At a time where Shamma Almazrui became a Honourable Minister in the United Arab Emirates at 22 and Norway’s Minister of Agriculture, Jon Georg Dale is 32, Nigeria doesn’t seem to be committed to Youth Inclusion in Public Sector Leadership.
Just 10 days ago, another 22-year-old, Francisca Oteng Mensah, was overwhelmingly elected as a Member of Parliament in neighbouring Ghana while Nigeria continues to cap the earliest constitutional age anyone must reach before they can dream of running for an elective public position at 30.
At 34, Michael Blake is the Assemblyman representing Bronx in New York State Assembly in is currently running to win the position of the Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Congress. In contrast, the only Key positions the political parties in Nigeria have shown that they are willing to accommodate Youth within the 30 to 35 age bracket are those of Personal and Special Assistants cum Social Media Influencers.
We’re not doomsayers or arm chair critics and we’re aware of Stars like 30 year Old Mark Okoye who was recently appointed Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget Development by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
Justin Trudeau was only 44 when he became the Prime Minister of Canada. At 28, Jon Favreau was already the speech writer of the most powerful person in the world, President Barack Obama, who himself was first elected at 42.
Yotam Goren, an Israeli diplomat is only 34 years old but he is already a Deputy Chairman of the UN’s Administrative and Budgetary Committee, which controls a budget of some $11 billion.
Closer to home, 25 year old Nigerian-British Seyi Akinwowo, Councillor of Forest Gate North in the London Borough of Newham, was recently sent to represent Britain at the European Parliament. Had Seyi decided to participate in politics in Nigeria, even with her brilliance and resourcefulness, she would have been consigned to the role of personal assistant or special assistant to some random politician and her resourcefulness may not have been this amplified on the global stage especially within Politics.
It’s all good to say young people must begin before they become, but is it possible that Nigeria is missing out on the promises and potentials of competent and qualified young people in Executive positions in Government given the giant strides of young Nigerians in Agriculture, Technology, Education, Entertainment, Medicine, Commerce and other Sectors?
The youngest member of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Cabinet at present is Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), who is 49-years-old. Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun is also 49 but a month older than Malami. 49 is more than 10 years older than the cut off point for someone to be considered a youth.
There have been several calls for President Buhari to appoint younger people to his cabinet and we hope that he is listening and will leverage the enormous Talent amongst Nigerian Youth and give them the opportunity to contribute to the wholesome development of Nigeria. As things currently stand, our Country is being left behind on many fronts, our economy is in shambles, our education system is in tatters, our armed forces in the doldrums and we seem to be on the edge of the precipice.
Now that the President is ready for his first Cabinet reshuffle and has reached out to the Senate to inform the upper legislative chamber of his impending action, it will be worth seeing if some young Nigerians will make the list.
Just in case President Muhammadu Buhari is unaware of any young people he can appoint to key Cabinet positions, the Editorial Think Tank of Thesheet.ng, the voice of Nigeria’s Successor Generation have taken the pain to research thoroughly and we have identified some eggheads with proven track records and strong antecedents of excellent performance who can serve this Country as Ministers in different Fields.
This is the point where you grab that Pop Corn. Enjoy. And errrrm, drop a comment below, you can even nominate your own Candidate for Minister. Let’s go.
1. IYINOLUWA ABOYEJI
A serial entrepreneur, Iyinoluwa is a co-founder of one of Nigeria’s best-known startups Andela, a supposedly ‘’harder to get into than Harvard’’ global talent accelerator that trains young intelligent Africans to be world-class developers before connecting them with employers around the world who are in search of top tier technical talent.
In what’s surely one of the most heartwarming news of 2016, Aboyeji’s Andela was able to raise $24 million in funding from Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg’s foundation.
Iyinoluwa has since left Andela to set up a payment startup called Flutterwave.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Information And Communications Technology
2. OLUWASEUN ONIGBINDE
Seun is the brain behind the budgeting startup, BudgiT that makes information about the Nigerian budget and government expenditure accessible to everyone. Seun’s BudgIT has in the past three years created apps, games, interactive websites and infographics that make relevant public data sets available and more importantly, cognitively accessible to the public.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Budget And Planning
3. ONYEKA NWELUE
Onyeka is a multi-talented film maker and cultural entrepreneur who is also a visiting Professor of African Studies and Literature at Manipur University, India.
Onyeka is also the President of La Cave Musik, a record label based in Paris, specialising in music from Africa and the Caribbean. His book, Hip-Hop is Only for Children won the Non-Creative Book of the Year at the 2015 Nigerian Writers’ Awards.
