In a world full of remarkable people whose efforts have influenced the path of history, these trailblazers stand out for their steadfast dedication, ground-breaking accomplishments, and the revolutionary influence they have had both within and outside of their respective disciplines.
Every individual on this esteemed list epitomizes the spirit of creativity, tenacity, and commitment, whether they are involved in activism, business, the arts, or leadership.
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Tag along as Arabella Star Magazine unveils the lives of these remarkable people, their tales, and the factors that led to their selection as the year’s standout characters as well as the lasting impact they have made on global affairs.
From Idanre to Radio Fame: The Journey of Ahmed Isah, Nigeria’s Advocate for Justice
Popularly known as the Ordinary President1, Ahmed Isah is a Nigerian activist and radio personality. He is chiefly known as the anchor of Brekete Family, a reality radio and television program focused on human rights. The program airs on radio and cable television and streams online through social media platforms and Human Rights Radio 101.1 in Abuja, Nigeria.
Isah was born in Idanre in Ondo State. In 2009, he founded Brekete Family, which first aired on Kiss FM. The program has since grown in popularity and influence, becoming a platform for ordinary Nigerians to air their grievances and seek justice.
Brekete Family is unique in its approach to addressing societal issues. It provides a platform for the voiceless and marginalized in society, helping them seek redress and justice. The program has handled cases ranging from domestic violence to corruption, and from police brutality to human rights abuses.
Despite challenges, Isah has continued to be a voice for the voiceless in Nigeria. His commitment to fighting for the rights of ordinary Nigerians has earned him the respect and admiration of many. His work with the Brekete Family continues to impact lives and bring about positive change in society
From Law to Politics: Femi Falana’s Impactful Journey in Legal and Political Arenas
Femi Falana, SAN, born on May 20, 1958, is a distinguished Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist. His journey in the legal profession began after he graduated from the University of Ife, now known as Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State. He started his legal practice in 1982 and became a Senior Advocate in Nigeria in 2012.
Falana is renowned for his unwavering commitment to human rights, always showing empathy toward people. He is well-known for opposing oppression from successive military authorities1. His activism extends beyond Nigeria’s borders, as he has been at the forefront of defending journalists and other human rights advocates across Africa for over two decades. He has defended and secured victories for dozens of journalists and activists in Nigerian courtrooms and at the ECOWAS Court.
In addition to his legal practice, Falana has also ventured into politics. He contested and lost the governorship election of Ekiti State in 2007 on the platform of the National Conscience Party, a party he served as National Chairman in 2011.
Falana runs the Falana and Falana Chambers with his wife, Funmi Falana1. He is also the father of Folarin Falana, a musician popularly known by his stage name Falz.
Falana’s contributions to human rights and the legal profession have earned him numerous awards. He was one of the nominees for The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) with the theme “celebrating challengers and builders”. He was given the award for his impact on adding value and inspiring the upcoming generation. He was also awarded the Civic Activism Award by BudgIT, a civic data-driven tech organization in 2022. Falana is a member of many professional bodies, including the West African Bar Association, Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Institute of Chartered Arbitrators (NICArb), West African Bar Association, Pan African Lawyers Union, and International Bar Association.
Femi Falana’s career as a lawyer and human rights activist is marked by a relentless pursuit of justice and a commitment to defending the rights of individuals. His contributions to the legal profession and human rights advocacy have had a significant impact, not only in Nigeria but across Africa. His life and work serve as an inspiration to many, particularly those seeking to effect change through the legal profession.
Global Finance Trailblazer: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s Achievement and Vision for Global Trade Transformation
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a female icon and a Nigerian-American economist who has made significant contributions to global finance and international development. She is the first woman and the first African to head the World Trade Organization (WTO), assuming office on March 1, 2021.
Born in Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria, Okonjo-Iweala received an A.B. degree in economics (1976) from Harvard University a Master’s in City Planning degree (1978), and a Ph.D. in regional economics and development (1981) from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
She has over 40 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America. She served two tenures at the World Bank, first as a development economist and vice president and corporate secretary of the World Bank Group (1982–2003) and later as managing director of operations (2007–11). In the latter position, she managed an $81 billion operational portfolio in Africa, South Asia, Europe, and Central Asia.
Nigerian Finance Minister Okonjo-Iweala served two terms under Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and was named Global Finance Minister of the Year in 2005. In 2020, she was nominated for the World Trade Organization Director-General position but was blocked by Trump’s administration. In February 2021, Biden’s administration supported her. Okonjo-Iweala has held leadership and advisory positions in various organizations and stepped down in 2021.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s journey is a testament to her resilience, intelligence, and commitment to making a difference in the world. Her leadership at the WTO is expected to bring a fresh perspective and drive positive change in the global trade landscape.
