Prime Folks to Watch in 2020

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SATURDAY COVER 

With Octopus Paul noted for its right predictions dead and its shoes too big for the pig which failed some predictions, clairvoyants have also become extinct in this clime as the crystal ball appear broken, leaving us with adept sifting of information to forecast what would occupy the Nigerian media space in 2020. We have punctiliously taken time to look across the spectrum of business, politics, sports and entertainment and feel that though we do not boast of an exhaustive list, those that were designated are frontline must trends.

In the political compass, issues are myriad that breathtaking decisions are wont to occur. Is it the staccato of policies and statements from the seat of power which dampens spirits or the lifting news that a one man business was going to finally wipe away the tears of the giant of Africa which has been reeling in fuel imports and its attendant steadily increasing malfeasance of fuel subsidy or the possibility of re-enacting a world boxing fight by a Nigerian in an African soil? Looking away from politics, graft becomes very prominent so the fight against graft and graft fighting back will create breath-taking moments that will wag tongues in 2020 while some subtleties would surreptitiously barge on the sensibilities of Nigerians.

Many things would be imagined and would easily mix with realities, creating a maze which the media in Nigeria being the most active on the continent, would latch on to for a long time. Also, Nigerian entrepreneurs have boldly put their footprints in the sands of times. Are there going to be extraditions? Would the anti-graft agencies be jolted in real terms or shall Nigerians be left gazing again? Would there be voluntary returns albeit forced by circumstances or shall there be more hibernation? Whichever way the pendulum swings, the media space shall not be short of issues to dissect. Confidently, Nigeria has demonstrated that art is Blackman’s preserve as in all spheres, bold signatures of Nigerian artistes dot the space; be it in music, films, arts and creativity.

Again, what have we made of the BASA agreements we have signed which creates access but to the benefit of others except Nigeria? 2020 seems to have loaded a reduction in the gamut of unused opportunities as some of Nigerian men have moved to leverage on the opportunities so Nigeria can dip its hands in the dish when nations feast on opportunities in the skies courtesy of another entrepreneur.

Will Nigerian economy go into recession again or will our managers craft measures to insulate and put us back on track for a well-oiled economy that would ease the pains of doing business and economic buoyancy that would translate into relief in real terms for the common man? Will 2023 politics rear its head three years ahead of the time? We think so because the political weeding has to start in earnest where politicians will press their advantages while at the same time undoing their perceived opponents so that when the real games starts, they would be steps ahead.

Since the President is not eligible to contest again, it would be the time for other gladiators to start. Here we may not be sure because of a promise that in the interest of the country, lawmakers at the national assembly would “cooperate” with the President on his requests which implies that should he desire a constitutional change to elongate his tenure so as to “continue” his good works; our lawmakers would grant him that. Such issues in addition to massive spending in various guises would place them on the front burner of people and places that would trend in 2020. Ahamefula Ogbu

BUSINESS
Chika Amanze-Nwachuku and Bennett Oghifo

Aliko Dangote,
Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote
His refinery under construction in Lagos will keep him in the news for most of 2020. The plant is expected to start operations in 2021. Africa’s richest man’s cement business will also keep him in the news in 2020. Dangote Cement is Africa’s largest producer, with more than 50 million metric tonnes per annum currently through plants located in Nigeria and several other African countries. The billionaire will raise his cement production on the continent by 29 per cent to 62 million tons in 2020.

Godwin-Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele
Come 2020, the CBN governor will continue with efforts towards promoting price and monetary stability, exchange rate stability, financial system stability, as well as efforts to spur growth through development finance interventions in line with the apex bank’s five year policy thrust released this year. He would work to bringing down inflation to single digit in 2020, while accelerating the rate of employment. Nigeria’s inflation rate jumped to 11.85per cent (year-on-year) in November 2019, representing 0.24 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in October 2019.

Mike Adenuga, Jr.
He is the Chairman of Globacom, Conoil Producing, a major player in the upstream sector of the oil and gas industry, as well as Conoil Plc, one of the largest petroleum marketing companies in the country. He also has huge investments in the construction, real estate and banking sectors of the economy. No doubt, he will consolidate his interests and businesses in 2020. He is currently rated second wealthiest African with a networth of about $10 billion. Globacom, ended 2019 with over 50 million subscribers and will seek to grow the subscriber base even further in the New Year. It also plans to drive Nigeria’s broadband penetration to ensure reliable and affordable internet services for its customers across the country.

