  • 2001: Kuumba Award for Creativity – Silicon Valley Jazz Arts Music Network.
  • 2002: Humanitarian of the Year Award – Parent’s Coalition Mountain View.
  • 2003: Freedom Fighter Award – San Jose / Silicon Valley Chapter of NAACP.
  • 2004: Director’s Award –California Arts Council.
  • 2006: Community Service Award – Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity (Eta Sigma Lambda Chapter)
  • 2007: Mover of Mountains Award – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley
  • 2007: Diversity Award – Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
  • 2008: Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition – United States Congress

6. Kelvin Okafor


  • Kelvin Okafor

Kelvin Okafor is a British artist who was educated at St Ignatius’ College in Enfield and Middlesex University, graduating in Fine Art in 2009. He lives in Tottenham, London.

He draws very lifelike portraits of ordinary people and celebrities using pencil and charcoal. Early pieces included portraits of Amy Whinwhoue,Mother Teresa,Lauren Hill,Jamal,Nelson Mandela,Beyonce,Daniel Craig,Corine Bailey Rae,Rihanna and Tinie Tempah.  Kelvin was Raised in Tottenham, London by his Nigerian parents, who according to him are his number one fans, Okafor says he fell in love with photo realism at a very young age. ‘I work be tween 90-120 hours on average on each piece,’ he explains. […] he starts ‘shaping the whole face from the eyes’ […] ‘I chose to work with celebrities originally because the audience can relate to them and would be able to see how accurately and precisely I was able to draw.

The highly skilled 27-year old has already had more than 50 commissions and is generating a buzz at galleries he exhibits at and online. One of his recent accolades, The Catherine Petitgas Visitors’ Choice Prize part of the National Open Art Competition, was awarded to Kelvin after he received the most votes from the public.  Kelvin has also recently been selected as one of the top two pieces of work in Cork Street Gallery Open Exhibition Winter Show. Okafor also attended St Ignatius College, a prestigious Jesuit school in Enfield.

7. Robert Nkemdiche


  • Robert Nkemdiche

Robert Nkemdiche born September 19, 1994 in Atlanta, Georgia, His father is a cardiologist while his mother is a politician currently represents Onitsha South in the Anambra State House of Assembly. Robert is an American football defensive end. He attended Grayson High School in Loganville, Georgia in his senior year and he currently attends the University of Mississippi in his freshman year. Nkemdiche has been named High School Junior of the Year by Rivals.com, and was selected to the2011 USA Today All-American Team. He has been regarded as the “Southeast’s best [high school football] prospect since the early 1980s” by ESPN,  Nkemdiche committed to Ole Miss, making him the highest touted Rebels recruit since Eli Manning in 1999.

8. Dr Uche Odiatu


  • Uche Odiatu

Dr Uche Odiatu is a health and wellness expert who translates current research and best practice information into simple realistic strategies. With his wife Kary, they are founders of Fit Speakers International and as presenters they breathe new life into their audiences with their unique observations, humourous stories, and enlightening perspectives. As lecturers and workshop leaders they have done seminars and presentations for Fortune 500 Companies, provincial / federal government agencies, and health care professionals throughout North America. Uche and Kary are both NSCA and Can Fit Pro certified personal trainers and are on the advisory board of SuperChefs of the Universe Project fighting childhood obesity.

Dr Uche Odiatu is a life-long athlete, a professional member of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant and a Certified Holistic Lifestyle Coach. He is also a practicing dentist and a part-time faculty member of the University of Toronto. Uche and Kary are the proud parents of three young children. The dynamic duo have been invited guests on over 230 radio and TV shows (including Canada AM, City TV Breakfast TV, and ABC’s 20/20). The Toronto based wellness experts are the authors of Fit For The LOVE Of It! © 2002. Their newest book is The Miracle of Health: Simple Strategies Extraordinary Results (John Wiley and Sons Ltd © 2009).

