FAMOUS NIGERIANS KNOWN OUTSIDE OF NIGERIA >PERSON (and what they are)

BASHORUN M.K.O. ABIOLA – Presidential Candidate

picture of AbiolaHe was a businessman/politician who ran for the elections held in 1993 (believed to be the first fair elections held in the country). This election was canceled by the military government at the time (Babangida). A year later, when he claimed himself president, he was jailed by the president at the time (Abacha), and one of his wives (Kudirat) was killed during her fight for democracy. After Abacha died, Nigerians were hopeful for his release, and some were hopeful for his rule, but he died of a heart attack on July 7, 1998.

back to list CHINUA ACHEBE – Writer

picture of Chinua AchebeFamous Nigerian author who was nominated for the 1987 Booker Prize for literature. His most popular book is probably “Things Fall Apart”. We studied a lot of his literature in high school in Nigeria, and once again, I’ve met him in person here in Minneapolis, during my first summer here. Never met him in Nigeria either, never thought I would. (In high school, I was called Okonkwo, one of his characters, because of my bushy eyebrows.)

In January 1999, he was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

KING SUNNY ADE – Musician

picture of King Sunny AdeHe is one of my top three favorite (Nigerian) singers. He’s been around the United States quite a bit (and around the world), and I’ve actually seen him in concert here in Minneapolis (yes, he’s even been to Minneapolis). Funny, never saw him while I was in Nigeria.

(February 24, 1999) His ‘Odu’ album was nominated for Best World Music album in the Grammy awards. (yes, that album is available from most of the discographies to the right).

PROFESSOR ADEBAYO ADEDEJI – Professor & Writer

need a picture A Nigerian professor who wrote many internationally known books.

 

AKINWUMI ADESOKAN – Writer & Journalist

need a picture He is one of the two 1998 recipients of the Freedom-to-Write award on October 23, 1998 from the PEN Center USA West (in Los Angeles, California). This is an award to honor “writers who have produced work in the face of extreme adversity and have defended freedom of expression and fought against censorship.”, and he won because he “risked his life and a promising literary career to write on behalf of his friends and colleagues who were imprisoned by the regime of Nigerian General Sani Abacha.”. In 1997 he received the first Villa Aurora Writer-in-Exile Award and a fellowship at the International House of Writers in Graz, Austria. He is the author of “Roots in the Sky” and “Sea of Forgetting”.

DR. ALBAN – Musician

picture of Dr AlbanHe is a Nigerian singer who lives in Sweden, and seems to be pretty popular there.

 

 

 

BABATUNDE – Musician

picture of BabatundeAnother musician from Nigeria.

 

 

 

PHILIP EMEAGWALI – Inventor and Computer Wizard

picture of Philip EmeagwaliWhat a brainiac!

 

 

CHIEF UDOH ESSIET – Musician

picture of Majek FashekAnother popular Nigerian Musician

 

 

 

MAJEK FASHEK – Musician

picture of Majek FashekA popular Nigerian Musician

 

 

 

GANI FAWEHINMI – Lawyer

picture of Gani FawehinmiHe is a lawyer that has been very active in the fight for human rights in Nigeria. On September 13th, he was awarded the Bernard Simons Memorial Award in Vancouver, Canada (the award is named for the late British lawyer Bernard Simons and recognizes work in criminal law that contributes to the protection and advancement of human rights). He (along with two other men) also won the 1996 International Human Rights Award from the American Bar Association’s Section of Litigation. He is also the founder of the National Conscience Party (NCP) and the chairman for the Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON).

 

BEKO RANSOME-KUTI – Campaign for Democracy Chairman

picture of Beko He was the chairman for the Campaign for Democracy, and a former medical doctor for the government. In 1997 Beko Ransome-Kuti was awarded the human rights award of the city of Weimar. He was inprisoned on July 25 1995 on charges of treason to the Abacha government. After Abacha’s death on June 8 1998, president Abubakar released him (along with 8 other political prisoners) on June 15 1998. He is Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti‘s son, and Fela Kuti‘s brother.

 

FELA KUTI – Musician

picture of FelaI don’t actually know/have a lot of his music, but he was definitely the most famous singer out of Nigeria for a while. He died in 1997, and is Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti‘s son and Beko Ransome-Kuti‘s brother.

 

 

FLORA NWAPA – Writer picture of Flora NwapaA famous Nigerian writer who is mostly known for being the first African woman to publish a book in English. She was also an administrator, teacher, cabinet minister and owned her own publishing company. She died in 1993 at the age of 6

 

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO – President

picture of Olusegun ObasanjoHe was the Head of State for Nigeria from 1976 until 1979. He was jailed during the Abacha regime, and was released after Abacha’s death. In February 1999, he won the civilian elections for Nigeria and became the president.

 

 

 

CHIEF COMMANDER EBENEZER OBEY – Musician

picture of Chief Commander Ebenezer ObeyHe is another one of my top three favorite (Nigerian) singers. He’s also been to the United States and around the world.

 

 

 

BEN OKRI – Writer

need a picture A famous Nigerian writer who won 1991 Booker Prize for “The Famished Road”.

 

HAKEEM OLAJUWON – Basketball player

picture of Hakeem OlajuwonBasketball player for the Houston Rockets.

 

 

 

MICHAEL OLOWOKANDI – Basketball player

picture of Michael OlowokandiBasketball player (NBA Draft)

 

 

SADE – Musician

picture of SadeShe is partly Nigerian, and has the same name as one of the people in my family (and in my opinion, the looks of another person in my family).

 

 

KEN SARO-WIWA – Human Rights Activist

picture of Ken He was the leader of the human rights activists for the Ogoni people, until he was executed in November 10, in 1995, along with 8 other leaders (despite much international opposition to their death sentence announced on October 31), which shocked the world. In 1995, he was awarded the Goldman Prize, which is a prize for international environmental heroes.

 

SEAL – Musician picture of SealHe is partly Nigeria

 

 

back to list WOLE SOYINKA – Writer

picture of Wole SoyinkaFirst African writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Also known for being in exile from the Nigerian government under Abacha. When Abacha was gone, and Abubakar took over, Wole Soyinka finally came home for a visit towards the latter part of October 1998, and many are hoping he will return permanently to help build the nation.

(Feb 8, 1999) You can follow this link to find out about a play from one of his books, which I think he might be attending.

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