Sunil Vatswani
Chairman of Stallion Group, Sunil Vatswani, will trend in 2020 on account of his company’s alleged indebtedness to several banks and the Asset Management Coporation of Nigeria (AMCON). The creditor banks are concerned that Sunil Vatswani is living a life of luxury in Dubai from loans that have become non-performing. The truth about Vastwani’s indebtedness will play out when the courts sit in 2020 at the behest of the Nigerian banks and AMCON.

Tony Elumelu
Mr. Tony Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) will remain in the news in 2020 for his onerous job of creating entrepreneurs in Africa. The TEF is an African private-sector-led philanthropy focused on empowering African entrepreneurs. It is the $100 million commitment by the Elumelu family to empower 10,000 African entrepreneurs over a 10-year period. The goal is to create at least 1million jobs and contribute over $10 billion in revenue to the African economy. Elumelu, an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist, is passionate about Africa’s economic development.

Allen Onyeama
Chairman of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Onyeama will definitely be in the news in 2020 and not only because of his indictment by a court in the United States of America for alledged money laundering, but also because of his remarkable feat in crossing a major threshold in international aviation. Onyema was charged with bank fraud and money laundering for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme allegedly involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes. Fireworks are expected in the court tin 2020. Regardless of all these allegations, Onyeama has put an indelible footprint on global aviation by spreading his airline’s wings, Air Peace, to South Africa, and the U.S.

Diezani Alison-Madueke,

Diezani Alison-Madueke
Former Minister of Petroluem Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, will not leave the news any time soon, since the EFCC is not done with her yet. The commission filed a 14-count charge of money laundering against Alison-Madueke, and four others, in 2018, accusing them of diverting $153 million public funds in the build-up to the 2015 presidential election. The hide and seek game is expected to continue in 2020 as the courts open.

Ahmed Kuru

Ahmed Kuru
Swift and efficient implementation of the AMCON’s debt recovery will be top on his agenda come next year. The debt, which currently stands at N5 trillion is projected to rise to N6.6 trillion in 2024. With the backing of the recently signed 2019 Amended AMCON Act, it is expected that AMCON and its Asset Management Partners (AMP), as well as the Inter-Agency Presidential Committee set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria will apply the relevant laws to ensure the recovery of the outstanding debts as soon as possible.

Hadiza Bala-Usman

Hadiza Bala Usman
With the set revenue target of N276.75 billion from ports operations in the 2020 financial year, Bala Usman is bent on taking her fight against corruption and revenue leakages to the next level. Recall that the MD recently revoked a $133 million Lagos Secured Anchorage Area contract agreement with Ocean Maritime Solutions Limited (OMSL), a firm promoted by Captian Idahosa Okunbo, as part of efforts to block revenue leakages. She also decommissioned and shut down the BUA Ports and Terminals Limited, operator of terminal B, Rivers Port, Port Harcourt, citing security concerns.

POLITICS
Ahamefula Ogbu

Muhammadu Buhari


He will be chief among those that would trend in 2020 for several reasons, especially with the near-recessive state of the nation’s economy. His clannish appointments are expected to continue which will, as usual, cause buzz. Buhari’s anti-corruption fight, though slanted, will also cause him to trend while his external borrowings will keep tongues wagging through 2020. The new visa on arrival policy and possible reopening of the closed land borders are other issues that will keep Buhari on the front pages in 2020. The frequent travels of the President are likely going to peak leading to outcry while insecurity across the country would leave him trending for most of 2020.

Atiku Abubakar

Atiku-Abubakar

He will remain the face of opposition in the country. Atiku’s experiences in the electoral fields and courts have not diminished his political influence with his voice always heard as a democrat. It is expected that in 2020, Atiku will lead the charge for telling truth to power.

Aisha Buhari

AISHA BUHAR

She has been in the news for being bold in fighting against those exercising the power of her husband by proxy. As long as the cabal is still in place, negatively affecting her interests, the boldest First lady is expected to be a leading voice in crying out against the manipulations of powerful men in the corridors of power. Also, her traducers who accessed the Presidential villa through the backdoor and are struggling to eclipse her position in the villa are not likely going to give up being unofficial power holders. With access to social media and clash of interests, Aisha will continue to trend in 2020.

Mohammed Adoke

Mohammed Adoke

He is a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice embroiled in the Malabu oil deal. He has pleaded his innocence but was held by the Interpol in Dubai. Currently in detention after deportation, based on a court order, his trial is expected to trend in 2020 when the fireworks for his freedom and pleading his innocence will take center stage. His trail is expected to throw up a lot of facts that may jolt the nation. Whether Adoke goes in for the case or is freed, he will be one of the people that will trend in 2020.

