The ideals of Arewa Festival & Awards [AFA], are hinged on the virtues of ethno-religious cum socio-cultural mutual tolerance, as the foundation for national peace, unity, and prosperity. It is a celebration of the Arewa community in Lagos State, the settlement, socio-economic successes, and peaceful co-existence with her host. The festival is going to be a yearly event to celebrate the history and cultures of the Arewa people in Nigeria.More importantly; it is an exhibition of sustained loyalty to the Lagos State Government.
The Arewa Festival Lagos 2019 held in three different phases; The Press Conference & The Unveiling which took place on the 7th Dec, 2018, The Festival held on the 5th Of January 2019, while the Dinner and Award took place on the 6th January, 2019 at Raddison Blue, Ikeja.
The efforts of the Arewa community in Lagos to set themselves apart as the preferred strategic developmental partner to the state government may have paid off eventually, as Unity Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading banks plans some community based financial support for their socio – economic needs.
The bank’s interest in working with the Arewa group is borne out of the group’s capacity demonstrated at mobilizing their members across the length and breadth of Lagos state to organize the historic Arewa Festival and that of their intentions to keep the community together as one body towards greater developments across board.
Unity Bank made their desire to work with Arewa community known during the 2019 (maiden edition) of the Arewa Festival Awards. According to the bank’s representative, Unity Bank plans to work with the group in the area of Youth Empowerment, they plan to bridge the gap for financial inclusion and support the micro economic scale in the different Arewa communities across Lagos state. In essence, the bank is planning its Social Banking presence in these communities.
It would be noted that Bank of the North is a major shareholder in Unity Bank, as such; the interests of the Arewa communities, being northerners, are of significant importance to their management.
The objectives of the annual Arewa Festival stand out as appreciation of their host communities (the Yorubas across Lagos state and the Lagos state government in particular); another angle to the integration of all Arewa interests in Lagos state is the need to be Responsible Citizens as a corporate group. Their post Festival plans include setting up humanitarian initiatives to give regular assistance to widow and children in need in their communities and beyond, empowerment programmes for women to support micro economic development, as well as working with Lagos state government to improve government’s social services to the people of Lagos; such as, giving support to public schools and public healthcare facilities across Lagos.
While chasing their mission with great gusto, the leadership of Arewa community in Lagos has not failed to recognize the life and personalities of some Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in their different human endeavours; the roles many of these rare individuals have played in the Nigerian society and beyond have benefited mankind tremendously.
In view of these individual’s roles as life enhancers, the Arewa community in Lagos has instituted an award programme to celebrate them. The first of the Arewa Festival and Awards was held on Sunday, 6th January, 2019, at Radisson Blu Hotel, GRA, Ikeja. The awards centered on Arewa and non Arewa Professionals, Successful Business Moguls, Designers, Government Administrators, Politicians and others.
Some of the awardees included, His Excellency Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a political strategist, former senator of the federal republic, a firm nationalist of undisputable patristic enthusiasm, a diplomat of no mean feat and a former Executive Governor of Lagos State. As a democratic engineer, he included a lot of young, energetic fellows in governance when he was a Governor of Lagos State, among whom have today emerged as formidable Governors, Law Makers, Party Leader and International Diplomats.
Other awardees were Jailanu Aliyu, Nigeria’s world renowned Automobile designer who designed the Chevy Volt for Chevrolet Automobiles in the USA. The car has been described as an American revolution and one of the hottest concepts in the design line. Jailanu Aliyu is currently the Director – General of Nigerian Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC). He received Arewa Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Another awardees is Balarabe Musa, is a left-wing Nigerian politician who was elected Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria during the Nigerian Second Republic, holding office from October 1979. During the Nigerian Fourth Republic he was leader of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP), a coalition of opposition parties. Alhaji Musa was born on 21 August 1936 in Kaya, Kaduna State. He studied at Zaria Middle School (1947–1952) and at the Institute of Administration, Zaria (1952–1953). He was an accounts clerk (1953–1955) and a school teacher (1955–1960). He held various managerial positions related accountancy in the period 1960 to 1976, while studying at different colleges in London to gain additional qualifications. He won Aminu Kano Award For Selfless Service.
Also part of the Awardees is Hadiza Mohammed Bala, a Nigerian activist and politician. She is currently the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday 11 July 2016. She was formerly the Chief of Staff for the Kaduna State Governor. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, and a post-graduate degree in Development Studies from the University of Leeds, UK. Hadiza Bala is the Convener/ Initiator of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement, this was founded as a concerned citizen of Nigeria, one that is very interested in the unity, growth, and development of this nation; one that knows the important role an educated girl-child would play in contributing to the success we all anticipate for our dear country.. She received the Most Outstanding Administrator of the Year Award.
The rest of the awardees are Henry Ajumole who Won Arewa Special recognition Award and Maryam Mohammed Babanaya, CEO HBG Company, won Arewa Business Woman Of The Year.
Not leaving out the Artist that performed at the event are Tony Tetuilla, who thrilled all the guest at the event. Other performers are Sunshine, Koroso, and some of the Arewa Local Troop.
However, Arewa festival and Award has come to stay and it will hold every year.