The brain behind Best of Nollywood awards, Seun Oloketuyi reveals how actors/actresses try to bribe him in order to win awards
Best of Nollywood awards has stayed five years, how have you been able to sustain it?
It is just passion. If we had looked at lack of money, we would have dropped at the third edition. But I have a strong passion for this. I have a dream of what I want to achieve and that has been the driving force that has pushed us all the while.
You have so many of the actors and actresses as friends; how do you manage your friendship with them so it doesn’t influence the awards?
Those who are close to me know that I am not involved in determining the winners at the award. Every year, we have a jury that will be in charge of selecting and nominating the winners. They are the ones that decide everything concerning who is nominated and who wins. Just like every other person, I get to know the winners on the day of the show. That is the truth. They only hand the envelop to me that morning of the show. I discovered that for us to go very far in this business, the award has to be credible. Anybody who wins has to know that he or she won because he/she didn’t pay anybody for the award but because of their hard work. None of the nominees know for a fact that they would win at the awards. They only get to know at the ceremony when their names are called.
Has it affected your friendship with any of them?
Oh yes, it has affected it. I remember during the second year, one actress was nominated in the Best Yoruba actress category. We are very close. She actually thought she was going to win. She didn’t talk to me for more than one year when she ended up not winning at that edition. She confessed that I made her feel bad because she had invited her friends to that ceremony thinking she was going to win. But we talked it over and we are friends again. However, since then, she has not attended the event again.
Are there cases where people are not satisfied with the eventual winners?
Oh yes. In one of the past editions, there was a big issue. The Genevieve fans felt the actress should have won in the best actress category of that year as against Omoni Oboli who eventually won. It was trending on twitter. I had to issue a statement on how the jury came about choosing Omoni. If it were now, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. But it was just the second year of the award. I was scared, confused and people kept calling me. After we issued the statement, people calmed down.
Why are the winners not determined through public voting?
The Nigerian audience have their fans. The thing is that the fans would not even vote based on the film being reviewed. They would vote based on the love they have for that actress. We knew all that from the beginning. It is only the fun categories that we allow the public to vote. We have the category for the Best Kiss in Nollywood. We just use it to create buzz for the show. All other categories are determined by the jury.
Do the actors/actresses try to bribe you to manipulate the awards in their favour?
It depends on how you hold yourself. I remember in the third edition when the nominees list came out, one actress sent somebody to call me and offer me money in order for her to win. I told the person that the money they offered me wouldn’t change my life in any way. It is just the money I could spend in less than 24 hours. If I collect money from anybody, before the next award, the person would easily tell a nominee to just go and pay a certain amount to me if she or he wanted to win. We have a long way to go. Award ceremony is very sensitive. Once you get it wrong the first time, you are doomed. There is no second chance. Because of that, I cannot collect money from anybody. But then again, I noticed that once the nominee’s list comes out, some people start giving us jobs for our other businesses.