9. Mendi & Keith Obadike


  • Mendi & Keith Obadike

Keith Obadike was born in Nashville, Tennessee. His mother worked as an administrator at the Post Office and his father (who studied briefly with inventor Buckminster Fuller) was an electrical engineer from Nigeria. While growing up in Nashville, Keith studied classical Piano, woodwinds and began programming BASIC on a TRS-80 computer. As a teenager he became a sought after sound designer and producer on the local hip-hop scene. He later joined the experimental, New York based Modern Hip-Hop Quartet as guitarist and producer. He was subsequently discovered by Kedar Massenburg (Motown Records president) and was signed to MCA records where he worked with R&B artists such as D’Angelo and Angie Stone and Hip-Hop as well as performed in concert with Lauryn Hill/ the Fugees and P-Funk. He later met and was influenced by electronic music composers like Paul Lansky and Olly Wilson while working at Duke University. Keith went on to study painting and digital art at North Carolina Central University and later became the first African-American to earn an MFA in Sound Design from Yale University. He currently teaches in the College of Arts and Communication at William Paterson University in Wayne, New Jersey.

In 1996 Mendi (Keith wife) and Keith started making conceptual Internet art and sound art works together with the goal of creating Internet operas. Since then their writing and art projects have been featured in many publications including Art Journal, Artthrob, Meridians, Black Arts Quarterly, El País and Tema Celeste, and in new media texts such as Internet Art (Thames and Hudson, Rachel Greene), Sound Unbound: Writings on Contemporary Multimedia and Music Culture (MIT Press, edited by Paul D. Miller). In 1998 they studied art and conducted interviews with artists in Ghana on electronic media. After requesting sound submissions from friends by email created the Uli Suite a sound art piece based on the Igbo abstract art form.

In 2000 they created “My Hands/Wishful Thinking”, an Internet art memorial for Amadou Diallo. This work was exhibited the MIT List Visual Art Center. Their work generated much discussion online and offline when they offered Keith’s blackness for sale on eBay in 2001 as an Internet performance. Mendi also created the minimalist hypertext piece Keeping Up Appearances, the first Black feminist net.art work.

In 2002 Mendi+Keith premiered their Internet opera The Sour Thunder (Bridge Records, Inc.) which featured hypertext writings by literary critic Houston Baker, performance artist Coco Fusco and musician DJ Spooky among others. This was the first new media work commissioned by the Yale Cabaret and they launched The Interaction of Coloreds (commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art).

In 2003 Keith worked with playwright Anna Deavere Smith as sound designer and composer for play her play Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 at the Lincoln Center Institute, and Mendi’s poetry was featured at the Studio Museum in Harlem in response to an exhibition of visual artist Gary Simmons’ work. Also in 2003 they launched “The Pink of Stealth”, an Internet/ DVD surround sound work commissioned by the New York African Film Festival and Electronic Arts Intermix and The Sour Thunder was broadcast internationally from 104.1 fm in Berlin and was released on CD from Bridge Records in 2004.

They received a Rockefeller Media Arts Fellowship to develop an installation and album entitled TaRonda Who Wore White Gloves. Their Internet opera, entitled Four Electric Ghosts, was developed for Toni Morrison‘s Atelier at Princeton University in 2005 and the Kitchen in New York in 2009.They’ve curated the sound art exhibition Ya Heard: Sounds from the Artbase for Rhizome.org and the New Museum of Contemporary Art. Most recently, Keith was awarded a Connecticut Critics’ Circle Award for his sound design work at the Yale Repertory Theater and Mendi’s book Armor and Flesh (Lotus Press) won the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award.

They recently contributed a chapter to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. In 2008 they produced a compilation CD entitled Crosstalk: American Speech Music on Bridge Records. The album features music by Vijay Iyer, Guillermo E. Brown, Shelley Hirsch, George E. Lewis, Pamela Z, John Link, Paul Lansky, Tracie Morris, DJ Spooky, Daniel Bernard Roumain and Peter Gordon/Lawrence Weiner.

10. Chris Ofili


  • Christopher Ofili

Christopher Ofili, known as Chris Ofili born 10 October 196), is an English Turner Prize-winning painter who is best known for artworks that incorporate elephant dung. He was one of the Young British Artists. Since 2005, Ofili has been living and working in Trinidad, where he currently resides in Port of Spain. Ofili was for some years educated at St. Pius X High School for Boys, and then at Xaverian College in Victoria Park, Manchester. Ofili completed a foundation course in art at Tameside College in Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester and then studied in London at the Chelsea School of Art from 1988 to 1991 and at the Royal College of Art from 1991 to 2013