 

Omowale Sowore


In or out of court or detention, the publisher of online portal, Sahara Reporters will be in the news for most of 2020. The #Revolutionnow protagonist who contested for presidency of the country and failed, successfully garnered attention through his protests. The direction of his case will keep him in the news.

Orji Uzo Kalu


The convicted former governor of Abia State has already appealed his conviction and he is expected to fight for his freedom with the last strength in him. A known fighter with a bundle of native intelligence, he was jailed 12 years for stealing over N7 billion belonging to Abia State for which his company, Slok was ordered to be liquidated and proceeds forfeited to the federal government.

Ahmad Lawan

Ahmad Lawan

This Senate President has assured that he would grant whatever request President Buhari places before him. Constitutional amendment, probably to accommodate third term or life presidency on Buhari might scale through, should it come from those quarters but the President has denied having any tenure elongation scheme under his armpit. Other areas he would trend include the use of N37 billion to renovate the National Assembly which people are already suspecting would form part of the “settlement” for the chambers in advance of any untoward request. Jumbo pay, constituency projects and being rubber stamp on issues of national importance will keep him in the news in 2020.

 

Ahmed Tinubu


His 2023 presidential ambition might pitch him against the protagonists of power remaining in the north. Already, the bullion vans that aided victory for his party are being brought up against him while lectures on how to retire godfathers of Lagos politics was delivered by Nasir El rufai. Should the cabal see him as trending against their desire, anti-graft agencies can easily dust up the numerous petitions gathering dust in the shelf of EFCC and he will then trend in that regards. However, being a strong contender to the presidency in 2023, added to an unwritten agreement that allegedly assured him that power would be handed over to him, no matter where the pendulum swings, he will be among the news makers of 2023.

Ibrahim El-Zakzaky

Sheikh Ibrahim el-Zakzaky

While Malami has swung the release of Sowore and Sambo Dasuki, nothing is heard of the release of El-Zakzaky, leader of the Shiites Movement in Nigeria. Having trended in 2019, he promises to trend in 2020 even if released from custody. His followers are always ready to die for his sake and the government has been adamant in effecting his release even after court bail and that makes it a must trend in 2020, whether on religious or social grounds, the vitriolic preacher will continue to be on the front burner of discuss.

Godwin Obaseki

Godwin Obaseki

The 2020 governorship election in Edo State will keep Obaseki in the news. The fight between him and his erstwhile godfather, Adams Oshiomhole is sure to continue till the elections are won and lost. Obaseki has refused to blink while Oshiomhole appears to have donned his discarded labour toga in his unyielding nature to fight to a finish. Obaseki will continue to be in the news till the elections are won and lost and election tribunals exhaust the petitions.

Rotimi Akeredolu


Akeredolu will be in the news in 2020 as he seeks a second term. He ascended the throne without the support of the gods of the South West politics and they feel the time is ripe to take it back from him, hence the contest against him even from within his cabinet.

Ibrahim Magu

Ibrahim Magu

Whether he goes to the Nigerian Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, near Jos in a soft landing or gets forwarded again to be confirmed as EFCC Chairman, he will remain in the news. The DSS had submitted a damning report showing that the anti-graft fighter was enmeshed in deep graft and so should not be confirmed. If he remains as the head of EFCC, he will be involved in fighting the ex-governors and senators that Malami said were being investigated for graft and if removed and sent on course, might be a subtle confirmation that the man Buhari preferred to lead the charge against anti-corruption was himself bitten by the bug of corruption.

Adams Oshiomhole

Adams Oshiomhole, APC National Chairman

He leads the APC as national Chairman and doesn’t fight shy. He is also embroiled in a catfight with his erstwhile godson, Obaseki, over a second term. On both counts, he will trend in 2020.

 

ENTERTAINMENT
Ferdinand Ekechukwu

Burna Boy
Whether Damini Ogulu aka Burna Boy will ride on his remarkable success come 2020 remains to be seen for the 62nd Grammy Awards nominee in the category for Best World Album. Analysts and critics so much favour the African Giant going by his towering success in the outgoing year that any doubt is cast afar. Be that as it may, the coming year appears certain for the Ye crooner as he has already started dropping songs to rule the airwaves come 2020. Considering the monumental steps the African Giant has made in his career, as well as in his constantly evolving craft, a Grammy win would not only be befitting. It would, amongst many other things, make him the first Nigerian to win it., out of the five that have been nominated under this category in past years.

