This is one reason why moving this year’s event to Port Harcourt excites me. The more non-Lagosians get to feel the experience that is the Future Awards, the stronger the brand grows and the more likely it is to become a true representation of what the Nigerian youth is as a whole.
I had been holed up in my hotel room for 3 days without any form of contact with the outside world, waiting to go into the Big Brother House in February 2006 when I was informed by my chaperon that someone would be coming to interview me for an official housemates magazine. My excitement was not because I loved being interviewed. I just wanted to be able to see someone new after 4 days. The whole experience was already doing my head in; and the show hadn’t even started.
In walked Chude Jideonwo a few minutes later and I screamed out his name as soon as I saw him. He was surprised that I knew him since back then, he wasn’t the ‘popular jingo’ he is today. But I told him I had just read about the very first Future Awards, which held that year and what they had done to celebrate young Nigerians across board. The first few minutes of our meeting, turned into an interview of him by me as I had to make him answer all sorts of questions about why he was doing what he was doing especially considering how young he was. I was 23 at the time and he still made me feel old and inadequate.
In the years that followed, I got nominated twice for my work on television and once for the work I did with ‘The UnRulies’ group. Being a three-time nominee of what is Nigeria’s premier gathering of under-31 year olds, makes you take things for granted sometimes. But the fact remains that the Future Awards’ concept is unprecedented in these parts, and against what most thought, it has continued to grow in leaps and bounds. I also never lost sight of the fact that the organizers are great PR people and always know how to spin a great post awards media buzz when it was all done. They’ve continued to remain relevant, in and out of awards season.
With all my nominations, it is interesting that my biggest highlight was when I got the call to host the awards last year. I had seen many of my friends and ‘egbons’ host the award over the years and I kept side eyeing the organizers, wondering why they didn’t think my practiced baritone was good enough for their stage. I guess after I was done with my Masters degrees, they believed I had come back with an American accent to add spice to things. Koko! Nothing changed. But yeah, it was definitely an awesome experience hosting in 2011.
Over the years, my biggest criticism of the event has always been about the extreme Lagos feel of the awards. Most nominees and performers and presenters are almost always Lagos based in an awards hosted in Lagos for Nigeria. It doesn’t excite me when I travel to a place as cosmopolitan as Abuja and people tell me they had never heard of the awards. Obviously, the PR people still need to do some work in that publicity department.
This is one reason why moving this year’s event to Port Harcourt excites me. The more non-Lagosians get to feel the experience that is the Future Awards, the stronger the brand grows and the more likely it is to become a true representation of what the Nigerian youth is as a whole. Hopefully, this wont be a one off experience as I look forward to more Nigerian cities getting their turn in what is definitely a life changing experience for many.
Good luck to all the nominees this year and to my favorites who I shall secretly root for. I’m quite jealous of course that I wasn’t nominated. But yeah, I still have one more year left to fight for award(s). Maybe they’ll introduce an award before then that’s alcohol related. I die fighting for that one!
Here’s to the future!
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.