Akwa Ibom State is a hotbed for talent, in the last few years, the state has produced several notable and influential personalities who have made great strides in Nigeria and beyond. In 2022, some of these personalities are bound to play crucial roles in shaping Nigeria’s future. This list includes some names expected to make meaningful contributions to society in 2022.
- Buju, Musician
Buju is a signee on Burna Boy’s record label Spaceship record label. In 2020, his dreams came through when his idol African Giant, Burna jumped on his last song “Lenu” produced by music producer, Steph, and video directed by TG Omori a.k.a Boy Director which is smash hit. The song is ‘Spiritual’ which featured Zlatan. Born Daniel Benson, the native of Akwa Ibom describes Buju as an acronym for “Beauty Underneath Just Understood” is very deliberate about his style of music and his sound. His sound Afro-Fusion is inspired by his experiences, and what he hears and feels. Buju recently dropped a song that took 2021 out of space tagged outside. Buju is one amazing artiste waxing stronger and stronger as we go in the year 2022.
- Onuk Brothers, Co-founders The Roothub
For Tony and Francis the Onuk brothers, it is simply the chemistry of science meeting arts. Tony, a Physics graduate and his twin, Francis, a Fine Arts graduate, are the co-founders of The Roothub, the business accerelator they created in 2014 to provide a safe and creative space for young people to experiment, build and grow their ideas, access opportunities and resources required to bring their dreams to reality. In 2019, RootHub was selected as one of the 12 impactful organizations in Sub-Saharan Africa by Facebook to receive free training, mentorship and funding to grow their impact. Today asides the Uyo workspace, Roothub has four more workspaces across the nation and is planning expand in 2022.
- Imabong Uko, Athlete
Imabong Uko is the current World Athletics U-20 400M gold medalist, with a 51.55 seconds personal best. Her time further extended her record as the fastest U18 athlete in the world in 2021 and 17th fastest in the Nigerian all-time list. Uko’s rise to stardom has been phenomenal; she was discovered, she was first discovered at the Akwa Ibom Youth Sports Festival instituted by the adminstration of Governor Udom Emmanuel to hunt for talents and set them on a path of growth and progress in the field of sports.
- Vicky Bon Edikan, Storyteller and Formulator of Skincare Products
Her world’s resonates around skincare and storytelling. An unlikely entrepreneurial combo that she has successfully mastered. She is the founder of Yaya Lifestyle Empire. An online shop that sells and delivers all kinds of skincare brands worldwide.
She also owns Bonnie’s butters a skincare company based in Nigeria, which formulates products for black women. As a storyteller she has published over 56 Ebooks on the internet, mostly African romance fiction of which she has sold six of her stories to Nollywood producers and one to Hollywood producer in 2021. She has recently also written 14 movie scripts and set to launch a Netflix movie in 2022. +96Aside from also ghostwriting over 18 books for other authors.
- Dr. Uwemedimo Udo, Chairman Uyo Local Government Area
Despite the lack of funds in the local government councils across Akwa Ibom, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo has stood out as amongst his peers. When he was sworn into office as the Uyo Local Government Council Chairman in 2020, Comrade Udo inherited an abandoned Office Complex at the level of less than 15% (percent) from his predecessor but in his first 100 days in office, he had completed the 27 Office Building Complex. Asked how he funded the project when his counterparts in other local governments in Akwa Ibom are seemingly stuck in the excuses of lack of funds, Udo explained that it was not all about dependence on funding from Federal or State governments but, about being focused, determined, creative and innovative as a council chairman. Following the giant strides recorded in his service to the people, in September 2021, Dr. Uwemedimo Udo was declared the winner of the 2021 Local Government Merit Award (LOGMA) with a star prize of a 10-seater bus after he emerged as the National Best Local Government Chairman in Rural Water Supply.
- Brutus Richard, Actor and Model
A graduate of Physics from the University of Calabar, Brutus’ foray into the world of make believe actually started in 2007 when he successfully auditioned for and made it as one of 10 housemates to the third season of the Amstel Malta Box Office Reality Show (AMBO3). During the show, he learnt the rudiments of screen acting under legendary actor Nobert Young, and realized thereafter that acting was going to be his life.