From Street to Stardom: Osimhen’s Record-Breaking Performance in the 2022-2023 Season
Victor Osimhen was crowned the 2023 African Footballer of the Year recently in a momentous event that solidified his status as one of the best players in the world. Osimhen is a Nigerian striker, who has made a significant mark in the world of football. His performances for Napoli during the 2022-2023 season earned him the prestigious Italian Footballers’ Association (IFA) Player of the Year award. This recognition is a testament to his exceptional talent, dedication, and contribution to the sport. His journey to stardom has been nothing short of inspiring. His passion for football was evident from a young age, and he quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the most promising talents in African football.
Osimhen’s move to Napoli marked a significant milestone in his career. His performances for the Italian club during the 2022-23 season were instrumental in helping Napoli clinch their first Serie A title in 33 years. He scored an impressive 26 goals during the season, surpassing George Weah’s record as the highest-scoring African in the Italian top flight15. His contributions were not limited to scoring goals; he also provided five assists, further highlighting his versatility and importance to the team.
Victor Osimhen’s journey is a story of resilience, hard work, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. His performances for Napoli during the 2022-23 season have etched his name in the annals of football history. As he continues to break barriers and set new records, the world eagerly awaits what the future holds for this exceptional talent.
Grammy Glory: Burna Boy’s Historic Win and Impact on African Music
Globally known as Burna Boy, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer who has made significant strides in the global music industry. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing “Like to Party”, the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E. Burna Boy’s fifth studio album, “Twice as Tall”, released in August 2020, won the Best World Music Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards. This was a first for a Nigerian solo artist, marking a historic moment for African music. The album is a fusion of Afrobeat, reggae, and pop.
In one of the awards, he accepted virtually from Lagos, Nigeria, a visibly excited Burna Boy said, “Yes oh! Yes oh! Yes oh! Africa is in the house man; Africa, we’re in the house, you get me? This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world, and this should be a lesson to every African out there: no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, you can achieve it, no matter where you’re from, because you are a king. Look at me now, Grammy Award-winning Burna Boy. Thank you to everyone…”.
In addition to his Grammy win, Burna Boy has received numerous other accolades. He won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards and was announced as Apple Music’s Up Next artist that year. His sixth studio album, “Love, Damini”, released in July 2022, became the highest debut of an African album on the Billboard 200 chart.
Burna Boy’s journey is a testament to his talent, hard work, and the power of African music. His success serves as an inspiration to many aspiring artists around the world. Burna boy’s music is a blend of different genres, including Afrobeat, dancehall, reggae, and hip-hop. His unique sound, often referred to as Afro-fusion, has captivated audiences worldwide and earned him a dedicated fan base.
Despite his international success, Burna Boy remains deeply connected to his Nigerian roots. He often incorporates elements of Nigerian culture and history into his music and performances
Burna Boy’s success has not come without challenges. He has faced criticism and controversy throughout his career. However, he has always remained true to his art and his vision. Burna Boy’s impact on the global music scene cannot be overstated. He has opened doors for other African artists and has played a significant role in bringing African music to the global stage.
Burna Boy’s journey is a story of resilience, hard work, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. His performances for Napoli during the 2022-23 season have etched his name in the annals of football history. As he continues to break barriers and set new records, the world eagerly awaits what the future holds for this exceptional talent.
Political Resilience: Akpoti’s Journey from Gubernatorial Aspirant to Kogi Senator
Senator Natasha Hadiza Akpoti is a trailblazer in Nigerian politics. She is the first female senator from Kogi State, representing Kogi Central Senatorial District. Her election to this position marks a significant milestone in the political landscape of Nigeria, breaking barriers and setting a precedent for future female political aspirants.
Akpoti’s journey to the Senate was not without challenges. She contested in the 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Election and ran for the post of Senator for Kogi Central Senatorial District under the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the same year. Despite not winning these elections, she remained undeterred in her political pursuits.
In 2022, Akpoti won the People’s Democratic Party’s primaries for the 2023 Kogi Centre Senatorial Elections. She faced Abubakar Ohere, who picked the All Progressives Congress ticket. After a legal battle that culminated in the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division, upholding her as the rightful winner of the Kogi Central Senatorial Election held in February, she was presented with a Certificate of Return by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
On November 2, 2023, Akpoti was sworn in as the Senator for Kogi Central Senatorial District. This historic event was celebrated not just in Kogi State but across Nigeria, as it marked the first time a woman had been elected to the Senate from Kogi State.
