Inspiring People


Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian Businessman and philanthropist who is the founder and chairman of Dangote Group, which is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent. According to Forbes, Dangote is the richest African and the 162nd wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $USD 8.5 Billion.

Aliko was born on 10 April 1957 into a wealthy Muslim family, the son of Mohammed Dangote and Mariya Sanusi Dantata, herself the daughter of Sanusi Dantata. He is the great-grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest West African at the time of his death in 1955. He lost his dad at the age of 8 and was raised by his uncle, who gave him his first business loan, which he paid back in three months.

Masai Ujiri is a Nigerian-Canadian professional basketball executive and former player, and is the president of basketball operations of the Toronto Raptors in the National Basketball Association (NBA). As president, Ujiri worked to usher in a period of sustained success, helping the team win its first NBA championship in 2019.

Ujiri was born in Bournemouth, England, where his parents were studying. With the family moving back to Nigeria when he was two years old, he grew up in Zaria, Nigeria.  Ujiri’s father, a hospital administrator and nursing educator, is an Isoko from Aviara in Delta state, while his mother, a doctor, is a Kenyan from Machakos County.

I stumbled on Coach George Raveling’s story while reading, Jon Gordon’s Book: The Power of Positive Leadership and after finishing the book, I googled him and I was inspired by his story hence am blogging about it.

Referred to by many as “Coach”, George is Nike’s former Director of International Basketball. He is a husband, a father, a friend, and a mentor to many. In 1960, Raveling graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and a fruitful collegiate basketball playing career in the record books. In 1964, George would return to basketball as an assistant coach at his alma mater. He would go on to become a world-class educator and coach with head coaching jobs at Washington State, the University of Iowa and USC. Following a prolific basketball coaching career, he would spend brief stints as a color commentator for Fox Sports and CBS, before being presented with an opportunity of a lifetime to join Nike, Inc.

Dr. Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina is the president of the African Development Bank since 2015. Until he was appointed Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2010, he was the Vice President of Policy and Partnerships for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He was named Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2013 for his “bold reforms” in the farming sector.

On May 28th, 2015, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina made history when he was elected as the 8th President of Africa Development bank thus becoming the first Nigerian to occupy that exalted position since the establishment of the Bank in 1964.

Akinwumi was born in February 1960 to a Nigerian farmer in Ibadan, Oyo State. He earned a first-class honours Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ife, Nigeria in 1981. In 1988 he completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University in the United States, where he won the Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award for his research work. He also won the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation Social Science Post-Doctoral Fellowship in 1988, which launched his international career in global agricultural development.

He also Speaks Impeccable French

Whenever you wake up, that is your morning. What matters is that you wake up. – Igbo Saying

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian Writer born 15 September 1977; she grew up in Nnsukka, Enugu, Nigeria. While she was growing up, her father, James Nwoye Adichie, worked as a professor of statistics at the University of Nigeria. Her mother, Grace Ifeoma, was the university’s first female registrar.

Chimamanda completed her secondary education at the University of Nigeria Secondary School, Nsukka, where she received several academic prizes. She studied medicine and pharmacy at the University of Nigeria for a year and a half. At the age of 19, Adichie left Nigeria for the United States to study communications and political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Connecticut State University, with the distinction of summa cum laude in 2001. In 2003, she completed a master’s degree in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. In 2008, she received a Master of Arts degree in African studies from Yale University.

After ten seasons in the NBA, the Nigerian-born Olajuwon won the league’s Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year awards. The only other man ever to be so honoured is Michael Jordan. 

  • In 1993/94, Hakeem became the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards in the same season.
  • The Houston Rockets drafted Olajuwon with the first overall selection of the 1984 NBA draft, a draft that included Michael JordanCharles Barkley, and John Stockton
  •  In 1996, Olajuwon was a member of the Olympic gold-medal-winning United States national team, and was selected as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History
  • A 12-time All-Star, Hakeem Olajuwon amassed 26,946 points and 13,748 rebounds in his legendary career.
  • He ended his career as the league’s all-time leader in blocks (3,830) and is one of four NBA players to record a quadruple-double.