He recently launched a political party – Progress Party (PP) – which he says was set up to destabilise the old order.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation
4. EBI ATAWODI
Ebi is the general manager of app based transportation network and taxi company, Uber Lagos. The Imperial College of London alumnus is tasked with the job of making Uber Lagos as influential and profitable as the parent company. Atawodi hasn’t been off to a bad start. According to company reports, 16 months into their Lagos launch, Uber has provided 30% more rides than it did in London in the same amount of time.
Probable Portfolio: Minister Of Transport
5. DEBISI ARABA
Debisi is an environmental policy and strategy specialist who is currently the Regional Director for Africa at the CGIAR’s International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He was a Louis Bacon Environmental Leadership Fellow in the mid-career Master of Public Administration Program at the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government. Debisi has experience working in government having been previously the Technical Adviser on Environmental Policy to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Agriculture
6. SEGUN DEMUREN
Segun is the Managing Director of Evergreen Apple Nigeria (EAN), Nigeria’s first fully integrated FBO and Aircraft Maintenance Facility. Launched in July 2011, Segun’s EAN provides full Handling Supervision, Dispatch and Ground Services with representation in ALL Airports in Nigeria for business jets and cargo operations
He is also the co-founder of popular music label, Empire Mates Entertainment (EME), which he owns alongside singer, Banky W.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Aviation
7. NDIDI NWUNELI
41-year-old Ndidi is a serial Nigerian social entrepreneur with 19 years of experience in International Development and Business Management working with multinational firms, the public sector, and international organizations. Ndidi combined her Harvard MBA, with her McKinsey experience and her intense passion for Nigeria to serve as the first executive director of the FATE Foundation, one of Africa’s most innovative and influential organizations in the non-profit sector. She went on to establish LEAP Africa and is currently the Co-Founder/Director of AACE Foods and Director of Sahel Capital Partners. For her services to the country, Ndidi was bestowed with the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).
Probable Portfolio: Minister Of Commerce And Industry
8. MODUPE ADEFESO
Modupe Adefeso-Olateju is an Education Policy Consultant, with expertise in public and private school effectiveness, and the design of Public-Private Partnerships in Education. She holds a PhD in Education and International Development from the Institute of Education, University of London. The CEO of The Education Partnership Centre (TEP Centre) which is a consultancy firm that supports an array of education partnership projects, Modupe also sits on the board of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council London. She is passionate about helping young people fulfill their academic and career potential.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Education
9. ESTHER AGBARAKWE
Esther Agbarakwe is the founder of the Nigerian Youth Climate Coalition and an international climate change campaigner with experience working on environmental sustainability, social and environmental policy analysis, biodiversity conservation, justice and reproductive health and rights. She holds a graduate certificate in Sustainable Development from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, USA and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from University of Calabar, Nigeria. She is the recipient of the 2010 LEAP Africa Annual Nigerian Youth Leadership Award. In 2010, she was selected as ‘Women Deliver 100 Young Leaders’ for her strong interest in women’s issues and was invited to attend the “Women Deliver” Global Conference in DC. She is currently the Special Assistant on Digital Media to Nigeria’s Minister of Environment and UN Deputy Secretary General Designate, Dr. Amina Mohammed.
Esther is remarkably one of the Youngers of the Elders+Youngers initiative involving notable leaders such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Gro Harlem Brundtland. She is also a Commonwealth Youth Climate fellow, Atlas Corps international fellow and Dekeyser & Friends Foundation Academy awardee.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Environment
10. EDDIE MADAKI
Eddie Madaki is an Abuja-based Publicist, Marketing communications and Events expert who featured in the BBC’s movie series; Wetin Dey. Eddie was also the second runner up at Gulder’s Ultimate Search Reality TV programme in 2006. He cut his teeth in the banking sector for about 9 years before finally moving on to start his own PR company from where he birthed the iBlend movement – a PR company that work with companies to build strong brands – in 2010. He has worked on branding for such big brands as Pepsi, Unilever, Silverbird Group, EIE, BBC World Service Trust, Medicaid Cancer Foundation, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Chocolate City Music Group, amongst others.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Federal Capital Territory
11. ADEKUNLE ADEBIYI
Adekunle is a Nigerian international investment banker with extensive experience in investment banking, private equity, consulting, telecommunications and operations management. He presently serves as Assistant Vice President at MBO Capital Management Private Equity. Prior to joining MBO Capital, he worked at PwC Nigeria as a Corporate Finance Manager. During his career at PwC, he also assisted in a capital raising exercise for a start-up mobile money operator and, whilst on international assignment, managed a payment verification exercise for an African mobile operator across 15 countries that resulted in net savings of more than US$4 million.
