If there is any one Nigerian who has been decorated extensively in the country and across the globe, it certainly has to be Aliko Dangote, the first non-politician or soldier to have achieved the nation’s high honour as Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger.
Since Forbes named him the richest man in Africa in 2011, and with the subsequent captivation that Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan has directed his way, it is impossible to ignore or escape the vast influence and impact that Dangote has had on his country. Hence, our reluctance to fall into a cliché and announce him as the winner of this distinguished honour.
Added to this, we were priviledged to find many strong contenders this year. Obiageli Ezekwesili has established herself as a rare role model in a country which leaders are defined by the extent of either their corruption or their influence in government, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has gone farther as a Nigerian professional internationally than any of her compatriots, and Tunde Bakare’s bully pulpit over the past year has been crucial in giving focus to the opposition.
The younger people have also been impressive – Omoyemi Akerele is almost single-handedly holding up the Nigerian fashion industry globally, Davido is leading for music even as he is barely 20, and the duo of D’banj and Don Jazzy are building competing but ultimately mutually beneficial visions of the Nigerian entertainment industry, and The Nigerian impressing us soon after our clarion call in our last editorial of 2011 with the explosion of patriotism and social action in January of this year and after.
But, then there is Aliko Dangote – a man who has created more wealth, expanded more economic spaces, pushed more entrepreneurial envelopes and cumulatively through his inescapable brands, touched more Nigerian lives directly than any one single individual in the country…
Read More: Y! Senior Editor, ynaija.com