January 27, 2023

Vanguard Award night of glamour, glitz and excitement

By Mike Ebonugwo and  Benjamin Njoku

Even at a time of biting fuel scarcity and cash crunch arising from difficulty in acquiring the new naira notes, with the corresponding denominations of the old notes ceasing to be legal tenders by January 31, guests and regular enthusiasts of the annual Vanguard Personality of the Year Award were not deterred as they faithfully kept a date with the 2022 edition of the programme, the 11th in the series, which held on Friday, January 27, 2023.

As usual, the prestigious Convention Centre of Eko Hotels and Suites was the place to be and all who trooped to the venue to share in the fun and excitement of the Award night were as usual, not disappointed.

It was another night that lived up to the expectations in keeping with the Vanguard’s brand-exclusive tradition of excellence in creating an atmosphere of unforgettable entertainment while celebrating a carefully selected cast of eminent Nigerians who had made landmark achievements in their various professional fields, in government and private positions and all-round contributions to national developments and advancement of the human race.

It was yet again a night of glamour, glitz, glitter and highly entertaining music sessions performed by artists very much in their elements. 

For those who were fortunate to be there, it was an unforgettable moment of exhilarating experience which began from the Red Carpet as the early arrivals can testify. The selected awardees, in most cases accompanied by large entourages of aides and praise singers, made their grand entry into the hall after brief sideline exchanges of greetings with acquaintances and well-wishers. For some of them, it was also an opportunity to have live interviews with the Vanguard Live crew who were very much on ground to do the honours.

While the event was officially slated to start by 6pm, guests began streaming in as early as 5pm. For the ladies, it was yet another opportunity to strut the Red Carpet, prancing around to show off their fashionable attires which can variously be described as bold, beautiful, bawdy or outrageously bizarre. Indeed, some of them in a bid to make eye-catching fashion statements, came dressed in audacious wears, some incredibly skimpy, others verging on sheer transparency, leaving little or nothing to the imagination.

As the guests made their way into the beautifully decorated and lit hall, they were treated to a steady session of ever-green music by the Laolu Gbenjo Group.

The event formally kicked off when the duo of Zainab Balogun and Deyemi Okanlawon mounted the stage and began to direct affairs as comperes of the event. The first assignment in this regard was to ask all to stand while inviting a young lady, Aniike, a member of the Laolu Gbenjo Group on stage.

She performed a soul-stirring rendition of the National Anthem to the delight of all.         Thereafter Laolu Gbenjo and his Band mounted the stage to whet the appetite of the guests, switching from old vibes to contemporary hip-hop songs to stimulate the audience. 

Their performance which lasted for almost an hour set the tone for the awards night. Their repertoire of musical tracks made popular by renowned local and international artistes of yore and the present. Members of the audience responded enthusiastically either by dancing or swaying to the tunes at their seats, with some singing along with the performers. Many also had their phones and cameras out, snapping and recording the performances.

Beautiful Zainab Balogun alongside actor Deyemi Okanlawon gave a good account of themselves on stage. Thereafter came saxophonist, Alvaro Guzman whose solo performance got everyone dancing and singing along with him. 

Stand-up comedian MC Remote was the next to thrill the audience and he didn’t disappoint.  In his own uniqueness, MC Remote spiced up the night with his repertoire of jokes. But the high point of the event was the performance from reggae dance-hall singer, Patoranking who closed the show.

Patoranking who was making his second appearance at the event took the floor performing some of his hit songs including his 2015  song, “My Woman My Everything, featuring Wande Coal. But when he performed his 2021 showstopping song, “Celebrate Me”, the whole place erupted with excitement.