Iva Kubickova, Content Executive   27 September 2019

A visual representation of 8 famous Nigerians who are famous abroad

Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa - but it’s a nation that doesn’t excel only in numbers! With an abundance of talent and brilliance, many Nigerian names have made a name for themselves far beyond its borders.

From music and literature to sport and modelling, here’s a list of famous Nigerians who’ve made a mark on the international scene.

 

Wizkid

Black and white picture of Wizkid a Nigerian singer holding a microphone and singing“A

Born in Ojuelegba in Lagos, Nigeria, 1990.
Lives in the United States.

Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, known as Wizkid, is a Nigerian singer and songwriter. In 2011, he released a breakout single, “Holla at Your Boy”.

During his music career, he’s been breaking records with collecting nominations and awards.

He's been the first African to score seven billboard nominations, the youngest African to get a Grammy nomination, and the first Nigerian to win three Billboard Music Awards.

His most well-known songs include; ‘Show you the money’, ’Ojuelegba‘ or ’Caro (ft. L.A.X)’. Recently, he’s been cooperating with Drake on ’One dance’ and ‘Come closer’.

 

Yemi Alade

Nigerian singer Yemi Alade wearing a colourful dress and a hair updo standing with her arms on her hips“A

Born in Abia State, Nigeria, 1989.
Lives in Nigeria.

Afropop singer and songwriter, Yemi stepped into the spotlight after winning the Peak Talent Show in Nigeria in 2009.

Her single ’Johnny’ became the most viewed video of an African female artist on YouTube. Since then, she’s released well-acclaimed albums ‘Mama Africa,’ ‘Black Magic’ and ‘Woman of Steel.’

Yemi has been praised by critics for her work and crowned ‘Queen of Afro Beats’ by her fans. 

 

Tiwa Savage

Nigerian singer Tina Savage singing to a microphone wearing a white top and jeans“A

Born in Isale Eko, Lagos State, Nigeria, 1980.
Lives in the United Kingdom.

Tiwa's family relocated to London when she turned 11, and after that to the US, where she studied music.

She secured a record deal with Sony ATV and later toured the world as a vocalist for renowned artists like Mary J Blige, Chaka Khan or Spice Girls. She also collaborated with the likes of Eminem, Black Eyed Peas and Destiny's Child.

Her songwriting skills earned her great recognition. In November 2018, she became the first woman to win the 'Best African Act' at the 2018 MTV Europe Music Awards.

 

D’Banj

D'Banja holding an MTV award“A

Born in Zaria, Kaduna State, Nigeria,1980.
Lives in the United Kingdom.

Expected to follow his father's military career, Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo became a musician, entertainer and entrepreneur instead. Known to the world as D'Banj, he became one of the first Nigerian artists to do an international collaboration.

His most successful song, 'Oliver Twist', gained him over 23 million views on VEVO and was a top 10 hit in the UK singles chart in 2012. He also performed at the Africa Cup for billions of viewers worldwide.

In 2014, he was named the best-selling African author at the World Music Awards in Monaco.

He also partnered with the African Union and various charity organisations in solving agricultural challenges in Africa. And he founded a talent agency CREAM with the aim to find new talent from Africa.

 

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala 

A portrait Nigerian economis Okonjo Iweala wearing a purple dress on a black background“A

Born in Ogwashi Ukwu, Nigeria,1954.
Lives in the United States and Nigeria.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is an economist and a global development expert. Formerly Nigeria’s Finance Minister, she now serves as a Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation. Her work has supported the immunisation of over 600 million children worldwide!

She’s also Senior Adviser at Lazard and sits on the Boards of Standard Chartered PLC and Twitter Inc. With over 25 years’ experience working in the World Bank as a development economist, she was the first female black candidate to the presidency of the World Bank in 2012.

Her list of accomplishments is beyond impressive. Forbes has recognised Okonjo as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Africa, while Fortune included her in their list of 50 Greatest World Leaders.

 

Victor Moses

Nigerian football player Victor Moses during a World Cup“A

Born in Kaduna in Lagos, Nigeria,1990.
Lives in the United Kingdom and Turkey.

Victor Moses is one of the most famous Nigerian football players of all times. His life story inspires people all around the world. He relocated to the UK as an asylum seeker after his parents were killed when he was only 11 years old.

He was placed in a foster family and started playing football at school. Before being approached by Crystal Palace, he played for a local Tandridge league.

Throughout his successful career, he’s played for teams like Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Stoke City. He’s currently completing a season in the Turkish club Fenerbahçe, where he is on loan from Chelsea.

 

Hakeem Olajuwon 

Nigerian basketball legend Hakeen Olajuwon on a black and white picture sitting down and signing a paper“A

Born in Lagos, Nigeria,1963.
Lives in the United States.

Hakeem's career in sport began in football and handball. But a star was born after he turned his attention and strength and speed to the basketball field. His 18-year basketball career earned him the title of one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA.

While playing for the Houston Rockets and Canadian Toronto Raptors, he was a two-times NBA champion, got to the NBA finals twice. Plus, he secured many accomplishments, such as 'NBA's most valuable player" in 1994 and 12 times 'NBA All-Star'.

After his retirement from basketball, he entered the real estate market and is a Houston icon and beloved member of the community.

 

Agbani Darego

Nigerian Miss World Agbani Darego“A

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, 1982.
Lives in the United States.

It‘s well known that there’s an abundance of beautiful women in Nigeria, but it’s Agbani who brought things to a whole new level. How? In 2001, she became the first black woman ever to win Miss World.

She continued her career in the beauty industry as a model, ambassador for renowned brands and a fashion designer. She also founded a reality fashion show called Stylegenic, which aired in Nigeria in 2010.

More than a decade later, Agbani is still one of the most influential and wealthiest models in Nigeria.

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Celebrating the success of Africans living in the diaspora is a big part of what we do at WorldRemit.

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