American news magazine Time has released its annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world.
Every year since 1999, Time names these 100 people in recognition of their activism, innovation and achievements.
In this year’s list, Time names four Nigerians including American author of Nigerian descent Tomi Adeyemi, businessman Tony Elumelu, Greek basketball star of Nigerian descent Giannis Antetokounmpo and polio hero Tunji Funsho.
Born to parents who immigrated from Nigeria, Adeyemi first found success with the release of her debut novel Children of Blood and Bone which went on to become a bestseller.
In a piece written by Nigerian-born actor John Boyega, Adeyemi is called the ‘god of ideas’.
“She’s inspiring a lot of young people to write. She creates the very world that we as actors get to play in. And the big-screen adaptation will hire a lot of people and bring more representation to our industry—all that comes directly from Tomi’s imagination. She is going to be very powerful when it comes to bringing stories and ideas to the forefront,” Boyega writes on the Time 100 piece.
Elumelu’s story is well known. From working as a banker to acquiring a bank. He has gone on to become one of the most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs out of Africa.
His article on Time 100 is written by business magnate Aliko Dangote who hails Elumelu as a ‘leading proponent of ‘Africapitalism’.
“After deepening the financial market in Africa, he has found an equally important niche: giving a voice of hope to millions of youths across Africa. Tony has harnessed Africa’s youth bulge to catalyze development and protect the future, committing to investing $5,000 each in 1,000 young entrepreneurs per year across 54 countries in Africa. Having come so far, Tony still forges on, striking a fine balance between personal satisfaction and societal impact,” Dangote writes.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s NBA dominance continued with his second consecutive MVP win. Antetokounmpo is expected to be the face of the NBA in the years to come. Pretty fascinating for a kid born in Greece to Nigerian parents.
He plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the most respected basketball league in the world and Bucks legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes his tribute on the Time 100 list.
“Giannis sets an example by standing up for what he believes in. After leading the Milwaukee Bucks to the playoffs, he and his team protested the police shooting of Jacob Blake in their home state by refusing to play, sparking a wave of strikes and postponements throughout the NBA. I once asked Giannis what his name meant, and he told me “the crown has arrived.” It certainly has,” Abdul-Jabber writes.
Nigeria has been declared polio-free a huge feat made possible by the likes of Dr Tunji Funsho, a former cardiologist and now chair of the Rotary International’s polio-eradication program in Nigeria.
It was Funsho who set up Rotary’s effort in fighting the virus in Nigeria together with the likes of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO, the CDC and UNICEF.
With Funsho spearheading, Rotary and these other organizations embarked on a National Immunization scheme and delivered doses of polio vaccine to children. The result? A few months ago, Nigeria marked four years without a case of wild polio.