Nigeria is 55 and regardless of all the things that seem to be so wrong in our society, there are still men and women who make me proud to be a Nigerian. People who take their “Nigerianess” seriously. In the next couple of weeks, I will be celebrating Nigeria @55 by celebrating these 55 people. My views are of course my own and you do not have to agree with them but I do hope you enjoy reading and I hope it forces you to make your own list of the people you admire.



It was a few days to the New Year and the three musketeers were gathered as usual and we were wondering what to do to liven up the first few days of the year. My friend Mabel suggested we go out on the first day of the year to a movie premiere. Apparently she had tickets for the premier and she thought it would be a good way to hang out. I agreed. Not because I particularly wanted to watch the movie but more because I wanted some fun time with my friends. I’m not very big on Nigerian movies; for me, they oscillate between boring and horrific. I usually would go out of my way to look for the straight comedies if I wanted to watch anything Nigerian. I do not like movies with ritual killings and some of the things that our local movies are famed for so I would ordinarily not choose to watch a Nigerian movie on the 1st of January. But I agreed to go. My friend insisted it would be fun and that she knew the movie producer and he was good. I took her word for it and we went to see the movie premiere.

That was my introduction to the Nigerian known as Kunle Afolayan. That movie-The Figurine- is by far one of the best Nigerian movies I have ever seen. The scripting, the costumes, the casting, the language; I mean it was a very professional job and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was straight entertainment as I felt movies should be.

From then on I kept one eye open for this young Nigerian who was doing what he loved with passion and professionalism. Kunle Afolayan does movies like movies should be done: with the aim of entertaining and educating. I know he is the son of a movie maker but he is definitely his own man. His movie, October 1, is another blockbuster that has made me proud to be a Nigerian. You can tell that this is someone who is in the movie industry for more than just the proverbial quick buck. Kunle Afolayan is a true professional in every sense of the word. For that reason he is one Nigerian I truly admire.

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