2014 has been an eventful year in Nigeria and for Nigerians from all walks of life.
Some people were forced into the limelight due to their brave actions and yet others were awarded enviable accolades while some started movements that reached across the globe and prompted foreign participation.
Here is a list of 14 Nigerians who have held sway this year. They are (in no particular order):
Stella Ameyo Adadevoh has been hailed as a heroine by Nigerians and the world at large. The brave doctor prevented a catastrophic epidemic in the country by identifying the symptoms of Ebola in infected patient, Patrick Sawyer and keeping him confined despite pressure to release him. She lost her life to the disease on August 19, 2014.
The abducted Chibok Girls held a lot of influence over the world this year, so much so that they earned a place in the nominees list for the TIME Person of the Year. The kidnapping of the girls led to the creation of the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag and a movement which saw millions across the world, including US First Lady, Michelle Obama and other celebrities, call for the girls’ rescue. The Chibok girls were abducted on April 14 and are still in captivity.
The former Minister of Education and World Bank Vice President spearheaded and is still at the forefront of the #BringBackOurGirls movement. Dr. Ezekwesili has led protests and prayers for the Chibok girls and is continuously vocal with calls for their rescue despite several attempts to frustrate her efforts.
The Governor of Lagos State was profiled by The UK Telegraph this year and described as the man who tamed Nigeria’s most lawless city. Governor Fashola was on Hajj, a yearly Muslim pilgrimage, when he heard that Ebola had arrived in his state. Fashola abandoned the pilgrimage and tackled the situation head-on, receiving daily status reports on the issue. Fashola also met with the survivors of the disease and the victims’ families and made contributions to enable them start afresh.
The leader of dreaded sect, Boko Haram gained more notoriety this year due to more vicious attacks and a “resurrection” despite death reports. The sect also switched up tactics in 2014 and has gathered territory for itself which it describes as “Islamic Caliphates.” Boko Haram was named as the world’s seventh richest and fourth most deadly sect this year having caused almost as many deaths as Middle Eastern counterparts, ISIS and Al Qaeda.
The Nigerian billionaire this year firmly unseated American media queen, Oprah from the position of the world’s richest black woman. According to Ventures Africa, Alakija is worth at least $3.3 billion — about $300 million more than Oprah and her assets include a real estate portfolio worth over $100 million and a $46 million private jet.
Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum received international recognition this year as she was appointed President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF).
The former Nigerian President stayed in the spotlight this year due to his criticisms of incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan and his controversial autobiography, “My Watch” in which the criticisms continued against other Nigerians.
The controversial Governor of Rivers State has faced opposition from the Federal Government and continually engages the Presidency in verbal wrestling contests but despite a very public defection and vocal criticism of the country’s number one office, Amaechi has managed to maintain a firm grip on his state.
The former Central Bank Governor fell onto hard times this year when he alleged that a large amount of oil funds had gone missing. He was stalked by the Secret Service, had his passport seized and was suspended. However, the death of the previous Emir of Kano in June led to Sanusi’s emergence as one of the most respected and most powerful Muslim leaders in the land.
The former Governor of Lagos State is also known as the “Emperor of Bourdillon” and rightly so. Tinubu’s influence over Nigeria’s political climate came to the fore this year when he was reported to have singlehandedly chosen a replacement for the current governor of the state and was even bequeathed the task of choosing a running mate for the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari.
The former Head of State and Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the party’s primaries by a landslide beating former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and other candidates. Buhari has also received a massive outpouring of support from Nigerians and he is viewed as the most powerful opponent of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The two-time Ekiti State Governor exercised a lot of influence this year, from his election win to his popularization of the term “Stomach Infrastructure”. Fayose was also accused of freezing the accounts of the State House of Assembly and orchestrating the impeachment of the Speaker by only 7 lawmakers.
President Goodluck Jonathan
The Nigerian President is influential because of his occupation of the nation’s number one office and also because of the attention garnered by his wife and First Lady, Patience.