Rema

“Next Rated” act, Rema has been on the lips of many for some obvious reasons. And that’s if he truly gets it right for the ‘Bad Commando’ act. Rema has gathered a cult following and has a fan base of young ones and they are not going anywhere anytime soon. And this certainly puts him on the spotlight come 2020. With ubiquitous hit song, Dumebi, the 19-year-old singer wormed his way into the playlists of teenage girls and a certain former United Sates of America president. His three projects –Rema, Rema Freestyle and Bad Commando have shown his versatility and artistic range and this makes him one of the stars to dominate the incoming year.

Teni
With rousing success and dominance in the outgoing year, Teniola Akpata aka Teni Entertainer remains a major subject in 2020, which will see her, as most analysts conclude, take her craft to a whole new level in the industry. The talented singer cum songwriter doesn’t look to be going off any time soon and this makes it remarkable for the ebullient talent and creative.

Fireboy DML
Fireboy dropped a 13 track first album, no features, just him and it topped charts for four weeks, back to back, and still topping local and foreign charts. The coming year holds a lot for the star. This is quite unlike for breakouts. Every single off the album has made it to top charts, displacing the likes of Davido and Wizkid. This is no surprise as his sound speaks much for the young talent and one music lover has noted it as one of the defining sounds for his acumen and vocal performance.

AY Makun
For majority of those who have seen Ayo Makun’s (AY) Merry Men 2, which was recently released, holds no doubts that another blockbuster has made its entry into the cinemas and this expectedly would record major box office earnings in 2020 and that’s what matters, as it’s the yardstick for the success of every film, awards scoop as well.

Tiwa Savage


The Universal Record Music artiste has seen her career refreshed and her album which drops soon will kick off 2020 for her. Already, her latest single 49-99 has peaked on charts. The Fela inspired afrobeats track caused her a lot of explanation as to the impact of the message behind the song. She would have a good year especially with her reconciliation with Yemi Alade; collaborations expected from both.

Ramsey Nouah


The Nollywood poster boy’s definitive with his recent directorial debut in Living In Bondage sequel is one that will see the actor turned director live up to his craft in the coming year. The crowning feat to his directorial venture will be a good number of films he featured, expected in 2020.

Falz


Lawyer, singer, actor and social activist Folarin Falana edges way above his status in the industry, as he has got best rap album, rap single, and one more to his belt carrying over to 2020. He has done it in music and movie. Falz has continued to stand out in terms of his creativity and ingenuity, and has carved a niche for himself in the Nigerian industry. This makes the Falz experience in showbiz extends beyond the usual bounds and this makes him a figure to watch out for in the year ahead.

Wizkid


Wizkid has promised five albums in the coming year, 2020. How he’s going to do it remains to be seen but not likely going to be a surprise for the prolific singer. The Starboy of Nigerian music holds the ace which has defined his career and sound ever. His recently released Extended Play (EP), Soundman Vol. 1 is yet to peak and in the coming year his MIL – Made In Lagos – album is sure a product from his creative acumen which will see gain focus, not to talk of his earlier released songs and his duet with America’s Beyonce which has earned a Grammy nomination for 2020 already.

Davido
With his wedding expected to be a major topic in the year 2020, David Adeleke aka Davido remains a notable figure in the coming year. His recently released album, Another Good Time, would gain more in 2020. 2019 saw Davido extending the frontiers of his international networks with multiple collaborations to show for it. A slew of international collaborations like the remix of Fall with America’s Cardi B is expected to drop in 2020 and this already has got his fans and industry expectant.

Mo Abudu
She has an undeniable capacity for business and eye for knowing what the audience wants. Since its storied beginnings, Mo Abudu has continued to set trends and break box office records in her ascent as one of the continent’s most powerful producers and 2020 wouldn’t be anyway different especially with ‘Your Excellency’, a joint collaborative with Funke Akindele. Movies under her helm hold the firm position of first, second, and third highest grossing Nollywood releases in history. Mo also has a new Cinema house/hotel in Lagos that will dominate the industry in 2020.

Don Jazzy
The Mavin Records boss and his rejig enterprise, especially with young acts like Rema and Crayon, is in the reckoning in the industry come 2020. As he continues to boost productivity and creativity, all is in order for the top talent manager to drive further in 2020. The Don Jazzy spirit is one that no doubt makes believable his stakes and the coming year sure got him placed rightly.

Toke Makinwa
The OAP and fashion entrepreneur has an enduring item in the showbiz/entertainment front, especially in movie. Her newly found calling has got her a stake in the coming year. Her brand will remain sizzling in 2020. Toke seems to know what the industry wants and this she brings wholeheartedly. The coming year wouldn’t be any different for her; one that will see Toke fronting more of her trademark stuff.

