Bryth Nzennwa is the African business strategist for the African Achievers Awards and in this interview with Solomon Nda-Isaiah and Blessing Ukemena he speaks on the awards coming up next month.
Tell us about the awards?
This is an award event for appreciation people of Africa. Like some will say, there are heroes of the past that has impacted our continent but we are looking at awarding the present people that are making impact in our continent because when you celebrate the present you are appreciating the future. A group of young people living here in Nigeria and in the UK came together and decided its time to start appreciating and celebrating people of African origin that are making impact in Africa. This is the second edition of the awards, the first of the award was held in February 2012 in the UK and the second one will come up in Nairobi, Kenya on the 23rd of February. Right now the nominations are going on online, we have different nominations for different categories, entertainment, gender business, virtually every area in the African life is included.
How do you pick your nominees and how do you know if they have impacted people in Africa?
We carry out a lot of research on these nominees and then people go on the internet to suggest those that can be nominated. We are covering about six countries from which we pick our nominees, through the nomination online we are spreading further to other countries and we are still looking for more such nominations from other countries and the nominations will close on December 31st so there is room for people to suggest those that they want to nominate.
What challenges that you have had to overcome in organizing the awards?
The first one is that of acceptance, people believe more in experience than in something new. They consider new things as a kind of experiment but with time it becomes more interesting. We are expecting more corporate organiations to buy into our idea and support. That is our challenge so far although the response has been better this year than last year. This events is sure to hold but we wabt to get to a certain standard and that is why we would like these corporate organisations to partner with us. For example, our research team has to travel to various countries for research and interviews with the nominees, it cost something and there is an extent we can go with our personal finace but the thing is that we are very passionate about what we do so this event will certainly hold.
So you are saying you are an events person?
Well yes I am. We just finished the Nigerian radio awards and then we did the Achievers awards last year so we do have the experience it takes for international events. It has helped to shapen our ideas and concepts on what we are doing.
What are the standards for the nomination?
The standards are online, you can visit the site and check for it. There are some honorary categories for specific persons and they are about four persons for this awards one of which is Jonathan Lukeman of OPEC. We want to appreciate him for representing Africa in OPEC. Our most concern is promoting the heroes of today but also the impact that a person makes on his roots, the people of his origin. It can be from leadership , entertainment, and all works of life. They are categorise for presidents, corruption, mother of the year, young person of the year.
What other message are you trying to pass across to the world with this awards? - well we have been having lectures on this. And the theme for this year is that the future is Africa. One in Africa and one in the UK over the next one year. We want to move away from being a third world continent to a developed continent. We want to tell the world that Africa is the place to be because what ever you want to find in life you can also get in Africa. We have people making things happen that are of African origin so why are we third world? They are even present in the US government. We need to look at ourselves and appreciate what we have as a people. The more you celebrate people the more encourages they are to do good and even others are inspired to follow in their steps. That is one message we are trying to pass across with the awards.