Big. Bigger. Biggest. Who would you consider as the biggest Nigerian celebrity of all time?
Thats a big question, right? Nigeria, a country of over 170 million people bubbling with life, passion and optimism, has produced her own fair share of celebrities.
Where do we even start from? Do we start from the 60s or do we neglect pre-millennial Nigeria and focus exclusively on the contemporary stars from 2000? What factors do we use to determine who the biggest Nigerian celebrity of all time is?
Questions, questions, questions, but it is something that must be done. It's more than a vain exercise. It is a measurement of sorts of the glorious eras we have had in Nigeria, celebrity-wise.
The factors that can work for this are wealth, impact, popularity and size of fan base.
So who is the biggest Nigerian celebrity of all time? On first thought, my mind goes to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the musical rebel whose musical ideology, political leanings and counter-cultural lifestyle grabbed the attention of the nation for three decades.
At the peak of his career, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was one of our biggest exports in Europe and many years after his death he has influenced some of the most creative minds on earth including box office giant Will Smith and rap god Jay Z. A strong case could be made for the enigma who has his own Tony-nominated Broadway play.
Another musician who could be the greatest celebrity of all time in Nigeria is King Sunny Ade. The two-time Grammy nominated juju legend is another icon who put Nigeria on the map. Till today his name still reverberates around the globe.
There is no way we can talk (or argue) about the biggest celebrities in Nigeria ever and not talk about Genevieve Nnaji. The 37-year-old ebony sex symbol has been arguably the biggest Nollywood queen within the last 10-15 years. Genevieve Nnaji is Nigeria's sweetheart. Her business is our business and her love life is our concern. She has a bucket load of money and has millions of fans around Africa?
Fans of Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde will disagree with Genevieve being the biggest celebrity of all time. Honestly, there is little to separate the two amazons of the screen. Omotola has a strong claim to be considered the greatest Nigerian celebrity of all time.
Someone who might eclipse both actresses is the elegant stallion Onyeka Onwenu. The veteran singer, actress, and journalist is the grand old lady of the Nigerian celebrity scene. She is a household brand till today and her name was everywhere in the 80s. Does it get bigger than Onyeka Onwenu?
To not consider 2face Idibia will be a huge crime. 2baba, as he goes by these days, ignited the musical revolution for our generation and more or less helped boost the readership of gossip columns with his colourful baby mama relationships. His brand is still strong as ever as he has grown into the number one elder statesman of pop music in Nigeria.
D'banj, Wizkid and Psquare will raise their hands too to be strongly considered. The list is extensive but some names will have a strong chance at the grand title such as Olu Jacobs and Joke Silva- who are perhaps Nigeria's only true power couple.
P.S do not forget about Richard Mofe Damijo too.