ORGANISERS of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK and BEN Television have decided to merge their awards ceremonies in a combined event to be known as Nigerian Centenary Awards UK in Collaboration with BEN TV.
Due to take place at Waltham Forest Town Hall in east London on June 27, the event will involve awards given out to 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK over the last century. It has been put together to honour Nigerians who have excelled in numerous fields of endeavour across the UK including medicine, law, business, engineering, the media, etc.
The Nigerian Centenary Awards UK organising committee had lined up a host of celebrities and public figures to visit from Nigeria while Ben Television on the other hand had been planning a similar event centered around its year-long centenary celebrations.
Ayo Akinfe, the chairman of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK planning committee, said: “It makes sense to merge both events as it does not speak well of the community to be holding rival and concurrent centenary dinners. Having more than one event would give the impression we are not a united Nigerian diaspora community and would confuse recipients who may have been nominated for both awards.
“Besides, we are determined to preserve the integrity of the awards process, as recently, we have seen honours bought for money and the large number of awards ceremonies out there has devalued them. What we want is one combined event whereby nominees are properly scrutinised, no one buys awards and the whole world will see that the winners are deserving people honoured for their contribution to society and not how much they have parted with.”
Alistair Soyode, the CEO of BEN TV added: “Given that many of the recipients are likely to be honoured in both ceremonies, merging them is a logical step to take. On the night, we are hoping to have one big party which will be remembered for a long time to come.”
Due to be signed at the Nigerian high commission in central London on Wednesday May 28 at 12 noon, the agreement will be witnessed by the high commissioner himself Dr Dalhatu Tafida. Once signed, it will commit both parties to combining their list of nominees.
Dayo Olomu, the chairman of the programmes sub-committee, said it will be a night of endless entertainment, with the gala dinner involving stand-up comedy from the likes of Wale Gates and President Obonjo as well as performances from singers like Carol Jiani. He added that the committee has fixed the price of standard tickets at £50 and those of VIP tickets at £75 and with these low prices, the event is expected to be sold out.