Olamide Orekunrin: Medicare at your doorsteps
Ola Orekunrin, a UK-trained medical doctor, is a lady far ahead her time. At 21, she graduated from Hull York Medical School as one of the youngest medical doctors in the UK.
After a great career with the National Health Service, United Kingdom, for some years, she founded Flying Doctors Nigeria (FDN) Ltd, “a Lagos-based Medical Emergency Service that specializes in air ambulances, medevac, medico-logistics services, remote site medical solutions services, medical infrastructural development and medical training services” in 2007.
For Orekunrin, the devastating death of her younger sister who died as a result of lack of an air ambulance to transport her abroad for better medical care and her passion to save others who might suffer same fate spurred her to invest in saving lives through air ambulance service. Today, Flying Doctors of Nigeria Ltd remains the first and only national air ambulance company in West Africa with about 20 charter aircraft.
For her achievements, World Economic Forum listed her among Young Global Leaders class of 2013, a group WEF described as the best of today’s leaders under the age of 40. Her innovative venture into air ambulance business in Nigeria and achieving such a great feat will no doubt help many young persons to see that challenges can be turned to triumphs.
Funke Bucknor Obruthe: Passion For Excellence
Funke, a law graduate from the University of Lagos who was called to Bar in 2000, is today a household name in Nigeria, and not for being a lawyer.
After her call to the Bar in 2000, she had a just three-week stint with a law firm before moving on. Obviously, practising law wasn’t for her. Funke joined Tie Communications, an advert and PR agency where she conceived the idea of running an event planning company.
Spurred on by her passion to plan and organize events which she had done a couple of times for friends and loved ones around her, Funke founded Zapphaire Events, an events consultancy, marketing, planning and management company, when the business was relatively strange to Nigerians.
Today, she has morphed into an award winning event planner. After being nominated three different times, in 2006, she won the Future Award for ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’. In 2007, she won the Wedding Planner Magazine Award for ‘Wedding Planner of the Year. She won Go2girl Life Achievement Awards 2011. She won the Nigerian Events Awards for the provision of the Best Ushers 2012 and the Nigeria Events Awards for Merit 2012.
Her success story today remains an example for young people who would love to run and thrive with their passions.
Philip Obaji Jr: Education for the Almajiris
While many complain and often times pass the buck on the alarming rate of out-of-school-children in Nigeria, Philip Obaji chose to impact through his advocacy for the education of vulnerable children in North-East, Nigeria.
Moved by the plight and the bleak future that await almajiri children begging for money on the streets of his hometown, Ogoja, Cross River State, he founded 1 GAME Campaign, an organization established to promote advocacy for basic primary education for vulnerable kids in North-East Nigeria in 2010.
Through 1 GAME Campaign, Philip has been able make positive contributions towards making education accessible to children from the violence-torn Northeastern states. He does house-to-house campaign to encourage parents to send their children to school and also a created book centre where poor children could get books and biros for free.
Apart from his education for almajiri children advocacy, Obaji, who had previously worked as staff of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup and member of the Local Organizing Committee for the 2010 Obudu International Mountain Race, is a member of the Cross River State Football Board.
For his giant strides in advocacy for the education of poor children, in 2015, he won The Future Africa Young Person of the Year Award, and he was among the participants at the 37th International Human Rights Training Programme (IHRTP) which held from June 2016 in Montreal, Canada.
No doubt, returning 10.5 million out-of-school Nigerian children to school is a daunting task, but the commitment and contributions of great minds like Philip will go a long way in making it happen.