Definitely, 2020 has been one hell of a year for all Nigerians, enduring all sorts of unexpected occasions. From the unwanted arrival of the Coronavirus pandemic to the forced lockdown.
Nigerians also experienced hunger cries, robberies. Not to mention the police brutality that led to the #EndSARS protests, the Lekki massacre. Afterwards, the warehouse lootings, and so many other tragedies.
During these hard times, some Nigerians stood high in different ways to influence their societies. Some caused changes lent a voice and put smiles on other’s faces.
This influence and charisma amassed these Nigerians a great amount of love and admiration. And in recognition of this influence, here are we with a list of the 40 most admired Nigerians.
Who Merits The Insight’s 40 Most Admired People in Nigeria List?
The 40 most admired people in Nigeria is a list that is compiled by insight.ng. After carefully collating, scrutinizing, and juxtaposing hundreds of suggestions and recommendations.
Insight.ng gets its 40 man list via Twitter trends and other analytics. Afterwards, it sends it to hundreds of Nigerians with different ideologies to rank. After this, the judges make the juxtaposing and final ranking in collaboration with the Editorial team.
The list is divided into two categories, totalling a 40-man list with 20 belonging to males and females.
20 Most Admired Women in Nigeria
Virtually no other person was as influential or admired in 2020 as Obianuju Catherine Udeh, popularly known as DJ Switch.
Bravery and tenacity are not enough words to describe DJ Switch. Her efforts to bring the truth to light during the 2020 EndSARS protest was applaudable. DJ Switch utilized her Instagram handle as a medium to expose the truth. She broadcasted live videos during the Lekki massacre. Despite death threats, she received her hunger, to tell the truth, was not quenched.
To ensure her safety, she was granted asylum in Canada, where she continues to influence the fight against police brutality. Nigerians love and admire her for her bravery; she deserves to be on top of the most admired Nigerians.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda is a household name in the literary world. Due to her personality, her worldview – as reflected in her works. She easily secures a spot at the top of the 20 most admired women in Nigeria.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a feminist who stands at the forefront of activism for gender equality. She also explores themes like race, love, and politics in her works and essays.
In November 2020, her book, half of a yellow sun, won the winners’ award. Aside from this award, Chimamanda has won several other awards globally and locally.
Thus, her status automatically makes her wield a considerably large influence over women, ladies, and even men. These people value her philosophy about gender roles, feminism, and feminity.
- DJ Cuppy
Florence Otedola is arguably one of the most outstanding female characters in the Nigerian music industry.
Asides from being born a billionaire, Cuppy exemplifies hard work and business acumen. She has a large fanbase with which she actively interacts – on social media platforms. Furthermore, she openly shows her love for sports, especially football and boxing.
Her recent interactions with football clubs and their fans served as a huge boost to her fan base. Cuppy conveniently demystifies disk jockeying and the gender stereotype attached to it.
She is a good example of living life to the fullest irrespective of whatever comments and rumours.
- Funke Akindele
Who doesn’t know Jennifer? Funke Akindele Bello, popularly known as Jennifer because of her role in Jennifer’s diary series. She is a great figure in the Nigerian movie industry.
Aside from the roles she plays in movies, her personal life is an inspiration to many. Jennifer, at some point in her life, was unable to give birth. Her twin babies’ eventual birth provided a deep connection point to her fans and the general populace.
At the peak of the COVID-19 lockdown, Funke Akindele was arrested for defying lockdown rules. Due to her sense of responsibility, she appealed guilty to the court of law. She took to the rulings of the court by offering public service.
Talk about strength and activism, then you taking of Aisha Yesufu. She is the face behind the symbolic picture of solidarity that was used during the EndSARS Protest. Aisha Yesufu came into the limelight in 2014. She convened the “bring back our girls” campaign after the abduction of the Chibok girls.
Aisha Yesufu is a good example of a socio-political vanguard. She has always stood up irrespective of who is in power, irrespective of the obstacles. She is a leader. Her role in the EndSARS protest amplified her influence both in political decision-making and activism. More reason why Nigerians voted her among the Insight’s 40 most admired Nigerians.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is arguably the most powerful woman in her career globally. The Nigerian America Woman served as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2008. When she was Minister of finance, the country reported a huge 6% increase in GDP.
Furthermore, NOI showed her prowess and resilience in getting to the top. She contested and won the post of the Director of the World Trade Organization by consensus.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is on the Forbes’ list of most influential women in the world. She worths the list of most admired women in Nigeria.
She dubbed the richest woman in Africa, is a Nigerian born billionaire who made her wealth through the oil sector. Aunty Folorunsho is an entrepreneur with multiple businesses.
