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The Lord’s Achievers Awards: Where do they stand in the grand scheme of things?

A deep dive into LAA's push to become the vanguard of Nigerian excellence.

Guests at the Lord' Achievers Award organised by Lord's London Dry Gin held in  honour of outstanding  innovators in Lagos

In 2019, Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, called the world’s attention to Africa’s position as the youngest continent. The philanthropist advised Nigeria’s government and leaders to focus on developing the country’s human capacity and its youth population.

Thankfully, his advice didn’t fall on deaf ears as, soon enough, the Lord’s Achievers Awards was born, in recognition of the brilliance and resilience of Nigerian youths.

Spearheaded by the premium Lord’s London Dry Gin, this achievers’ award system has continually focused on identifying and dignifying successful men and women with the recognition they deserve.

If they are within 25-40 years of age, inspirational, distinct and have unapologetically demonstrated that Nigerian streak of dogged determination to make something out of nothing, the Lord’s Achievers Awards’ mandate is to let them know that they are seen and that their go-getting attitude is appreciated.

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According to Obinna Ike, Director of Marketing and Innovation at Grand Oak Limited, the parent company of Lord’s Dry Gin; “the Lord’s Achievers Awards was established in 2019 to celebrate and recognise individuals who, through great strength and tenacity, have achieved significant strides in their fields of endeavours.”

Since the inaugural edition, winners have included Funfere Koroye of Nupe Project in the Innovation category [2019]; Nkemdilim Begho, Founder of Future Software Resources Ltd in the Tech category [2019]; Piggyvest’s Odunayo Eweniyi, Somto Ifezue and Joshua Chibueze in the Tech Category [2020]; Segun Awosanya aka Segalink in the Social Impact Category [2020]; Jola Ayeye and John Adewusi of Salt & Truth TV in the Media category [2020]; Debo Adedayo aka Mr Macaroni for Creative Arts [2021], and Chinonso Egemba, popularly known as Aproko Doctor in the health category [2021] amongst many others.

The Lord’s Achievers Award 2022

Building on the work of the past three years, the awards came back for a 4th edition in March 2022.

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The agenda was the same: decorate young Nigerians making waves within and outside Nigeria, celebrate those who have bucked the ‘corrupt Nigerian’ trend, those who have proven the ‘lazy Nigerian youth’ stigma to be misplaced, and those who have made an impact in their chosen fields.

Themed ‘The Bold and Audacious,’ this year’s edition was meant to celebrate “the Nigerian youth that lives and radiates the Lord’s Gin DNA inspiring, vibrant and young,” Ike says.

After expanding the categories “to accommodate more sectors and celebrate more young Nigerians doing great work,” there were 10 categories which included Agriculture and Literature amongst others.

Winners from the event include Tosin Olaseinde of Money Africa; Bukola Bolarinwa of Haima Health, Jennifer Onyebuagu and a host of others. See the full list of winners here.

How important and/or impactful is this in the grand scheme of things?

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To begin with, it is likely that if you do not belong to the field in which the people listed above — the awards call them ‘Achievers’ — play in, you’ll probably not know them. Heck, you may not have heard about them even though you’re in their profession!

Actually, there lies the issue and by extension, one reason why awards like these make sense.

By setting up an umbrella system under which excellence is sniffed out even from the most hidden places and publicly celebrated like this, the Lord’s Achievers Awards can, at least, be proud of itself for daring to celebrate those whose efforts may not be recognised otherwise.

As Ike explains, the Lord's Dry Gin is proud to be involved with this annual awards event because it is a “recognition-based platform and not a popularity competition as some others; so the honorees who go through rigorous selection processes are those truly deserving of the title of a Lord’s Achiever.”

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It is a common thing to see Nigerian people, efforts and things belittled in Nigeria until outsiders — especially people in the west — celebrate those things.

Think of the nascent days of Afrobeat when Keke and D1 of PrimeTime Africa would travel to the Grammys for Naija music’s cause. Their efforts were mocked by individuals who chose to focus on the fact that they couldn’t access the main Grammys event itself, but the groundwork they did in those early days gave Afrobeat an important foothold for the push to global dominance we are witnessing now.

Consideration of The Future Awards and Pulse NG’s recent introduction of its Influencer Awards lends further credence to the importance of the Lord’s Achievers Awards.

In the case of Pulse’s awards, inaugurated only in 2021, a peculiar vacuum was filled and extra spotlight was put on the marvelous work being done in Nigeria’s influencer community. Influencers are typically not hidden from the public’s view. But were they celebrated [enough]?

Now think of that in a broader scope, one which covers different walks of life… that’s what the Lord’s Achievers Award stands for; that’s what they do. And it is something that they and their sponsors, Lord’s Dry Gin, can hold their heads high for.

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The acknowledgement and premium that the Lord’s Achievers Award places on those it decorates annually are not only great in that winners must feel seen and validated; but also because it will serve as fuel for them and others looking on, to do more. It is only normal for motivation to rise when there is a reward for doing a thing.

Also, creators and innovators know that when you do well enough, people will take note but every one of them will also tell you how difficult it is to keep pushing till that point. By choosing to spot them and decorate them here at home rather than waiting for ‘outsiders’ to validate them for us, the Lord’s Achievers Award and Lord’s London Dry Gin have positioned themselves as a vanguard of Nigerian excellence. This writer hopes they lead the charge and bear that torch for long.

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