Akwa Ibom State representative, Miss Happiness Udodang has emerged the winner of the 2014 edition of ‘Heroes: Back to the Roots, a reality TV show that tasks housemates on their deep knowledge of Nigerian culture.
Udodang, a graduate of Education Technology, University of Calabar, who is getting N2m, a car and a role in a movie is followed closely by Luter Emmanuel Ikyobo (Benue State) and Chelsea Chinenye Oguejifor (Anambra State).
The competition had 37 housemates (one from each state of the federation and FCT) co-habiting for 104 days, to stress the unity in Nigeria’s diversity. The competition which screened on NTA Entertainment was produced by Chinyere Ogbukagu and directed by Nollywood’s Ifeanyi Onyeabor.
QUICK FACTS ABOUT HEROES:
Piqued, by the dwindling fortunes of Nigeria’s very rich cultural heritage, especially amongst the youth, a creative mind, Chinyere Ogbukagu, who heads Havilla Timeless Production, based in Jos, Plateau State after several years of brimming with the idea, arrived at a concept of using television to engender the cultural values of the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria. After meeting, Ifeanyi Onyeabor, a renowned Nollywood director, the idea took flight, and metamorphosed into what is today known as HEROES: BACK TO THE ROOTS, a television reality TV show which sets culture-based tasks for housemates who are in contest from all the states of Nigeria and FCT, with the sole motive of letting ethnic nationalities in Nigeria to better understand one another. This has proven to be the required panacea for peaceful co-existence urgently needed in Nigeria today.
Entry for HEROES: BACK TO THE ROOTS starts with obtaining the form, and followed shortly by nationwide auditions in the 6 geo-political zones, where applicants are first screened for eligibility. Eligibility is strictly determined by the panel constituted for auditions that are drawn from the arts community. After auditions, 5 persons are selected from each of the states and FCT for the final screening to arrive at the 37 finalists-one from each state and FCT- to compete in the house where they would co-habit for 60 days. Contestants who have great understanding of their culture are usually on an advantageous pedestal to emerge victorious.
Apart from re-awakening the interest in our culture the show also highlights the various tourism potential abundant in the various states where the cast and crew of the show are visiting. The stay of the crew and cast in states like: Imo, Bayelsa, Kaduna, Niger etc, obviously highlighted some places of interest. The meaning is that states and the federal government can latch onto this as the next alternative source of income, especially oil prices continue to fluctuate.
2014 HEROES: BACK TO THE ROOTS
After a painstaking 104 days, traversing many states, the first batch of contestants were admitted for a 10 day orientation exercise in Kaduna, from where they moved to Plateau, where they spent another 10 days which pruned the contestants down to 37. These final 37 later moved into a camp in Niger State where after 60 days, the activities which aired on NTA produced THE FOLLOWING WINNERS:
First Position: HAPPINESS UDODANG (Akwa Ibom State)
First Runner-up: LUTER EMMANUEL IKYOBO (Benue State)
Second Runner-up: CHELSEA CHINENYE OGUEJIOFOR (Anambra State)
The 2014 edition of the TV show also culminated in an event of honour to recognize individuals and institutions that have contributed in no small measure to a better understanding of our cultural legacies in Nigeria, with great emphasis on cultural tolerance. Some of those recognized in no particular order are:
Best Supporting Governor: BABANGIDA ALIYU (Niger State)
Best Governor: GODSWILL AKPABIO ( Akwa Ibom State)
Cleanest State: CROSS RIVER STATE
Most Culture Friendly State: NIGER
The ultimate winner HAPPINESS UDODANG gets a car, N2M, a role in a film that will be shot with the 10 finalists of the show, while the others get N1.5M and N1M respectively alongside roles in the film. They will also be undertaking many projects in line with the preservation of Nigeria’s culture during their tenure.
PRODUCER: Chinyere Ogbukagu (Havilla Timeless Production)
TECHNICAL DIRECTOR: Ifeanyi Onyeabor