She has an estimated net worth of a billion dollars. Aunty Folorunsho also engages in philanthropic activities. She is a perfect example of a successful business tycoon.
Feyikemi Abudu, popularly known as FK, is a 27-year-old Nigerian businesswoman, screenwriter, and social media influencer. Aside from her huge influence on Twitter, she has demonstrated a considerable amount of leadership and smartness.
She is a stakeholder in the Feminist coalition. Fk was one of the brains behind the smooth running of logistics during the EndSARS Protest.
Fk is one of the individuals that represent what the Nigerian youth can achieve. She got immense infatuation that earns her the seventh position. She is one of the 20 most admired women in Nigeria.
Modupe Odele, popularly known by her Twitter username – Moe, is a tech and startup lawyer. She is an entrepreneur and a stakeholder of the feminist coalition. She joined in pioneering for the provision of legal aid to protesters arrested during the EndSARS protest.
Moe is a perfect example of strength, excellence, sacrifice, and patriotism. Little wonder she easily stands out in the list of the 20 most admired women in Nigeria in 2020.
We cannot skip the legendary Nigerian personality’s name in the 20 most admired women in Nigeria list is Aunty Joke.
Joke Silva, dubbed as the silver lining of Nollywood, is a Nigerian actress and businesswoman. She is an award-winning actress with multiple awards adorning her cabinet. She is married to the veteran actor, Olu Jacobs.
Joke Silva’s life, story, and development is a huge motivation for young Nigerians, especially potential actors and actresses. It is not surprising she is one of the most admired women in Nigeria.
Tara Fela Durotoye
Tara Fela Durotoye, the wife of Fela Durotoye, is a Nigerian entrepreneur and fashion icon. She is one of the major pioneers of bridal makeup fashion in Nigeria. Tara is a recipient of various awards of excellence in leadership and entrepreneurship in Nigeria and globally.
She is one of the strongest forces in Nigerian entrepreneurship. She possesses every potential you seek in a successful entrepreneur in Nigeria. Hence, she is in the position of the 40 most admired women in Nigerian in 2020.
Toke Makinwa is a radio personality, an author, a lifestyle entrepreneur, and a vlogger. Her adeptness at what she does easily places her in a place of influence in the Nigerian community.
She wields a huge amount of influence on an average Nigerian lady, especially in fashion and lifestyle.
Florence Ita Giwa
Who says Nigerian women can’t be successful politicians? Think again! Florence Ita Giwa is a successful political figure as far back as the Military era. Her active participation in politics and policymaking earned her the nickname “Mama Bakassi.”
Additionally, she served as a senator of the Cross river south senatorial district in Nigeria. She is actively involved in the fight against sex slavery and trafficking in Nigeria.
Aside from her involvement in politics and activism, she is an entrepreneur. What more can you ask of a person to make the list of 40 most admired Nigerians?
Tiwatope, popularly known by her stage name, Tiwa Savage is a Nigerian born Afro-Pop artiste. She has written and sang many award-winning hits. She was featured on the New York Times as the Queen of Afro beats.
Tiwa Savage is arguably one of the best vocalists in the Nigerian Music industry. Her dexterity at what she does places her among the list of influential women in Nigeria. And of course, one of the 20 most admired women in Nigeria.
Bolatito Rinu Oduola, popularly known as Savvy Rinu, is a Nigerian born social media influencer and brand strategist. She was an important stakeholder in the EndSARS protest of 2020.
True to her name, Savvy Rinu displayed adeptness at leadership and negotiation. The true queen of the Soro Soke generation deserves a spot on the most admired Nigerians in 2020.
Ibukunoluwa Awosika is a Nigerian born businesswoman and an established entrepreneur. She is an author and a notable media personality.
Just so you know too, she is the Chairman of the First bank PLC. Her life and career are an inspiration to many young individuals in business. She is one of the most admired women in business in Africa. Hence, she has a place on the list of 40 most admired Nigerians in 2020.
Genevieve Nnaji is a Nigerian born actress, producer, and director. She is an award-winning actress with multiple awards as an individual and to the Nigerian movie industry.
Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart is the first Nigerian Netflix Original. Lionheart is also the first Oscar-Nominated Nigerian movie. A model and a lifestyle coach. Genevieve is a force to reckon with in Nigeria and Africa. Plus, one of the most admired women in Nigeria in 2020.
When it comes to investigative journalism in Africa, Kiki Mordi is a force to reckoned with. Kiki Mordi, a freelance journalist, came into the limelight after her award-winning sex for grades story.
Since then, Kiki did not relent in adding value and making impacts. During the EndSARS protest, she was an active participant and undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s most admired women. She is also a member of the heroic feminist coalition.
Ireti Doyle is everything a media Personality should be. She is a producer, writer, presenter, actress, and TV host. Her career has span two decades and has an audience all over the globe.
