Created 23-Sep-12
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Photos by: Daniel Sync/ Jasmin H/Sync PHOTOS/

The 2nd Nigerian Entertainment & Lifestyle Awards, referred to as the ‘NEL Awards’ took place on 22 September 2012 at the prestigious NH Harrington Hotel, Kensington, London SW7 4JW. It is the only event of its kind in the UK to exclusively recognise the achievements of Nigerians in the Entertainment and Lifestyle sectors. The Founders of the NEL Awards are Sam Onigbanjo and Seye Aina.

The NEL Awards is an opportunity to identify, nominate and reward excellence in the Nigerian entertainment and lifestyle sectors. A large number of Nominations were received for the 2012 NEL Awards. From this huge response the Judges selected 33 NEL finalists. These finalists represent some of the best talent in the Nigerian Entertainment and Lifestyle Industry. The Founders also had the support of the Nigerian High Commission. On 12 September 2012, the Founders Sam Onigbanjo and Seye Aina together with the NEL Finalists visited the Nigerian High Commission in London. They were received by the Deputy High Commissioner, HE Ambassador Oluwatoyin Lawal who personally congratulated all the NEL finalists for their great achievements.

The 2012 NEL Award Winners are:

CLARE ELUKA has been a Make Up Artist for 10yrs, starting in 2002. After working for Big names like Bobby Brown and Selfridges, she created S.M.A.D in 2006 and now works as a Pro- freelance coaching Juniors and providing Spikes Maser classes for artists, actors and actresses. She also created the World’s first 100% Allergy free certified Beauty brand, Premae skin care in December 2011.

RHODA WILSON: In 2005, the first production of The Rhoda Wilson Show was broadcast on OBE TV and is still aired on BEN TV. She also does a lot of work with SME’s and run’s women’s Charity ACWAL. This year President Jacob Zuma invited Rhoda as a guest of the African Union to attend the “Global African Diaspora Summit” in South Africa, one of only 2 members of the British-African Diaspora to receive this invitation.

3. Top of FormBottom of FormBEST FASHION DESIGNER
LYZE BAMIGBOLA-SILAS is the exclusive Milliner behind 'Lyze Hats'. She creates bespoke headwear through personal consultations with her clients. Her first 'perfect hats collection' were sold by Peter Jones of Sloane Square for Ascot and she has not looked back since. Her creations have featured on Catwalks, Publications and Television shows.

DAMILOLA OSHILAJA is an emerging multi-disciplinary artist and Fine Arts graduate from Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Damilola set up Grunge Studios in 1998 and has a keen interest in Graffiti and Visual Language using coded symbols with layers of mystery.

Yemisi May Odegbami, aka May7ven is a songwriter who debuted in 2008. Her most recent hit the Afrobeat song ‘Ten Ten’ has been a huge success and is played regularly on leading Television and commercial radio stations, Including Choice FM were it is “A listed” for Play. She has been recognised by Top UK Newspapers Including the Guardian and the Evening Standard.

SMADE ENTERTAINMENT set up by Junior Adeosun in October 2007 has hosted events in the UK for Wande Coal, Basketmouth, MI, Choc Boys and Wizkid. Smade Entertainment are also Co-Owners of the Afrobeat Festival, the largest of its kind in the UK, responsible for bringing Artists such as P-Square, Wizkid, Ice-prince to the UK.

Ade Solanke is a playwright and scriptwriter. Her company, Spora Stories, tells the dynamic stories of the African diaspora. Her recent plays include ‘Unzipped’ and ‘Tiata Delights’. Her debut play, Pandora's Box, had its world premiere at London's Arcola Theatre in 2012

Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah is a leading International Designer who specialises in contemporary and elegant couture bridal, evening and formal day wear. Kosibah recently celebrated its 21st Anniversary.

Lexy Mojo Eyes is the CEO of Legendary Gold. He produced the first major fashion show in Nigeria and continues to organise several International Fashion Shows promoting Nigerian fabrics and designs to the world. He has addressed the United Nations on Global issues concerning Fashion and has served on the Committee of the World Fashion Organisation.

