#YNAIJAPOWERLIST2017: Seun Onigbinde, Samson Itodo, Temitayo Etomi… See The 10 Most Powerful Names In Advocacy

BudgIT co-founder, Seun Onigbinde Photo credit: Techpoint.ng

In 2017, YNaija committed a big part of its time and resources towards carefully documenting the big stories happening in the country and on the continent and highlighting the efforts of young Nigerians and Africans challenging the tired narratives around the continent through personal achievement and social good. Sometimes these stories are forgotten, buried under the avalanche of a year’s worth of news reporting and spot analyses.

Our reporting has been diverse and extensive, and we have chosen to start our reporting in 2018 by returning to these stories, to remind ourselves and our readers just how much ground was covered in 2017 and reaffirm the level of quality and care we commit to telling our stories in 2018.

We hope they resonate with you now, as well as they did when they were first published.


For the sixth consecutive year, YNaija brings you its annual ranking of the most powerful young persons under the age of 40 who are getting things done in the hard tasking world of advocacy. From committed spokespersons representing minority communities to bridge builders and healing hand, these are the 10 that matter the most.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin

There is a wide disparity in the numbers of boys and girls who enroll in science and tech courses in school, and a wider one in actual work spaces. Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin’s Pearls Africa Foundation is here to change, or at least tilt this balance of power just a bit. Through various projects like Girls Coding, Empowered Hands, GirlsInSTEM and GC mentors, Pearls Africa empowers girls by tutoring them on functional skills so they able to achieve economic independence at the earliest age.

Omotade Alalade

Named in the BBC 100 women list in 2016, Omotade Alalade owns and runs BeiBei Haven Foundation, an infertility centre established out of passion, to help families struggling with infertility challenges with support and knowledge. A survivor herself, Alalade has through the foundation secured free IVF cycles for low income couples, organised a fertility walk to raise funds for these treatments and put in place a monthly support group for affected persons to heal.

Imrana Alhaji Buba

Since 2010, Alhaji Buba has been running Youth Coalition against Terrorism (YOCAT), a volunteer-based youth-led coalition of over 600 persons working to unite young persons against violent extremism in North-eastern Nigeria. YOCAT’s goal is to end terrorism and religious extremism in the region through enlightenment and empowerment programs. He was awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2016.

Temitayo Etomi

Etomi’s not-for-profit initiative, Young Business Leaders of Nigeria, is an influential network of young entrepreneurs and professionals established to develop creative means of solving unemployment in Nigeria. YBLN has attracted business leaders like Segun Agbaje and Omoni Oboli to share their stories and connect with the youth by improving skills of young Nigerians through training, mentoring and connecting them to job opportunities. Etomi is an alumnus of the Mandela Washington fellowship.

Simi Fajemirokun

Read2Succeed Africa (R2S) is the non-profit founded by Simi Fajemirokun that has committed to improve state of public schools nationwide by using design thinking to build inspired learning communities. R2S collaborates with leading experts to expand perspectives while generating new discoveries in the field of education. Her day job is a senior partnership position at ESFAJ & Partners, an advisory firm that provides solutions to the need for research and data analysis in business development.

Samson Itodo

Itodo heads one of Nigeria’s foremost youth think tanks on democratic governance and citizens participation, the Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA). YIAGA promotes democratic governance and youth participation in Africa through research, capacity development and policy advocacy. Itodo’s excellent groundwork on the #NotTooYoungToRun campaign has not only spawned a global movement recognised by the UN, but has led to tangible results.

Olumide Makanjuola

Olumide Makanjuola is leading The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) into the future, taking advantage of pop culture opportunities available to advance the rights of gender and sexual minorities. Under his watch, TIERs is gradually being mainstreamed via film, television, and web content. TIERs has also supported Stand To End Rape on the HERE anti-rape campaign. Makanjuola, a 2016 recipient of the Queen’s Young Leaders Awards was recently announced executive vice chairman of The Future Project.

Seun Onigbinde

Seun Onigbinde is CEO of BudgIT, perhaps the most important, and influential civic organization to take an interest in public finances in a long, long time. BudgIT applies technology to intersect citizen engagement with institutional improvement, to facilitate societal change. Some of the impact of this work can be measured in programs like Tracka, Fitila, the #OpenNASS campaign and the recently instituted BudgIT media fellowship, plus successful funding drives from vital spaces like Omidyar network.

Ifeanyi Orazulike

As executive director of the Abuja based International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH), Ifeanyi Orazulike is in the fore front of battles to secure the rights and privileges of sexual and gender minorities. ICARH hosts a community centre that connects medical services to key populations for HIV/AIDS and is actively involved in research, advocacy and implementations of programs that benefit these underserved communities.

Yasmin Belo-Osagie

A combination of beauty, pluck and brains, Belo-Osagie co-founded She Leads Africa in 2014, and leads the enterprise’s events and offline programming team. A management professional with a focus on developing growth strategies, Belo-Osagie is through the SLA Accelerator program, identifying, supporting and funding the next generation of Nigeria’s brightest entrepreneurs. An alumnus of the Accelerator program is Angel Adelaja’s Fresh Direct.

Post Author: Editor

Leave a Reply