Artistes in Nigeria are often celebrated in many ways for their efforts in sustaining the vibrancy of the entertainment industry. As for Best of Nollywood (BON), they serve as a watchdog for actors and stakeholders in a unique way. In this discussion with Encomium Weekly’s Joshua Shobiye, the producer of BON Awards, Seun Oloketuyi explained what differentiates them from other awards and why this year’s edition will be best ever…
BON Awards sponsorship for some years now came from state governments, why not from other sectors?
The most important part of putting together the Best of Nollywood is that, for seven years, we’ve worked hard to produce the most consistent Nollywood awards in Nigeria. Unfortunately for us, corporate Nigerian has refused to see what we are doing. We’ll keep working at it; hopefully we are close to having one or two companies who have shown interest. You are right in your observation, we’ve not had it smooth with corporate Nigeria, that’s why we have to run to state governments.
What are the criteria that checkmate actors and stakeholders?
Number one is your originality.
Second, the movie must represent Nigeria. I always tell people we are Africans before anything else. Though the world might be moving at a jet speed, as Africans, we have a culture which we must preserve. There are certain things we won’t do which other cultures permit. In our awards, despite the fact that we have some very interesting strong categories, we also have some categories where we are trying to sell our culture. We have a category which we call Movie With The Best Social Message, which is usually given to a movie that carries a cultural social message. We also have a category for Movie With The Best Use of Nigerian Food.
So, what we are trying to do is to sell our culture. We are also trying to ensure that people don’t get carried away by the trend.
How do you appoint your judges?
For three years, Mr. Niran Adedokun has been the chairman of the jury. We actually have different departments to put the awards together, but we give him a free hand to choose professionals to work with him. So, year after year these professionals are the ones that decide the nominees and the winners.
How would this year’s edition be different from other editions?
I’m excited about this year because we are doing the award in the biggest event centre in Nigeria and probably in West Africa. The Dome in Akure, built by the Ondo State government. I’ve been there and also visited some event centres in Africa, and I don’t think there’s anything like that.
Second, I’m a Yoruba before I’m a Nigerian. In the last three years we have been rescued by the governor of Delta State, rescued twice by governor of Rivers State, and I’m excited now that a governor from South West has decided to host the awards. Apart from that, I was born in Akure and it’s a homecoming for me to go back to Akure to host such a big event.
How is BON different from other awards in the movie industry?
BON is very unique. AMAA is African Movie Academy Award, AMVCA is also Africa Magic Viewers Choice Award. They try to judge all the movies in Africa. Best of Nollywood (BON) simply means to showcase the best among Nigerians which is our very own. This is what makes us very unique.