Given that platform, he has pushed beyond the boundaries and challenges of the industry to have a very rewarding experiences, with a portfolio of some thrilling projects to show over the years. A roll-call of these include: Ojuju, a zombie flick which went on to win critical acclaim internationally; O Town; and Slow Country (currently on Netflix), which won the ‘Audience Choice Awards’ during the 2016 edition of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF). In recent years his screen appearances include Just Not Married, Bariga Sugar, Officer Titus (an online skit), and Before Dawn. Brutus has also appeared on Wande Coal’s Ballerz Music video.
Recent jobs worthy of note includes #LaFemmeAnjola, A Soldier’s Story 2, Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story directed by Ramsey Nuoah & King Of Boys: The Return Of The King directed by Kemi Adetiba.
There are other yet unreleased movie works such as Dawn of Thunder – #DOT ( an animation movie ) by Komotion Studios still in post-production and coming in the year 2022.
- Collins Oscar, Business Owner and Founder of Made in Akwa Ibom
Collins Oscar is the author of “Idiots with BSc”, a book that has gained a lot of popularity. On 29 September, 2018 he opened a Showroom called “Made in Akwa Ibom” and true to its name, the shop only sells products made in the state. In 2020, he created an investment vehicle which connects investors to small and medium start-up manufacturers in Akwa Ibom who need financial assistance to grow and scale up. The brand pays a percentage of the profit the entrepreneurs make to investors monthly. As the CEO of Made in Akwa Ibom brand, Collins has successfully assisted over 100 budding and 200 existing entrepreneurs within and beyond Akwa Ibom state to birth and grow their business to the next level. He is slowly growing an army of entrepreneurs that could help turn the state into the next investor haven and manufacturers hub by 2022.
- Tijah Bolton-Akpan, Development Activist
Tijah Bolton-Akpan is a development practitioner, governance reform consultant, non-profit specialist and poet. In the last two decades, he has built a career in social engineering, working with non-profit organisations, international development partners, government institutions, communities, multinational companies and other stakeholders towards more efficient, effective and accountable delivery of policies and social services. Bolton-Akpan is Head of Programmes of Policy Alert, a non-governmental organization based in Uyo, working for transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region, the NGO focuses on raising awareness in the area to encourage people to speak out against corruption so that economic prosperity and improved living conditions can be achieved. Today Tijah’s work is yielding a lot of fruit especially for journalist and citizens who are willing to investigate and expose corrupt malpractices in government establishments.
- Maryanne Udoka, Golfer/Banker
Maryanne Udoka started playing the golf in 2017 but her rise to prominence is a result of her love for the game in addition to daily practice.
Maryanne, who hails from Essien Udim has participated in several golf tournaments in Nigeria and the Diaspora. In 2018, the Ibom Golf Club held a two days tournament in celebration of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s victory in the gubernatorial elections, the tournament which attracted 160 golfers in Nigeria was an eventful and historical tournament for Maryanne Udoka. The banker won the Best Net in the female category and the longest drive female award. Longest drive ladies and overall winner in ladies category. Since then, Maryanne has gone on to win several other tournaments. Today, her shelf is filled with trophies. The most recent being the longest drive and overall winner in ladies category that she won at the Ibom Icon golf tournament in December, 2021. We pray she becomes one of the greatest female golfer Nigeria has ever produced in 2022.
- IniAbasi John, Sports Analyst
At just 11 years old, IniAbasi-John is the youngest sports analyst in Nigeria today. This 11-year-old has appeared on Rockland House Tv and is also a regular analyst on Comfort Fm, Uyo every Saturday 8am. With little or no training, he has an insightful knowledge about sports and his intriguing analysis has endeared him to many sports enthusiasts. The major challenge facing IniAbasi is the lack of platforms for exposure. The unavailability of Tv channels where he would have been properly showcased and projected is a challenge.