Author’s note: Doris’ TRI Awards speech was originally longer because she thanks every single person who helped her rise to the heights she eventually reached. As it went on for too long, I deleted a fraction of the speech, leaving only the part where she thanks her late grandfather.
“Thank you, thank you all so much. Wow, what can I say? I really don’t know what to say other than thank you, I really wasn’t expecting this. I mean, my first appearance was only meant to be a one-off, and I’ve only just grown accustomed to looking into a camera, how come I’m standing here now?” The amused crowd giggled. “Mum and Dad who are probably watching right now, thanks for being there, and for raising me. I love you both, thank you. My siblings Fred, Christopher and Christian, my sister-in-law/sister-friend Juliet, hi! The Anyanwu family, I really miss you now we’ve left Shell Camp, you’re all amazing, and a huge shout-out to our former friends and neighbours there. The rest of my family—Uncle Robin, Auntie Bernie and Uncle Roland and Auntie Akudo, Aunt Rebecca who lives with her family in Canada… My other family at LivMedia, especially Olivia…You deserve your Best TV Show award, you’re more than just a media practitioner, you’re an icon, people just don’t know it yet. You’ve broken down several barriers in your competitive field to become one of the most celebrated women in the industry, and I salute you….”
An embarrassed Olivia hid her embarrassment behind her hands, the audience cheering in recognition. “My co-hosts on The Doctors, I seriously cannot express my gratitude enough. You’ve been nothing but supportive, taking this clueless newcomer under your wing from day one, you’re all good at what you do. Oluchi Okonkwo, the designer we all know and love as Ebonee Jade, I’ve known you since the year 2000 when I walked your very first fashion show, and you still create the best designs, thanks for asking me to wear this tonight…” I stepped away from the podium to give a twirl, and a few cheeky spectators wolf-whistled. “Thanks to my mother’s former boss Dr. Kishore who put up with me when I was a five-year-old pest, big shout out to Future Hope, and to everyone at New Aggrey, especially Mrs. Justina Charles, you’re such a gem. The ladies at Cherry Blossoms, especially Remi Olusegun, I’m proud to be associated with you; your work is outstanding. Thanks to Dr. Ernestine Julius-Njemanze, wherever you are—your support was invaluable, and so are you.”
Another round of applause followed, and I pressed the statuette close to my cheek. “I dedicate this to Cuthbert Duru, one of the most inspirational people I ever knew. He taught me dedication and perseverance are all it takes to achieve your goals in life, whatever the obstacles. He taught me you should always be proud of where you come from, because it will shape you for the future. He taught me that where you’ve come from isn’t always as important as where you’re going. I consider myself blessed to have had him in my life, and I’ll forever be honoured to call him my grandfather. Thank you, Papa, and rest in peace. Thank you everyone, and God bless. And to anyone out there who feels like they can’t go on, and can’t succeed because someone out there says ‘you can’t’, take it from me, you can. Even when people walk over you, gossip about you, turn their backs on you or whatever, there’s always going to be someone out there who believes in you. Oh, and Anna, if you’re watching this from Calabar, we owe each other lunch. Thank you!”