The first thing that strikes you when you first meet him is his sense of humour and when it comes to service to humanity; He is always at his best. According to him, “If given the opportunity I will like to render service to my country….”
His name is Dave Agwazim. the publisher of Classic International magazine and the initiator of CAMA. His passion to serve has brought him through the lane of fame. He is a husband, a media personnel, an entrepreneur and a God fearing man who knows his source. He is very industrious and has a handful of leadership composition in him. This has helped to keep his team members focused.
Prior to the interview, one of the the best publicist, image maker, event coordinator of repute & U.N. Peace Ambassador, Cornell Udofia paid a courtesy visit to Dave Agwazim. Cornell Udofia was accompanied by the beautiful Ghanian actress Ella Mensah. Below is a chat with Dave Agwazim, a renowned media personnel and entrepreneur…
Can you tell us some of the things that differentiates CAMA from other similar awards from other brands.
As the name implies, CAMA is an acronym for Classic Africa Merit Award. CAMA is a merit award that was instituted 5years ago by Classic International Magazine after one year of Classic magazine inception. Then, we looked at Africa as a continent and decided to initiate a platform where people could be celebrated based on merit.
Looking at Africa from the perspective of the international community, the first impression they have is that Africa is full of people with bad orientation, bad minded people, corrupted people, insane people and a country full of all sorts of diseases. This are part of the impression that the international body have about Africa. CAMA is set to change part of this orientation by rewarding people that have made outstanding imparts in contributing to the course of humanity in their various fields of endeavour. We also consider brands that have so much excelled to the level of international quality. By looking at how to re-position what Africa starts for in the international community, we decided to initiate a merit Award – this gave birth to CAMA.
What inspired you to initiate CAMA?
I was driven by my passion for Africa. I actually have the opportunities to live outside the shores of this country but because of the love I have for Africa and my black skin nature I decided to stay back and see how I could contribute in my own little way to better the lots of Nigeria and Africa at large. It was my passion for Africa that spurred me to initiate CAMA.
Running a brand like CAMA has its challenges, can you tell us some of the challenges you have encountered?
The challenges are enormous as we know that running business in Nigeria has lot of challenges. Chief among them is the economy. Our economy is poor. This makes it difficult to attract corporate sponsorship which is what we have solely relied on for the past 5years of our existence. CAMA been a pure Merit award, our awardees are not subjected to pay any form of money to receive this awards.
However, this year’s edition of CAMA 2015 is been powered on a snail speed due to the poor economy. Our corporate sponsors have not been able to respond to us as the economy is really affecting them too. Even those individuals we enjoy their good wills over the years are also complaining of the poor economy.
Looking at previous editions of CAMA, what are the things you have put in place to ensure this year’s edition becomes the best so far.
One of the ways we have improved this year is by reaching out to other countries. It’s our believe that we will be having a high octane event in CAMA 2015 as more people will be coming from other countries. In previous years we had people from Togo, Ghana and Benin republic who come to receive award. So this time, we are reaching out to more countries to participate. That’s part of what we have done to distinguish CAMA 2015 from previous editions.
One other thing we have improved on is security. Also, we are ensuring we have dual compere so that our audience will have more effective presentation. In terms of quest, we have reached out to a lot of people to ensure we have more quality guest.
If you were not in media industry, which other industry could have been your second option.
I set out to be a lawyer. If not in media, I would have been a lawyer in politics because I love to render service to humanity and people around me. If given the opportunity, I will like to render service to my country. I will like to go into politics because the trend now is democracy.
As you know that the present administration has been trying to bring corruption to minimal, what’s your take on that.
Corruption has become endemic in our system. Let us leave politics aside and look at corruption in a different perspective, there comes a time in the life of a nation that people have to extrude ethnic division and political differences. Corruption has become a killer disease in our country. Most times we consider people in public offices as been corrupt but it goes beyond that. If you go to the bank and a security man opens the door for you, he will expect a tip from you.
Even a police man on the street expect you to tip him. These are corrupt practices. If you watch the way the trend is going, you will observe that nobody wants to do anything on merit again because corruption has crept into every facet of our existence as a nation. I support the present administration as he has taken a firm stand to fight corruption. The earlier the better. If we don’t fight corruption now, corruption will fight us to stand still and we will wake up one day and find out that there is no more Nigeria. So I totally support the policy of present administration in their quest to curb corruption. When you think about the amount if money that public office holders embezzle, its alarming knowing that this money can be used to develop Nigeria to become the envy of all nations.
Still talking about corruption, how transparent are your procedures in choosing who deserves an award?
What we do is to sample opinions then we nominate about 4 candidates for a particular category then we push it out to the public to vote. Then the candidate with highest number of votes with conviction will be chosen for the award. There have been situations whereby candidate are been voted without been on the nomination list. Reason been that the people have reasons to do so. For instance, the governor of Kogi State was not nominated but people voted him. They keep making references to him. Another person that people keep making reference to is the first lady of Kogi State for her love for the less privilege and down trodden women in the state. With this fact, we decided to send our delegates to Kogi state just to inspect if what the public said about them is true.
Also, when the governor of Ogun state was nominated to receive CAMA award, I personally went to Ogun state to investigate if he actually deserves the award. And I saw what he has done with the trust the people have imposed on him. Come 13th September 2015, CAMA will speak about these people. I could remember when former governor of Lagos state, Babatunde Raji Fashola was nominated in CAMA 2014, the international community could see for themselves how he transformed Lagos from a zoo community to a mega city.
When Former governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was also nominated, the evident was there. We could see how much he has been able to build men over the years. You cannot say you are a leader and you won’t have followers. He has shown that he has sights to discover leaders and apostles that you cannot question their antecedents in office. In all, we celebrate people on merit.
The success you have made so far is commendable, what are your plans for the future in CAMA.
We expect that in the next 5years when CAMA will be 10years, CAMA will become a central measure of excellence in leadership, brand, business, sports, entertainment etc. We are working towards been the focal point of excellence in Africa.
Been the publisher of CAMA, a husband and at the same time a religious person, how do you manage your time?
I have an understanding wife and I try to balance work and family. The beauty of it is that my wife understands the demand of my job. In as much as she understands the nature of my job, I try to create a balance. Whenever I have time to be with my family, I don’t compromise. My wife has always been giving me support for what I believe in – my work, my vision, and success. For they know that if I succeed it will also be good for them. One thing I believe in is God. I have faith in God and He has been my staying power. He has so much endowed me with wisdom. My team members are not left out of the chain as they have been supportive
What advice do you have for the younger generations out there who are looking up to been in your shoe?
One thing they should know is that there is no shortcut to success. They must be ready to sacrifice. I have sacrificed my personal, pleasure and comfort. You know that a hen can not scan for food with two legs simultaneously. Let the passion for what you believe over rule your acquisition for wealth. When you get things right, every other thing will come beckoning on you. Also you need to have a clear cut agenda – What you want and how you intend to achieve it. You don’t just do work because of money. Let passion drive you. It pays to do things right; if you do things right, surely you will be celebrated and more doors will be opened for you. I could remember a day I placed a call across to someone I have never met and when he answered, his first statement was “Dave how are you” I was surprised that he has my number and also knew my name. This is what doing things right can bring. As I said earlier, you don’t just do things because of money especially if you are coming into journalism. You must be passionate and ready to serve. And when the goodwill starts coming you will be good for it. Stay focused, remain diligent and put your trust in God – definitely you will get there.