Dele Giwa, Gani Fawehinmi, others, honoured at TELL Awards for Excellence
It was pomp and pageantry recently at Civic Centre, Lagos, when the late celebrated journalist, Dele Giwa, late legal icon, Gani Fawehinmi, and other distinguished Nigerians were honoured at the maiden edition of Tell Awards of Excellence.
In his opening remark, President, Tell Communications Limited, Mr. Nosa Igiebor, stated, “the betrayal of late MKO Abiola, especially by those who profited most from his sacrifice, is one of the reasons that TELL’s editorial board decided to create the magazine’s awards for excellence. Yes, there is widespread cynicism among the public. We all know why it is so. Everywhere you look, there is chaos. Nigeria can, arguably, be described as a failing state, if not yet a failed one. However, in her vast ocean of despair and desolation, there are small but significant islands of progress, of excellence and hope, represented by people and institutions in both the public and private sectors.
“We thought there was a need, an urgent one, to shine a bright light on such islands; to recognise and honour these men, women and institutions that are doing things differently from the narrative of a country where nothing works and nobody cares. In doing so, they will inspire others to begin to do things differently, too, and increase the number of those who are doing everything to lift Nigeria from her present morass of overwhelming, self-inflicted failure.”
He spoke on some of the falling heroes of Nigeria’s struggle for nationhood, especially Fawehinmi, a true senior advocate of the masses (SAM) and Dele Giwa.
According to him, “Gani was a colossus of the legal profession and a warrior for noble causes. But he was a non-violent warrior. He had no guns. What he possessed in abundance was courage, amazing intellect, sheer doggedness, un-wavering dedication to the good fight he fought, and the granite strength of his moral convictions. He was a great philanthropist and a great patriot, for he loved this country.
“TELL had the privilege of conducting the last interview he granted before he passed away. Onome Osifo-Whiskey and Demola Oyinlola went to London to talk to him in April 2008. They were with him and his devoted wife, Ganiat Ibukun Fawehinmi, for three days. Despite his condition, he was determined to do the interview.
“Giwa, also, was a warrior and a true and proud professional. He was close to power and deliberately cultivated who wielded it. But it was only for the sole purpose of having access to credible sources of information that enabled the kind of robust, questioning, investigative journalism he craved for and practised. And for which he was assassinated.
Other awardees were Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II (Man of the Year), Muhammad Sanusi II, Sarkin Kano (Man of the Year), Mrs. Aisha Buhari (Woman of the Year), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, (National Icon of Democracy) Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, (Governor of the Year) Borno State Governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima (Governor of the Year) Prof Umar Garba Danbatta (CEO of the Year), CGI Muhammad Babandede (Outstanding Public Servant of the Year), Chief Leo Stan Ekeh (Life Time Pioneering Entrepreneur of the Year), Dangote Cement (Private Sector Organisation of the Year), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (Public Organisation of the Year), Bank of Industry (Banker of the Year), Air Peace (Domestic Airline of the Year).