Four Nigerians have recently been named among 21 finalists in the run to participate in the Archbishop Tutu Fellowship. According to a press release, the final selection of Africans that will be joining the fellowship this year was announced recently by the African Leadership Institute. The four Nigerians who were carefully selected from 300 applicants include Olamide Kola Aina, Eric Idiahi, Seni Sulyman and Olubankole Wellington (Banky W). These Nigerian entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to diverse sectors of society.
Meet the Nigerian finalists
Olamide Kola Aina is a serial entrepreneur with vast experience in venture capital, technology, media, agriculture, infrastructure, publishing, and real estate. Aina is the General Partner at Ventures Platform (VP) and has led the Ventures Capitalist (VC) firm to invest in about 30 innovative tech startups since its inception in 2017.
He is the Chairman of the Board of Ventures Park, founded the Emerging Platforms Limited, a TED speaker, and a member of the Nigerian Presidential Committee for Job Creation and Youth Employment.
Ventures Platform, as an early-stage African VC, provides flexible capital and support to startups and has invested in about 30 innovative tech companies under his leadership. The companies include innovative-category-leading companies including Paystack (payments company), Tizeti (connectivity company), MDaaS (a healthcare company) and Thrive Agric (an agric-tech company).
Eric Idiahi is Partner and co-founder of Verod Capital Management Limited, a private equity firm he co-founded in 2008 that is Afrocentric with aims to generate economic value and sustainability for commodities it services. Idiahi has spearheaded several notable mergers, acquisitions, and investments in the technology, financial services, education, and pharmaceutical sectors.
He is a member of the board of notable companies like EMZOR Pharmaceutical Industries Limited, Greensprings Educational Services Limited, Rainbow Educational Services Limited, Central Securities Clearing Systems (CSCS) Limited, Eleva Group, Tangerine Life Insurance Limited, African Lifestyle Limited and Lancaster University (Ghana).
Seni Sulyman is the current Vice President of Global Operations at Andela, a Venture-Capitalist-funded technological company that builds high-performing engineering teams with Africa’s most talented software engineers. He mans the delivery operations of Andela across all African markets and was its Director of Operations in 2016 and became the Country Director for Nigeria.
He was Interim Country Director for Kenya. However, on April 2, 2020, he announced his transitioning out of my role as Vice President of Global Operations into the Alumni Network on May 15. Before joining the Andela team, Sulyman handled significant roles at Bain & Company, HP, and CardinalStone Partners. He also had built and operated a new business jet airline in Nigeria for the Bristow Group.
He currently sits on the Board of Directors of the FATE Foundation and is a member of the Harambe Entrepreneur Alliance.
Olabankole Wellington (Banky W) is also a serial entrepreneur and a successful musician, filmmaker, writer, speaker, businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He is the Chairman and CEO of Empire Mates Entertainment a brand management company.
It started off as a record label and has successfully transitioned to a media agency over the years. As a record label, his company has managed artists like WizKid, Skales, DJ XClusive who all introduced creative contents that have significantly reshaped the culture and sound of Nigerian music at various times.
As a media agency, Willington has used his company to manage brands like Budweiser, Peak Milk, and Access Bank. Ebuka, Mike Edwards, Toolz, and Adesua Etomi-Wellington are some of the talents he has managed including some social media influencers. He was co-executive-producer of some of Nollywood blockbusters like The Wedding Party, Up North, and Sugar Rush.
Leveraging on his millions of followers on social media, Wellington was also able to carry out activist movements like Enough is Enough, Teach 4 Nigeria, Back 2 School Adult Literacy Initiative, Pink Oak Cancer Trust Fund, EachOne.NG among many others.
This nomination will not be the first time Nigerians would gain a seat at the foundation in numbers. In 2018, 7 Nigerians made it to the final stage. They include Adebola Williams, Omoni Oboli, Oluseun Onigbinde, Chude Jideowu, Temi Marcella Awogboro, Serah Makka-Ugbabe and Aminu Umar Sadiq.
Recipients of the Archbishop Tutu Fellowship are going to be provided with an intensive learning and broadening experience on the principles and application of leadership, with an opportunity to explore the issues and specific characteristics of leadership in the continent. They will be exposed to a variety of formal and innovative informal learning opportunities to enhance their leadership capabilities.
This will help them explore the global challenges and dimensions of an African leader. The program places emphasis on peer interaction and feedback, giving participants an avenue to share their pan-African perspectives and experiences
Named after South Africa’s Anglican Cleric and anti-apartheid activist, Desmond Tutu, the flagship leadership development program will be offered on a part-time basis for over six months, the Programme includes two 9-day Group Learning Modules with an impressive array of distinguished leaders and faculty.