For Nollywood stars like Muyiwa Ademola, Tope Tedela, Chelsea Eze, Jibola Daboh and Mimi Orjiekwe, among others, their visit to Akure, the Ondo State capital, on Sunday, October 4, 2015, was an eye-opening and heartwarming experience. That was the day they stormed the state capital to read and inspire students from secondary schools around the state as part of the Best of Nollywood Awards Celebrity Reading, a precursor to the BON Awards holding in December. This year’s BON Awards is sponsored by the Ondo State government.
Held inside the expansive hall of the St. James Caring Heart Mega School, Akure, students, teachers and parents filled the hall to catch a glimpse of the Nollywood stars. And they were not disappointed. Neither were the students for whom the event held. Equally exciting for the students was the presence of the first lady of the state, Mrs Kemi Mimiko who partook in the reading with the stars and select students. The book of choice was the bestselling Half of A Yellow Sun authored by Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie.
During the mentoring session, the avuncular Jibola Daboh, a star of many home videos, advised the students to make their education top priority, saying, “Without education, you cannot be anything. You must learn and learn and just keep learning. Many of us are successful today because we chose education.”
Likewise, Bidemi Kosoko, winner of the 2011 BON Most Promising Act Award, advocated that only education and focus can take one to the zenith of his career. Bidemi is the daughter of legendary actor, Jide Kosoko. While responding to a question about what it takes to be a successful actor, Ademola, the second highest recipient of the BON Awards since inception, beaten only by Kunle Afolayan, declared that education and training are the major ingredients to soar as an actor. He cited his own example. “I was already a star after my first movie but I knew something was missing which was education and I decided to go back to the University of Ibadan where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree. I am a better person and a better actor now.”
The First Lady lauded the organisers of the awards for the initiative, saying it would go a long way in shaping the perception of the students about life. “Even I have been inspired hearing from the celebrities here; I believe our students would leave here today better than they came.”
The executive producer, BON Awards, Seun Oloketuyi, said, “The celebrity reading session with secondary school students is the first of a variety of activities preceding the BON Awards proper in December. I am happy at the turnout today and it underscores how much the state government is willing to go to ensure that we have a BON Awards to relish and remember.”