The veteran actress is an embodiment of charisma. Ireti Doyle has positively wielded the influence. She has shaped the opinions and decisions of individuals across every sphere of living. A real Queen and one of the most admired women in Nigeria!
Arguably one of the most exciting talents in Nigerian comedy. Taooma worths a spot on the 20 most admired women in Nigeria.
When 2020 started going south, the beautiful comedian did not fail to engage Nigerians with funny comedy videos. Through a tough year, she was able to help Nigerians happy. She was helping them laugh away their bad times and attracted lots of admiration for her abilities.
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It is believed that women are the real influencers of our society. If the 20-man list was not categorized by men and women, women will dominate the list.
20 Most Admired Men in Nigeria
Folarin ‘Falz’ Falana
What earns Falz the bhad guy the first spot-on insight. ng’s 20 most admired men in Nigerian? The musician, actor, and comedian has been sensational all through the year 2020. From his music to his active involvement in the EndSARS protests, he has been outstanding.
Falz was constantly likened to the legendary Fela Kuti. People claim they have a similar attitude, charisma, and resilience in the fight against bad governance and police brutality through his music. He is arguably the most active Nigerian celebrity during the protests.
Another added advantage that earns him this position is that he is every Nigerian lady’s dream guy. He was nominated fifth hottest Nigerian male celebrity under Pulse picks.
When it comes to Starboy Machala, the qualities that put him in the 40 most admired Nigerians list are numerous.
Nigeria’s most favorite music artist stormed 2020 with the long-awaited Made In Lagos album released on October 30th. The album went on to record the highest-ranking Nigerian album in iTunes history at number 3 position. The album also made British Vogue’s 12 best albums of the year.
Wizkid is also admired for his ability to keep himself out of drama and controversies. He has a way of keeping his mouth shut and not responding to provoking questions, airing.
Nigeria’s fourth richest man with a net worth of 1.8 billion dollars, made his way to the top three most admired Nigerians in 2020.
Femi Otedola couldn’t miss the top positions thanks to his philanthropic characteristics. DJ Cuppy’s father donates his resources for the benefit of others.
The billionaire handed out over 40 million in humanitarian services. Femi Otedola was also behind the financial intervention in the medical situations of top Nigerian celebrities. He helped the likes of; Sadiq Daba, Victor Olaotan, and the late Majek Fashek.
Nigerians also admired his fatherly love when he gifted his daughters a Ferrari Portofino each.
Read also: 100 most powerful people in Nigeria.
The Oyo State governor, Seyi Makinde, began the year 2020 on a controversial note. People were livid when his party held a political campaign despite the threat of COVID-19.
Nonetheless, he was greatly admired for his charisma, attitude, and manner of handling the EndSARS protests in his state. Nonetheless, there were really sad occurrences, like the death of Jimoh Isiaq and some other protesters. But Governor Seyi Makinde did well by paying visits to the affected families and compensating them handsomely.
Asides from these, there are rumors of ladies crushing on the 53 years old governor. Praising his good looks, making him one of the most admired men in Nigeria.
Arguably one of the most consistent music artists in Nigeria in the last ten years. Olamide Badoo stole the fifth spot of the top 40 most admired Nigerians in 2020.
In the last months of 2020, Olamide released his highly anticipated album, Carpe Diem. As expected, the album did not fail to impress Nigerians with premium music content. It later went on to record over 80 million streams in four weeks on all streaming platforms.
The Noble Prize winner secures the sixth spot on insight.ng 20 most admired men in Nigeria in 2020. Wole Soyinka is admired because of his literary proficiency or achievements and his ability to give back to society.
The literary genius used his WSICE (Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange) platform to inspire Nigerians. He helps many people aspiring to achieve great literary feats like him. No doubt, such a man will always make a list of admired people in Nigeria.
There is virtually no legal practitioner as famous or reputable as Femi Falana. The father of the personality that holds the number one spot of 20 most admired Men in Nigeria. He also secures for himself the seventh position.
Uncle Femi also played an active role in the EndSARS protests. He helped by contributing lawyers to help those protesters and SARS victims who were wrongfully convicted.
Pastor Sam Adeyemi practically got every Nigerians’ attention in 2020. Not every religious personality can do this with zero percent controversy.
He’s popular for being a knowledgeable writer and motivational speaker with witty philosophies of life. However, in 2020, he was more popular. He also had an active contribution to the EndSARS protests that blew Nigerians’ minds.
In November, Pastor Sam Adeyemi was accepted into the Forbes community of Forbes Coaching Council. He deserves a spot as one of the 40 most admired people in Nigeria.
Adeleke David Adedeji is a famous music artist who is widely admired by lots of people worldwide.
