The year 2021 has been an unending train ride, that many people are eager to get to their destination, which is the end of the year. In the midst of all the ups and down that went down this year, there were a few women whose bravery, record breaking act and unique personalities made them stand out.
A superwoman whose name rings a bell in the entertainment industry is Kemi Adetiba. Born on the 8th of January, 1980 the Nigerian filmmaker, television director, and music video director has been climbing the success ladder for a long time now. Her debut directorial work was the 2016 movie, The Wedding Party, and it was a banger in the box office. Since then, people started to look out for this trendsetter. From that box office success, she tried her hands on another movie titled, King of Boys in 2018 and everyone hailed her for her in-depth directorial skills, that was reflected in the cast and the story. Now in 2021, she was a buzz this year and is still a buzz, as she became the first director to have her movie, King of Boys: Return of the King, become Netflix first original Nigerian series.
Born Miriam Chidiebele Olusanya, she took the banking world by the storm when she emerged as the first female MD of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy (B. Pharm) degree from the University of Ibadan (1995), Nigeria, and a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Accounting) from the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom in 2011. This well of knowledge has over 23 years banking experience that cuts across Transaction Services, Asset and Liability Management, Financial Markets, Investment Banking and Investor Relations. Over the years she has risen even when other were falling, and she definitely deserves a mention on this list. Miriam is the first female MD the GTB will ever have since it began operations in 1990.
Temilade Openiyi, popularly known as Tems was born on the 11th of July, 1995, in Lagos, into a family of a Nigerian mum and British father. While growing up, she attended the now controversial Dowen College in Lekki, then later moved to Johannesburg to study Economics at a South African university. The alternative singer’s journey into the music industry began when she was 20. She released her first EP, “Time Swap EP” in 2013. Her first recognized single, “Mr. Rebel”, a song that got more than 200,000 views on youtube came after her album “Illumination” in 2018. She followed it up with another single, titled “Looku Looku” a song that was widely accepted and Nigerian radio stations gave it enough air-plays. She measured up with another hit single, “Try me”, and solidified her name in the hall of fame. Try me by Tems was released in August 2019 and has gained more than 2 million views on Youtube alone. What also shot up the fame ladder was her feature with Grammy Award winner Wizkid on his song Essence. Speaking of rising star, Tems is one star, that beyond the sky is her limit.
Gbemisola Anthonia Adefuye on July 20, 1985 popularly known as Toni Tones is a Nigerian photographer, actress, artist, and editor. She began her career as a photographer in 2009 and subsequently ventured into music, then acting. Evidently, Toni tones is a talented young lady growing to become a big wig in the Nigerian entertainment space. Her growth is one that is evident and then she went off the hook this year. Having developed a passion for photography in her last year at the university, Toni returned to Nigeria in 2009 to fully begin her career. Later on, she worked in Koko Mansion, D’banj’s reality show. The work brought her to the limelight and fully kick-started her career. Then, she worked with different magazines like Genevieve, FAB, MADE, Sound City, and more. For acting, she got a role in the Gidi Culture TV series on her first audition. Next, she appeared in MNET’s hit series Telenovela, Forbidden, then The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Lara and the Beat, e.t.c Now this year she dropped jaws with her breath taking performance in the movie, King of Boys: The Return of the King. Her ability to match up the tenacity and talent of veteran actress Sola Sobowale, was just commendable. She is one actress whose talent is unquantifiable, because she just keeps raising the bar whenever she steps on the big screen.
One gem that stepped into the world on the 13th of March, 1995 is Roseline Omokhoa Afije also called Liquorose. She is a dancer, entertainer, video vixen, choreographer and more. The talented star hails from Edo state, but she grew up and schooled in Lagos. Yes, she has always been a member of the GGB dance crew. She is not new to the entertainment industry as the GCB has starred alongside international artists like Diamond Platinumz, Victoria Kimani and other Nigerian artists like Wizkid, Olamide, Falz etc. What took her to the peak where everyone now wants a part of Liquorose was when she was announced as one of the BBNaija shine ya eye housemates 2021. The final draw was when she emerged as the first runner-up on the sixth season of the show, since then, her light has shone brighter. This reality TV star stands out from others because she is not just a beauty with brains, but she is a well of content.
In the sports world, Blessing Oborududu made history as she became the first Nigerian to win a wrestling medal at the Olympics. Born on the 12th of March, 1989, she began practicing wrestling as a young girl and got immersed in the sport. Oborududu announced herself to the wrestling world in 2007, when she was invited to join Nigeria’s team for the African Games. Years later, she cemented her position in the National Wrestling team and has maintained the spot, being a regular in continental tournaments. This skilled wrestling is a ten time African champion from 2010 to 2020. She is currently ranked as the world number two woman wrestler and also the first wrestler to win an Olympic medal representing Nigeria at the Olympics.
Funke Opeke is a Nigerian electrical engineer, founder of Main Street Technologies and Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company, a communications services company based in Lagos State, south-western Nigeria. She obtained a Bachelor and master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University and Columbia University respectively. After she graduated from Columbia University, she followed with a career in ICT in the United States, as an executive director with the wholesale division of Verizon Communications in New York City. In 2005, she joined MTN Nigeria as chief technical officer (CTO). She served as adviser at Transcorp and chief operating officer of NITEL for a brief period. After moving back to Nigeria, Funke Opeke started MainOne in 2008 when she noticed the low internet connectivity in Nigeria. MainOne is West Africa’s leading communications services and network solutions provider. The company built West Africa’s first privately owned, open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high capacity cable submarine stretching from Portugal to South Africa with landings along the route in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria. Finding women like this is very rare so actually have one who is a Nigerian, she definitely desrevs to be this list.
Obianuju Catherine Udeh, professionally known as DJ Switch, is a Nigerian DJ, songwriter and musician who emerged as the winner of the first edition of The Glo X Factor in 2013 at the age of 29. She was born on the 26th of April, 1984, in Udi, Enugu State. Winning the Glo X Factor shot her into fame and she ahs worked wit many big names in the music industry. But what has making everyone regard DJ Switch as a hero since 2020, is her bravery during the Lekki Tollgate massacre that took place on the 20th of October, 2020. She was able to reveal what happened that day according to her experience and even though she has met with so many opposition and people who doubt what she has said and is stll saying concerning the event of that day, she stand her ground. She is one female whose stance for the nation on #Endsars will definitely be written in the books of history and the sands of time.
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