Caption (Lord 2): Winners of 2021 Lord’s Achievers Award: Debo Adebayo (creative art); Chioma Fakorede (Community Service); Moyosola Kara (Professional); Henrihi Bankole Akomolafe (Business); Lehle Balde, (Media); Michael Sunbola (Social Impact) and Victor Boyle Komolafe (Innovation)
Resilience, perseverance, distinction, and vibrancy are some traits that make up the Nigerian spirit. Despite the stereotypes existing even within Africa about the Nigerian man, one cannot deny the Nigerian spirit.
Easily identifiable, to be Nigerian means to excel amidst chaos; it means to go beyond the prevailing circumstance to create a reality out of nothing. It means to be aware that the walls of society should not be a determining factor for excellence.
Like other parts of the world and within sectors, there are several ways that the audaciousness of people who are ensuring that their country’s names are on the world map​ are celebrated. It is for these people who are putting their all on the frontline that awards are created.
But awards have also come under scrutiny in the public’s eyes in recent times. What do I mean?
Awards are meant to be an appreciation and recognition of the goodwill done by individuals or corporations for the common good of humanity. However, in recent times, we have started to see people of questionable character get rewarded.
For instance, there have been occasions in and outside the country where people who are involved in illicit activities are awarded by an organiser, thereby bringing the organiser to disrepute.
From the criteria used to select nominees to the train wreck caused by the questionable values of said nominees, the lustre surrounding awards has been depreciating.
This is where the Lord’s Achievers Awards come in. The Lord’s Achievers Awards, organised by Nigeria’s premium spirit brand, Lord’s London Dry Gin, seems to have identified the problem and offered a solution.
Since its inception in 2019, the awards have celebrated the Nigerian spirit vis-à-vis distinguished persons who have championed innovation that is useful to humanity and society and ideas that will last generations. Celebrating confident displays from the creative arts, finance, and tech to social impact, it is clear that Lord’s Gin is saying that the mess in the awards space will be theirs to correct.
Obinna Ike, Director of Marketing and Innovation at Grand Oak Limited, asserts that the individuals between the ages of 25-40, being recognised, have the Lord’s Gins’ DNA – Distinct, Unique, Inspiring, Vibrant and Young- embedded in them. True to his words, those that have been honoured have excellently delivered solutions, ensured the positive impact of their actions on the end-user; executed robust plans in the face of barriers, and stayed unflinching in the face of challenges, as they go about charging unfamiliar territories.
The selection process to qualify to be recognised appears to be thorough with no room for errors or doubt.
After names are submitted by neutral individuals and when some appear to be recurring, the Council of Lords- an eight-man executive jury of marketing agency experts, business professionals, and social impact advisors, meet to examine and determine a shortlist of final nominees to go through a rigorous distilling process to choose final nominees. This way, the rumour of preselected choices is dispelled.
Sustainability is one major challenge most awards face but being a breath of fresh air and because of its unique proposition, the Lord’s Achievers Awards seem to have a built-to-last structure.
Obinna Ike says that the awards ceremony has been strategically planned to be a long-term initiative with an inbuilt sustainable process. “To ensure it continues in its journey to recognise deserving youth, we are exploring partnerships with different organisations across the board who espouse similar values and understand the importance of this recognition platform.”
While this is a good plan, we must recognise that financial constraints are the Achilles’ heels of most award shows in Nigeria. About this, Ike says, “The financial cost of the awards is variable but it is a significant investment we are willing to undertake because we fully believe in the importance of hosting the recognition platform for Nigerian youths. Our return on investment is the opportunity to inspire youths across the nation to believe in their dreams, and strive to achieve said goals, resulting in a domino effect of impactful contributions to the community. This knowledge provides the measure of satisfaction needed.”
What the Lord’s Gin has started with the Achievers Awards is great but expectations are now even higher because of the high bar it has set in distinguishing itself from the class of other awards. It is the hope of many that if the spirit of ingenuity and discipline in the selection process is maintained, then the Lord’s Achievers Awards is here to stay for a long time.
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