Here are the 10 biggest celebrities from the last decade who have caved not just niches for themselves career wise but have amassed cult-like followership.
With the internet, celebrity culture in Nigeria reached astronomical levels in the 2010s. The walls between fans and celebrities were smashed and knit connections were formed.
Knit connections were built and fans of particular celebrities found intense grounds to worship their respective ‘heroes.’ Hence, groups like Wizkid FC, TachaTitans, SavageSoldiers and so forth found a home.
Celebrities had more power than the kind they wielded when they were tabloid-driven. To go with that, every detail of their lives became subject to public interest and scrutiny. If they could have secrets in the 60s, that possibility has since become a myth. Thus, virality became their economy and controversy, their currency.
In the last 10 years, some Nigerian celebrities have taken advantage of these factors to become a phenomenon.
To close down this decade, Pulse curates the biggest celebrities of the 2010s. Criteria for selection include success in their careers, popularity, social media following, headline moments and cultural influence.
Wizkid tops this list as the biggest celebrity of the decade for so many reasons. This decade saw the emergence of the singer to instant impact after his 2010 debut album.
Since then the music star has had no break and continues to be one of the most influential musicians of our time. With his success, came the fame and eminent acquaintances.
He walked the runway with one of the biggest models of our time, Naomi Campbell, featured in Drake’s album and is known all over the world as the face of Afrobeats. Controversies have followed him too. From baby mama dramas to his rivalry with Davido, Wizkid hardly left the news circle this decade.
And what about his fan base. His fan group called Wizkid FC are the most dedicated celebrity-worshiping groups on the internet.
He is also one of the biggest Nigerian celebrities on social media.
Davido hit stardom in 2012 following the release of two singles before his debut album.
Since then, the singer has been the closest thing to Wizkid with a rivalry that has made headlines and pitted his fans base against Wizkid’s own.
His success in music has come with fame that has skyrocketed his celebrity status. He remains one of Nigeria’s most popular faces with international recognition.
Controversies have also followed with baby mamas’ dramas, the mysterious deaths of his three friends in one week and his scuffles with Wizkid. Davido has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, an indication of a star that is always in the limelight.
The son of a billionaire that has developed a certain amount of street cred with his acquaintances, Davido has also managed to garner fans from both sides of the economic divide to make his reach more massive.
He is currently the most followed Nigerian on Instagram.
Even at their lowest, the Okoye brothers continue to command huge followership in Nigeria.
The PSquare twins hit stardom in the decade before but they have maintained their celebrity status with an incredible amount of success in their careers and controversies in their personal lives.
News of their fallout spread like wildfire across the world and they have continued to command huge followers even as solo acts.
4. Tiwa Savage
Since her emergence in 2011, Tiwa Savage has been the most popular woman in Nigerian contemporary music scene.
Having been marked for her sex appeal, Tiwa has a fanbase that spans both boys and girls in equal proportions.
Her fame has come at a price too. Millions were spectators when she married her then-manager Tee Billz and then the subsequent washing of her dirt in public during the controversial end to their union.
Since then, she has continued to thrive and make headlines with her music and private life especially her 'friendship' with Wizkid.
5. Funke Akindele
Funke continued her consistency in her career in the 2010s to validate her status as a Nollywood legend. The success of her hit flick ‘Jenifa’ which she has since turned into another successful series has expanded her fan base.
Just like most celebrities, she too has had her fair share of controversies. First was her short-lived marriage to Adeola Kehinde Oloyede in 2012.
She has since found love again in the arms of rapper JJC Skillz.
The actor follows Tiwa Savage as the most followed Nigerian woman on Instagram with over 9.2 million followers.
6. Ebuka Obi-Uchendu
It was in the last decade that Ebuka first hit the screen as one of the housemates in the first-ever Big Brother Naija show. Since then, especially in the 2010s, the trained lawyer has rebranded to become the most fashionable Nigerian celebrity.
Getting Ebuka to wear your work as a fashion designer has become a must-do in the fashion industry and the Anambra State-born TV personality has had several viral red carpet moments.
He keeps setting trends through his style of dressing which he showcases either on TV while hosting the hugely successful BBNaija or through his Instagram where he has over two million followers.
His fame might have waned in the last years of the 2010s, but D’Banj was undoubtedly the star of the Nigerian music industry in the early years of the decade.
The turn of the decade saw D’Banj close to his prime just after the release of his classic 2008 classic album ‘The Entertainer’.
His celebrity peaked amidst his popular signing with Kanye West's Good Music label which saw him rub shoulders with some of the world's biggest celebrities.
He grabbed headlines every day with his high profile relationship with Nollywood beauty Genevieve Nnaji, the international success of ‘Oliver Twist’ and the break up with his long-term associate Don Jazzy.
8. Genevieve Nnaji
Unarguably the most popular actress from this side of the world, Genevieve has maintained her celebrity status despite doing everything to stay out of the limelight.
Genevieve exudes so much class, as such has not needed controversies or virality to maintain her celebrity status.
Her private life did become public with her relationship with D’Banj and she managed to get some highs in her career with the release of her directorial debut ‘Lionheart’ which was acquired by Netflix and which courted controversy when it was rejected by the Oscars for having too much English dialogue in the Best International Feature Film category.
9. Richard Mofe-Damijo
Unarguably one of the biggest exports to have come out of Nigeria, Richard Mofe-Damijo has remained not only relevant over the last decade but continued to excel in the entertainment industry.
After a brief time away from the scene to dabble into politics, RMD, as he is fondly called, has continued from where he stopped before he left.
Even at the age of 58, RMD remains a sex symbol with an incredible number of female admirers which has helped his celebrity status.
Richard Mofe-Damijo joined Instagram only a few years ago and it didn't take long for his page to hit over 1.6 million followers in just a few years.
10. Toke Makinwa
From being a radio presenter to a TV personality to a vlogger, Toke has over the years evolved to become of of the most successful media women in the country.
The fame didn’t come without a price. The crash of her short-lived marriage to Maje Ayinde was a tabloids and blogs' favourite.
But when life gave her lemons, she made lemonade out it, turning the crash of her marriage into a popular book and even made her vlog more popular.
She has continued to wax stronger since then as she enjoys endorsements, huge followership on social media and a successful entrepreneur.