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Abigail Anaba: The highs and lows of The Future Awards Africa in Port Harcourt

It was the 8th Season of The Future Awards Africa, a long and most likely ardous walk for the duo of Chude Jideonwo popularly called CJ and Tokunbo Adebola Williams a.k.a TA (Inside joke). As our bus dropped us off at the entrance of the venue, we were welcomed by a red carpet and lights. It looked like it was going to be an interesting and fun filled night.

Governor Rotimi Amaechi’s speech was another ‘wow’ moment. He left me with mouth hanging open… literally. I could well understand why most people like him. He seems to speak his mind even when he is speaking against himself. The highlight of his speech was knocking a Punch Newspapers piece which had attempted to knock his earlier comments on corruption and ‘stoning’ corrupt people. He didn’t fail to mention what he had done for the poor in Rivers state, especially ensuring that people from poor backgrounds got to school in big private schools like ex-President Obasanjo’s The Bells and IBB’s El Amin Schools. According to him, this policy was to ensure wealth redistribution as poor and rich people who met in these schools will intermarry. As he said love knows no boundaries.

Abigail Anaba is a writer and a social commentator

The Nahs

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Timi Dakolo

Earlier in the day, I had read an opinion piece on the TFAA which basically maligned the process of the awards claiming it was marred by cronyism. I was looking forward to seeing if this indeed was true. Though, first off it did appear like it wasn’t. The process of the TFAA started off five months ago with calls for nominations by the general public. Like someone rightly said, only people who enter a beauty pageant may win.

The awards proper.

Generally, the awards were fun. I certainly would like to be at the next awards and see improvements in organisation. Like Chude rightly pointed out, his team have been working really hard. Putting together awards of this nature are certainly no mean feat. But next time, can we make the awards proper more fun and even more glitzy perhaps? It’s over to the organisers. As for me; I shall be waiting patiently for another good one.

Back to the evening, I have decided to disorganise the programme of events by rearranging the evening into my wow and nah moments. Buckle up and well… here goes nothing!

Let’s enjoy that name as it sits there for a moment. If there is anything like a wowest moment for me, it was when Timi took the stage. We were on the same flight earlier in the day and were baked together under the Port Harcourt sun when we arrived the PH International Airport and waited for our commute. (The story of the tarpaulin tent that is the lounge of the international airport definitely requires a blogpost of its own) It was a joy to see such an unassuming fellow transform on the stage. He did his own version of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ and officially won himself another fan.

And then Chude’s speech. It was well-tailored to the event. I liked the part where he talked about his personal contacts with Governor Amaechi and how he has always spoken frankly. He was clearly besotted with the governor and oh well… I’m not a great fan of the governor so maybe I should just let this slide.

by Abigail Anaba

Speaking of which, OC Ukeje gave off the impression that the award winners already knew they had won before the event when he stood on stage waiting to pick up an award for someone who was absent while the nominee names were still being reeled. I do not believe the award winners knew, but perhaps he should not have been allowed to remain on stage hoping. This gave a wrong impression.

Jesse Jagz performance was great for reggae fans like me. I could picture him with a roll of marijuana puffing away as he sang about bush on fire. It was fun though.

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Plus, as one of the presenters of the awards pointed out, why would you award one of your partners? It may be argued that if one of the partners/sponsors have distinguished themselves, why not? But another could argue that it may not be possible to be objective when you are an interested party. I think this is one reason why the organisers are being accused of bias.

The food. Well, I had nothing to complain about. I loved the chocolate chip cake they served for desert. (I’m thinking it was chocolate chip cake) That it was buffet style meal ensured everyone had enough to eat.

Away from the general poor management of the stage, we walk straight to the wonderful world of Nigerian time. The event scheduled to kick off by 5pm with doors closing just before 6pm, ended up starting about 8pm. I don’t think the doors were ever shut.

Still on the awards, some of the recipients were too busy to come pick their awards. They sent someone who graciously told us that they sent their love. Surely, you can’t drag people out of their homes to come pick the awards but perhaps if these awardees understand that people came out of their homes to celebrate with them, they would show more reverence and actually turn up.

It was a joy to see such an unassuming fellow (Timi Dakmolo) transform on the stage. He did his own version of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ and officially won himself another fan.

The award presenters appeared unco-ordinated. Much like they had absolutely no idea what they were expected to do. Most of them did a lackluster reeling out of names and then an even a more lack luster ‘and the winner is…’. There was one or two bright spots like Julius Agwu and his vertical recession joke and the Nigerian white guy with the ‘there is white on the Nigerian flag joke’ (my personal favourite). But generally the award presentations were drab and unexciting.

The Wows

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