Saturday, 6 February 2010

The Future is here

After four months of intense awareness campaigns, the fifth edition of the yearly The Future Awards will hold today at the MUSON Centre, Lagos. Keynote will be given by Managing Director of the World Bank, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
“It’s been an intense journey,” said the event’s Operations Director, Adebola Williams. “Together with our partner, HiTV, we’ve visited at least eight states, gone to three other countries, met everyone, high and low; reached millions of young Nigerians over a four-month period. It’s been an incredible experience”.
The nominees include young Nigerians scientists, journalists, musicians, actors, producers, designers, events organisers, models, professionals and entrepreneurs, with age range between 18 to 31.
The nominees for Young Person of the Year -- biggest of the 20 categories -- are Tolu Ogunlesi, journalist, musician Asa, music producer Cobhams Asuquo, malaria researcher Ify Aniebo, youth advocate Toyosi Akerele, movie producer Stephanie Okereke, dance professional Qudus Onikeku and broadcaster, IK Osakioduwa.
All the award winners will be unveiled today at the event to be hosted by Naeto C, one of the country’s hottest acts, and former Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Munachi Abi.
To be headlined by Asa, details of other performances will be revealed at the event.
“What happens would be a pleasant surprise; and we are playing around with such exciting themes. Everybody that comes would surely have a wonderful time,” Williams said.
“The content team features some of the brightest young people and it has been meeting every week since September last year, tying all the loose ends. We are committed to exacting standards in all areas on that day.”
“We will be presenting to the world, the brightest and best young Nigerians in the past year. It will be an absolutely inspiring night!” Williams said.
The official media partner for the event is Nigezie.
Williams said more information on The Future Awards 2010 and The Future Project is on the website

Tolu Ogunlesi
Toluwalope Oluwagbemiga Ogunlesi, 27, is a journalist and creative writer. He is one of the editors of a Nigerian newspaper (NEXT). He won the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards (Art & Culture) last year.
In the past year, he was Guest Writer at the African Literature Week, Oslo, Norway, November 16 to 21, 2009; a finalist of the Inaugural PEN/Studzinski Literary Award, was 2009 Cadbury Visiting Fellow, Center for West African Studies, University of Birmingham (April to May 2009); 2008 Guest Writer, Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden (September – November 2008). He was Contributing Editor for Glide and Wings, the inflight magazines of Nigerian Eagle and Arik airlines respectively, and became a monthly columnist for 3 Quarks Daily and MADE Magazine. His writing has been published in Wasafiri, The UK Independent, TELL magazine, Words, Publishing Perspectives, New Routes, New Writing from Africa 2009 etc. He has been invited as a Guest Writer to the 2010 Gothenburg Book Fair, Sweden.

Ify Aniebo
Born in 1983, Ify is currently working hard on finding a vaccine for malaria while studying for a Ph.D at Oxford University. She was the youngest person, the only black person and the only Nigerian in the Wellcome-Oxford-WHO unit in Thailand and in the Malaria Department at the Sanger Institute in Cambridge. In the past year, she has conducted Clinical Research in Thailand, done Field work in the Thai-Laos Border, presented at the 21st World Malaria conference in Mae sot and the Genome conference in Cambridge, collaborated with research unit in Rwanda after working on Plasmodium Falciparum strains from Rwanda; and as charity, distributed parasite impregnated bed nets to children in the age 2 -8 at a motherless children’s home in Bangkok. Next year she plans to carry out research and field work in Nigeria (Ilorin), Mozambique, Kenya and Rwanda. Her commitment to the search for a malaria cure has led her to carry out her research at the Oxford University, The Sanger institute in Cambridge, and the Wellcome-Oxford-WHO unit in Bangkok, Thailand. She is also planning to start a health magazine to fill the information gap, specifically for Nigerians/Africans.