Hakeem Olajuwon is a Nigerian-American former professional basketball player. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Olajuwon traveled from Lagos, Nigeria, to play for the University of Houston under head coach Guy Lewis. His college career for the Cougars included three trips to the Final Four. The Houston Rockets drafted Olajuwon with the first overall selection of the 1984 NBA draft, a draft that included Michael JordanCharles Barkley, and John Stockton

From 1984 to 2002, he played the center position in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors. He led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. In 2008, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in 2016, he was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame. 

He was nicknamed “The Dream” during his basketball career after he dunked so effortlessly that his college coach said it “looked like a dream. He led the league in rebounding twice (1989, 1990) and blocks three times (1990, 1991, 1993).

Adebayo Ogunlesi is a Nigerian-born lawyer and investment banker, who is currently Chairman and Managing Partner at the private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners. His father, Emeritus Professor Theophilus Ogunlesi was the first Nigerian-born professor of medicine at Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan

Bayo had his secondary school education at King’s College, Lagos, before proceeding to Oxford University in England, where he earned a first-class honor in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics.  In 1979, he received a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School, which he pursued at the same time.

Adebayo is the Founder, Chairman & Managing Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), a NewYork-Based private equity firm that invests worldwide in infrastructure assets in the energy, transport, water and waste industry sectors. GIP has grown to be one of the world’s largest infrastructure investors and currently manages $74 billion in assets on behalf of its global investor base.  The companies in GIP’s equity portfolios have combined annual revenues greater than $45 billion and employ approximately 62,000 people.

Ogunlesi is also the Lead Director at Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., where he is the chair of the Governance Committee and he is also a member of the Boards of Directors of Callaway Golf Company, Kosmos Energy Holdings, Terminal Investment Limited, and Freeport LNG.

I had been writing – all I ever wanted to do from – as – from the age at which you understand that books are written – they don’t just spontaneously grow out of the ground. 

J.K.Rowling is the author of the widely popular Harry Potter fantasy series, which has sold more than 500 million copies worldwide. Rowling is the first self-made billionaire author in history, captivating readers in eighty languages, and two-hundred countries around the world.  

The Harry Potter Series is one of the highest-grossing movie franchises in history – raking in more than 9.1 billion dollars. She also writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two.

Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

Rags to Riches

Seven years after graduating from university, Rowling saw herself as a failure. Her marriage had failed, and she was jobless with a dependent child, but she described her failure as liberating and allowing her to focus on writing. During this period, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Rowling signed up for welfare benefits, describing her economic status as being “poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless”

J.K. Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter while delayed on a train travelling from Manchester to London King’s Cross in 1990. Over the next five years, she began to plan out the seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and amassed a mountain of notes, many of which were on scraps of paper

Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu is a Nigerian physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist who was the first to discover and publish findings on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players while working at the Allegheny County coroner’s office in Pittsburgh.

Dr. Omalu had most of his earlier formative education in Nigeria. He became disillusioned with Nigeria after presidential candidate Moshood Abiola failed to win the Nigerian presidency during an inconclusive election in 1993  and began to search for scholarship opportunities in the United States. Omalu first came to Seattle, Washington in 1994 to complete an epidemiology fellowship at the University of Washington. In 1995, he left Seattle for New York City, where he joined Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital Center for a residency training program in anatomic and clinical pathology

The Movie Concussion which starred Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu was nominated for the Golden Globe Awards in the Best Actor Drama category.

I have got lots of respect for 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) especially as regards the way he is able to focus and execute. You might see him as an internet bully/troll but if you look very closely, you would decipher that there is a method to his madness. He understands the media: All publicity is good if it is intelligent

 The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.

In his very insightful autobiography. Hustle Harder, Hustle Smarter, he shares some very great insights on seeing the big picture and betting on yourself. He shares the story of how he agreed on $17,000 per episode to act and executive produce the Power TV Show and how he finally landed the $150 million Starz Network deal by betting on himself:

One of the best deals I ever negotiated was with Starz for my TV show Power. It was also, at least initially, one of my least lucrative deals. But that didn’t faze me at all. My strategy when I started talking with Starz was not to get the biggest check possible—it was to create the biggest opportunity possible.