by Seyi Lawal
So the guys over at The Future Awards think we’ll go easy on them because we’re their media partner? Well, they have something huge coming on. Some things were amazing, and others not so much. Here’s our run down!
If inspiration was what they were reaching for, then we have to give them a hundred percent! From the minute Timi Dakolo stepped on stage with Cry, we knew this would be good. Chidinma blew the roof with Jankoliko/Kedike, even Port Harcourt’s Muma Gee – we still can’t believe it – killed it (even though, she didn’t want to leave the stage ever). When Bez took on the stage, it was full on rock concert mode, the stage effects, his skill with the guitar, his ability to control the crowd, Dan Dee Humorous might have come armed with recycled jokes, but the guests couldn’t stop laughing, and when Timi Dakolo returned to wrap up the show with the indescribable Great Nation, we wanted to lie down and die for Nigeria.
The former chief executive of UBA was a hit, especially when you consider how badly Olusegun Aganga bored us last year. Dressing down, and taking off his suit to jaw-jaw with Tolu Ogunlesi, the iconic entrepreneur impressed and inspired the crowd with the speech and the interactive session. We think this is an innovation that should be kept: the Keynote Speech first and then the awards after. We liked.
We often wondered why anyone was making a big deal of this new venue in Port Harcourt – Aztech Arcum. Surely a severely dysfunctional name, but no matter; the hall totally works. If it was in Lagos, it would probably give the Expo Centre a run for its money save for crowd capacity. The screens outside welcomes you, the red carpet platform welcomed you, the stage completely ready-made and the grandness of the atmosphere wrapped it up nicely. Starting off with TFA ensures the world heard about it – and it should.
It was gratifying to see Denrele Edun speak about being nominated for this award 5 times and winning this time. It told an eloquent tale for TFA – that its credible for one, that it’s not given to the rave of the moment, that people would die for one of those plaques, and that its heart is in the right place. Save for a particular actress, we very much like this year’s list. Don Jazzy certainly deserves the nod for all he has done at a young age, Otto Orondaam was a clear favourite for his work with SLUM2School project, and of course, when they won our hearts when investigative journalist Idris Akinbanjo took the biggest award above D’banj, Banky W, and other superstars. Good one.
It started late and we’re yet to recover from that disappointment, but when the show started it was a smooth ride. We can’t remember the last time a major Nigerian event went this smoothly – very few uncomfortable gaps if at all, award presenters going on stage and doing what they had to do without rambling and silly jokes, two anchors who said what they needed to say and got out of the way, enough food for everyone, and a hall filled with enthusiastic, passionate people.
So when the event kicked off, its executive director apologized for the lateness and said how “deeply ashamed” they were for starting late. We also remember that in fact, all TFA events this year from its Symposium to the Nominees Reception started on time. All well and good. Well done. Still, we don’t care. You should have started on time. Starting a 7pm event at 9pm? Not cool. Not at all. Nigerian event organisers, hear ye the words of the Lord; keeping guests waiting at an event is not cool. Is it really that hard?
Tonto Dikeh. Seriously?
Tonto?! Tonto?! Like, really Tonto?! In case you didn’t know exactly how we feel about Tonto Dikeh, well here you go. Whilst she is hardworking, the only talent she has is for raising her voice. Yeah, yeah, The Future Awards if for achievements and she has a bunch of them, but anything but Tonto please. Even Rukky Sanda, we would have taken. Em, well actually not. The Future Awards has gone against the tide many years – rewarding John Njamah against Genebieve and Omotola in its first year, giving the award to Omoni Oboli and Ali Nuhu against celebrities and other Nollywood misfires. That tradition should continue biko. This one is a step back.
The road to hell
Lord have mercy, Port Harcourt’s roads should just NUPENG and go on strike. Does the governor drive on them? How can a state praised seriously for leading the way in the country, which impressed the guests with impressive work on schools and healthcare and which puts a shine on an otherwise stark PDP skyline have such a poor calling card? The rides were bumpy, the sights were sore, and there was flooding in places we could see. Coupled with the horrendous traffic, this one thing can cancel a lot of other things.
We’ve heard them blame the airline for the nightmare of flights that included late arrivals, missed flights and even no arrivals. Well, guys, the airline didn’t invite us to Port Harcourt, you did. So there. Changing the venue to Port Harcourt also isn’t an excuse. No other event gets their logistics right in Nigeria even with huge funding true, but that is still no excuse. Actually, nothing is an excuse. A brilliant show – and an inspiring weekend – should not come from a logistics nightmare.
You guys are the future. For you, the standards are higher.
Still, congrats for an amazing season!