Victoria Chi Chi Okafor is the reigning Miss Nigeria UK. She is a final year student at Kingston University studying nursing. She combines studying with modelling at fashion shows and is the face of Phone4U, and the only Student presenter on Vox Africa.

11. INTERNATIONAL AWARD: Special recognition for services to Entertainment
Joseph Akinyemi Johnson AKA ‘JAJ’ started his broadcasting career in 1979 with Nigeria’s first FM Station, the then NBC2 AM/FM STEREO in Lagos Nigeria. He gained recognition almost immediately with his breezy, savvy and unique style of presentation. By 1983 JAJ had become a household name, celebrity status and was named Radio Personality of the year. JAJ has also excelled as an On-air personality, News anchor, copywriter, Broadcasting and Media consultant and is the General Manager, Creative Development at Silverbird.

Jide Alabi is the Manager Radio programmes Rhythm 93.7 FM and Manager Sports Presenter/Editor on both Rhythm 93.7 FM (radio) and SilverBird Television, Programme designing and production, voice over and news casting. A Renowned Nigerian Actor, Broadcaster, Sport Journalist, he has acted in numerous Nigerian Movies and Soaps.

Wale Ojo began is a child prodigy star starting his acting career in Nigeria. His recent credits include the TV series Meet the Adebanjos and appearances in The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency. His film credits include The Philantropist, Cloud-catcher, the Guard (with Brendan Gleeson and Don Cheadle) Johnny English Re-born (with Rowan Atkinson), Rage and Phone Swap. He is the pioneer and founder of the New Nigeria Cinema.
Jimmy Akinbola is a graduate from ALRA drama school and has worked in TV, Film, Radio and at some of the UK’s most established Theatres acting alongside Sir Ian McKellen, Leslie Phillips, Roger Lloyd Pack, Aml Ameen, Riz Ahmed and Fraser Ayres. Recent roles include Mick in the BBC series REV and he currently plays the role of the Registrar Antoine Malick in the BBC Medical drama Holby City.

Chief Mrs Julie Coker is one of the first Broadcasters on Nigerian Television and was also very popular on Nigerian Radio. She is the Former Miss Western Nigeria (1958), an award winning actress, a singer, bestselling author and one of the first ever women to be made a Chief in Nigeria.

The event was hosted by Tola ’Wise Tola’ Onigbanjo and Bidemi Alaran. Presentations at the event were made by His Excellency Ambassador Lawal, Her Excellency Mrs Fayomi, from France, Top Designer and NEL 2011 Winner Adebayo Jones. Guests were treated to top-class entertainment by Singers, Moe Logo, DL and Saeon.

There was a fantastic Children’s Fashion Show by of collections by Amanda Rabor’s Isossy Children and Mrs Femi Olayebi showcased a collection of designer bags, “Femi Handbags”.

A raffle draw was held on the night. Monies received will benefit the Down's Syndrome Foundation Nigeria & the Children's Development Centre, supporting disabled children in Nigeria. Present at the NEL Awards were Penny Green (aka Anwuli) and Chuks Etuka representing the Down's Syndrome Foundation Nigeria.

The following kindly donated gifts for the NEL Awards raffle draw: Arik Air donated 2 flight tickets, Radiant Glow their cosmetics products, Organic Root a gift hamper and the Director Christian Ashiaku donated a pair of tickets to the Premiere of his new film Amina.
To help raise awareness of the DSF Nigeria guests also took photographs with Penny Green who came with her Olympic Torch. Penny who was selected as an Olympic Torch bearer intends to bring the Torch to Nigeria on her visit to Nigeria next month in a bid to raise further awareness of Down’s Syndrome.

Sponsors were Arik Air, Simon Bethel Solicitors, Africa Movie Channel, United Links Freight Co, GIZ, Promotion Motion Media, Paceworking, Consulting4London, Hart Culture, Asiko foods and Kenteba Creations
Media Partners were Marcomms365, I-c
Chizzy Akudolu and Jimmy Akingbola, Holby City on BBCJimmy Akingbola - BEST ACTORSam Onigbanjo and Tola OnigbanjoTola OnigbanjoFatima Jabbe, ActressTheodora IbekweDJ AbassAsake Oge, Celebrity Fashion DesignerRhoda Wilson

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