A time of merrymaking to celebrate the young ones and reflect on their immeasurable significance to the family unit and the society at large, the Children’s Day commemoration is one of the most important dates all year.
Here at Folio, we highlight eight Nigerian kids whose outstanding contributions to their fields have earned them fame and acclaim even beyond the shores of the country, thereby representing their demographic on the global stage.
Kudirat Abiola, Temitayo Asuni and Susan Ubogu (Activists)
While the problem of child marriage is one that has got a lot of attention over the years, the process of decision-making as to how to solve the problem is often dominated by adult activists and policymakers. The children at the heart of the matter are rarely allowed in the driver’s seat of the conversation.
That is the reality against which the Lagos-based trio of activists Kudirat Abiola (17), Temitayo Asuni (17) and Susan Ubogu (18) began to push when they founded “NeverYourFault”, a campaign against underage marriage. Formed in 2018, the campaign has gone on to advocate for policies that radically raise the age of consent and educate the public on the impact of the practice on the young girls, while and landed the teenagers features on CNN, BBC
Emmanuella Mayaki (Tech Genius)
Nominated by the BBC for the 2021 International Women’s Day Celebration, Emmanuella Mayaki is a name that should ring many bells at this point. She is just eleven but her work in coding and programming places her side by side with those with far more years of experience under their belt.
When she was nine, she obtained a diploma in multiple software programs such as Advanced Excel, Desktop Publishing and Advanced Powerpoint. In 2020, she was hired by the British Southfield Primary School to work as the after-school coding teacher to train kids her age on the use of HTML and CSS. She also has an application called Academy App on Google Store, helping others learn coding and graphics.
Ikorodu Bois (Filmmakers)
Muiz Sanni, 16, Malik Sanni, 11, and Fawas Aina, 14, are the Ikorodu Bois, a group of inventive filmmakers who stormed the world years back following the viral success of their online videos. In these videos, they create low-budget remakes of popular film trailers and music videosusing homemade items.
At one million Instagram followers, they entertain the world with their recreation of trailers like Army of the Dead, Thunderforce, The Old Guard, They have received shoutouts from international figures like Zack Snyder, Will Smith, Dwayne Johnson, LeBron James, and the Russo Brothers.
Emanuella Samuel (Comedian)
At 10, Emanuella Samuel is already one of the most recognizable names in Nigerian comedy. Her hilarious videos, featuring her mischievous onscreen persona, have gained her a huge social media following: she currently has over fivemillion followers on Facebook.
In March 2021, she won the Favorite African Star award at the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards, beating out the Ikorodu Bois and rivals from other countries. Earlier, she was named the Top Subscribed Creator from YouTube at the 2016 Sub-Saharan African YouTube Awards. Still in 2016, she was named the Best New Comedienne and Princess of Comedy at the Afro-Australia Music & Movie Awards (AAMMA).
Tanitoluwa Adewumi (Chess Champion)
The 10-year-old Adewumi turned heads earlier this month when he became the youngest ever chess master in American history. Born in Nigeria and now living in New York after moving to the US at seven, he is an active member of the American chess community, competing in the Fairfield County Chess Club Championship which led to him being crowned with the National Master title by the US Chess Federation. Before them, he had become a mainstream sensation when he won the New York State K-3 Championship at age eight.
Jare Ijalana (Model)
In 2018, when she was just five, Jare Ijalana went viral. She was everywhere: Yahoo, People Magazine, Vibe, BET and BBC. This came after a photograph of her, taken by Mofe Bamuyiwa became a social media sensation and attracted the title “most beautiful girl in the world”. Since then, Ijalana has enjoyed a thriving modeling career, walking the runway at the 2020 London Fashion Week. In 2019, she won the African Child Fashion Personality award at the Child Summit and Awards that was held at the British Council Auditorium in Accra, Ghana.
Marylove Edwards (Tennis Champion)
Edwards is an international tennis champion whose wondrous achievements earned her the nickname “Nigerian Serena”. In 2017, she was admitted into the IMG Academy, which was attended by players like Venus and Serena Williams. As at 2019, she was the top-ranked Under-14 female tennis player in Africa. She won in her category at the CAT/ITF West and Central African Junior Championship as well as the 2018 USTA Celsius Level 6 girls’ 14 & Under tournament in the United States.
Egypt Ufele (Fashion Designer)
Fifteen-year-old Egypt has carved her own niche in the fashion world, with her company, Chubbiline, founded in 2016 to create clothes for plus-sized girls from sizes 00 to 26. She recalls being bullied for her weight and chose to cope with that by making clothes that made her look and feel good.
That coping mechanism has turned to a lucrative business: she makes about 60 gowns a year, going for an average of $1,000 each. When she was 10, she became the youngest ever designer to be featured at New York Fashion Week. She has also exhibited her clothes at showcases in Paris and Milan. Her work also caught the attention of the United Nations, which has invited her to speak at their events.
Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is a journalist, social critic and literary enthusiast. He is the recepient of the 2017 Fisayo Soyombo National Essay Prize, the 2020 Speculative Literary Foundation’s Diverse Writers Grant and the 2020 K&L Prize for African Literature. He is the founder of SprinNG, a platform dedicated to the development of young African writers.