The most popular youth award in Nigeria is arguably The Future Awards which was founded by the duo of Chude Jideonwo and Adebola Williams in 2005 while the former was a law undergraduate at the University of Lagos.
At the time, the image of Nigeria globally was at an all-time low as internet fraudsters popularly known as Yahoo boys greatly battered the nation’s image with the ‘Giant of Africa’ being the butt of cruel international jokes.
The aim of the awards at face value was to showcase the positive activities of Nigerian youths both at home and in the Diaspora in different fields ranging from information technology to science, law, journalism, leadership, civil society, science, music etc between the ages of 18 to 31.
It became a hit as many upwardly mobile youths looked forward to being honoured by the platform with many media heavyweights most notably Dr. Reuben Abati, Ex Chairman Editorial Board of Guardian and former Presidential Spokesman, Eromo Egbejule, currently Africa Editor of Al Jazeera amongst many others openly identifying with it.
It is necessary however in the national interest to take a critical look at it so that the public is left to judge in an unbiased manner whether what they stand for is really in sync with our national values.
The World Bank described it as the ‘Nobel Prize for Young Nigerians’. This is rather worrisome as the Bretton Woods Institution is notoriously known for implementing anti-people economic policies in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and other third-world nations around the world. Its endorsement of the awards is rather suspicious given its ruinous antecedents.
Another worrisome fact is the open support of the gay rights agenda by one of its founding duo – Chude Jideonwo. When the Nigerian Senate in 2014 bravely passed the anti-same-sex marriage bill and the then President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan gave his presidential assent, he wrote an article captioned ‘Why the anti-gay bill sickens me’ and strategically posted it on the world’s largest media supporter of all liberal causes including gay rights – CNN. He has gone further to grant numerous interviews which are available on YouTube where he openly expressed his support for gay rights. He has even said that if he is elected President of Nigeria, one of his first acts in office would be to repeal the anti-same-sex marriage bill which is not only a good law as it is compatible with justice, equity, and good conscience but is also autochthonous to the Nigerian people.
I have always been suspicious about the activities of the various international ‘development’ agencies in Nigeria that one is forced to ask a critical question: Are they developing or destroying the continent? When that bill was passed the Head of the Mac Arthur Foundation in Nigeria, Professor Kole Shettima roundly criticized it. Even Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka who is supposed to be a cultural icon blasted the noble and brave Senators asking them to go back to school for legislating on what two consenting adults should do in their bedrooms forgetting that the law was a brazen assault on our Sovereignty and a surreptitious cultural imperialistic agenda antithetical to the well-being of the country.
During the struggle for democracy under military rule, the various international donor agencies heavily funded the activities of the then-pro-democracy activists. Was it for nothing that they doled out millions of dollars to the struggle, especially for that of June 12? Of course, not as there is no free lunch. The reason was that it was going to be easy in a democracy to push their odious liberal agendas because of the presence of a legislature and the metamorphosis of their erstwhile pro-democracy allies who had become politicians.
The trick is to prop up a black man, empower him with crumbs and make him believe that he is wealthy, and use him to push agendas that will eventually destroy his country and by implication the minion. They promote a seemingly good cause but use it to back a destructive one as the behind the scene low hanging fruit.
Tragically, this is what The Future Awards represents. So brazen is Jideonwo’s promotion of homosexuality under the guise of human rights that he regularly preaches in favour of it on the sacred pulpits in various churches, especially the pentecostal. So aghast was a particular member of his church – a popular new-generation church in Lagos, that the family man vowed to permanently stop attending services there if the authorities didn’t stop him from preaching in support of it there.
In a decent country especially one where there’s a legislation criminalizing homosexuality which is in the public interest, he ought to be stopped from publicly stoking the fires in its backing. His widely read media platform – Y Naija has a sexuality column that is subtly used to spark conversations around homosexuality with the view to getting Nigerians especially the youths to gradually buy into it as a normal behaviour.
It is high time awards are regulated in Nigeria as the concept has been grossly abused.
In the public interest, I humbly propose that The Future Awards be permanently banned as its hidden agenda is in conflict with the laws of the land.
Tony Ademiluyi is the Director, Media & Publicity West Africa for Christian Voice UK and is a contributing writer for the Project for Human Development. He can be reached on +2348167677075.
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