Monday, October 16, 2006

The FUTURE of Nigeria Unveiled...

On Saturday, October 14, 2006, the build-up to the 2007 edition of Nigeria's most prestigious Youth Awards, The Future Awards was flagged off to a select audience of young people (I was graciously invited, and did joyously attend) , at Tanjia, Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, Lagos.

(I was shortlisted for the Young Writer of the Year award in the maiden edition (February 2006), alongside Chimamanda Adichie (eventual winner) and Rotimi Babatunde).

Below's the full text of a press release from Redstrat (a strategic communication outfit focused on young people), organisers of the event:

"The Future..." launches with Panache! _____________________________________________

Oh, what can we say?! On the 14th of January, RedSTRAT gathered together a small but critical number of young people together at the upscale Tanjia in Ikoyi, Lagos, and the mandate was simple - to officially kick-off the journey towards "The Future..." Awards 2007. This, as usual, is an innovation from "The Future..." - a pre-event for the people who are the target of this event to begin to 'feel' it - to bounce ideas off the organisers, to join the train and ultimately to add even more verve to what we now know as the BIGGEST event for young people in Nigeria! What we had at this event was a beautiful gathering of the brightest and best young minds in this country: from every strata and from every segment.

Guests included Big Brother Nigeria's Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, singer Ashionye Michelle Ugboh, Director of YDNX (LTC-JWT) Modupe Awofeso, actress/radio presenter Funlola Aofiyebi, CADBURY manager, Lola Talabi, Olamide, newscaster with Channels TV, comedian Jedidah, Tosyn Bucknor, Ini Mbang of MASK and son of Prelate Sunday Mbang, Morenike Gbadamosi from INSIGHT Communications, Shina Okeleji from the BBC, Augusta Uford, Pageant Executive with the MBGN, radio presenter Zika, Chinedu Amah of BBN, Tunde Aladese from TRUE LOVE, Mary Ero from MBI, Ifeoma Nwadukwe from JOY magazine, Lape Soetan, Tolu Ogunlesi of Accenture … it was breathless!

And it was strictly for young people between 18 and 31. It was supposed to be a small event, but even though the organizers stopped accepting confirmations on Thursday hoping that some of those already confirmed wouldn't turn up, that didn't stop it from turning massive; yet it didn't lose it's beautiful intimacy. At 5pm exactly, the event (which was basically also a TV event, i.e. shot in a proper TV studio for the TV cameras present) kicked off with the compere, Chude Jideonwo, welcoming the guests with the very important point that the day's event was very, very informal, loose, fun and intimate. The guests got the message because an atmosphere of conviviality pervaded the event - with jokes, backslapping, good-natured barbs, and even flirting!

E-sure got everybody standing with the national anthem, and then Chude was back at the center: there was to be an impromptu discussion revolving around Nigeria - "Why bother? - and after Ruonah Agbroko from THISDAY, kicked off the discussion, it just went on its own steam: the issues moved from the Atiku-OBJ rift, thorugh issues around if Nigeria will ever change, the change Dora Akunyili IS making, what the EFCC seems to be doing, revolution or no revolution, the fact of young people who are ashamed to be called young, whether change can happen powered only by one generation, and all that… It was serious one minute, then comic the next, then charged the very next, then everybody's cracking up the following moment - it was one joy ride of a conversation - it was such a fun, fun discussion! To show just how successful the discussions were, very surprisingly, Samson Adeoye of The Guardian requested that the people gathered - especially since they were so diverse - be made into a pressure group; this was immediately seconded by Mary Ero who offered TV airtime for the pressure group and supported soon after by Ms. Talabi who promised to help source the funds! Oh, yes! If they were agreed on one thing, it was that this was one event which they would certainly want to be at whenever, wherever! Phil from the Star Quest was next to serenade the audience with his guitar, and after that it was straight to the major reason these upwardly mobile young Nigerians were gathered together in one place that lovely evening at the seductively lit Tania - presenting "The Future.." Awards 2007!