One of his paintings, The Holy Virgin Mary, a depiction of the Virgin Mary, was at issue in a lawsuit between the mayor of New York City, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art when it was exhibited there in 1999 as a part of the “Sensation” exhibit. The painting depicted a Black Madonna surrounded by images from blaxploitation movies and close-ups of female genitalia cut from pornographic magazines, and elephant dung. These were formed into shapes reminiscent of the cherubim and seraphim commonly depicted in images of the Immaculate conception and the Assumption of Mary. Following the scandal surrounding this painting, Bernard Goldberg ranked Ofili #86 in 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Red Grooms showed his support of the artist by purchasing one of Ofili’s paintings in 1999, even after Giuliani famously exclaimed, “There’s nothing in the First Amendment that supports horrible and disgusting projects!” The painting is now owned by David Walsh and is on display at the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania.

11. Chinedum Ndukwe


  • Chinedum Ndukwe

Chinedum “Nedu” Ndukwe born March 4, 1985 was an American football safety. He was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the seventh round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college footballfor the University of Notre Dame. He also played for the Oakland Raiders. After graduating from Dublin Coffman High School, Ndukwe went on to start as safety for the University of Notre Dame for his junior and senior seasons. During his tenure at Notre Dame, his fellow Dublin Coffman graduate, Ndukwe had a double major in Marketing and Psychology.

In 2008 Ndukwe attended the Harvard Business School, followed by the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 for the NFL Business Management Program. Chinedum started the Ndukwe Foundation in 2009 (http://www.ndukwe.org), a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the lives of today’s youth by offering solutions and creating outlets to help young people overcome everyday pressures. The foundation seeks to plant seeds of hope in young lives, pushing them to reach beyond their current realities and propelling them toward a future brighter than they ever imagined. The Foundation is based in Cincinnati, Ohio and is currently starting a new branch in his hometown of Dublin, Ohio. Notably, The organization hosts an annual wellness camp for over 300 kids in the Greater Cincinnati Area and has raised over a hundred thousand dollars for programs benefiting youth and their families. Ndukwe also sits on the board of the NuWay foundation, an international organization working to transform the lives and economic conditions of the less fortunate through education,community building and economic empowerment.

In 2010, The City of Cincinnati proclaimed February 10 “Chinedum Ndukwe Day” in recognition of the foundation’s hard work and his dedication to the city. On January 30, 2012, Chinedum made his voice over debut working for NFL Films as the narrator for ESPN’s Hey Rookie. Ndukwe is the youngest of the three sons, his oldest brother Kelechi is a Lieutenant in the United States NAVY and in July 2012, he will report to the Minesweeper Crew SWERVE, based in San Diego as the Executive Officer. The middle brother, Ikechukwu, is an offensive tackle in the NFL who is currently a free agent. His youngest sibling, Ezinne is currently earning her masters in Public Health at the University of Michigan.

12. Osi Umenyiora


  • Ositadinma Umenyiora

Ositadimma “Osi” Umenyiora born November 16, 1981 is a British-born American Football Defensive End for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He was drafted by theNew York Giants in the second round of the 2003, He played College Football at Troy.

Umenyiora has been selected for the Pro Bowl twice, and holds the Giants franchise record for most sacks in one game, coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007. He is one of three British-born players to have won a Super Bowl ring, joining Scott McCready and Giants teammate Lawrence Tynes. Umenyiora was born in Golders Green, London to Nigerian parents. His family moved back to Nigeria and later to Auburn,Alabama, where he started playing football in high school. He is of Igbo descent, and his full first name means in Igbo “from today on things will be good”. Umenyiora signed a two-year deal worth $8.55 million with the Atlanta Falcons on March 27, 2013

13. Christine Ohuruogu


  • Christine Ohuruogu

Born to Igbo Nigerian parents in Newham, east London, she was raised less than one mile from the 2012 Summer Olympics Stadium in Stratford. She competed forNewham in the London Youth Games at both netball and athletics. She was inducted into the London Youth Games Hall of Fame in 2009. Ohuruogu studied at University College London, where she graduated in Linguistic in 2005. She also played netball during her undergraduate studies. She has eight siblings, one of whom is Victoria Ohuruogu, a sprints competitor. She attended St. Edward’s Church of England School, Romford and Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green. Ohuruogu is a member of Newham and Essex Beagles Athletics Club.

