A RECENT survey in the United States revealed that Nigerians make up 30 per cent of the total number of foreign professionals working in the country. The implication is that Nigerians, who are in the professional cadre in America, are outnumbering most Europeans and Asian nationals. To recognize and reward these professionals, the Apex Ambassador Award has been initiated to celebrate Nigerians in the Diaspora, who have excelled in their various professions. Initiator of the award, Maria-Anthonette West-Osemwegie, spoke to OYINDAMOLA LAWAL on her project.
Apex Ambassador Award
It is an award that seeks out, appreciates and celebrates outstanding Nigerians and organisations owned by Nigerians in the Diaspora.
What does the award hope to achieve?
It hopes to correct the negative perception of Nigerians abroad and to prove to the world that Nigerians are indeed contributing positively to global growth and general well being.
Why the award?
Over the years, Nigerians abroad have been portrayed in bad light. Headlines are made on issues of drug peddling, human trafficking and fraud, if it involves a Nigerian. Meanwhile, many Nigerians in the Diaspora are contributing immensely to their countries of residence. Most times, when a Nigerian breaks a record, the individual’s Nigerian origin is mentioned. Their resident country usually takes all the accolades while the individual and his or her country of origin is left for the public to figure out. This award aims to correct all that.
How is AAA different from other awards?
It is the first of its kind that will appreciate individuals and celebrate our country, Nigeria. The award will go beyond the ceremony, as it would involve both local and international media and at the end produce a TV documentary on outstanding Nigerians in the Diaspora, which will be aired on various local and international TV stations.
Are you collaborating or partnering with any group?
We are planning of collaborating with some government and non-governmental agencies. We’re very open, as the project is huge; therefore, collaboration at different levels is definitely necessary in order to achieve an impeccable status.
Brain behind the award
Well, the initiator of the award is Maria-Anthonette West-Osemwegie of Trannes-Formme. But, she’s definitely not the one giving out the award.
What’s Trannes-Formme all about?
It is a relatively new outfit. We’re into concept development, business networking, event management and coordination. Concept development is our integral function — ideas rule the world.
The selection process
The selection process is going to be in stages. The project research team and award will sort and determine the names of proposed awardees,check out their performances and categorise their fields. The public will then decide on who gets the award. It will be made available to the public to vote online and via text messages from around the world.
Criteria for qualification
The criteria for qualification are quite straightforward. The individual must have performed exceptionally in his or her field of endeavour; excel or set a record in their country of residence and the world at large.