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Stakeholders canvass professional excellence, ethical practices at media award

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Member, Board of Trustee, Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), Prince Tony Momoh (left); Acting Chairman, Board Of Trustee, NMMA, Dr. Haroun Adamu and Trustee and Chief Administrator, Yemi Akeju at the NMMA 2018… in Lagos PHOTO: SUNDAY AKINLOLU

Stakeholders at the 26th edition of Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA) held in Lagos last week have stressed the need for journalists to uphold ethical practices of the profession and pursue professional excellence at all times.

They also canvassed fair and balanced reportage of events even as the 2019 general elections draw nearer.

Chairman, Panel of Assessors, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye, said the essence of organising the awards is to make journalists practice journalism of conscience, make the media truly a Fourth Estate of the Realm and not ‘fourth estate of the wreck,’ to be socially responsible, promoting professional excellence, encouraging competition among journalists and to make journalists practice adhere to Chapter 2 Section 22 of the Nigerian Constitution.

Acting Chairman NMMA Board of Board of Trustees, Dr. Haroun Al-Rashid Adamu, stated that one of the objectives of the award is to promote of media excellence, noting that the last 25 years had led to the exponential growth in the industry, be it in print, electronic and online publications, adding, “The quality of presentations has also improved.

Late Babatunde Jose was able to convince the then Military President, Ibraheem Babangida, that the media, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, deserves presidential participation at the annual awards.

According to Jose, the office of the president and not the person or the institution that bought him to power should be honoured with the honour of Grand Patron.

“President Babangida accepted and participated to the end of our programme. The late President Yaradua and Goodluk Jonathan accepted to be Grand Patrons and gave us their support.

That began the beginning of our relationship with power without inhibiting telling the truth to those in power.

The NMMA is a national organization with inclusivity as its goal. Since its inception it works assiduously to hold the awards in several parts of the country.

The NMMA pleads with the proprietors of media establishment to ensure that salaries and allowances are paid as at when due. This will go a long way in enhancing their performances the performances of journalists.”

guest speaker, Prof. Mike Ikupolati, who spoke on ‘Leadership and Good Governance’ noted that “A leader is not measured by what he does to himself, but what he does to others.”

Ikupolati, who is the President and Chairman, Governing Council, Chartered Institute of Public Diplomacy and Management of Nigeria, stressed that a leader must be selfless and able to manage crisis. He said a leader must have compassion for his followers.

He also said a transformational leader is what is needed in Nigeria, adding that every leadership role comes with a price.

According to him, qualities of good transformational leaders are building relationships, safeguarding the nation and must be able to manage conflict.

He added that the greatness of a leader is measured by the magnitude of problems he has been able to solve.

Good leadership entails building institutions that are more powerful than individuals. Leaders must also engage in dialogues when there are internal crises.

While speaking on the role of the media in promoting good governance, he said the media must promote citizens’ participation in governance, promote rule of law, promote anti-corruption, transparency, and accountability in governance.

The media must come together as a group and ensure that continued harassment and intimidation of their staff is addressed; journalist must protect the identities of their sources, and there should be regular training of media staff.

Akinfeleye said the panel got a total of 651 entries in 2018, adding that the figure fell short of the 755 entries received in 2017.

He noted that the quality of entries, however, did not drop, saying there was improvement in the investigative category and the corporate social responsibility of the media for the year under review.

He also commended the panel of assessors for their commitment to duty, stressing that some works gave the judges tough time because they were difficult to read.

“For print, we had a total of 664 entries in 2017, while we recorded 473 entries in 2018,” he said. “For radio, we had a total of 64 entries in 2017, while we recorded 31 entries in 2018. For television, we received a total of 28 entries in 2017, while we recorded 54 entries in 2018.

“Overall, we had 554 entrants and 755 entries in 2017, and 460 entrants and 651 entries in 2018.

This year we had difficulty in picking winners in the Newspaper of the Year, Editor of the Year, Radio of the Year, and Television of the Year categories.

The scores were too close for comfort. The differences between the winners in the categories were marginal. We had entries from other states apart from the South-West. We hope this will continue.”

The Punch won Dele Giwa Prize for Editor of the Year, The Nation won Babatunde Prize for Newspaper of the Year.

The Guardian and The Punch also were nominated in this category. A photojournalist with The Punch, Olatunji Obasa, won the News Photographer of the Year.

Nike Popoola of The Punch won IGI Insurance Reporter of the Year Award. Samson Folarin of The Punch won Alex Ibru Prize for Investigative Reporter of the Year.

Abimbola Adelakun of The Punch won Alade Odunewu Prize for Columnist of the Year.

Tony Okuyeme of New Telegraph won Olu Aboderin Prize for Entertainment Reporter of the Year. Chukuemeka Ugwuanyi of The Nation won Power Reporter of the Year. Isioma Madike of Saturday Telegraph won Union Bank Prize for Banking and Finance Reporter, Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year and Ernest Sisei Ikoli Prize for Newspaper Reporter of the year.
Duru Innocent of The Nation won the 9mobile Prize for Most Innovative Reporter of the Year. Olaleye Oyebogbon of The Sun won MTN Prize for Telecommunications Reporter of the Year. Collins Nweze of The Nation won UBA Prize Money Market Reporter of the Year. Sulaimon Olanrewaju of Tribune won Coca Cola Nigeria Prize for Brand and Marketing Reporter of the Year. Emman Ovuakporie of Vanguard won Oil and Gas Reporter of the year. New Telegraph reporter, Ajibade Samson, won the Bashorun MKO Abiola Prize for Sports Reporter of the Year. Felix Chukwuma, also of New Telegraph, won the Lateef Jakande Prize for Political Reporter of the Year.
The Bukola Saraki Prize for Agriculture Reporter of the Year was won by Omoniyi Oluwatosin, of New Telegraph. Muritala Ayinla of New Telegraph was announced the winner of Olagunsoye Oyinlola Prize for Culture and Tradition Reporter of the Year. The Ibrahim Shekarau Prize for Education Reporter of the Year award went to Kayode Olanrewaju of New Telegraph. New Telegraph reporter, Mojeed Alabi, won the Gani Fawehinmi Prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year. Olusegun Mimiko Prize for Foreign News Reporter of the Year was given to Ogunbanke Temitope of New Telegraph.

Juliana Francis, also of New Telegraph, won the Buba Marwa Prize for Defence Reporter of the Year. Newton-Ray Ukwuoma of Nigerian Tribune won the Adamu Mu’azu Prize for Tourism Reporter of the Year. Isioma Madike of New Telegraph won the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year. The Access Bank Prize for Capital Market Reporter of the Year was won by Collins Nweze of The Nation. The First Bank Prize for Business Publication of the Year was won by BusinessDay, which had the only nomination in the category. In the Radio Category, Mary Fatile of FRCN was announced winner of the Radio Reporter of the Year. The NBC Prize for Radio Station of the Year was won by Radio Nigeria, while TV Continental was announced winner of the NBC Prize for Television Station of the Year. Tribune won Platinum Achievement Award. Chairman of African Newspaper of Nigeria Ltd, publishers of Tribune titles, Dr. (Mrs.) Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, who received the special award for Tribune, dedicated it to its founders, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Chief ((Mrs.) H.I.D. Awolowo. Prince Tony Momoh, while presenting the award, said, “Tribune is a great institution because of its objectivity. At any point in time, you know where Tribune stands.”


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