Monday, July 18, 2011

The Politics of the Nigerian Blog Awards

While on my blog rounds one morning three weeks ago, I got a message on Facebook from a fellow nominee that Feisty Pen had received 7 blog nominations at the Nigerian Blog Awards. The tone of that message set the pace for my perceptions towards the ensuing campaign.

“You go fear fear. 7 nominations??!!! Only you.! Na you biko!!!

I laughed. Indeed, na me biko, I thought, and now I have to prove that.

Let me clarify by saying that the 7 categories were the ones I asked folks that I be nominated in. They were the categories that I felt my blog fit in and I would have a good chance of clinching. My blog is new; less than 1 year, I am Nigerian Based, I write humour, I inspire from time to time, I have a unique voice to my writing, and of course it was nice to expect to take the World Cup home; Nigerian Blog of the Year.

So, I set about campaigning. I did a blog post, notified certain friends who read my blog on Facebook, posted on Twitter a few times, set up an event on Facebook; although people kept ‘attending’ rather than voting and had to be subsequently reminded.
My thinking then was: if you asked to be nominated, the least you can do is give it a fair shot.

I understood what it was all about. There was an emotionally charged thread on the Nigerian Blog Awards site, and someone was disparaging the politicising of the awards and another responded that it was a case of Oscars vs MTV viewers choice awards.
The former being an award to reward excellence based on certain tangible parameters outlined by the Academy and the latter based on popularity and the ability of the artiste to mobilise fans to vote.

The Nigerian Blog Awards is like the latter. Fullstop. And I knew it. I am not deluded into thinking I am the best writer in Nigeria because Feisty Pen won Best Writing Blog. Infact I laugh just writing that. Tolu Ogunlesi does have a blog, after all.
Are there better writing blogs in Nigeria? There may be. But, they did not subject themselves for the voting process. 
I know I'm not the only one who has said that the Most Beautiful in Nigeria is simply the most beautiful girl among the contestants because of one girl down the street who looks far better than this crowned queen. 

I have learnt a few things from this awards.

First I got an aha moment about my long time amazement of how the PDP has been able to rule Nigerian since 1999. Were Obasanjo, Yaradua, and Goodluck the best leaders in the country? Subjective responses are expected. If the appointment to Presidency was given by an Academy of Leadership set up by God himself, would these guys have won? Note that this God is the God of all creation and is.. ahem .. de-tribalized.
We never really know and I do not believe that God installs all leaders. I know he leaves certain things to us.

Secondly, rigging aside, why is this behemoth able to lay hold on the largest chunk of the voting population. Resources! Of all kinds. Financial, human, etc.

Take the Nigerian Blog Awards as an example. What resources will one need to win in many categories?

In this case the typical voter is one with a valid email address irrespective of color, race and creed. So, the person who can reach the largest number of valid email address owners is the winner. You will need to spend lots of time near your computer or phone, be unashamed in soliciting votes from family, friends and enemies, be creative in attracting attention to yourself and the blog and be resilient all the way.

This is precisely why the pure technocrats in this county may never rule us. They simply do not have what it takes to go this route and will at best be appointed to head ministries which ... er... in some ways is still politicised.

So Goodluck is now President of Nigeria after elections that were adjudged largely free and fair, and all speculations as to the truth of that belong in another post. Not this one. In this one, I am saying that the expectation of Nigeria is, well, as you are now President, show us that we can at least show you off and not feel ashamed about it.
The onus is on Goodluck to prove himself. The onus is on Feisty Pen to prove a point. By writing better and better.

Anybody who has won an award and does not recognize the honour and the expectation of improvement must simply lack understanding.

Your integrity is at stake to prove that you have not become like all those political career men who are round pegs in square holes and which we are all too happy to criticize.

So since Feisty Pen is voted Best Writing Blog by the NBA 2011, it is my request that all subsequent posts from this period on are judged as if the reader were reading a book, a short story or an article.

And oh, last lesson, I do after all have a political bone.        


  1. Nice write up... Its high time we all knew the NigerianBlogAwards is by votes and people win because they campaign real hard than others. We all know the committee behind the award; they can't be involved in any rigging...
    It was a fun year at the awards with the way people won unexpectedly and that's how it should be, I reckon.

    "Anybody who has won an award and does not recognize the honour and the expectation of improvement must simply lack understanding." I agree with u on that one.

    Keep writing :)

    - LDP

  2. Lol so we should be like critics to your write ups? I don't know how to criticise cos am afraid of being criticised lol just kidding.

