The Future was on Sunday

Best Use of Technology 2006 Award

At about 5pm on Sunday, February 26 2006, I was at the City Mall (Onikan, Lagos). That location is known for one major thing — movies — but I wasn’t there to see a movie; rather, I was there to celebrate the future. Earlier in the day, Adeolu Akinyemi (former classmate and an inspiring young man) called me, and a few minutes after our initial conversation was over, I called back again… and our discussion was also about the future. “What is this future thing you’re talking about?”

Organised by a team of dynamic young people who want to be known as RedStrat Communications, and have sworn to paint the town positively red, The Future Awards website has the following to say:

Slowly but surely, a quiet revolution driven by the 18+ has taken place, and it is time to signpost this revolution (for a new Nigeria) and take advantage of it. You know why this is crucial? Because all over the world, positive and radical change for the better has always been powered by the young – therefore it can only mean well for Nigeria, this revolution.

What we want to do is accelerate this change, to encourage it, and to sustain it. Looking away will be a dis-service not just to this enthusiastic, passionate Nigerians – but also to our nation, Nigeria, and its future. The event has a six point agenda:

  1. To honour achievement
  2. To celebrate youth
  3. Integration
  4. To connect futures
  5. Correct present destructive stereotypes of the Nigerian young person
  6. To present authentic role models

Defining the event will be an atmosphere of style and panache strongly underlined by excellence, achievement and success. And then the clincher – it will be all about, for and totally by young people.

And in announcing the event itself, the organisers said, “The ‘D’ Day is HERE! 26th of February 2006 Young Achievers between the ages of 18-31 will be recognised and APPLAUDED. Welcome to ‘The Future…!’ 200 seats…200 unique individuals! 18-31 years old…ALL Achievers! 26th of February 2006!”

I got an earlier eMail announcing that I had been nominated for 2 categories (“Best Use of Technology” and “Youth of the Year”), and the suspense was really there until the evening of the event. Adeolu was also nominated for the “Corporate/Professional Nigerian” category, and that meant a lot to me. [See full list of nominees here] We’ve been friends for quite a while (and worked on a lot of projects while in Great Ife), and here is celebration coming the way of two innocent (did someone sigh?) young men who made up their minds a little earlier to focus on donation and not duration.

By the time the evening was over, there were three statuettes on our table — one for Deolu, one for me, and the third for LEAP Africa (whose representative was on our award-winning table :)) While I won the “Best Use of Technology” award, Deolu went home with the “Corporate/Professional Nigerian” award. See the full list of winners below:

  • Musician of the Year: Innocent Tuface Idibia
  • Actor of the Year: John Njamah
  • Production Person/(Producer of the Year): Cobhams (QuestionMark)
  • Beauty & Style Award: Bisi Sowemimo (FTV Model of the Year 2004)
  • On-Air Personality of the Year: Ikechukwu Oviawe (Wildchild)
  • Best Use of Goodwill: Maria and Marita Ayodele
  • Best Use of Technology Award: ‘Gbenga Sesan
  • NGO of the Year: LEAP Africa
  • Comedian of the Year: Basket Mouth
  • Magazine of the Year: YouthSpeak
  • Corporate/Professional Nigerian: Adeolu Babawale Akinyemi (Virgin Nigeria)
  • Entrepreneur of the Year: Tara Fela-Durotoye (House of Tara)
  • Artist of the Year: Toyin Sokefun
  • Writer of the Year: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Young Person of the Year: Tosin Otitoju

In all, the event was inspiring — and no one can ever forget how proud we all were to be Nigerians when the national anthem was remiexd by the trio of Segun Obe, Essenceand Ego Iheanacho (Lagbaja’s vocalist and dancer, who didn’t fail to show off her new wedding ring at the event, at the instance of a comedian). The future is here, the future is bright, and as we say here, “dem go take!” To Chude and the entire RedStrat team, I doff my hat… to the stars who chose to shine at City Mall on Sunday evening, our work is spelt out, and to the motivating “aunties” and “uncles” who showed up to encourage the 18+ event, nagode. Nigeria rocks! And I see a New Nigeria…

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