Young men and women across the length and breadth of this country work endlessly to improve their lives and those of people around them and by so doing, contribute their own quota to the development of this great Nation. These outstanding youths need to be recognised and appreciated as they are determinants of the future and custodians of the present; despite of the hurdles they still grow in leaps and bounds, interestingly many do this incognito.
Nigerian Youth Merit Awards is an annual event that seeks to celebrate as well as recognize outstanding achievements by such young people. It also affords them the opportunity to meet and network as it’s the perfect platform to meet liberal, positive and purpose driven young men and women eager to make a difference in their worlds. This idea was well nurtured and brought into existence by Mr. Adeyeye Olusola Michael, Mr Fakayode Oluwatobi Johnson & Comrade Marvin Yobana
Few years ago, the Ministry of youth in conjunction with the National Youth council of Nigeria organised the annual youth summit at the end of which the minister would present awards to deserving recipients (without any scrutiny or due process). This tradition went on for years until Michael got involved in the awards while serving as the Vice President of the United Nations Youth Association of Nigeria & the Nigerian Representatives to the African development forum, Ethiopia 2006. Being a passionate individual, He took a critical look at the ceremony and decided to take it upon himself to build a much more befitting, freer and fairer ceremony with little interference and less politicking & political face
He proposed to the ministry of youth development to allow him breathe life into this amazing initiative, in order to sustain and make it amiable. He wanted more; He wanted an award ceremony and event that every young person would strive to be a part of. Most importantly, he wanted a gathering were the voice of the youths of Nigeria can truly be heard, a platform of direct expression of our abilities and opinions, a place where we can be certain of our stake in Nation building.
In 2009, He was finally given the nod to handle the awards, and once the nod was given, he approached Mr Fakayode Oluwatobi Johnson (then, National President of the United Nations Youth Association of Nigeria) and Mr Marvin Yobana (then, National Vice President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria) to partner together for the successful organization of the awards ceremony. That year, the award was a grand success as a lot celebrities identified with the ceremony and it received wide spread acceptance and physical support by all and sundry. Awards Categories included Entertainment, fashion, Engineering, Sports, IT, innovation and lots more; 2Face Idibia, Yemi Sax, Seyi law and a host of others were a part of that year’s event. After the successful outing that year, the Ministry asked Michael Adeyeye & his team to continually host the awards.
As the awards evolved and questions were being asked about the credibility and the extent to which the Government participated as against the organized private sector, parastatals, youth organizations and the Media, Michael went further to discuss with other Youth Organizations such as the World Assembly of Youths, ANUNSA, and many others to be a part of NYMA. Then a working and planning committee was successfully formed from such bodies and other volunteers who are still working with us till date. That year we had the first well organized Nigeria Youth merit Awards and it took place in the Federal Capital Territory, August 18, 2009. Awards were presented to the friends of the youths i.e. those people who are always supportive of youth activities. Also, awards were given to some corporate organization supporting youths such as Firstbank, MTN and a host of others. Two years down the line, how has the awards fared? It’s definitely been an amazing journey. Just like a baby learns to crawl, then walk and subsequently run.
NYMA is steady getting there.