Adekunle received an MBA in finance from the Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and an MA/MEng in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge.
Probable Portfolio: Coordinating Minister of the Economy
12. ARESE UGWU
Arese Ugwu is the Founder of smartmoneyafrica.org, a personal finance platform tailored to the African Millennial. She promotes financial literacy in Africa through speaking engagements, workshops as well as multiple media platforms. She serves as an independent director on the boards of House of Tara, the Nigeria Higher Education Foundation, and Partnership Investment Plc. She is an associate member of WIMBIZ (Women in Management Business and Public service) and has served on the planning committee since 2015.
She is also a 2015 finalist and nominee for the Access Bank W award for Young professional of the year. Arese holds an M.Sc. in Economic Development from University College London (UCL) and a B.Sc. in Business and Management from Aston Business School, Birmingham. She is also an alumna of the of the Lagos Business School, INSEAD Abu Dhabi and The London School of Business executive education programs.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Finance
13: TOLU OGUNLESI
Tolu Ogunlesi is a popular Nigerian blogger and journalist who is the head of President Muhammadu Buhari’s digital/new media team. Tolu is a two-time winner of the CNN Multichoice African Journalism Awards and has worked for several publications including: Ventures Africa, NEXT Newspaper, CNN.com, guardian.co.uk, Africa Confidential, The Economist (Baobab Blog), Arise, The Guardian (Nigeria), Think Africa Press, 3 Quarks Daily, London Independent, Harvard Africa Policy Journal, Wasafiri and Farafina.
His works have also been published in The London Magazine, PEN Anthology of New Nigerian Writing, Litro, Brand, Orbis, Nano2ales, Stimulus Respond, Sable, Magma, Stanford’s Black Arts Quarterly and World Literature. Tolu graduated from the University of Ibadan in 2004, and obtained an MA in Creative Writing from University of East Anglia, UK, in 2011.
Before his appointment by President Buhari, Tolu had worked as a Features Editor and Editorial Board member of NEXT Newspaper. He also worked as a West Africa Editor for The Africa Report magazine from 2014 to 2015. In 2008, Tolu was a Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Fellowship. He is a regular contributor in Punch newspaper.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Foreign Affairs
14. OLA OREKUNRIN
Dr. Ola Orekunrin is a medical doctor, helicopter pilot and the healthcare entrepreneur founder of Flying Doctors Nigeria, West Africa’s first Air Ambulance Service. She first made history when at age 21, she became one of the youngest doctors in England. She got her medical degrees in University of York where she graduated with flying colours. Her mission is simple: “To provide the best possible standard of health care to all”.
She has been listed on Forbes Africa’s 30 before 30, a platform that showcases 30 of Africa’s most promising young entrepreneurs under the age of 30.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Health
15. CHETA NWANZE
Cheta Nwanze is a journalist and IT professional. He is the Chief Executive Officer, SBM Intelligence; a company that provides market intelligence and strategic communication services to Nigerian investors. He is a social commentator and a regular contributor on several popular publications like Sahara Reporters. Cheta initiated #HistoryClass as a response to the government’s removal of history from the nation’s school curriculum.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Interior
16. EDITI EFFIONG
Editi Effiong is the Managing Director at Anakle Limited, a media marketing, services development company and incubator for technology businesses. Editi’s Anakle is best known for Bride Price app, an app that calculates the users’ value or worth based on answers to a series of ranked questions.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Information
17. YEMI ADAMOLEKUN
Yemi is the Executive Director of Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE), a coalition of individuals and youth-led organizations committed to instituting a culture of good governance and public accountability in Nigeria through advocacy, activism and the mobilization of the youth population as responsible citizens. EiE leverages technology to increase awareness and engagement around governance issues among Nigeria’s youth (18 – 35 year olds) which make up 50% of its population. She started her University education at the University of Lagos and has degrees from the University of Virginia, the London School of Economics and Oxford University’s Said Business School. She has worked for over 13 years in the private and public sectors in the US and Nigeria. She serves as a volunteer for the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) and Kaleyewa House, an NGO focused on the elderly.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Justice
18. MUHAMMED SANI DATTIJO
Muhammed is at present the Commissioner for Budget and Planning in Kaduna State. He has over a decade experience in development policy formulation, public finance and project implementation. Prior to his appointment, he was a Policy Adviser in the Executive Office of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in New York and a member of the Secretary General’s core team that designed the Sustainable Development Goals( SDGs).
