Meet Nigeria’s young change-makers on Forbes list

Eight game-changing young Nigerians are on the 2019 edition of Forbes magazine’s ‘30 under 30’ – an annual list chronicling the ‘brashest entrepreneurs’ and change makers.

According to Forbes, ‘From creating milk without cows, to trucks without drivers, these innovators are shaking up some of the world’s stodgiest industries.

The list features 600 trailblazers across 20 industries, including consumer technology, food and drink, enterprise technology, retail and e-commerce; healthcare, finance, marketing & advertising; manufacturing & industry; science, social entrepreneurship, venture capital, sports.

Meet the eight Nigerians on that list of global influencers for 2019:


Taofeek Abijako

In 2016, while still in high school, the [then] 18-year-old Taofeek Abijako founded the clothing brand HEAD OF STATE – a unisex line which features a combination of printed t-shirts and some hand-painted numbers.

According to, the concept behind the brand was inspired by the song ‘Coffin for Head of State’ by the Afrobeats legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

Taofeek launched his A/W 18 collection, Brotherhood, at the New York City Men’s Fashion Week (the youngest designer at the show) which featured an cool array of colourful casual wear for men.

He told Konbini about the brand’s position in the fashion industry, “I’m not necessarily focused on filling a gap in the industry. For me, it’s more of focusing on the storytelling the brand is about: presentation of ideas without constraint.

“My work is a reflection of who I am and that’s interwoven with my cultural upbringing.”

Taofeek raised funds for his fashion projects by hand-painting sneakers and selling them online. His sneakers rose to prominence when The Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg posted a pair of his custom Vans on Instagram.


Kayode Ojo

The son of the son of two Nigerian professors (immigrants), Kayode was born in Cookeville, Tennessee, United States, in 1990. He studied photography at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Along with photos, he creates installations inspired by film and theater, like a piece in his Paris show called ‘A Straight Razor in the First Act’.

According to Forbes, 2018 was a breakout year for this young artist, who had solo shows in Paris, Berlin, New York and Dallas.


Olaoluwa Osuntokun

Co-founder of Lightning Labs, Olaoluwa Oshotokun has raised $2.5 million to turn bitcoin into a more viable form of payment by making smaller transactions more cost-effective. An immigrant from Nigeria, Osuntokun is a frequent contributor to the underlying bitcoin protocol.

He has a Bachelor of Arts/Science, from the University of California, Santa Barbara.


Adegoke Olubusi, Tito Ovia, Dimeji Sofowora

The trio of Adegoke Olubusi, 25; Tito Ovia, 25, and Dimeji Sofowora, 25, sought to remedy the inefficiencies of paper-based healthcare systems within Africa by starting Helium Health. Helium Health provides vital digitized healthcare services such as electronic medical records, hospital management and insurance; billing, and analytics software for the continent’s top medical providers and services.

According to Forbes, the startup went through Y Combinator’s Summer 2017 batch and has gone on to raise $2.2 million from Western Tech, GreenHouse Capital, Cantos Ventures, A-Level Capital, angel investors and the accelerator itself.

The Helium Health platform is used by 5,000 doctors, with data from 500,000 patients across West Africa.


 Obi Omole

Communication expert, Obi Omile Jr., is the co-founder of the Cut, a technology platform that allows users and barbers to schedule and manage appointments.


Emmanuel Acho

Born on 10 November, 1990 in Dallas, Texas, United States, Wikipedia describes Emmanuel Chinedum Acho as a former American football linebacker who played in the National Football League. He played college football at Texas and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He also played for the Philadelphia Eagles.

He studied at St. Mark’s School of Texas, and the University of Texas at Austin.

At 28, Acho currently serves as the youngest national football analyst for ESPN, and runs a charity that has built a hospital in Nigeria.