Ezekwesili vs Harvard

(c) Google Images

I have been asked in a number of interviews to say which is my favourite award but that has always been a huge problem — because each award comes with its own uniqueness and/or sentiments. However, one award that has been on my radar for a while is the 2007 The Future Youth Advocacy Award — and that is for many reasons. One, I missed the ceremony which turned out to be one of the best organized award ceremonies I have seen around here — kudos to the young and dynamic team that runs The Future Awards, a team to which I intended to dedicate the award if I had picked it up in person: Chude, Emilia and Debola deserve that award more than me because they are the true Youth Advocates (making some of us wish we could rewind time and start earlier).

Two, I can not erase the weekend winners’ party at the MicCom Golf Resort from my course of life. Denrele’s hyper-active and undeniably warm personality, the serene atmosphere and host’s kindness, the hardworking Redstrat team (again!), Erin Ijesha waterfalls (after 6 years!), the gifts (I’m through with “Half of a Yellow Sun”, can I get another novel? :)), the … hmm, that should not be on the blog (and you had better not be more curious 😉 The continuous newspaper features for winners also comes on my list, and I think that all these will make the 2008 awards too hot to handle. A big congratulations to the team for the job well done, oops, that they are doing — because the benefits keep rolling in for winners.

The latest came as a phone call, followed up with text messages and more phone calls — the news of the meeting with Madam Due Process, Obi Ezekwesili! Coming about the same time with the announcement of her post-May 29 role at the World Bank, it was sure a great opportunity to meet with a distinguished Nigerian who has paid her dues. Argue it whichever way (including the fact that she may be better with a more dynamic government like Utomi’s), she has proved that public life is not for self gain but public good — and long-term impact — and that only the prepared can get the best in life. Be that as it may, I have my issues with her decision (or approval) to scrap polythecnics. I probably would have had the chance to mention that at the meeting, but…

What I wrote about the Nigerian elections and the role that ICTs could play, plus recommendations from an earlier consulting work for Res Publica, earned me a consulting job with Harvard. Series of eMails, one phone call and another set of eMail messages, and the contract was signed. The logistics of my terms of reference meant that I had to be in Lagos while my colleague on the project (and fellow blogger) Mary was in Nigeria to work on the project. As it eventually turned out, owing to a change in date which pitched a scheduled conference call plus physical project meeting in Lagos against the Abuja meeting with the Honourable Minister, I could not join the 2007 Future Awards winners for the meeting with Madam Due Process.

The meetings (both the one I had on the Harvard project, and the Abuja Future Awards meeting) went really well, and even though I missed the meeting with the minister, I expect to see the Future Awards team at the Presidential Roundtable (organized by Group 100, led by Kingsley Bangwell, and Youngstars) holding in Abuja over the next few days.

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