[INTERVIEW] CEO, Gabriel A. Coker, on Nigerian Recognition & Merit Awards 2013, London
The Nigerian Recognition and Merit Awards (2013) is an annual event that celebrates Nigerians in Diaspora all over the world. CEO of NRMA, Gabriel Adegboyega Coker, sheds some light on the grand event to be held in London.
Can you briefly tell us about yourself and how you came to be CEO of NRMA ?
I became the CEO of NRMA 3 YEARS ago, not only because the initial idea and proposal to have a central body recognizing Nigerians in the UK was mine. I submitted a proposal to the Nigeria High Commission UK, a team of highly qualified Nigerians was put together to plan and put in place an award and recognition ceremony of international standards which will be at the same level as the Oscars or Grammys.
What is the aim of the Nigerian Recognition & Merit Awards?
NRMA is working towards an annual awards ceremony to highlight positive Nigerian role models in the UK. The aim is to demonstrate to young Nigerians in the UK the benefits of working hard and positively contributing to UK society.
Furthermore, our aim is to recognize and celebrate achieving Nigerians in the diaspora on an international scale, motivate and inspire the younger generation of Nigerians and lastly show and prove to the international community that Nigerians are hardworking law-abiding people, hence should not be labeled by a few bad eggs that represent less than 5%.
We will therefore showcase achievers in all fields of life e.g. Medicine, Engineering, Banking and Finance, Information Technology, Fashion, Journalism, Entrepreneurs and the creative arts to mention but a few.
We are working in Partnership with the Nigerians in Diaspora Europe (NIDEO) and Central Association of Nigerians in the UK (CANUK).
What are some of the categories and the criteria for nomination?
It varies. Some categories include
- Health Services Award
- Sports Personality Award
- Science & Technology Award
- Public Service Award
- Entrepreneur and Business Personality Award
- International Artist Award
- Fashion designer of the year Award (Traditional)
- TV Personality Award
- Nigerian Restaurant of the year Award
- Young Business Entrepreneur Award
- Achievements through Education Award
- Achievement through Sports Award
And many more! Nominees for the awards could be male or female of Nigerian origin, more or less than 28 years of age. They must have excelled in the areas like education, sports, arts, media or the fashion industry, and they must have done exceptionally well in their area of specialization or have a first class degree/Masters qualification. Ideally, a nominee should be a professional or gainfully employed.
How are winners selected? By vote count or other methods?
NRMA stands for transparency and integrity; members of the public and professional organizations can nominate anyone they believe meets the criteria but the awards committee made up of distinguished and accomplished individuals that were carefully selected will shortlist, while all votes are done via the NRMA website www.nrmawards.com. The voting will be transparent as there will be electronic counters for all categories.
Are nominations open to other countries and/or continents?
Our plan is to have an award for each continent i.e. Nigerian Recognition an Merit Award, Europe, Africa, America, Canada, Australia, etc.
So the awards are mainly for Nigerians in diaspora?
That is correct.
When is the next award ceremony set to take place?
1st Quarter of 2013
And where are these awards to take place annually?
Next year’s ceremony will hold in London, and subsequently in different cities in Europe and around the world.
Are there any categories that celebrate youth initiative or development, or is the ceremony targeted to senior citizens?
We are targeting both senior citizens and the youth; we have youth award categories.
Would you be celebrating any prominent person(s) you can tell us about?
We have the best Local Government Chairman category, as well as anyone the Nigerian electorates believe has served them best.
Any last words?
Any people that do not celebrate or recognize achievers definitely support mediocrity, corruption and inefficiency.
This interview is brought to you by Africa Business Communities