SPORTS
Kunle Adewale

Wilfred Ndidi


Leicester will find it difficult to hold on to their midfield jewel, Wilfred Ndidi in the coming year as bigger offers are being dangled at the Nigerian international from European giants, with Manchester United at the fore front. The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations bronze medalist has been the major reason why. The Foxes are in contention for the Premier League title this season, and are already in the semifinal of the Carabao Cup. It would therefore take more than grit from Leicester to stop Ndidi from moving to where the grass is greener.

Gernot Rohr

Super Eagles Coach, Gernot Rohr

When Nigeria senior team Manager, Gernot Rohr survived the calls from sections of Nigerians for his sack after Super Eagles’ unimpressive performance at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, many felt it would be a hunky-dory for the Franco-German. However, his contract is expected to expire in June next year, and a condition is attached to its renewal by the Nigeria Football Federation President, Amaju Pinnick. Rohr will be on focus in 2020, at least, as far as Nigeria is concern. How well Rohr is able to survive the surge remains to be seen as the renewal of his contract is now in the hands of the NFF Technical committee.

Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua

Not long after regaining his world boxing titles from Ruiz jr., attention shifted back to Anthony Joshua/DeontayWilder unification fight to determine the undisputed world heavyweight champion. The boxing fraternity have been waiting for the confrontation between the British-Nigerian and the American for close to two years now, but it is yet to hold as a result of some details from both camps that are yet to be resolved. If Wilder is able to survive the threat from Tyson Fury in his next fight next year, 2020 may witness one of the biggest heavyweight fights in history; otherwise the boxing world may have to wait much longer or may even never witness it.

Victor Osimhen

Victor Osimhen

Come next year, Victor Osimhen would be jostling for a CAF award, after the Lille of France player made the final three-man shortlist for the 2019 CAF Youth Player of The Year award alongside his friend and international teammate, Samuel Chukwueze and Morocco and Borussia Dortmund’s Achraf Hakimi. Still in his first season at Ligue 1 side, Lille, Osimhen has taken the French league by storm scoring 13 goals after joining from Belgian side Sporting Charlero in August. His goal scoring exploits have attracted interests from English Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. According to Wyscout data, the Nigerian is the second-highest performing striker in the French top-flight league behind Wissam Ben Yedder.

Samuel Chukwueze

Samuel Chukwueze

Samuel Chukwueze has been an integral part of Villarreal since breaking into the senior team of the Yellow Submarine, but with Chelsea said to be showing interest in the Nigeria international, his stay in Spain may be nearing an end. It is understood that Blues’ scouts admire the La Liga speed machine, following his performances in Spain. The report also includes some intriguing quotes from him, where he explains he’s already fond of Chelsea. “I was supporting Chelsea. I used to support every team that featured a Nigerian. So, my love for Chelsea then was because of Mikel,” he said.

Aruna Quadri
After his elimination in the second round of recently concluded ITTF World Cup in China, Nigeria’s table tennis star Aruna Quadri has set his sight on qualifying the country for next year’s Olympic games in Tokyo. The Portguese-based star said he must recover from his injury quickly, in order to fight for a place in next year’s Tokyo Olympic. “My injury has slowed down my movement and I really want to recover fully and then turn attention to next year and I’m hoping to qualify Nigeria for the Olympic Games,” he said. Aruna shocked the world when he reached the quarter final of last Olympic game in Rio back in 2016. He finished the year as number one ranked player in Africa.

Sunday Dare
Like most of his predecessors, Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare on resumption into office went on an inspection of the country’s sporting facilities. From next year however, focus would be shifted on how Nigeria would have a successful outing at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and to accomplish that the minister is targeting a whooping N14 billion to adequately prepare Nigeria athletes for the Tokyo showpiece. Dare had therefore urged the corporate world to throw their weight behind the government to help keep the hopes of the athletes alive by supporting the initiative. “They want to be the reasons why Nigeria’s flag should be hoisted and the national anthem is sang while the world watches. This is their reward but it is also our honour and prestige, and pride among nations,” the minister noted.

Samson Siasia


Former Super Eagles striker and manager, Samson Siasia is battling to overturn the life ban imposed on him by the world football governing body, FIFA and has accused the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) of failing to support him in the fight. FIFA imposed the life ban on “all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level” and also fined the 1994 World Cup star $50,000. The former Nantes player says he has felt abandoned and alone since FIFA imposed a career-destroying ban, as it stops him from earning a living from football. “My family and I are pained that NFF and other agencies of government are yet, in spite of promises, to lift a finger in my support,” Siasia said.