Former ExxonMobil boss institutes investigative journalism award
Former Executive Vice Chairman of ExxonMobil, Mr. Udom Inoyo, has instituted a yearly award for investigative journalism in Akwa Ibom State.
Inoyo, who spoke during the state Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Congress, at the weekend, said: “I have thought of what I could do as my little contribution to NUJ in Akwa Ibom State with regards to this matter. Hence, I am rolling out capacity-building programmes for journalists soon.
“Anywhere, when people talk about journalism, one individual comes to my mind first. He is a great son of Akwa Ibom, an international award-winning journalist, who rose from a position of insignificance to global prominence. It is in honour of this high priest of quality reporting that I, hereby, request the executives to accept the institution of a yearly award to be called: Ray Ekpu Award for Investigative Journalism.
Also, Inoyo refuted speculations of his membership of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS) or Pyrates Confraternity, describing such as “mischievous.”
Inoyo cleared the air while responding to questions during the Congress, where he delivered a paper entitled “Your Pen, Our Future”.
Asked whether he belonged to Pyrates Confraternity, Inoyo responded: “I am not a member.”
On cultism among secondary school students in the state, he said it was important to speak out on negative manifestations of cultism.
On the award, Inoyo said: “This award is to be administered yearly by a panel of five first-class journalists, comprising two celebrated veteran journalists; one national officer of the Nigerian Guild of Editors; a nominee of the award sponsor; and the state NUJ Chairman.
“ It is aimed at encouraging quality, factual investigative reporting in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large. The prize money for the winner each year is N500,000. But the journalist must operate from Akwa Ibom State.”
Inoyo reminded journalists that the future of Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria was in their hands.
He donated five laptops to the NUJ, saying: “This will also be in addition to a purse to kick-start the capacity development programme. I do not walk in your shoes and therefore, cannot fully articulate your daily challenges. But, there are a few things I can discern from the high number of journalists in Akwa Ibom, which include the republican nature of our people, a commitment to freedom from all vagaries of life, and an appetite for knowledge.”
“It may, therefore, not be wrong to assert that it is not wealth that drives people into journalism but rather, it is the appetite to gain, gather and share information, knowledge, and especially, to be the watchdog of society; and to drive positive change”.
In this regard, Inoyo who is being fingered as one of those aspiring to succeed Governor Udom Emmanuel come 2023, and has been running the Inoyo Toro Foundation for 14 years, promoting education in the state, promised “to engage further with the NUJ executives to know how we can collaborate in your space….”
He continued: “You must be open to innovations as a means of enabling the economic growth of members of this noble profession. I will financially support this collaboration. We must deliberately offer our people hope and not despair, just as government institutions and their officials must be held to account. Our collective focus must remain a tide that lifts all boats, and not just a few boats.”
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