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Nigeria Invades TIME's 100 Most Influential People 2015

Nigerians Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Muhammadu Buhari, Chris Ofili and Obiageli Ezekwesili are TIME's 100 Most Influential People of 2015.

Today TIME revealed its annual list of the 100 Most Influential People of 2015. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, President-Elect Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Nigerian-British Turner Prize-winning painter Chris Ofili, and Bring Back Our Girls co-founder Obiageli Ezekwesili are all representing Nigeria this year– in addition to Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau. See more from TIME below.


Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye on Chris Ofili:

"Chris Ofili’s extraordinary talent is to speak about contemporary issues through the romance of painting. He achieved early success in London—winning the Turner Prize and representing Britain at the Venice Biennale—almost as soon as he emerged. With works like No Woman, No Cry and The Holy Virgin Mary, both breathtaking and controversial in equal measure, he positioned himself as an artist who could redefine art practice by affirming the relevance of painting for the 21st century. Since moving to Trinidad, he has drawn inspiration from the island, its natural beauty and its distinct cultural tropes. Incredibly, he has re-emerged with an equally powerful relevance. In his work, he seeks to speak to political issues; his is a social imperative. He asks questions about our time through intoxicating visual compositions that examine peripheral modernities and enable us to make sense of our world."

TIME's deputy managing editor Radhika Jones on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

"It’s the rare novelist who in the space of a year finds her words sampled by Beyoncé, optioned by Lupita Nyong’o and honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. But the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is just that sort of novelist. A MacArthur “genius” grant recipient, Adichie writes of the complex aftermath of Nigeria’s colonial history and her nation’s rise to prominence in an era when immigration to the West no longer means a one-way ticket. With her viral TEDxEuston talk, 'We Should All Be Feminists,' she found her voice as cultural critic. (You can hear it rising midway through Beyoncé’s woman-power anthem “Flawless.”) She sets her love stories amid civil war (Half of a Yellow Sun) and against a backdrop of racism and migration (Americanah). But her greatest power is as a creator of characters who struggle profoundly to understand their place in the world."

TIME’s Africa bureau chief Aryn Baker on Muhammadu Buhari:

"Muhammadu Buhari made history in March by becoming the first candidate to oust a sitting Nigerian President through the ballot box. Now he has to live up to voters’ expectations. From battling the Boko Haram insurgency to tackling endemic corruption, Buhari has many challenges ahead. The greatest may be overcoming his past as a military ruler who seized power in 1983. Already the born-again democrat is demonstrating the inclusivity necessary to lead a nation riven by ethnic and religious tensions. 'We must begin to heal the wounds and work toward a better future,' he said in his April 1 victory speech. 'We do this first by extending a hand of friendship and conciliation across the political divide.' It’s a promising start for a President-to-be who wants to leave a legacy to match the historic conditions of his election."

Uganda's Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe on Obiageli Ezekwesili:

"Like northern Uganda, where I live, northern Nigeria is very isolated. For many years, the women who were abducted from our region remained invisible. So although I have not met Obiageli Ezekwesili, I know the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that she championed is very important. It would have taken a long time to raise awareness about the girls taken by Boko Haram without her using her platform as a former Minister of Education.

We need to remember that these girls are undergoing psychological and maybe physical torture. So I love that the campaign says, 'Bring back our girls,' and not 'Bring back my child.' Everybody is in unison with the parents and the relatives. Everyone is feeling their pain. Everyone will be ready to embrace the girls and offer them care and compassion if they are rescued or manage to escape.

It has been a year, and the girls haven’t been rescued, but she has made a difference by speaking about it. Not just speaking but shouting. I know some people will say she is too loudmouthed. The loud mouth is needed. People hear it."

Interview

A Candid Conversation With Olamide & Fireboy DML

We talk to the Nigerian stars about the hardest lessons they've learned, best advice they've ever been given and what Nigeria means to them.

Olamide and Fireboy DML have been working together for three years, but the first time they sit down to do an interview together is hours after they arrive in New York City on a promo tour.

It's Fireboy's first time in the Big Apple — and in the US — and the rain that's pouring outside his hotel doesn't hinder his gratitude. "It's such a relief to be here, it's long overdue," he tells OkayAfrica. "I was supposed to be here last year, but Covid stopped that. This is a time to reflect and refresh. It's a reset button for me."

Olamide looks on, smiling assuredly. Since signing Fireboy to his YBNL Nation label in 2018, he's watched the soulful young singer rise to become one of Nigeria's most talked-about artists — from his breakout single, "Jealous," to his debut album Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps, hit collabs with D.Smoke and Cuppy, and his sophomore release, Apollo, last year.

Even while he shares his own latest record, UY Scuti, with the world, Olamide nurtures Fireboy's career with as much care and attention as he does his own, oscillating between his two roles of artist and label exec seamlessly. His 2020 album Carpe Diem is the most streamed album ever by an African rap artist, according to Audiomack, hitting over 140 million streams. When Olamide signed a joint venture with US-based record label and distribution company, Empire, in February last year he did so through his label, bringing Fireboy and any other artist he decides to sign along for the ride, and establishing one of the most noteworthy deals on the continent.

Below, Olamide & Fireboy DML speak to OkayAfrica about their mutual admiration for each other, what makes them get up in the morning and how they switch off.

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