He has also served in the past as an Economist and Deputy National Program Manager in Nigeria’s Presidency where he supported the design and coordination of development interventions across 36 States focusing on accelerating the country’s progress on the MDGs. He was subsequently appointed Economic Adviser of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum.
Muhammad holds an MSc in Development Economics and Policy from the University of Manchester, a second Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy from Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and has studied Public Finance at the London School of Economics, Sustainable Development with Columbia University in New York and Advanced Project Management at Oxford University in the United Kingdom. He is a UK Chevening Scholar, member of the University of Oxford Business Alumni Network, Fellow of the Archbishop Tutu Leadership Institute and most recently a fellow of the Aspen Institute Africa Leadership program- ALIWA.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of National Planning
19. AKIN OYEBODE
Akin Oyebode is a trained economist turned banking professional with a passion for social and economic development in Sub Saharan Africa. He started his career at the Lagos Business School of the Pan African University and has worked in the banking industry since 2005 in various roles including research, strategy and most recently retail banking. Akin once served as the Head of SME Banking at Stanbic IBTC Bank from where he went on to become the pioneer Executive Secretary of the N25bn Lagos Employment Trust Fund that is targeted at addressing unemployment and promoting wealth creation through entrepreneurial development in Lagos State.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Lands and Urban Development
20. BATARHE FOGHI
Batarhe currently work as an HES Advisor in the oil and gas industry where he provides advisory services to groups within the Facilities Engineering Division to ensure projects are delivered incident free and without environmental impact. At Chevribn where he currently works, he provides technical HES services to projects during FEED to ensure consistency with technical codes & standards (APIs,NFPA). He also coordinates and participates in risk studies for the projects (PHAs eg HAZOP What if, Ihazid) BSAs. He has been involved in quite a number of projects, gas and oil facilities.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Petroleum Resources
21. AMARA NWAKPA
Amara is an IT professional and an advocate for good governance and national development who founded the LightUpNigeria movement – a youth movement focused on improving electricity supply – mobilized using social media. He is also a founding member of the Enough Is Enough Nigeria – a coalition of youth and youth led groups focused on encouraging youth participation in good governance.
Amara is a professional in the Information and Communication field. He is one of the architects of the 1-Gov.net platform, a government-wide shared services platform for the Federal Government of Nigeria. 1-Gov.net currently connects over 4,000 locations for about 350 Ministries, Department and Agencies of the Federal Government. 1-GOV.net was awarded the 2013 United Nations Public Service Award for first place in Africa in Promoting Whole of Government Approaches in the Information Age.
As a pathfinder for youth involvement in good governance, he played key roles in the mobilization and advocacy that led to the acknowledged increase in the positive involvement of young Nigerians in the 2011 elections. He is currently involved in a project using social media to mainstream oil resource governance issues going into the 2015 elections – Oil Revenue Tracking Initiative (oilrevenueng.org).
Amara has served as the Coordinator, Public Policy Initiatives at Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Foundation since 2014.
Probable Portfolio: Minister Of Power
22. TUNJI ANDREWS
Tunji Andrews is an economist and Senior anchor at BTVA Newsroom, he’s also the anchor of award winning, business radio shows like Business Express on Smooth 98.1fm and MTN Business Half hour on Classic 97.3fm.
Tunji is a European Union consultant, under the EU-SUFEGOR project and one of the most respected commentators on macro related issues within the Nigerian space, with over a decade of experience.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Science and Technology
23. UGO OBI CHUKWU
Ugochukwu Obi-chukwu is a finance expert who blogs frequently on finance, business and economics issues. He is the brain behind Nairametrics formerly ‘Ugometrics’, a blog mostly targeted at small businesses, students and the self-employed. Ugo is a chartered accountant with over 15 years experience in corporate finance, treasury and financial management. Over the years, Ugo has acquired vast experience in the acquisition and subsequent turnaround of privatized government enterprises.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Trade And Investment
24. MUAZU SAMBO
Muazu is an astute professional and the Lagos State Area Manager of National Inland Waterways Authority, NIWA, the agency established with the primary responsibility to improve and develop Nigeria’s inland waterways for navigation.
