• Sunday, June 16, 2024
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Dangote, Burna Boy… 10 Nigerians to watch in 2023

Burna Boy to perform at 2023 UEFA Champions League final

From manufacturing to entertainment, there are many Nigerians whose decisions and actions will reverberate across the country in 2023.

BusinessDay takes a look at 10 personalities chosen from various sectors to watch this year.

Karl Toriola – 5G coming to town

Karl Toriola, chief executive officer of MTN Nigeria Communications, will grab the headlines regarding the fifth generation (5G) mobile network.

MTN became the first telecommunications company to launch 5G in Nigeria in mid-September 2022. 5G technology is expected to bring a lot of benefits and opportunities that will engender accelerated growth and smart living in the country, when fully deployed.

“5G provides the foundation on which future network performance will be built and puts MTN Nigeria at the forefront of delivering technological advancements in the country,” the telco said in October. “The 5G technology extends the capacity of our data network. It delivers higher speeds and lower latency, supporting our home broadband strategy and unlocking many new use cases for consumers and enterprises.”

5G is projected to contribute $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2034, according to a 2020 GSMA Intelligence report, titled: ‘The Mobile Economy’.

Aliko Dangote – Giant oil refinery to come on stream

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person and President of Dangote Group, is building a crude oil refinery that is expected to be a game-changer for the Nigerian economy.

Last year, products from his $2 billion granulated urea fertiliser plant hit the market last year.

His oil refinery, which is the largest single-train plant with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, is expected to commence operations this year and put an end to fuel importation in the country.

BusinessDay reported last month that the $19 billion Dangote refinery was nearing completion as pre-commissioning tests reached concluding stages, making a launch date in the first quarter of 2023 feasible.

Godwin Emefiele – Still in the eye of the storm

Since the announcement of currency redesign in October last year, Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has been the talk of the town.

On December 6, the apex bank slashed the limits on cash withdrawals over the counter and via Automated Teller Machines, Point of Sale terminals and cheques, effective January 6, 2023, a development that drew widespread criticism.

The CBN’s unorthodox policies and strategies to fix monetary challenges of the economy will be examined under new lenses in 2023.

Beyond his policies, another major talking point in 2023 will be how Emefiele navigates issues surrounding the new currency notes and alleged plans by the Department of State Services to arrest him over terrorism financing charges.

Mahmood Yakubu — All eyes on INEC as elections near

Mahmood Yakubu is the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is expected to conduct a free and fair general election in less than two months’ time.

Starting with the registration and issuance of the Permanent Voters Cards to eligible voters, effective distribution of election materials, and credible counting and dissemination of results, the INEC boss has its work cut out in maintaining the citizens’ trust in elections.

Notably, his task has been given a boost with the signing of the new Electoral Act by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Electoral Act, 2022 seeks to regulate the conduct of federal, state and area council elections and thereby provide Nigerians with an air of optimism that their will in the next general elections will prevail.

Burna Boy — Contesting for 2023 Grammy award

Damini Ogulu, a.k.a Burna Boy, has been nominated for two categories in the 2023 Recording Academy Awards, popularly known as the Grammys.

Burna Boy received nominations for his song “Last Last” in the Best Global Music Performance category and for his latest album, “Love, Damini” in the Best Global Music Album category.

The 2023 nomination is his third Grammy nomination for the World Album Category (renamed Global Music Album) following “African Giant” and “Twice As Tall” nominated in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Tobi Amusan – Defending her gold medal

Nigeria’s athletic queen Tobi Amusan will be seeking to defend her gold medal at the World Athletics Championships scheduled to be held from August 19 to 27, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.

In July 2022, Amusan became the first Nigerian to win gold at the World Athletics Championship held in Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.

Before the finals, she had set a new world record after finishing her race in 12.12 seconds in the semi-finals of the same tournament, smashing America’s Kendra Harrison’s record of 12.20 seconds set in July 2016.

Amusan broke another world record in September after becoming the first Nigerian to be crowned a Diamond League champion in Zurich, Switzerland.

Amusan remains a gold medal prospect for Nigeria as the 2024 Olympics to be held in Paris, France, draws near.

Du Ruogang – Lekki Deep Sea Port to begin full commercial operations

The completion of the $1.5 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port, located east of Lagos city, came at an important time for Nigeria’s economic outlook.

This is because over the years, efforts to develop deep seaports in Nigeria did not yield any positive results, as unstable government policies, and lack of safety and security of funds invested by promoters hindered the development of greenfield seaports in the country.

Experts say the strategic location, optimised layout, and modern facilities provide Lekki Port with a distinct competitive edge over any other port facility in the West Africa region.

The date for the formal commissioning of the port is being awaited by the management of Lekki Port. BusinessDay gathered that it is the Federal Government that would announce the date for the official commissioning of the new port.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Shaping global economy with WTO top job

The global economy faces profound uncertainties in 2023, particularly in the face of the economic impacts of the Russia- Ukraine war.

In 2023, Okonjo-Iweala would be in a position to use her multifaceted experiences to energise the World Trade Organization’s 164 members to work harder to achieve the value of the multilateral trade systems.

Given her experience in being able to diplomatically manage people and institutions resistant to change, she could also provide the impetus for member countries to overcome the challenges facing the trade organisation.

Read also: Nigerians welcome New Year with mixed feelings

Mo Abudu: A media entrepreneur par excellence

Mosunmola Abudu, popularly known as Mo Abudu, CEO of EbonyLife Group, is known for several firsts in the media space, a development she looks set to sustain in 2023.

As an executive producer, Abudu has to her credit some of the biggest blockbusters in Nigerian cinema, including ‘The Wedding Party’, ‘Chief Daddy’, ‘Your Excellency’, and ‘The Royal Hibiscus Hotel’. As part of a major deal with Netflix, her successes include ‘Castle & Castle’, ‘Oloture’, and ‘Blood Sisters’, which are still leading the numbers on the streaming platform.

She oversees the EbonyLife Group, which includes all EbonyLife Media assets and EbonyLife Place, Nigeria’s first luxury entertainment resort. She is also a part of Oscars in the producer membership category and the only African woman selected in this category. Forbes described her as “Africa’s most successful woman,” while CNN called her “Africa’s queen of media who conquered the continent.”