Stephanie Okereke
The actress and movie producer, director and scriptwriter is 29 years old. Not content to be a celebrated actress, she produced and directed a movie, Through the Glass, in Nigeria and Carlifornia. Within one week in Nigeria, the film set a record with more than N10 million at box office. In the past year, her greatest achievement would probably be partnering with Linus Idahosa to develop DEL YORK International and; bringing famous New York Film Academy to Nigeria She is an AfriPRO Houston Image Award Honoree, an AMAA Awards 2009 nominee, and was also given the Nollywood Outstanding Personality Award as well as the California Legislature Assembly Award of Recognition. Stephanie is also a celebrity ambassador for the Nigerian Red Cross and also campaigned for the UN at the anti-rape campaign in Liberia and the VVF campaign in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.

Qudus Onikeku
THE 28 year old Onikeku has been performing and teaching dance and choreography across the world-- from New York to Sao Paolo, Brazil. This year, against all odds, he organized the ewaBamijo festival as a platform for dancers and enthusiasts from across the nation to showcase their talents and skills. Organised in partnership with the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos, the festival is on its way to becoming a bi-annual international festival. In the past year, Qudus took a contemporary dance to unconventional spaces, contributing to development of local initiatives. The collective, which had the support of Prince Claus Fund, in The Netherlands, carried out interventions in public spaces in Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya and Cameroun, along with a video artist, a photographer and a sound technician. The result was a documentary screened in Lagos, Massachusetts, Kinshasa, Chigago and participated in the 24hours24Artist online festival, in Texas. It was screened for the first time in Brazil at Espaço Matilha, in São Paulo, Brazil on June 8. After the screening, Qudus took part in a debate with the audience, which included members of CNAC (Centre Nacional des Arts du Cirque), of the hip hop community and musicians like Simone Sou, with whom Qudus performed an intervention in the centre of São Paulo, on June 13. The partnership resulted in two performances. One was in front of Galeria do Rock, near Largo Paissandu, and the other at Viaduto do Chá.

Toyosi Akerele
Winner of the Best Use of Advocacy award two years ago, the 28-year old Toyosi runs Rise Networks, which has positioned itself as a prominent youth engagement network in the country. The highlight is the Dare to Be Different Interactive Youth Centre, which held in Lagos, with over 5000 guests and attracted dignitaries, including the Minister for Information and Communications and the Central Bank Governor. She also held it in five other states with a choice of A-list speakers, drawing crowds everywhere she went. She is easily leading an army of thousands of young people with her message of inspiration and motivation. Currently undertaking a course at the Pan African University, she also runs the Rise Business Academy as well as the Rise Printing Company, which boasts of an impressive clientele base.

Ikponmwosa Osakioduwa
Born May 21 1979, IK, formerly known as Wildchild, has been on a steady rise as a TV personality. In the past year, he has continued his job on the morning drive of Rhythm Fm in Lagos and as Head of Programmes with the station. He has also been a presenter on Studio 53 and on Comedy Club Live in Lagos. Last year, he was host of the reality show Big Brother Africa: The Revolution, relocating for months to South Africa to handle the show. He has also hosted events for the Nigeria LNG and Silverbird Group among others.

Cobhams E. Asuquo
The 29-year old Cobhams is a song writer/music producer, who won the Nigerian Music Awards (NMA) in 2008. He was also Music Producer of the Year 2009 at The Future Awards. In the past year, he remained one of the most sought after producers. He has also been a prominent live performer at concerts and shows across the country. His company, CAMP, is a very well equipped music production studio. This year unveiled new talent that he intends to produce and promote. These include Lara and Bez.

Bukola Elemide known as ‘Asa’ was born September 1982 in Paris (France). She is Nigeria’s biggest music export at the moment, apart from Fela Anikulapo Kuti and his son Femi, performing across the continents of the world. Her first album remains a strong force and she has released at least two singles this past year. On November 16, 2008, she was awarded the 2008 Prix Constantin — France’s equivalent of the Mercury and Choice prizes. She has also opened shows for Akon, John Legend, Beyoncé and Snoop Dogg amongst others. Asa’s music crosses all frontiers, not just geographical, but also those of the heart and soul.

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