Probable Portfolio: Minister Of Water Resources
25. ESTHER IJEWERE-KALEJAIYE
Esther is a social entrepreneur, advocate, women and girl child’s rights activist, columnist, author, PR expert and Founder of Rubies Ink Initiative for Women and Children, the umbrella organisation for several life touching projects such as: Walk against Rape , Women of Rubies, Project Capable , Rubies Ink Media and the College Acquaintance Rape Education Workshop.
She is a well known campaigner against rape and abuse of women rights. Her contributions to the Nigerian society has been recognized by several institutions and governmental parastatal.
In July 2016, Esther won the “Young Person of the Year Award” at the Miss Tourism Nigeria beauty Pageant. This December, she also won the Kind Humanity Supporters of the Year Award at the 5th Nigerian Impact Awards for her contribution to humanity and impacting the society through her initiative, Walk Against Rape .
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Women Affairs
26. FEYI FAWEHINMI
An accountant with over a decade of work in the UK’s financial service sector, Feyi’s experience covers investment banking, private equity, asset management and insurance.
He blogs regularly on Nigeria and economic policies and is an amateur photographer in his spare time.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Works and Housing
27. OHIMAI GODWIN AMAIZE
A media personality, political strategist and publisher with a strong passion for youth engagement, mobilization and advocacy, Ohimai “Mr Fix NIgeria” Godwin is the founder of online newspaper, Signal and CEO of Olivier Pope Inc – an image crisis management company. An Alumnus of the University of Ibadan and the Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, Ohimai’s professional career began in 2007 at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission where he rose through the ranks to become the Research Assistant to pioneer Chairman of the anti-graft, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. He was once the Special Assistant on Advocacy to former Minister of Youth Development and later Minister of Sports, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi,and was the Campaign Manager for the Dele Momodu 2011 Presidential Campaign.
Ohimai was once the president of the Union of Campus Journalists (UCJ), University of Ibadan, the body responsible for over 2,500 campus journalists and over 70 press agencies in Nigeria’s oldest university. In October 2008, he was inducted Ambassador, Microsoft Internet Safety, Security and Privacy Initiative for Nigeria (MISSPIN). As a Microsoft Ambassador, he designed B.L.I.N.G. (Brilliant. Legitimate. Inspired. Nigerian. Great.) – a pop-culture strategy with which he assembled some of Nigeria’s top music artistes to produce the song/music video – “Maga No Need Pay” – Nigeria’s first ever music collaboration against cybercrimes.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Youth and Sports Development
28. SUBOMI PLUMPTRE
Subomi is a leading writer, social media creative and the head of Corporate and Social Media Practices at Alder Consulting, one of Nigeria’s leading strategy & brand consulting firms. She has previously been recognized as one of the 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria. With an academic background in analytical reasoning, scientific investigation and practical research, Subomi has been a team lead for Alder on a number of diverse Government and Corporate projects including the Educational Sector Transformation Plan of the Federal Ministry of Education; The Reform Programmes of the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs & the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and the Restructuring of the Ministry of Solid Minerals Development.
Subomi led the development of an External Communication Programme for the British Council; coordinated Acculturation Programmes for First Bank and is tasked with developing ongoing Brand Strategy for Guaranty Trust Bank. She is team lead on Alder Consulting’s SME development programme – Enterprise 500.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Mines And Steel
29 AUDU MAIKORI
41-year-old Audu Maikori is a trained lawyer and a multi-award winning entrepreneur who is well known for his founding role of Chocolate City Entertainment. He presently sits as the President of Chocolate City Group, a Pan African music, media and events brand that has branched into four companies; Chocolate City Media, Chocolate City Music, Kenya Chocolate City and Chocolate City Distribution, with focus not just on music but cinema, film, lifestyle and distribution.
Audu Maikori was the youngest member of the Presidential committee on the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme ( SURE- P) selected by former President Goodluck Jonathan to oversee and ensure the effective and timely implementation of projects to be funded with the savings accruing to the Federal Government from subsidy removal.
This widely-travelled Public Speaker was once named as one of the most powerful people in the Nigeria Entertainment by Ynaija Magazine in March 2014. He was also recognized for his outstanding contribution to the Nigerian music industry by City People Magazine in March 19, 2011. Audu has also served as a member of the board of Cooperate Society of Nigeria (COSON), a government management organization for sound recording and musical works.
He was also a judge in the first edition of Nigerian Idol reality TV show, the series that produced Timi Dakolo and Omawumi.
Probable Portfolio: Minister of Labour and Productivity
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