MTV Shuga Naija unveils new cast for fifth season of multi-award-winning social impact TV series

  • Youth TV drama series, MTV Shuga Naija announces Gbubemi Ejeye, Genoveva Umeh, John Njamah and more as lead stars in the new season.

MTV Shuga Naija, an MTV Staying Alive Foundation initiative, is back for a fifth season and boasts a strong cast to extend the impact of its taboo-defying edutainment TV series. Set to premiere in April this year, the fifth season will focus on storylines about Gender-Based Violence and COVID-19, while continuing to address HIV prevention. Behind the camera, the focus is on empowering female creatives, with an 80% female crew while in front of the camera, an exciting lineup of new faces will be headlined by sensational actresses and co-stars on Netflix’s series ‘Far from Home’, Genoveva Umeh and Gbubemi Ejeye.

Susan Pwajok – best known on-screen from her role in the popular Nigerian family drama series, The Johnsons, has also been announced as a cast member as has well-loved Pan-African MTV Base Culture Squad member, Ilooise Omohinmi. Other new cast members announced include high profile talents Maggie Osuome, Lexan Peters, Ben Touitou, Kem Ajieh Ikechukwu, Okey Uzoeshi, John Njamah, Kiki Omeili, Chioma Edak, Francis Onwochei and, Bolaji Ogunmola.

Last year, MTV Shuga Naija initiated a search for exceptional young talent via online auditions that received over a thousand applications. The two winners of these auditions – Kanaga Emmanuel Eme and Chioma Edak – have been chosen to play lead roles on the show, while others selected will play supporting roles.

Returning MTV Shuga actors include Adesua Etomi-Wellington (Far From Home, Falling, Sugar Rush), Tomiwa Tegbe (My Siblings and I) and Sharon Jatto (The Griot).

“New cast always means deeper, richer stories and, of course, more drama,” said Adesua Etomi-Wellington. “Given the importance of the conversation we are making mainstream, I am so excited to be part of the new season, and excited to be sharing the screen with this group of uber-talented individuals and proud new members of the MTV Shuga Naija family.”

“The cast of MTV Shuga Naija are not just actors, but ambassadors of our edutainment campaign. They are working tirelessly to ensure that our messaging reaches and positively impacts millions of young Nigerians, empowering them to make better decisions about their health and lives.” remarked Anita Adesiyan, Country Manager, MTV Shuga Naija.

Season 5 of MTV Shuga Naija promises brand new storylines, fresh characters and a stand-alone story, so new audiences are welcome, as well as welcoming back the MTV Shuga family of fans across Nigeria. The magic of MTV Shuga lies in the research done with youth in Nigeria which informs the social and health topics tackled in the series and ensures that the storyline reflects the lives of the youth they hope to edutain. Their mission is to drive social change among youth, a mission they share with a number of like-minded organisations.

“In partnership with Unitaid, Global Innovation Fund and Paramount, we will focus on spotlighting the importance of HIV self-testing and accessibility of testing kits, Gender-Based Violence, COVID-19 vaccine confidence, gender capacity building and modern contraception. Also, through our partnerships with the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), the Lagos State Domestic and sexual violence agency (DSVA), the Lagos State Ministry of Health and Hello Lagos, we aim to provide support and direct our audience to the relevant agencies who will offer the required counselling and treatment they need,” confirmed Adesiyan.

In addition to the return of MTV Shuga Naija, MTV Staying Alive Foundation also unveiled their Talent Accelerator Program — a platform created to invest in young, emerging female creatives. The initiative will leverage internship placements and mentorship programmes across production units to advance gender-aware media in the Nigerian TV & Film industry. Its first execution saw the selection of 11 outstanding young women to work across different departments through the filming of the new season.

The crew of MTV Shuga Naija Season 5 is 80% female, further emphasising the campaign’s objective of investing in female creatives in the Nigerian media market. The fifth season of the award-winning TV drama is produced by 1Pod Pictures, a female-led production company out of Nigeria and boasts the youngest producers ever to film MTV Shuga Naija. 

The new season of MTV Shuga Naija will premiere on MTV Base (DStv channel 322 and GOtv channel 72), BET, and the free-to-air platform, NTA later this year. All episodes of the season will also be available on Netflix and YouTube.

Click here to watch the cast BTS reel.


Showrunners: Isioma Osaje and Temidayo Makanjuola


Directed by: Adeola Osunkojo, Yemi “FilmBoy” Morafa, and Kayode Kasum.

 Head writer: Kemi Adesoye.

 Key Cast: Adesua Etomi-Wellington, Gbubemi Ejeye, Susan Pwajok, Genoveva Umeh, Maggie Osuome, Lexan Peters, Ilooise Omohinmin, Bolaji Ogunmola, Okey Uzoeshi, John Njamah, Sharon Jatto, Tomiwa Tegbe, Kiki Omeili, Ben Touitou, Francis Onwochei, Kanaga Emmanuel Eme (open auditions), Kem Ajieh–Ikechukwu, and Chioma Edak (open auditions).


With a focus on teens and young adults, MTV Shuga Naija Season 5, will introduce new characters to the MTV Shuga universe, as they try to find their place in an increasingly hostile world. An arranged marriage, toxic masculinity, the aftermath of a COVID-19 death, gender-based violence and a relationship complicated by HIV, are some of the gripping storylines in store for viewers.

About the MTV Staying Alive Foundation (SAF)

The MTV Staying Alive Foundation aims to harness the power of entertainment to change the attitudes and behaviour of young people around the world. The campaign includes a radio drama, print, digital and social media, and peer education programmes. It has been broadcast on over 180 channels in 70 countries and has reached over 720 million households.

Pioneered in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009, MTV Shuga is a long-running drama series and multimedia campaign that follows the lives of young people on the African continent. Aired on Paramount international channels worldwide, the content is also offered rights-free to 3rd party broadcasters and content platforms and used as a teaching aid by educators, healthcare workers and grassroots organisations worldwide.

Since 2009, the drama has crossed the continent from Kenya to Nigeria, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and India and has touched on numerous plotlines relating to HIV testing & prevention, COVID-19, family planning & contraception, transactional sex, gender-based violence, and condom use.

 About Paramount Africa  

Multimedia entertainment powerhouse, Paramount offers the most comprehensive international broadcast portfolio on the African continent, reaching more than 100 million viewers across 48 territories in Africa. Paramount currently comprises ten separate T.V. channels and five consumer websites, as well as multiple mobile and social media sites. The company’s African business interests include content production and distribution, spot sales, 360-degree sponsorships, events, and mobile, digital and consumer products. 

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Paramount Africa is a television and multimedia broadcast organization based in South Africa and Nigeria


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