She was appointed MBE in the 2009 New Year Honours, and conferred with an Honorary Doctorate by the University of East London. She is the author of the “Camp Gold” series of children’s books about an elite training school for budding athletes.  Ohuruogu claimed a second World Title on 12 August 2013, becoming the first British woman to do so, by winning the 400m final in Moscow. A late  surge helped her pip Amantle Montsho in a photo finish, and beat Kathy Cook’s long-standing British record in the process, with a time of 49.41s, beating Montsho by 0.004 seconds.

14. Innocent Anyanwu


  • Innocent Anyanwu

Innocent Anyanwu born 25 September 1982 is a Dutch professional boxer from Amsterdam, Netherlands. He currently holds the Dutch and BeNeLux Super Featherweight titles. Innocent’s goal is to support his people in Ekwerazu, Nigeria through his boxing career. His results as a sportsman and social human being were awarded by the Dutch Queen with a Dutch passport (with a radio chip and coil), which enables him to participate on short notice in a European championship fight.

Innocent was ranked in September 2009 as the no. 1 with the ABU (African Boxing Union), the no. 40 with the WBC (World Boxing Council) and in Europe (EBU/EU and EBA) ranked as an official challenger for the European crown.

15. Oguchi Onyewu


  • Oguchialu Chijioke Onyewu

Oguchialu Chijioke “Oguchi” Onyewu born May 13, 1982 is an American  soccer central defender who plays as a defender for Ligue 2 club FC Metz. Onyewu’s parents moved to the United States from Nigeria to study in Washington, D.C. They are ethnic Igbo people of Nigeria. Onyewu has two brothers, Uche and Nonye, and two sisters, Chi-Chi and Ogechi. He also holds Belgian citizenship. He speaks English, French, Italian and Portuguese. Onyewu is a practising Catholic. At 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) and 210 lb (95 kg), Onyewu is the second-tallest outfield player in U.S. team history (after Omar Gonzalez).

16. Emeka Okafor


  • Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi Okafor

Chukwuemeka Ndubuisi “Emeka” Okafor born September 28, 1982 is an American professionalbasketball player who currently plays for the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Prior to the NBA, Okafor attended Houston’s Bellaire High School and the University of Connecticut.

Okafor was born in Houston, Texas. Both of his parents are natives of Nigeria, and Emeka was the first member of his family born in the United States. His father, Pius Okafor, is a member of the Igbo ethnic group. Okafor’s family moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma when he was young because his father worked for Phillips Petroleum Company, headquartered in Bartlesville. While in Bartlesville, Emeka’s father Pius took his son to the Bartlesville YMCA to learn the game of basketball. As a child growing up in the Houston area, Okafor idolized Houston Rockets shooting guard Clyde Drexler. He models his game, however, after Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon.

17. Dr. Kalvin Chinyere


  • Kalvin C. Chinyere

Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D., fondly known as Dr. Kal, is the owner of One Step Closer Health & Fitness, a disease prevention and lifestyle change business based in Decatur, GA. He is also the creator of The Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Program. Dr. Kal has lost and kept off over 140 pounds naturally.

He is on a mission to eradicate self-imposed diseases and illnesses. While the goal may seem lofty, those who know Dr. Kal believe it’s entirely possible. His pursuit is not driven by self serving egotistical goals but from a passionate commitment to helping others transform their lives for the better.

Kal is a graduate of the University of Miami and the University of Miami School of Medicine. Dr. Kal, was recently featured on CNN’s Fit Nation with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He is also the creator of the Don’t Go Broke Weight Loss Plan and maintains his own health blog at Dr. Kal’s Blog.

18. Nneka

  • Nneka Lucia Egbuna

Nneka Lucia Egbuna born 24 December 1980 is a Nigerian-German hip hop/soul singer and songwriter. She sings in both Igbo and English.

Nneka is the daughter of an Anambra state Nigerian father, and German mother. She was born and raised in Warri, in the Delta region of Nigeria, and went to the primary school of the Delta Steel Company, then attended secondary school at the Demonstration Secondary School, warri. Nneka relished the experience of singing from an early age in her school and in the church choir. After relocating to Hamburg, Germany, at the age of 18, she pursued a career in singing alongside a degree in Anthropology at the University of Hamburg. She now divides her time between Nigeria and Hamburg. Her song “Heartbeat” has been remixed and sampled several times – most notably by Chase & Status and Rita Ora for her well publicize hit “R.I.P” respectively.

