Living Nigerian comedy icon, Ali Baba has been presented with an Award of Excellence for Social Impact and Entertainment in recognition of his three-decade-long career that has spawned several other careers and made comedy a viable industry in Nigeria.
Born Atunyota Alleluia Akpoborome, Ali Baba received the award at The Banquet Hall, Aso Rock Villa, Abuja from Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
According to the State House release, Ali Baba was selected for his support for the entertainment sector, which was identified as a key vector of the government’s Micro, Medium and Small Scale Enterprise Initiative.
For the better part of thirty years, Alibaba has been the light-source for the business of comedy and developing a path that multiple generations have toed ever since. Whilst he was still growing himself, he took a number of comedians and comperes under his wings, many of whom have gone on to own successful entertainment businesses.
The business of comedy has in its development and expansions, created, (beyond the multi million earning comedians) an industry with huge economic values, for Venue Rentals, Security companies, Deejays, Bands, Graphic artistes, Sound Equipment leasing, lighting, ushers, printers, outdoor advertising agencies, event planners, decorators, lawyers, funds managers, Realtors, Fashion Designers and corporate branding and market influencers strategists.
He has many firsts under his strides: First Nigerian comedian to perform on commercial flights. First to entertain over 40 heads of governments. First to ring the closing bell of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. First on CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera. First to be a Paul Harris Fellow. First to inaugurated into the Johnnie Walker Hall of fame. First to stage a 6 hour stand up performance…
In recent years, he created Alibaba’s Spontaneity, a creative competition, to discover younger comedic talents and providing them with a platform to earn a living from their gift. The programme is now in its fifth year.
Alibaba is also a broadcaster and media owner: one of his media products being Alibaba Seriously which was at one point a daily radio show but has now gone on to be a weekly late night television show.
He received the award at the second National MSME Awards, hosted by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and was joined by other captains of industry, heads of government agencies as well as other creative entrepreneurs.