UK diaspora to honour uncelebrated Nigerians and unsung heroes on September 24
NIGERIANS in the UK intend to hold a special awards ceremony for the those uncelebrated diasporans who work tirelessly but get no recognition as part of an ambitious plan to highlight the good work the teeming numbers of hardworking do for society.
Due to take place on September 24 at the Mayfair Banqueting Suite in east London, the event has been tagged the Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK. It will be a classy gala dinner that will attract community leaders, guests from Nigeria and high commission officials.
Organised to honour ordinary Nigerians in the UK who are excelling in numerous fields, the awards ceremony is being put together by the same committee that organised the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK in 2014. At a recent meeting, the committee elected several officials to run its affairs and organise the event including journalist Ayo Akinfe as coordinator, former Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk) treasurer June Douglas as vice coordinator, healthy eating medical campaigner Dr Nkem Ezeilo as secretary, Agatha Ewruje as assistant secretary and accountant Ayo Oyebade as treasurer.
Other prominent community members on the 40-man committee include former Canuk chairman Chief Bimbo Afolayan, current Canuk first vice chairman Chief Alex Achebe and its assistant publicity secretary Theodora Ibekwe-Oyebade. Also on board is the current mayor of Hackney Sade Etti, her predecessor Susan Fajana-Thomas, former mayor of Lambeth Adedamola Aminu and the former mayor of Enfield Kate Anolue.
Mr Akinfe said: “Over recent years, there has been an explosion of awards but unfortunately, what we have seen is that the same people are getting them every week. Consequently, we have decided to reach out to ordinary hardworking Nigerians in the UK, who get very little recognition and honour them.
“This event will be different in that we will be handing out awards to traffic wardens, chefs, care workers, civil servants, mini cab drivers, cleaners, hotel porters, school keepers, security guards, nurses, ambulance drivers, firemen, etc. We will be honouring 56 people as Nigeria will be 56 this year and for most of our awardees, this will be the first time they come to an event.”
Chief Achebe added that the idea behind the event is to reach out to those members of the community who Canuk has not been able to reach so far. He pointed out that the venue can take 800 people and it is expected that a majority of those who attend will be first timers, who will from henceforth be absorbed in community activities.
Dr Ezeilo said that the process will be highly transparent as a website will be set up at http://www.uncelebratednigeriansawards.com, with members of the public asked to nominate people. She added that a sub-committee would ensure that all nominees met the criteria established by the committee, which included that relatives of members cannot be nominated and that everyone suggested is of outstanding character.
According to Mrs Ibekwe-Oyebade, the event will be highly publicised within the Nigerian media in the UK like Trumpet, Nigerian Watch, Ben Television and African Voice. She added that there will also be a concerted effort to reach out to every nook and cranny of the UK as Nigerians are everywhere.
Mrs Douglas added that the event will start at 6pm prompt and will involve Nigerian cuisine, entertainment and stand-up comedy. Among the guests that will attend will be the acting high commissioner Mr Simon Ogah and several prominent dignitaries are also expected from Nigeria.
Chief Afolayan said: “The beauty of this event is that for the first time, it is recognising people who have been ignored in the past. Once they have received their awards, the list will then be forwarded to those who organise the Queens Honours List, so they can consider them for further recognition too.
“When I was Canuk chairman, we worked tirelessly to reach out to as many Nigerians in the UK, so I see this as a continuation of that process. We will be asking other community bodies like Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, the Nigerian Committee of Elders and the Nigerian Women in Diaspora Leadership Forum to get their members involved too.”
Mrs Ewruje stressed that some of the proceeds from the sale of tickets will be donated to charities that support and help Nigerians in the UK or those back home in Nigeria. She pointed out that the rationale behind this is to be able to encourage more unsung heroes, especially those just toiling in fields that are not theirs, to realise their potential by being able to realise their dreams.
Malcolm Benson, a prominent movie director and producer and the chair of the publicity and marketing sub-committee added that the committee would ensure that all parts and segments of the UK and Nigerian community is made aware of this event through a series of media campaigns. He also pointed out that as there is a need to avoid the event appearing elitist or London-based, hence, most Nigerians who perhaps feel marginalised would actively be encouraged to engage and participate in this event as well as other community activities.
Henrietta Abraham, the chairperson of Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (Nido) UK South said: “This is a great initiative aimed at recognising all those silent stars. We at Nido will be giving it our full support as we believe that all those honest, hardworking and unsung Nigerians deserve some recognition too.”
Cultural icon and entertainer Ayan De First, who is the chairman of the sub-committee of sponsorship and partnership, will be responsible for attracting sponsors. He said he will approach all the companies that serve the Nigerian diaspora market and are looking to break into it, offering to provide them with a platform to sell their products.
For more information contact:
Dr Nkem Ezeilo Ronke Udofia
Secretary Chair, awards sub-committee
Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK
07534 210589 07828 119278
Dayo Olomu Malcolm Benson
Chair, event management sub-committee Chair, publicity & marketing sub-committee
Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK
07957 581 703 07930 202250
The Uncelebrated Nigerian Awards UK gala dinner will take place at Mayfair Banqueting Suite in Chadwell Heath in east London on September 24 2016, starting at 7pm. It will involve the handing out of awards to 56 Nigerian heroes who have excelled in numerous fields of endeavour.
For the first time ever, Nigerian diasporans in the UK who have never had anything to do with awards ceremonies before will be honoured and recognised. It is a way of reaching out to them and getting them involved in the community
After the list is compiled, we will forward it to Buckingham Palace to be considered in the Queens Honours List. These awards were unique with regards to how credible and transparent they are.