19. Chuka Umunna

  • Chuka Harrison Umunna

Chuka Harrison Umunna born 17 October 1978 is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Streatham since 2010, as well as the Shadow Business Secretary since 2011

Umunna was born in the UK in 1978. His father Bennett, who was a Nigerian of the Igbo ethnic group, died in a road accident in Nigeria in 1992. His Irish mother, Patricia, is a solicitor and the daughter of High Court Judge Sir Helenus Milmo. Umunna was educated at Hitherfield Primary School in Streatham, South London, at the voluntary aided Christ Church Primary School in Brixton Hill, and at the independent secondary school St Dunstan’s College in Catford. During this period he was also a chorister at Southwark Cathedral. He has said that the Christian faith has influenced his political views. He holds a LLB in English and French Law from the University of Manchester; after graduating he studied for one term at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, before studying for an MA at Nottingham Law School.

20. Kele Okereke


  • Kelechukwu Rowland Okereke

Kelechukwu “Kele” Rowland Okereke born 13 October 1981is a British musician, best known as the Lead singer and rhythm guitarist of the indie rock band Bloc Party.

Okereke was born in Liverpool to Roman-catholic Igbo Nigerian parents. His mother was a Midwife, and his father a Molecular biologist. He grew up in London with his sister. As a child, he went to school at Ilford County High School (where he was known as Rowly), but switched to Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green for sixth form at age 16. He lived in Bethnal Green, and in 1998 he became friends with a student of nearby Bancroft’s SchoolRussell Lissack, who would become Bloc Party’s guitarist. A year later, while studying English Literature at King’s College London, Okereke met Lissack again at Reading Festival, where the band was officially formed under the title of ‘The Angel Range’. In 2001, Okereke moved out of his parents’ home. He went on to meet Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong who became the band’s permanent bass guitarist and drummer, respectively. In 2003, the band changed its name to Bloc Party after briefly being called Union.

50 thoughts on “50 Influential People You Wouldn’t Believe Are Nigerians Part 1

  1. Wonderful list. I am Slovakian woman happily married to my wonderful Igbo husband for over 25 years. Our precious children are proud to be a beautiful combination of Nigerian and Slovakian. God bless.


  2. Add more if you think that the post is incomplete or Kim only care about Ibo tribe, we need to know all no matter the tribe, do not blame Kim, I think she do her best, then add yours…..


  3. You must be kidding to think the high achievers from Nigeria must only come from the Ibo tribe. The people of the other tribes of Nigeria (250 in all) must be sleeping according to you.


    1. Dear Amala, While writing this article I wasn’t thinking of a particular tribe. My Intention was: l wanted the outside world to see beyond the negative view they have about the people of Nigeria, but of course your point is noted and that’s why there’s a part 2 of this article and you can view it by clicking this link https://kimberlyakinola.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/50-influential-people-you-wouldnt-believe-are-nigerians-part-2/
      Thanks for the comment and hope you visit again.


  4. Awesome post and great effort to put this together! Yes, I can believe they are Nigerians. There are; however, many misconceptions about people in this world. I wish I could travel more. Travel is most enlightening. I am going to be really shallow here now and say, Wow! Those are some hot bodied men! You made this old lady smile. 😉


    1. You are very correct – there are too many “misconception” and it’s even been made worst by the media sometimes and oh! we all love some candy looking men, don’t we? LOL, you are a sweet beautiful lady yourself let’s not add the old cos you don’t look like one. 🙂


      1. How sweet of you to say. I am over fifty and married now, but I recall being single at on my 40th birthday. I would share the details but that might be TMI. 🙂


  5. ciao! every country has both positives and negatives. your list is an interesting reminder of positives, they are ‘human beings’, and although, nigerians of origin or birth, they are ‘human beings’. only the ignorant mind can diminish a culture by their ignorance.


  6. I really do hate the way they stereotype Africa.I had a Russian and Turkish roomamate once and they actually asked if we lived in huts! Some brits came to our school once and didn’t believe it when they saw we had computers…So annoying.
    Great piece though! 🙂 Go Naija ,haha! 😀


    1. I’ve experience that before also, A friend came from the US to visit me in Nigeria and she was surprise to see cars like Bentley or Chrysler on our highways – I mean it’s funny to hear such things but I couldn’t blame her tho! she just doesn’t know and the media isn’t helping either.


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