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Top 10 Nigerian Programmers I have worked with

This is one of my most anticipated articles this year because I had always wanted to list the top Nigerian programmers I have worked with. I am sorry if you have worked with me and you can’t find your name here, this would definitely be a continuous thing.

I have not made this list in the order of how good I perceive these potential Programming Generals; so I don’t expect anyone to take my views as represented in this article as any form of assessment. I have made the list in alphabetical order. Here are Nigerian superb programmers that I have worked with, learnt from and I have been immensely inspired by them. These are the Nigerian finest, the weirdest and the best:

Anyanwu Anthony

I got his phone number from Usifo (a bad ass programmer too, though we have not had any project to execute together.) who told me that one of our friends from the University who studied Physics needs a job. I was told that he just picked up PHP and that he had been using JAVA. I called him to apply for a vacant position at Pay4Me around 2010 when we urgently needed an extra hand.

I was assigned to interview him because I was addressed as the Senior Developer (though not in while at Pay4Me. As I started the interview with Anthony, I never knew I was in for a surprise. I asked him what PHP framework he had worked with and without mincing words he said Zend. “Oh Zend, how were you able to surpass the installation stress” I asked and he answered, “I did it!” Then, I asked what project he used the framework for and he blew my mind.

Let me share a little secret with you, in 2004 I got a web application job that in all the requirements, there was just one thing I couldn’t get done…yes, that was what he said he achieved with Zend. Really, I had closed my mind that such could not be achieved with the level of infrastructure in Nigeria but alas he did it. Then I asked him more in-depth questions about how he did it and he explained the little trick. That discovery looked like an innovation to m; such that deserves a noble prize because it had deprived me of sleep, money and eventually earned me depression. If I had gotten the trick while working on the project in 2004, I would have seen myself as a super star. I recommended him to be hired, though he was not eventually hired because of some “God knows why”.

Owing to my remarkable encounter with Anthony, I thought that it won’t be a good idea to lose this genius, so I decided to work with him at Think First Technologies. We worked on different projects, we talked about life, we argued together and worked overnight at the office together. We built the best system together; I have not been able to build such till now. His approach of solving problems is so different, very different and I still love to think like him in some difficult situations.

For those who care to know what’s up with Anthony presently, he now works with Dhanush infotech LTD and he is doing so well.

Bayo Opadeyi

Playful Bayo; the elegant programmer. Bayo was the first person that I explained my first Django code challenge to in 2010 and he helped me to solve it without looking at my code. He is one of the few Python evangelists that I know. He knows its in and out. He is the first person that talked me into using Ubuntu and I have never regretted it.

We worked together at Airtel on several projects. I worked with him on some automation projects and it is funny how he has answers to most of the challenges one encounters on a project with him. He either asks you to check his blog for the answer or pick up the job from you and fix it.

Bayo was once a grand master in chess. He is very intelligent. He introduced me to so many stuffs that I have invented classic applications from..Bro, I thank God for knowing you. With Bayo everything is possible in Python.

I won’t forget how he helped me while migrating the application in my IBM days. After migration, the application kept on hanging and I was totally confused. We had to reverse the process and schedule the migration for another day. I was so sad and had to look for other options of getting this application through. Then he advised that we should turn to Mongo db for a temporary process. That was the first time that I worked with NoSql db though I have heard about it since 2009.

Essien Ita Essien

Hummmm, I have never desired to be like anyone but I almost desired being like Essien. I got to meet him the very first time during the AutoReg project but we never talked to each other. The second time I met him was when I went to Mr. Lanre Kuye’s office in 2007. Then, I was working on a project that required a content manager which I was meant to demo to Mr. Lanre. While doing my demo, the word “I wrote the content manager” caught his attention and he started introducing me to several matured content managers that I could have used without writing mine. I shrugged but learnt something so new.

I noticed that he has so much experience; I could smell from afar that he is a genius. 

He single handedly wrote his customized flavor of Linux (Wazobia Linux). He now works with Google; this makes him the first Nigerian programmer that I know who was employed and flown abroad to work as a programmer.

I have heard so many interesting things about this guy, part of what I heard about him was his ability to pick up whatsoever programming language in hours and he would write it very well, I mean very well. He likes exploring new things. I heard that he was once assigned to work on an enterprise project and he told his entire team that they would be using a language they are all entirely new to. He doesn’t really care about deadlines though he tries to meet them. All he cares about is having an application that flies.

I was working on a project (the project was not eventually used) that helps automate the travelling experience in our Airports in 2010 for FAAN. I wrote an application that validates boarding pass as seen in International airports around the world. In one of the nights I was working on this project, Essien came around and we started talking. He was so excited about the project and guess what, he got into the groove then he started breaking down how my data movement from the application to the hardware, then to the database and vice versa. It was an interesting thing hearing him talk in bytes to the very last details. This got me really thinking… This guy is just so good.

Kehinde Adewusi (Bullet)

Boss of Life! My first encounter with him was when I met the team working on AutoReg (Car Registration application) through Mr. Lanre Kuye. As a new guy on the brook, meeting the baddest programmers in town was very intimidating. He is a man of few words and he looks daring.

We did not work on any project together until I think 2012/2013 when I was on the list of Data Migration developers with IBM. He was in charge of a successful migration of one of the applications assigned to me, Retailer. It was a lot of experience working with him. This was when I practically realized that Kehinde is so vast. He looked at a script that I have been struggling to understand for weeks and he explained it as if he was the one who wrote it. This experience with him has been an indelible experience because he showed me mastery and pure consulting skill.