Beyond her political career, Akpoti is also a barrister and social entrepreneur. Her journey is a testament to her resilience, determination, and commitment to serving her community. Her election to the Senate is not just a personal achievement but a victory for all women in Nigeria. It sends a powerful message that women can excel in leadership roles and contribute significantly to the development of their communities and the nation at large.
Senator Natasha Hadiza Akpoti’s story is one of perseverance, courage, and groundbreaking achievements. As she continues to serve her constituents and champion the cause of women in politics, she remains a beacon of hope and a source of inspiration for many, especially young girls and women aspiring to make a difference in their communities and the world at large.
Challenges and Triumphs: Hilda Baci’s Road to Culinary Greatness
Hilda Effiong Bassey, better known as Hilda Baci, is a Nigerian chef who has made culinary history by breaking the record for the longest cooking marathon with a time of 93 hours and 11 minutes. This feat was achieved over four days, from Thursday, May 11 to Monday, May 15.
Baci’s journey to this record-breaking achievement began with a passion for cooking and a desire to put Nigerian cuisine on the map. She also wanted to inspire young African women to chase their dreams. To prepare for the event, she created a 35-item menu as a guide for every meal that she would cook. She ensured that she had the necessary ingredients to make each recipe, with her team procuring further food items while the cook-a-thon was underway.
During her marathon, Baci cooked over 100 pots of food. Each pot of food she cooked was big enough to serve 30-35 people. She invited any members of the Nigerian public to come and eat her freshly made meals1. All leftover food was donated to the Festus Fajemilo Foundation. “My team’s and my goal for this event was to make it free to all and to feed the less privileged,” Hilda said.
Baci’s record attempt took the world of social media by storm, with millions in Nigeria and beyond following her progress via an Instagram livestream. Several high-profile Nigerian figures visited Hilda to support her during her record attempt, such as the Vice President of Nigeria, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu; and award-winning singer Tiwa Savage.
However, the journey was not without its challenges. Baci attempted to set a record of 100 hours, but almost seven hours were deducted from her final total because she mistakenly took extra minutes for one of her rest breaks early on in the attempt. As with all ‘longest marathon’ records, the participant is permitted a five-minute rest break for every continuous hour of activity. These rest breaks can be accumulated if not taken. They were the only times Hilda could use the bathroom or sleep during the attempt.
Despite the challenges, Baci’s determination and passion for cooking saw her through. Her achievement is a testament to her resilience, hard work, and culinary skills. It also highlights the rich and diverse culinary traditions of Nigeria.
Hilda Baci’s record-breaking cooking marathon is a remarkable achievement that showcases the power of passion, determination, and hard work. Her story serves as an inspiration to many, particularly young African women, encouraging them to chase their dreams and break barriers. As she continues to make strides in the culinary world, the world eagerly awaits what the future holds for this exceptional talent.
Aisha Yesufu: Catalyst of Change – From #BringBackOurGirls to End SARS Activism
Aisha Somtochukwu Yesufu is a Nigerian activist and businesswoman. She co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls movement, which brought attention to the abduction of over 200 girls from a secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria on April 14, 2014, by the terrorist group Boko Haram. She has also been prominently involved in the End SARS movement against police brutality in Nigeria.
Born and raised in Kano State, Aisha is from Agbede in Edo State. She experienced the difficulties of being a girl in a heavily patriarchal environment. Her love of books helped her during childhood, and reading made her realize “there was a world beyond the ghetto that I was growing up in … and I wanted that life”.
As an activist, Aisha Yesufu has been known for speaking out against any form of injustice². After the terrorist group, Boko Haram abducted 276 schoolgirls in 2014, Yesufu and Oby Ezekwesili co-founded the #BringBackOurGirls movement to push for their rescue. Yesufu was among the women protestors who marched on the Nigerian National Assembly, in the nation’s capital, Abuja, on April 30, 2014.
Yesufu has been a prominent member of the End SARS movement, which began in 2017 and draws attention to police brutality in Nigeria and draws its name from a controversial police unit in the Nigeria Police Force called the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). A photograph of her wearing hijab at an End SARS protest became an iconic symbol of the movement.
Aisha Yesufu is a beacon of hope and a symbol of strength for many, especially women and girls in Nigeria. Her relentless pursuit of justice and equality has made her a respected figure in the fight for human rights. Despite the challenges she has faced, Aisha Yesufu continues to inspire and motivate others to stand up for what they believe in.
