While the year was extremely challenging for many, 10 Nigerians in diaspora stood out for their work in areas such as business, media, education, technology, acting, literature, boxing, and social activism. Here is our list of the 10 Most Influential Nigerians in Diaspora listed in alphabetical order.
The 10 most influential Nigerians in diaspora
The year 2021 was a painful year for countries all around the globe. COVID-19 battered global economies and caused millions of deaths worldwide.
Known as “the Nigerian who bought Gatwick Airport,” Adebayo Ogunlesi is the founder and CEO of Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm. Adebayo started the company after working for several years as Executive Vice Chairman at Credit Suisse First Boston.
He attended Harvard University where he earned his law degree and an M.B.A and served on the Harvard Law Review. Born in Sagamu, Ogun State, Adebayo attended King’s College in Lagos.
Anthony Oluwafemi Joshua is a former world heavyweight champion who has held the IBF, IBO, WBA, and IBF titles. Born in 1989 to Nigerian parents, he attended boarding school at the Mayflower School in Ikenne before returning to the United Kingdom where he was born.
He is also an Olympic Gold medal winner in boxing. In September 2021, he lost his heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk.
Ayo Tometi is a human rights activist and one of the founders of the Black Lives Movement. In 2013, she partnered with Patrisse Cullors and Alicia Garza to form the organization.
Born in 1984, her parents left Lagos for the United States of America in 1983. Her parents fought a deportation case and were allowed to remain in the United States of America. Ayo earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona and later a master’s degree from Arizona State University.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in 1974 in Enugu. She is the author of several books including Purple Hibiscus, Americanah, Half a Yellow Sun, and others. Chimamanda earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University in Philadelphia, USA.
She later earned a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, USA. She has stated that she was inspired by Chinua Achebe to become a writer.
Dr. Jeffrey Obomeghie
Dr. Jeffrey Obomeghie is a Nigerian-American CEO, educator, author, and leadership coach. He is the President and CEO of the International Hospitality Institute. Prior to the International Hospitality Institute, he worked as CEO for several hospitality corporations.
He is the author of several books of fiction and non-fiction, including Dead or Alive, The Collector of Butterflies and Women, and others. Jeffrey Obomeghie earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Global Campus, his master’s degree from Amberton University, and his Ph.D. from Johnson University.
John Adedayo Adegboyega is a British-Nigerian actor and producer. Born to Nigerian parents in London, he has acted in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi, and The Rise of Skywalker.
He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor, Series, Miniseries or Television Film in 2020 for the Small Axe series. He attended the University of Greenwich but left to pursue his acting career.
Michael Boulos is a Nigerian-American business executive whose family owns SCOA Nigeria and Boulos Enterprises. He attended the University of London where he earned a master’s degree. He is engaged to Tiffany Trump, daughter of former US president, Donald Trump.
In March 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took over as Director General of the World Trade Organization. She has served as Finance Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs for Nigeria. She worked for the World Bank for over 25 years. She was born in 1954 in Ogwashi Uku in Delta State. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wendy Osefo is a Nigerian-American media personality, professor, and political commentator. Born in 1984, she moved to the United States of America when she was 3 years old. She is a cast member on the Real Housewives of Potomac reality show. She is also an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Temple University, a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.
Yvonne Orji is a Nigerian-American actress. Since 2016, she has starred in the HBO television series, Insecure. Born in Port-Harcourt in 1983, she moved to the USA at an early age. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from George Washington University. She is the author of the book, Bamboozled by Jesus.
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