The Civic centre, Agodi, Ibadan Oyo state was the place to be on Friday the 20th of December 2013. The event was the 2013 Oyo State 30Under30 Awards. It was a gathering of the best among the youths of Oyo State under the age of thirty. It was an evening where the next generation of movers and shakers of Oyo State, nay, Nigeria assembled under one roof. It was an evening when ten individuals under the age of 30, pruned down from a list of two hundred and ninety one, after about five weeks of voting, were recognized for their meritorious service and contribution to the changing face of Oyo state. The lucky 10 and the other 20 who made the final nomination list were selected from across a wide range of human endeavour, Advocacy, Creative Arts, Education, Fashion, Media, Sports, Innovation and Technology, etc.
A generation they say is thirty years. Therefore it is heartwarming, not to mention fantastic for the development of Oyo state, to see a group of young people working hard and giving their best for Oyo state in particular and Nigeria in general. In an age where the older generation is quick to glibly dismiss youths as being “too engrossed in the passing fads of nowadays to be able to contribute anything meaningful to national development.” The 30under30 Awards is an appropriate statement that youths can contribute to, and are indeed contributing to the development of Nigeria. More than just the nominees and the awardees it was also nice to see youths in Oyo state displaying so much talent, Wale Waves performance was fantastic, Juwonlo Olorunfemi’s rendition also made good listening to.
The choice of the Olufunmilola Iyanda, (@Funmilola) ace broadcaster and advocate, and CEO of Ignite media as special guest of honour and keynote speaker proved to be a wise one, given that Funmi Iyanda herself is well known for her passion for youth driven development. Kudos also has to be given to the Oyo State commissioner for Youth and Sports, Hon Farouk Umar Alao, and Dr Muyiwa Gbadegesin (@muyiwag), the Oyo State Commissioner for Health, who were also present at the event. The choice of MCs, the elegant and articulate Ronke Giwa of Splash FM 105.5 and Peteru, top rated comedian, and one of the fastest rising talents in Nigeria also proved uncanny as the duo put up a show to remember ensuring the everyone who was at the event had loads of fun and had a night to remember. @peterucomedy had the crowd in stitches throughout, while @RonkeGiwa1’s poise and diction was also worthy of note.
It was a night of meeting old friends and making new ones, it was a night of seeing diligence, passion and innovation rewarded, a night where one came away with the assurance that the changing face of Oyo State is not just a now thing, but that waiting in the wings are guardians of the future who are positioning themselves to take over from the current set of leaders, youths who are using innovation and passion to create the Oyo state we all desire.
Credit must be given to the Think Oyo (@ThinkOyo) team, who put the event together. In a generation where unscrupulous politicians are looting the treasury and using youths as political thugs and cannon fodder, it is pleasing to see a group of youth coming together to “reverse the downturn of events which has hitherto been.” In a generation where Nigerian youths are looking for ways to travel abroad because of the unfavourable socio-economic situation of the country, it is gratifying to see a group of youths who are passionate about Nigeria enough to want to “create platforms for intellectual discourse, discovery and exhibition while creating bridges through networking and public participation.” In a nation where meritocracy in ignored, it is heartening to see that a group of youths have taken it upon themselves to seek out and to honour youths who have distinguished themselves.
To the Think Oyo team, I want to say this is a good start, not a perfect one, but a good start all the same. You have positioned yourselves at the forefront of the change in Oyo state, and posterity will surely give you credit for that. But this must continue and it must get even better. Oyo is the pace setter state, you must continue to lead and to display initiative as you have done. To the award winners, accept my hearty congratulations, you have made us proud, your innovation and initiative has assured us that Oyo State has a bright future ahead of her. But the bar has been set higher now, because to whom a lot is given, much more is expected; you must outdo yourself and get even better at what you are doing. We all have our respective assignments to perform if Oyo State must live up to its slogan of being the Pacesetter State once more.
I drop my pen with the words of no less a personality than Funmi Iyanda herself, from her address at the think Oyo 30under30 awards night, “… you can make your own ending, you can write your own history, start now”
A Full list of the Award Winners at the 30under30 awards 2013
Advocacy- Akinsola Omotola (@TripleOla)
Creative Arts- Oladele Okikiola (@DonOkizle)
Education- Oyeneye Abiola
Entertainment- Adetoun Adekoya
Entrepreneurship- Agboola Seyi
Fashion – Bamgboye Yetunde
Innovation and Technology- Abobarin Tayo (@tayoabobarin)
Media Oke Oluwalonii (@elektra_ihs)
Public service- Oyekan Damilola
Sports- Amoo Oluwakorede