  3. I got best parenting blog....and I was quick to issue a disclaimer that my parenting still needs a lot of improvement LOL

    I take the award as a *high five* from bloggers/readers who feel I sometimes make sense. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Why would someone rig a blog award??? The last time I checked, the award did not come with any monetary reward. Live and let live I say.

    When there's money attached, the real cat-fights will start. LOL

  4. So if a win is determined by popularity as opposed to merit, what happens to credibility?

  5. well i personally voted for you and really i cant be bothered by online voting of any kind but something about the quality of your writing made me feel i had to stand up for you. you write good girl, write a novel and i will buy it- lots of copies eh? and find me on blogville- , we should be blog pals!

  6. @Madame Sting! Abeg help me ask oooh!

  7. Ah @Madame Sting and Teboy... If you read the whole post in context, you would agree that I am of the opinion that the nature of these awards is such that it depends on the ability of people to campaign. If people then choose to vote for an incompetent blog, then the voting public is to blame.

    I then went on to draw an analogy with the Nigerian political landscape...
    Until the blog awards becomes conferred on folks by some sort of Academy.. like the New York Times does... then and only then can you expect to find only blogs which may be outrightly deserving.

    As at now, you will find that blogs that you do not like may win because that's just the way it is... and this post was actually written tongue in cheek if you were able to decipher voice and tone.

  8. Sorry, i apparently wasn't able to decipher voice and tone. I don't have any blog i like that won or did not win. That's not what i'm saying. I wasn't disputing what you wrote. I just asked a question based on what you wrote.

  9. Honestly, Win or not, the NBA was just a bit of fun 4 me; because there is time for everything and I could have won if it was my time. Likewise, rig/campaign/"ojoro" or not all winners should know "Your integrity is at stake to prove that you have not become like all those political career men who are round pegs in square holes and which we are all too happy to criticize."

  10. The last line cracked me up. Congratulations on your award, Feisty Pen...and indeed, you do have a political bone.

  11. To add something: I think those nominated should really think about whether it's worth it after-all to campaign to family members and friends who have never spent a day on their blogs. "Extreme" campaigning, in my opinion, is not necessary. The NBA awards should be more of quality than quantity (not forgetting that quality usually leads quantity and not the reverse). I only think a vote is valued more if the voter knows the worth of a blog. That's how I feel about "extreme" NBA campaigning. This is my opinion.

  12. YES!you do have a political bone...the whole post is on point.

    you're so right about 'Anybody who has won an award and does not recognize the honour and the expectation of improvement must simply lack understanding.

    Your integrity is at stake to prove that you have not become like all those political career men who are round pegs in square holes and which we are all too happy to criticize.'

    true talk..

  13. True that! I specifically agree with you to the last dot. Well, since it was a vote thingy, the outcome was expected. Overall, it was fun to participate in anyways.

    I will look forward to your subsequent write-ups. Keep it going girl

  14. LOL nice write-up. I completely get your point. Already it takes courage for you to decide to participate, that's already a criterion that distinguishes you from the other better blogs right? Or maybe let's say that you wanted it. At the end of the day, we have to agree that there are people who do not want it and you can't force it down on them. So it boils down to choosing the best among those that want it or more like, "who wants it more?". It doesn't necessarily mean that you are the best there is but as long as you are not bad, then that's just enough. And I actually like how you've decided to take it as a challenge upon yourself to do the best that you can to show that you merit it. If you ask me, I'd say that's just enough. Mehn you should consider looking into politics ;-)
    It's my first time here. I'm ffg now
    Pls do check out mine too
    And congrats on your award

  15. I enjoyed this post (just saw your comment on the NBA site—sorry to say that I hadn't had a chance to read this prior to that!). You definitely took the NBAs in the spirit they were intended and I'm glad that you saw your win as a challenge to do your very best in this particular area. As you know the 2012 Awards will do their best to encourage excellence in blogging and it is my hope that those who rise to the challenge will not be disappointed when the time for nominations and votes comes along.

    Best of luck to you!

  16. loll...and who says there was rigging at the NBAs...that's absolutely hilarious as I don't even know anyone else apart from GNG on the committee and I won an award...abeg bone dem joor..keep blazing your feisty pen and keep trekking Naija.

  17. Congrats, Feisty! Just reading this on my phone. I've missed blogville this past month. Shallom! this past month. Shallom!

  18. @Gbenga... Thanks a lot...I hope you are enjoying service? Too much to ask??/ lol... God bless you.

  19. Well, I really don't think much about awards but if one comes -- why not!

    I like your writing style girl -

    Poverty Will Be Thing of The Past in Nigeria Soon

  20. Blogging award? The focus should be on developing and creating a blog that everyone loves to read then the awards will follow.


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