The 28 years old musician released an album this year titled “A Better Time.” The album contains lots of hits songs that would make anyone get their dance groove on. He is also popular for his philanthropic lifestyle.
In the last days of 2020, there were rumors of him being involved in a physical brawl with Burna Boy. As usual, his fans didn’t fail to rally around him to support him.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye
The most famous Nigerian pastor worldwide does one of the things he knows how to do best. Daddy G.O. stands out as a man of influence in his country. He is one of the admired personalities in Nigeria.
He is settling for the tenth position of 20 most admired men in Nigerian in 2020. Nonetheless, he has once ranked number one of Newsweek’s most influential people in the world.
The Mavin records label owner, Michael Collins Ajereh, popularly known as Don jazzy, is an entertainer.
He is a producer who also entertains his social media followers with funny videos of himself. He is an inspiration, making efforts to put smiles on people’s faces during trying times.
The legendary music artist who is still single is well-loved by his fans all over the world. This influences his ranking in the Insight’s 40 most admired people in Nigeria.
Kunle Afolayan is an award-winning actor, a fantastic producer, and a director. The 46 years old veteran actor just directed a Netflix movie titled ‘Citation.’ It was released on October 31, 2020.
He has also directed some high grossing movies like; The CEO (2016), October 1 (2014), Phone Swap (2012), The Figurine (2009). People like him because his movies are exciting, thrilling, and educative.
Nigeria’s fourth president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was once a military head of state. He later became a democratic president from 1999 to 2007. The 83 years old former president is well admired for his political achievements and ideologies.
Despite being a past political leader, Obasanjo still holds great influence and authority in Nigerian politics.
The Big Brother Naija host, Ebuka, is mostly famous for being a former Big Brother Naija participant and a compere. Behind this media personality, Ebuka is a highly qualified Nigerian lawyer.
Contrary to what people think, Ebuka did not win the Big Brother Naija during his edition. He finished as seventh.
The ladies mostly admire the 38 years old celebrity for his good looks. In 2018, he became Nigeria’s most stylish man. Why shouldn’t he be one of the most admired men in Nigeria with all of these qualities?
Before any other qualities, Mike Adenuga is admired because as the second richest man in Africa.
The Nigerian businessman is the Chief Executive Officer of Globacom telecommunications. One of the biggest telecommunications companies in Nigeria.
In 2020, he became the second richest man in Africa. He has a net worth of 7.7 billion dollars but is the third richest generally.
Goodluck Ebele J
Another former Nigerian president is on the list and holds the sixteenth position of the 20 most admired men in Nigeria. Do you wonder why he is on the list? The current governance Nigerians are experiencing in current years have been bringing some forms of comparisons.
People began to compare Jonathan’s administration to the current president’s. This made people reconsider the efforts GEJ made during his term in 2010-2015. People praised and nominated him for the Insight 4o most admired Nigerians.
Sanusi Lamido is an ex-governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He progressed to become the Emir of Kano shortly after his exit from the office CBN governor office.
In 2020, he was also dethroned as the Emir of Kano in a similar manner to his CBN exit. Nevertheless, people greatly admire Sanusi Lamido Sanusi for his socio-political and economic ideologies.
The reputable Tony Elumelu is a Havard Business School graduate. Hence the brilliant and unparalleled economic, business, and entrepreneurship ideas and strategies.
He is the seventh richest man in Nigeria with a net worth of USD 700 Million, according to Forbes 2015 ranking.
We are sure you now know why Olamide mentioned his name in his “Oil and Gas” song, where he praised wealthy and influential people.
People greatly admire him for his philanthropic lifestyle, helping entrepreneurs achieve their dreams.
Reno Omokri is a motivational speaker who is well famous and admired for his insightful advice and motivation. Thanks to his books, speeches, and opinions about life and how to live it. This multitalented man is also a lawyer and has produced a couple of short films in the US.
He is also the founder of Mind of Christ Christian Center, and his teachings are inspiring. Reno influences a lot of people to be on Insight’s list of top 40 most admired Nigerians.
The social media comedian and actor contributed immensely to Nigerians in various ways in 2020. These contributions earned him a spot on the 40 most admired Nigerians of 2020.
Asides from keeping people happy with his comedy skits, people also admire him for his supports and energy during the EndSARS campaign. He is doing well, oooin!
The people who made the 40 Most admired people in Nigeria list are outstanding and deserve every admiration they get. To be impressive and worthy of genuine respect and love is not a feat that can be easily achieved.
Would you like to suggest more influential and admired people you think should make our next? Kindly send the person’s name to [email protected] and also state your reasons for nominating the person!
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Micheal Dawodu & Timileyin Akinmoyede