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 chosen personalities from various industries to watch this year.
Karl Toriola: 5G is coming to town
Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria Communications, will grab headlines on 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 many benefits and opportunities that will lead to accelerated growth and smart life in the country, when fully deployed .
“5G provides the foundation on which future network performance will be built and places MTN Nigeria at the forefront of delivering technological advancements in the country,” the telco said in October. “5G technology expands the capacity of our data network. It offers higher speeds and lower latency, supporting our home broadband strategy and unlocking many new use cases for consumers and businesses.”
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: startup of a giant oil refinery
Aliko Dangote, the richest person in Africa and chairman of the Dangote Group, is building a crude oil refinery that is expected to be a game changer for the Nigerian economy.
Last year, products from its $2 billion granulated urea fertilizer plant hit the market last year.
Its oil refinery, which is the largest single-train plant with a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, is expected to start operations this year, ending fuel imports into the country.
BusinessDay reported last month that the $19 billion Dangote refinery was nearing completion as pre-commissioning tests reached the final stages, making a Q1 2023 launch date feasible.
Godwin Emefiele – Still in the Eye of the Storm
Since the announcement of the 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 main bank cut limits on cash withdrawals over the counter and through ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, and checks, effective January 6, 2023, a development that drew widespread criticism.
CBN’s unorthodox policies and strategies to solve the economy’s currency challenges will be examined under new lenses in 2023.
Beyond his policies, another major talking point in 2023 will be how Emefiele handles issues surrounding the new notes and the Department of State Services’ alleged plans to arrest him on terrorist financing charges.
Mahmood Yakubu — All eyes on INEC as elections approach
Mahmood Yakubu is the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is expected to hold free and fair general elections in less than two months.
Beginning with the registration and issuance of Permanent Elector Credentials to eligible voters, the effective distribution of election materials, and the counting and credible dissemination of the results, the INEC chief has a lot of work to maintain citizens’ trust in the elections.
In particular, its task has received a boost with the signing of the new Electoral Law by President Muhammadu Buhari. The Election Act 2022 seeks to regulate the conduct of federal, state and area council elections and thus provide Nigerians with an air of optimism that their will will prevail in the upcoming general election.
Burna Boy — Competing for the 2023 Grammy Award
Damini Ogulu, also known as Burna Boy, has been nominated for two categories at 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 her third Grammy nomination for the Global Album Category (renamed Global Music Album) after “African Giant” and “Twice As Tall” nominated in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Tobi Amusan – Defending his gold medal
Nigerian athletic queen Tobi Amusan will look to defend her gold medal at the World Championships in Athletics taking place from August 19-27, 2023 in Budapest, Hungary.
In July 2022, Amusan became the first Nigerian to win gold at the World Championships in Track and Field held in Eugene, Oregon, United States of America.
Prior to the final, she had set a new world record after finishing her run in 12.12 seconds in the semifinals of the same tournament, breaking American 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 Diamond League champion in Zurich, Switzerland.
Amusan remains a gold medal prospect for Nigeria as the 2024 Olympic Games nears in Paris, France.
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 the city of Lagos, came at an important time for Nigeria’s economic prospects.
This is because, over the years, efforts to develop deep seaports in Nigeria did not produce any positive results, as unstable government policies and lack of security and protection of funds invested by developers hampered the development development of completely new seaports in the country.
Experts say that the strategic location, optimized design and modern facilities provide Lekki Port with a clear competitive advantage over any other port facility in the West African region.
Lekki Port management is awaiting the date for the formal commissioning of the port. BusinessDay announced that it is the Federal Government that will announce the date for the official commissioning of the new port.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala: Shaping the world economy with the highest post in the WTO
The world economy faces deep uncertainties in 2023, particularly in the face of the economic impacts of the war between Russia and Ukraine.
In 2023, Okonjo-Iweala would be in a position to use its multifaceted experiences to encourage the 164 members of the World Trade Organization to work harder to achieve value from multilateral trading systems.
Given his experience diplomatically managing people and institutions that are resistant to change, he could also galvanize member countries to overcome the challenges facing trade organization.
Also Read: Nigerians Ring In The New Year With Mixed Feelings
Mo Abudu: a quintessential media entrepreneur
Mosunmola Abudu, popularly known as Mo Abudu, the CEO of EbonyLife Group, is known for several firsts in the media space, a development that looks set to continue into 2023.
As executive producer, Abudu has to her credit some of the biggest box office hits 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 hits include ‘Castle & Castle’, ‘Oloture’ and ‘Blood Sisters’, which still lead the numbers on the streaming platform.
He oversees the EbonyLife Group, which includes all the assets of EbonyLife Media and EbonyLife Place, Nigeria’s first luxury entertainment complex. She is also part of the 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 media queen who took the continent by storm”.