100 Most Influential People In Nigeria: 2016


2016 has been an awesome year, despite the few controversies that came with the year. As part of the end of year activities, Y!/YNaija.com released its annual list of 100 most influential people in Nigeria.

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Quite a long list, however, it covers influential people in various sectors of the country. From entertainers to religious and government leaders, as well as media and technology professionals.

Here’s a full list of the people who made the list of most influential Nigerians in no particular order.

1. Atiku Abubakar

100 Most Influential People in Nigeria in 2016 - Atiku Abubakar

The former Vice President has shrugged off his defeat at the All Progressives Congress (APC) primaries and has much more than any politician not named Saraki, set himself to the task of rebuilding political structures, amassing allies and making all the right noises. Whether all of this will eventually lead to an Atiku Abubakar presidency should be interesting to watch.

2. Chioma Ude

Chioma Ude -

The executive director and founder of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) has been working hard for 6 years now to make AFRIFF the continent’s most important film festival. Aside the glitz and glam, AFRIFF provides film training and talent development opportunities for budding filmmakers, creating an environment for stakeholders to engage in robust discussions.

3. Akinwunmi Ambode

Akinwunmi Ambode

After a slow start, Akinwunmi Ambode has taken to the task of governing Nigeria’s most populous city, impressing many and surpassing expectations. He has shown commitment to being inclusive by carrying along non-elitist suburbs, impressed with the Light Up project that has changed the face of Lagos roads and his 25 billion Employment Trust Fund seeks to confront youth unemployment head on.

4. Tiwa Savage

Tiwa Savage

Despite her marital crisis, Tiwa Savage had a high rising career with her big deal with JayZ’s Roc Nation. He soundtrack was also featured in AY’s record bursting film, A Trip to Jamaica.

5. Aisha Buhari

Aisha Buhari

The first lady dared to speak her mind in an interview with the BBC Hausa language service that was mildly critical of her husband’s politics and was promptly dismissed by the president as belonging to ‘’the other room.” But Mrs. Buhari has proven to be made of sterner stuff, speaking out for society’s underprivileged and raising money and goodwill for the rehabilitation of the victims of Boko Haram’s insurgency.

6. Kunle Afolayan

Kunle Afolayan

Afolayan’s big budget, pan-African production, ‘The CEO’ may have been a critical misfire what with its problematic final act, but the box office receipts and accolades received only proved that Afolayan is one of the few names that are a genuine box office attraction.

7. Ibrahim Dankwambo

Ibrahim Dankwambo

Dankwambo’s major achievements are in road construction, education, infrastructure and water supply.

8. Sam Adeyemi 

sam adeyemi

Reverend Sam Adeyemi is the senior pastor, Daystar Christian Centre and founder, Daystar Leadership Academy, a resource centre dedicated to raising a new generation of leaders that will serve as catalysts for the transformation of Africa. DLA’s alumni currently numbers over 30,000, drawn from all spheres of life including business, corporate and private sectors.

9. Lawal Daura

Lawal Daura

The Department of State Security Service is once again a force to be reckoned with. Irrespective of constitutional implications, Daura’s DSS has launched operations on judges deemed to be on the take, unscrupulous bureau de change operators and on corrupt politicians and government office holders.

10. Enoch Adeboye


The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) is one of the most influential pastors in Nigeria. His aim is to put a branch within five minutes of every human on earth. Every year he comes closer to this goal as he continues to minister to his devoted flock.

11. Niyi Akinmolayan

Niyi Akinmolayan - Influential People

After a string of trials, Niyi Akinmolayan finally hit the mark with The Arbitration, a legal thriller starring OC Ukeje and Adesua Utomi. Following the buzz of the movie, Akinmolayan organized a scriptwriting competition for his next project with a winning prize of 100,000 Naira awarded the winner.

12. Odunlade Adekola

Odunlade Adekola
A veteran of over 100 movies, Adekola has been quite prolific, producing and starring in some of the biggest and most successful Yoruba films of the last decade, building a cult following along the way. He made the crossover to mainstream audiences last year with the stylish caper Taxi Driver: Oko Ashewo.

13. Wizkid 


26-year-old Wizkid achieved quite a huge feat this year with his contributions to Drake’s most recent project. Their collaborative work was featured at Billboard Hot 100 number and also nominated at the Grammy awards.

14. John Mikel Obi

Mikel Obi
Mikel Obi is one of the most decorated players on the continent. He headed a Team of Nigeria’s delegation to the Rio Olympic games and provided leadership that moved his team from being stranded in Atlanta to scoring a Bronze medal, which attracted a financial donation from an Asian Doctor.

15. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


She is the most compulsively readable writer of her generation in all of Africa is a 39-year-old Nigerian mother of one who has won numerous book awards and has been nominated for a Grammy.

The unapologetic feminist is now required reading in Norway, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie easily sparks debates and influences thought whenever she decides to publish her work or speak her mind.

16. TY Bello

TY Bello

Her works are prolific and speaks for itself. Recall that early this year, she discovered and delivered to the world a bread seller, Olajumoke, who she glammed up into a model.

17. Bibi Bakare Yusuf

Bibi Bakare Yusuf
An accomplished scholar, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf has through Cassava Republic press contributed to getting the nation reading. Cassava Republic which recently turned ten opened an office in London and published the Nigerian issues of hotly anticipated titles by Toni Kan, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, and LeyeAdenle.

18. Fati Abubakar

 Fati Abubakar
Armed with a camera and an Instagram handle, @bitsofborno, Fati Abubakar strolls the streets of her hometown, Maiduguri and attempts to capture that other side of the terrorism ravaged state the mainstream media will not show you. Abubakar’s simple but powerful pictures of humans triumphing in the midst of affliction and their heart-warming captions have been able to tell a better narrative of Borno beyond death and destruction.

19. Yemi Adamolekun

Yemi Adamolekun

As the executive director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a coalition of persons and youth-led organizations tasked with instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria, Adamolekun brings the heat to lax public officials. Her team jointly organized the Ondo state gubernatorial election debate that aired on Channels television.

20. Tajudeen Adepetu

Tajudeen Adepetu
Tajudeen Adepetu is the managing director of Consolidated Media Associates(owners of ONTV, Televista Movies, Spice TV, Village Square and Soundcity) and also Alphavision productions. These two companies together have made him the biggest owner of media properties this side of Africa. And he’s not nearly done. He launched Tribe TV, a new channel for African movies serviced across DStv channels.

Others include:

21. Mamman Daura

22. Ayo Fayose

23. Abba Kyari
24. Senator Ahmed Makarfi
25. Amina Mohammed
26. Willie Obiano
27. Olusegun Obasanjo
28. Peter Obi
29. Bukola Saraki
30. Kashim Shettima

Peter Obi

31. T.B Joshua
32. David Oyedepo
33. Cardinal Anthony Okogie
34. Poju Oyemade

35. Odunlade Adekola
36. Lala Akindoju

Omoni Oboli
Omoni Oboli

37. Yemi Alade
38. AY
39. Richard Mofe-Damijo
40. Falz
41. DJ Jimmy Jatt
42. Femi Kuti
43. Kene Mkparu
44. Omoni Oboli
45. Izu Ojukwu
46. Mildred Okwo
47. Phyno
48. PSquare

49. Ayodele Elegba

Mo Abudu
Mo Abudu

50. Mo Abudu
51. Edward Keazor
52. Nnedi Okorafor
53. Bolanle Austen-Peters
54. Lola Shoneyin
55. Chika Unigwe
56. Omoyemi Akerele
57. Mai Atafo
58. Adebayo Oke-Lawal
59. Joan Okorodudu
60. Amaka Osakwe
61. Lucy Ejike
62. Florence Omagbemi
63. Asisat Oshoala

64. Jason Njoku
65. Osagie Alonge
66. Mike Asukwo
67. Linda Ikeji
68. Toke Makinwa

Toke Makinwa
Toke Makinwa

69. Azuka Ogujiuba
70. Dapo OlorunyomiSonala Olumhense

71. Sonala Olumhense
72. Sam Omatseye
73. Seyi Taylor
74. Chris Ubosi
75. Eheneden Erediauwa
76. Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi
77. Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II
78. Obiagaeli Ezekwesili

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

79. Chidi Odinkalu
80. Seun Onigbinde
81. Bukky Shonibare
82. Akinwunmi Adesina
83. Segun Agbaje
84. Yinka Edward
85. Bright Ekweremadu
86. Chikwe Ihekweazu
87. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
88. Yemi Kale
89. Godwin Maduka
90. Mgbajah Ogadinma
91. Chidi Ajaere
92. Akin Alabi
93. Aliko Dangote
94. Chijioke and Ngozi Dozie
95. Leo Stan Ekeh
96. Tony Elumelu
97. Mary Remmy Njoku

Obi Asika
Obi Asika

98.Kola Aina
99. Obi Asika
100. Mitchell Elegbe