National Awards: Meet Nigerian tech enterpreneurs honoured by President Buhari


Top Nigerian tech entrepreneurs, including the founder and CEO of MainOne, Funke Opeke, were among the 447 personalities honoured by the federal government on Tuesday. The CEO of Flutterwave, Gbenga Agboola, co-founder of Paystack, Ezra Olubi, and co-founder and General Partner at Future Africa, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji were also honoured.


While Opeke was awarded Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Agboola, Olubi, and Aboyeji were honoured with the Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) recognition.


The awards were presented to the recipients by President Muhammadu Buhari at an event held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.


Who are they? 



Funke Opeke

She is a Nigerian electrical engineer, founder of Main Street Technologies and chief executive officer of Main One Cable Company, a communications services company based in Lagos State. Her company, called MainOne, is West Africa’s leading communications services and network solutions, provider.

Funke Opeke started MainOne in 2008 when she noticed the poor internet connectivity in Nigeria. The company built West Africa’s first privately owned, open access 7,000-kilometer undersea high-capacity cable submarine stretching from Portugal to West Africa with landings along the route in Accra (Ghana), Dakar (Senegal) in 2019, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire) in 2019 and Lagos (Nigeria).


Early this year, MainOne was acquired by America’s digital infrastructure company, Equinix, in a deal valued at $320 million.



Olugbenga Agboola

He is the co-founder and CEO of Flutterwave, an organization committed to changing the landscape of payments on the African continent. Last year, Flutterwave became the fourth African startup to reach “unicorn” status as it reached a valuation of over $1bn after raising $170m in a Series C round.


Before becoming the CEO, he was a chief technology officer at Flutterwave. Olugbenga Agboola became the CEO when Iyinoluwa Samuel Aboyeji, the former CEO stepped down.


Aside from being a fintech engineer and an entrepreneur, he is also a certified ethical hacker, security analyst, and Microsoft system engineer. Olugbenga Agboola also assisted in the growth of a few fintech companies and financial services like PayPal and Standard Bank.



Ezra Olubi

He is a Nigerian information technology expert, software engineer, mobile app developer, and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CTO at Paystack.


Paystack is an African fintech company that allows vendors, banks, companies, businesses, and their customers to send and receive payments on the internet. This can be done through debit and credit cards, money transfers, and mobile money apps. Paystack lets businesses secure payments, both locally and internationally.

Paystack was successful, and it became the leading payment system in Nigeria. It attracted the attention of Stripe, a payment processing, and software programming company. Paystack was acquired by Stripe in 2020, for USD 200 million. After that, Paystack expanded its operation to other countries in Africa.



Iyinoluwa Aboyeji 

He is the general partner and co-founder of Future Africa, a platform that provides capital, coaching and community for mission-driven innovators. He is a co-founder of Andela and was the former managing director of Flutterwave. Aboyeji was cited as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans by New African magazine in 2019.


After co-founding Future Africa, he served as the deputy director-general for Oby Ezekwesili’s 2019 presidential campaign. He also helped in building Andela and Flutterwave, two of Africa’s technology companies. He is also the Co-founder and Chairman of Talent City Inc., a construction company.



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