DIASPORA community organisations across Britain have pledged to pool their resources together and work in tandem to ensure that the forthcoming Nigerian Centenary Awards UK is the best ever event organised by Nigerians outside the country.
One June 27, Nigerians in the UK plan to mark 100 years of the country’s existence with a classy dinner tagged the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK at Waltham Forest Town Hall in east London. At the event which is expected to attract the who-is-who within the UK diaspora community, 100 Nigerians who have contributed to British society over the last 100 years will be honoured.
Already, the high commission has thrown its weight behind the event and a host of eminent citizens plan to arrive from Nigeria fort the occasion. To ensure that it is the best diaspora event ever held, UK community organisations, the Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (Canuk), Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (Nido) and the National Association of Nigerian Communities (Nancs) UK, have all pledged to throw their weight behind it.
Canuk president Chief Bimbo Afolayan, said: “None of us is likely to witness another centenary in our lifetime, so we have to make sure that this one we are enjoying is a huge success. At Canuk, we are throwing our full weight behind the event and have a representative on the organising committee.
“We have begun reaching out to our member organisations, asking them to not only nominate deserving Nigerians but to also get their members to start buying tickets. I am confident that on the day, the 450-seater hall will be filled to capacity and the event will be a huge success.”
Henrietta Abraham, the chair of Nido UK South, added: “Part of Nido’s role is here is to facilitate the connection between the diaspora and Nigeria to enable those in the diaspora to contribute to Nigeria’s economic development. This includes identifying and connecting with Nigerians who are contributing positively to the UK economy and seeking ways to enable them to transfer those skills to Nigeria.
“Worldwide, Nigerians are achieving great things, however, many of them are never really publicly acknowledged. The Nigeria Centenary Awards UK will project the UK Nigerian diaspora community in a positive light to the rest of the UK and the world at large and to render help all Nigerians out there. We are, subsequently therefore, delighted to be a part of this project event that will honour 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK over the last century.”
Martins Bakare, the Nancs UK president, said: “There are thousands of Nigerians excelling in all sorts of fields across the UK that never get a mention or nobody knows about. Nancs, which is the largest group of Nigerian communities in the UK would always support activities geared towards showing the importance of the unity of our nation and our rich culture.”
Apart from the fact that Dr Dalhatu Tafida, the Nigerian high commissioner to the UK has agreed to attend the event, so too have a host of prominent Nigerians including Nobel laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, Nigerian Idol judge Yinka Davies, Africa Independent Television newscaster Lara Wise and chair of the House of Representatives Diaspora Committee Abike Dabiri-Erewa. Also, throwing his weight behind the project, Councillor Chris Robbins, the leader of Waltham Forest Council has purchased 30 tickets for the event, which he plans to give out to Nigerians above the age of 60 who live in the borough.
Ayo Akinfe, the chairman of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK organising committee, added: “What we are seeing here is a pooling together of the combined talents and expertise of the 2m strong diaspora community in the UK to organise what will arguably be our greatest event ever. There are a lot of honest, toiling and selfless Nigerians across the UK who get very little recognition to their contribution to society and this event will grant them the honour they are due.
“I believe it is this realisation that ordinary people who make society tick on a daily basis need to be recognised too that has prompted everyone to rally round and make the event a success. Given that this will only happen once in our lifetime, it is befitting that we make it the best diaspora event ever.”
Ronke Udofia, the chairman of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK awards sub-committee, added that nominations are still open until May 18 and urged everyone to go and nominate anyone they deemed fit for an award. Ms Udofia added that all nominations are received through the site www.nigeriancentenaryawardsuk.com, making the process highly transparent and credible.
For more information contact:
Tijani Abass Jumoke Ariyo
DJA Media Secretary, Nigerian Centenary Awards UK
07946 811 253 07946 126 561
Chair, awards sub-committee, Nigerian Centenary Awards UK
Chair, programmes sub-committee, Nigerian Centenary Awards UK
07957 581 703