Grammy Nominations, Davido Day, and Global Impact: Celebrating the Phenomenon in African Music
David Adedeji Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, was born on November 21, 1992. He is an American-born Nigerian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Davido was born in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He made his music debut as a member of the group KB International.
Davido studied business administration at Oakwood University before dropping out to make beats and record vocal references1. He rose to fame after releasing “Dami Duro”, the second single from his debut studio album Omo Baba Olowo (2012), from which six additional singles— “Back When”, “Ekuro”, “Overseas”, “All of You”, “Gbon Gbon” and “Feel Alright”—were taken. In 2012, Davido won the Next Rated award at The Headies.
Between 2013 and 2015, he released the hit singles “Gobe”, “One of a Kind”, “Skelewu”, “Aye”, “Tchelete (Goodlife)”, “Naughty”, “Owo Ni Koko”, “The Sound” and “The Money”. In January 2016, Davido announced on Twitter he had signed a record deal with Sony Music, and a few months later, he founded the record label Davido Music Worldwide.
In July 2016, Davido signed a record deal with Sony’s RCA Records and in October of the same year, he released the five-track Extended Play (EP) Son of Mercy. In April 2017, Davido re-negotiated his contract with Sony due to creative control issues and later that year, he released five singles including “If” and “Fall”. “If” generated worldwide social-media activity while “Fall” became the longest-charting Nigerian pop song in Billboard history
Davido released his second studio album A Good Time in November 2019. His third studio album A Better Time was released on November 13, 2020, and in February 2021, he appeared on Time magazine’s Time 100 Next List. Davido released Timeless, his fourth studio album, on March 31, 2023. He is a cultural ambassador for Nigeria and a prominent voice of human rights in Africa. He is also one of the most-followed African artists on Instagram and X (Twitter).
In November 2023, Davido received three nominations at the 66th Annual Grammy Award for “Unavailable”, “Feel” and his album Timeless1. Following the OBO crooner’s headline, A.W.A.Y Festival at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, the Mayor and the Atlanta City Council declared November 18 as “Davido Day” in honor of the singer. The mayor noted that Davido has “dazzled audiences worldwide, becoming a global icon in the music industry”.
Entrepreneurial Excellence in Journalism: Livinus Chibuike Victor’s Impact on African Media
Livinus Chibuike Victor is a name that resonates in the world of journalism and publishing, particularly in the context of Arabella Star Magazine. As the Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Arabella Star Magazine, Victor has made significant strides in the industry.
Victor’s journey into journalism was born out of a passion for the field and a desire to effect social change through the dissemination of information. His qualifications and experience in journalism have equipped him with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate the dynamic and often challenging landscape of the media industry
Under Victor’s leadership, Arabella Star Magazine has grown into a reputable platform, providing readers and leaders with a diverse range of content. The magazine’s team, led by Victor, includes a host of talented individuals, each bringing their unique skills and perspectives to the table1.
Victor’s contributions to Arabella Star Magazine and the broader media landscape have not gone unnoticed. In recognition of his entrepreneurial excellence and the professional successes and contributions of African businesses to minority communities in Nigeria and Africa at large, ForbesBLK inducted Victor as a member of its prestigious community.
ForbesBLK is a rapidly expanding network of Black entrepreneurs, leaders, and innovators. Being inducted into this community is a testament to Victor’s impact and influence in his field. This membership provides Victor with access to networking and mentorship opportunities, fostering both personal and professional growth.
Victor’s induction into the ForbesBLK community is a significant milestone, not just for him, but for Arabella Star Magazine as well. It places the magazine on a global platform, further amplifying its reach and influence.
Livinus Chibuike Victor’s journey in journalism and his role as the CEO and Editor-in-chief of Arabella Star Magazine underscore his commitment to excellence and his passion for creating social change through information sharing. His induction into the ForbesBLK community is a testament to his contributions to the media landscape in Nigeria and Africa at large. As he continues to lead Arabella Star Magazine, one can only anticipate more achievements and milestones in his illustrious career.
However, to close this investigation, we declare the above icons the Arabella Star Magazine Persons of the Year, it is clear that their combined impact knows no bounds and has an impact on the entire world. Each person has left an enduring imprint on the fabric of human achievement by adding a distinct chapter to the story of our times. Thinking back on their experiences serves as a reminder that there is no one right way to achieve greatness and that there are many different ways to pursue perfection. We also look forward to a future in which these trailblazing people will continue to influence us and lead us toward a society characterized by creativity, kindness, and advancement.