National Award: Meet the Nigerian tech entrepreneurs honored by President Buhari

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Nigeria’s leading technology entrepreneurs, including the founder and CEO of MainOne, Funke Opeke, are among the 447 personalities honored by the federal government on Tuesday. The CEO of Flutterwave, Gbenga Agboola, and co-founder of Paystack, Ezra Olubi, were also honored.

While Opeke was awarded the Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Agboola and Olubi were honored 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 Center, Abuja.

Who are they?

Funke Opeke 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. His company, called MainOne, is West Africa’s leading communications services and network solutions provider.

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

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

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Olugbenga Agboola 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 achieve “unicorn” status as it reached a valuation of over $1bn after raising $170m in a Series C round.

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

Aside from being a fintech engineer and entrepreneur, he is also a certified ethical hacker, security analyst, and Microsoft system engineer. Olugbenga Agboola has also helped grow several fintech and financial services companies such as PayPal and Standard Bank.

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

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

Paystack has been successful, and has become the leading payment system in Nigeria. This has 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 African countries.


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