NIGERIANS in the UK organised the biggest and classiest diasporan event over the weekend when they put together the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK in conjunction with Ben Television during which 100 outstanding citizens were honoured.
Attended by the Nigerian high commissioner to the UK Dr Dalhatu Tafida, the event took place at Waltham Forest Town Hall in east London. On the night, 100 Nigerians in the UK who had contributed to both countries, received plaques and certificates in appreciation of their service to society.
Nigerian high commissioner to the UK Dr Dalhatu Tafida
Laced with entertainment from musicians like Jahmain King, Sona and Deoba Authentic, the event MC’ed by Dayo Olomu and Priscilla Nwikpo, also featured a performance from stand-up comedian Wale Gates. Guests were also treated a full cuisine of Nigerian food that included pounded yam, jollof rice, moi-moi, yam porridge and delicacies like suya and asun, while Nigerian drinks like Gulder, Ultimalt, Guinness and Star, provided by sponsors Kato Enterprises, were also supplied in abundance.
Among the recipients on the night were Ben Television’s chairman Dr Alistair Soyode, Victor Olisa, the current borough commander of Haringey; Nwabueze Nwokolo, the chairman of the Black Solicitors Network and Helen Duke, the proprieties of Mama Calabar restaurant. Councillor Chris Robbins, the leader of Waltham Forest Council was among the dignitaries who handed out awards on the night as were all the ministers from the Nigerian high commission.
Ben Television’s chairman Dr Alistair Soyode
Ronke Udofia, the chairman of the awards sub-committee said: “Members of the organising committee in collaboration with our partners Ben TV, shared a vision and worked hard together for about seven months to put this together. It is unlikely we will see another 100 hundred years but we have created a legacy that will be available in another 100 years.”
Dr Soyode added: “As an awardee, I am deeply honoured to be recognised as one of the outstanding Nigerians in the UK over the last 100 years and I am sure all the other 99 feel likewise. Nigerians in the UK have made great strides over the last century and it is humbling and gratifying to be recognised by our own people.”
Tokunbo Balogun, the son of Tesilim “Thunder” Balogun, the first ever Nigerian to play professional football in the UK, who accepted a post-humus award on behalf of his late father, said he was also honoured. He added: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the organising committee of the Nigerian Centenary Award UK 2014 for their exceptional contributions in making the ceremony a great success.
“I truly value your commitment and hope you recognise, as I do, the valuable role you play in encouraging and building brighter futures for Nigeria’s next generation. My sincere appreciation also goes to the Nigerian people that nominated and voted continuously breathing life into the legacy of my father Tesilim Thunder Balogun.”
Kate Anolue, the vice chairman of the Nigerian Centenary Awards UK organising committee, who was also a recipient, honoured for her role as the former mayor of Enfield, said the success of the event made up for seven months hard work in planning it. She added that the committee will be producing official pictures of the event, which recipients will be able to procure at a small cost.