First the promos for event were unveiled (they start playing on MBI, STV, Nigezie, Nigeria International, Today's Woman with Adesuwa, Cool FM, Metro FM, Rhythm 93.7 and many others this week), and then a 7 minutes cut from last year's hugely successful maiden edition was played to massive applause! Next, one of the directors of RedSTRAT (the organizers) informed the guests that if they thought 2006 was huge, then they should get ready to have their minds blown by 2007! After which the criteria for next year's awards were presented, alongside the new (15) categories, people like OAS Helicopters, MICCOM Resorts, STORM Group, Le Saison and POLO who have already agreed to support the event, the new judges for this year including Ndidi Nwuneli and Folake Folarin-Coker amongst others, and it was also revealed that nominations end on the 31st of October. The guests found out how they could be a part of the idea - and everyone signed up to be a member of the Resource Group. One thing was certainly agreed upon: this is most likely the most credible of all awards this country has seen. The processes (4 stages) are rigorous, there are checks and balances and it's so, so admirably transparent. It also has carved a niche of its own that has strength of character, stubbornly refusing to follow old trends.

In his presentation, RedSTRAT's director also opined that "The Future…" is for all young people; it certainly goes beyond RedSTRAT -it is BIGGER than RedSTRAT: last year, most of the things (from decorations, performances, ushering, organization to sound etc) were handled by young people, that is part of the essence of this event, and so young people from 18 - 31 MUST begin to see this as THEIR event. It is a gift to the young Nigerian. After the presentation, questions were asked and answers were given, there was a premier of wave-making TV show, Nigeria International, showing on NTA Network, AIT Network and BEN Television (and produced by one of RedSTRAT's Directors, Adebola Williams) while the people enjoyed the food from the king of small chops, SAHEETO, and then there was networking all around - laughter ringing from corner to corner. You want to know how enjoyable this event was? How about the fact that more than 80 percent of the guests were still around laughing, gisting and exchanging numbers more than 30 minutes after we had officially drawn the curtains?

There's no other way to say this: if you missed this event, or if - unfortunately - you weren't one of the 80 invited people; you certainly missed out on one hell of an evening! This event was supported by Tanja, Saheeto-King of Small Chops, Nigeria International, and dtalkshop's TAKAii. For more information on "The Future…" Awards and to see more pictures, visit

(c) Redstrat 2006
The people behind Redstrat

Emilia Asim-Ita (Head, PR & Sales)

Presently, she writes for The Guardian, HOT, Takaii, Dove Media Billboards and Bubbles amongst others. Amongst other things, she is one producer-at-large of Patito’s Guys, Events Consultant to African Profiles magazine and is presently working on two books that she intends to publish together. Right now, Emilia is one of the brains behind SLEEK, publishers of the SLEEK Magazine, and the guys behind the Creative Academii... more

Adebola Williams (Head, Planning and Logistics)

Adebola is the Producer of Nigeria International, which shows on the NTA Network, AIT Nigeria and U.S. and BEN TV in the U.K. He was previously Producer of Young & Nigerian on MBI, as well as being co-presenter of Youth Talk. Adebola who also served with Rescue and Holdback Ministries as a Volunteer, Counselor and public relations officer, started out as a stage actor with several awards to his name. He's always been a fine actor and smooth talker. After a few offers to do TV, he started as a presenter and associate producer with a business programme Economywatch on the NTA...more

Chude Jideonwo (Creative Director) :

He has worked with Inside Out with Agatha (26 Nigerian stations and DSTV), Let’s Talk About It (MBI), Health Forum (NTA), and Video 10 (NTA) – in research, and production capacities. He was also with multiple award-winning talk show on the NTA Network Service and DSTV – New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda as Associate Producer, and whilst he was there the show won at least 23 awards. Apart from this, he was Assistant Director of The Academy (an international reality TV show). As a presenter, he presented The Sunday Show (NTA), and is now a presenter with Patito’s Gang. He is also a scriptwriter – with his credits including House 4, and The Academy; and he has been consultant on Media/PR and TV production to a number of organizations that include BOOKWORM Ltd, dtalkshop, FARAFINA, Dm Audiovisuals, Remof Communications and the Half-way-Home. He was also, until very recently, Assistant Publicist with Common Ground Productions... more


Araceli Aipoh said...

Hi. All these things sound very interesting...

It makes some people wish they could be 30 again...

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