Back                                                       Report on The award Event
The Nigerian Voice newspaper, Western Union, Skye Bank Nigeria and Diamond Bank Nigeria jointly hosted a gala dinner and community excellence award in celebration of Nigeria's 53rd independence anniversary on Friday 4th October 2013 at the Midrand Conference Centre in Midrand area of Johannesburg, South Africa. The event was also the occasion of the newspaper first year anniversary in which many Nigerians and South Africans were honored with various categories of Nigerian community excellence awards.

The event was chaired by the Nigerian High Commissioner to South Africa, Ambassador Samuel Sunday Yusuf, also attracted an A-list of senior officials from Nigeria's missions in South Africa, business executives from corporate South Africa. The media was also represented by the crew of Planet Image Productions' Good Morning Africa and Planet Radio TV-PRTV, Southern African Bureau Chiefs of News Agency of Nigeria-NANS and Voice of Nigeria-VON. Members of Nigerian associations and related groups also graced the occasion. Among them were the Nigerian Doctors' Forum and United Nigerian Wives Association.

The event was anchored by versatile communication and entertainment specialist, Mega 'D' Abodedele who added oratory brilliance to the night from the podium. In the opening speech of the Publisher/CEO of The Nigerian Voice Newspaper, Mr. Olaniyi Thevoice Abodedele, he thanked everyone for coming and specifically asked for a standing ovation for Western Union, Skye Bank and Diamond bank Nigeria because of the part they played in sponsoring the event, and for identifying with an event which truly represents the Nigerian Community positively. He further went on to state that “Western Union discovered the role being played by the newspaper for the Nigerian Community and they have partnered with us to celebrate Nigeria in South Africa”. Stating further, the publisher announced that “this is the beginning of a good working relationship between Western Union, Skye Bank & Diamond Bank Nigeria, as the best is still yet to come”.

The Nigerian High Commissioner who was represented by his Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Cobams said in his speech, “I congratulate the organizers of this event who have represented Nigeria very well, we are proud of you and what you've done to represent us positively, I call for unity amongst every Nigerian in South Africa and Nigerians must carry themselves in a way that will speak positively of Nigeria”. He further went on to state “Today is not a day of speech, but a day to relax and mix with one another, a day to see the best of Nigeria's culture and entertainment”.

The Head of Western Union Delegation, Mr. Goldman Nsherenguzi, who is the Senior Marketing Manager, Southern and East Africa, stated in his speech, “it is an absolute honor for Western Union to be part of Nigeria's 53rd Independence Anniversary celebrations. We recognize this as a special day in the lives of all Nigerians, wherever on the continent they may be, and we want you to know that Western Union is a proud supporter of this prestigious event”.

“With our partners, Skye Bank and Diamond Bank of Nigeria, Western Union is pleased to sponsor this event and acknowledges that we have a role to play in the Nigerian community. It is through such an important event as this that we get to demonstrate our commitment to the Nigerian community and the Nigerian Diaspora”.

He further stated “we would also like to congratulate the Nigerian Voice Newspaper for a successful first year of operation. To them we say Happy Birthday and we hope to grow our relationship with them for many more years to come”.

Moving further, Mr. Goldman continued “this celebration both encompasses Nigeria's successes and epitomizes the Western Union story across the continent: economic growth, business creation, entrepreneurship and individual accomplishment and above all - community and family. At Western Union, we have been privileged enough to witness the strength of character of those individuals who have left their families and homes behind to carve out a better future for themselves and their families back at home”.

To further emphasis the role of Western Union in Nigeria and to Nigerians,  he stated “in Nigeria alone we have more than 4800 locations represented by a majority of Nigeria's banks”. “More recently, Mobile Money Transfer (MMT) was introduced, offering Nigerian consumers the choice to receive transferred funds via their mobile wallets. We have partnered with both Virtual Terminal Network (VTN) and e-tranzact on this front - these products form the base of Western Union's innovative digital product strategy, which is in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria's drive for Cashless society”.

Stating that the possibilities for the future in Nigeria are bright and strong, “the possibilities for the future in Nigeria are bright and strong. Western Union believes that by continuing to cooperate with partners and regulators, we can make good use of our network in Nigeria to introduce new channels and a broader range of services - ones that provide basic financial services and promote financial inclusion among millions of people who need it in order to progress in life”.

In conclusion, Mr. Goldman agreed and highlighted that “as a company we recognise the importance of remittances for economic development and believe the part we play in this industry can be a source of tremendous good throughout Nigeria”.

He opinionated that “in Nigeria, we have found that regular support, education, investment and gifting are the top four reasons to receive money from family and loved ones abroad. This is an indication of the dedication and hard work of the Nigerian people to continually improve their own circumstances and ultimately, that of their country.  This is an example of you Nigerians in the Diaspora.

As part of activities marking the Nigerian independence anniversary, Mr. Wale Ojetimi of NANS and Mrs. Dianna Games both presented insightful papers on 'Presence of Nigerians in South Africa, Positive or Negative?

While guests were relishing variety of Nigerian popular dishes, many South-African based Nigerian artistes were on hand to entertain them with genres of contemporary African music.  Upcoming hip-hop youngster, Morf performed his popular number 'let me take you to Nigeria' to the delight of the audience and Ollysax, the saxophone master wowed the guest and made an impact with his musical dexterity with the horn. Leigh Harmony once again proved why he is one of the best Nigerian hip hop artistes based in Johannesburg with his hit track ‘Ajo’. P-Skrilla also took the breath out of the ladies with his looks, physic and RnB tracks as he got the ladies screaming. The Nigerian Female sensation Lucci Gucci made a big impact by raising the bar and proving to the male artistes that what a man can do, a woman can do better. Themba, son of Yvonne Chaka Chaka raised the bar with the performance of 'Southgeria'- a fusion of South and Nigeria.

The surprise attraction of the day was when the event came to a standstill when the popular, colorful and famous Eyo Masquerade of Lagos state was displayed to the guest. Everyone struggled to get a glimpse and photograph of the masquerade.

The climax of the night was the presentation of the Nigerian Community Awards presentation to different category of winners. Nine categories of the awards were keenly contested by eminent Nigerians and Nigerian business organizations as well as some South African citizens and corporate organizations. This culminated in the cutting of the Nigerian Voice Newspaper first year anniversary and Nigeria's 53rd birthday cake by members of the editorial team, head of Western Union delegation as well as Mr. Wale Akinlabi who headlined the award.