I wonder why he is nicknamed “Bullet”. Who knows? It may be because he goes straight to the heart of the solution to your problems. He writes virtually all programming languages that makes meaning, to a very professional level. We worked together on Python, PL/SQL and UNIX script projects. His level of abstraction, compression and problem solving is too high for a kid programmer. I doff my cap, Boss.

Lukmon Alebiosu (Lukky)

Baddo lukky is a young and dynamic developer. I got to know him through a friend and since then we have always worked on almost everything together. I introduced him to many things and he has also shown me so many new things he has worked on. He is the first programmer that is close to me (as far as I am concerned) to write an enterprise application in Laravel 4 (I will announce it when he is fully ready), though I wrote my first Laravel application with version 3.

He is such an experience oriented developer who can perfectly handle almost any project. I have lost count on the number of applications we have developed together.

We both worked on a project for Etisalat; he developed the RESTFUL APIs for the project. We worked on Traffix and the new version of PlaymyJamz together. He is so detailed and very logical.

Seyi Lucas

I was introduced to Mr. Seyi Lucas by the Rotimis while I was looking for a place to do my industrial attachment. When I met him, I told him I wasn’t meant to go for such according to my course but I would like to work with him so as to foster my programming knowledge.

While talking to him on that same day, he got a call from one of his clients. After the call he turned to me and said “young man, you’ve got a project to work on; Naija Guru”. Naija Guru was a game that would be used in a reality show and would be televised live. Hummm, it was a tedious and eye opening journey because I had never worked on a game project before.

When I presented my first prototype, he liked it, our client liked it, then we went further by completing other stuffs. We had to schedule a day out of the office to make the product a success and I was so happy to see political contestants (the likes of Jimi Agbaje and others) using my application on a Live show.

I usually refer to Mr. Seyi Lucas as a compiler. He stands afar and asks for the error codes that you have on the screen(…that is all he needs) and he will tell you what has happened, what you need to do and the line you need to touch. I have never seen a programmer as smart as Mr. Seyi in my life. I envy his pattern of writing codes. He wrote a whole JAVA application with notepad. He has done so much wonders with codes.

My Oga at the top, If you are reading this, I want you to know that I envy you.

Mr. Seyi Lucas now works with Huawei Technologies Limited.

Stanislaus Madueke

Oga Stan as I call him. I met him during the AutoReg project for the first time. I should have met him earlier for an interview but I guess he was busy with development projects. He talks fast and his brain processes information faster than he talks. You can bet he has answers to any question in the least space of time you can imagine. I have never seen him angry and he is not a too patient person. He is so intelligent and he feels everybody should be as intelligent as he is. I love sharing my ideas with him and learn from his vast knowledge of almost everything in technology.

He wrote a blog on his solution to a challenge that he had while working on Django and he was invited by Django team to add his contribution to the next release of Django. You can check out his name in the list of the contributors for Django.

I always have my brain open when he talks because I always have so many things to “google” after every conversation. If you are not doing it the right way, you can’t be his friend.

Temitope Fatayo

He was studying Computer Science while I was studying Mathematics in the same school, University of Lagos. We had our first major encounter during the first Microsoft Imagine Cup competition in Nigeria. He was in the team of five that won the first prize while my application (Think GP) won the most innovative entry. You can always be sure that Fatayo was one of the brightest minds in our set and Lady’s choice #lol.

We have worked together on so many projects and you can’t but appreciate his approach to solving problems. He still uses .NET and a pro in all Microsoft products.

Tope is very analytical and a goal getter. I’m sure that the Computer Science Department of University of Lagos would be proud to have him as an alumnus.

Thabitah Adebola Oduntan-Yunus (Alhaja)

I have known Debola since University years. She remains the only lady that I have personally encountered as a dedicated developer all through my years of programming. She is that intelligent lady that would never allow anyone to do her assignment for her under any circumstance.

This lady can write codes and she can pick up any language of choice. I once worked with Debola on a project and she amazed me at the level of her details. I have also observed that she is a very fast learner.

Since I have met Debola till now I have not seen any lady as passionate and professional as her in programming. She now works with Konga and she is just full of wonders. You won’t regret knowing her.


Tunde Famakinwa (Fama)

Fama Baba! The first time I met him was in a meeting with different developers at Lagos Tennis Club. He has some controversial and logical views about things and would always argue his case through. He should be referred to as .NET Bishop. He has experimented so much on it. He had been programming from the black screen age.

We had our first personal encounter when he engaged me in a conversation about what I am up to and what I have done so far (I don’t know why I love that question). I told him about my Result Management Application (Remarks) and he told me he has a similar project called School Box. We had a common line of application which should make each of us a competitor but we were not and we are not. From then, we shared some features and we were even thinking of merging application...maybe someday that would happen.

We finally got to work together on a Magento project. I got a call from Biyi that someone needs us to customize Magento cart for him and we would work with Fama. From day one, I knew Fama is very professional and hardworking.

Recently I had to ask him some questions during a telephone conversation with him. I needed an urgent clarification while working on a client’s ASPX application, he answered my questions “Lai wo we” – without checking any textbooks.

There are many other interesting programmers that I know who did not make this list. I have decided to shortlist only ten so that others can make my next list and make it rich. This list is already too long. Are you bored?

Thanks for reading my long piece. I just feel that these guys really worth it.

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