“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I want to light up West Africa!

Dark nights, paper fans, candlelight, kerosene lanterns, and aching backs from fetching well water — seems like medieval times! But these were the days of my youth growing up in Nigeria's most vibrant city, where constant electricity was a luxury enjoyed by the few who could afford diesel-powered generators. Conditioned to expect inconsistent electricity supply, my life was impacted in many ways. At home, I could not study at night until my father returned to turn on the generator. At boarding school, computer learning was dependent on erratic power supply; my eyesight worsened from the faint beams of flashlight hitting my textbooks as I studied at night. When Nigeria finally won Olympic Gold, I watched the television flicker to darkness due to power failure — I had missed a monumental moment that rallied the entire country.

My goal is to build a power-consulting agency in Nigeria to provide consistent, affordable electricity solutions and advise policy makers to develop sustainable energy policies around West Africa. I will live my life fighting the darkness while pushing against the currents of corruption and inefficient governance that plague electricity supply in Nigeria. Boundless opportunities exist if businesses can be unshackled from exorbitant costs of self-generated electricity.

Imagine Nigeria — electrified. All of West Africa — powered. No more missed championship games. No more air pollution from oil-burning electricity generators. No more dark hospitals. No more burned-down houses due to candlelight. No more black-outs. In my day, there will be light in West Africa.

— Tomiwa Igun