Upbeat swing as 30th anniversary of NMMA beckons
• Sanwo-Olu Seeks Privileges, Rights For Practitioners To Function
The 2022 edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) would be held in Lagos. With this, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the chief host of this year’s NMMA, which coincidentally is the 30th edition of the media award that has contributed greatly to promoting journalism excellence in Nigeria.
As a prelude to this year’s award ceremony coming up next month and its 30th anniversary, the award managers have been interacting with critical stakeholders. Recently, the award’s category sponsors hosted a dinner.
So, it was not surprising that the NMMA Board of Trustees led by its Chairman, Dr. Haroun Adamu and the award administrators met with Sanwo-Olu at the State House Marina on the award.
During the courtesy visit, Sanwo-Olu spoke glowingly about the place and role of the media in the development of any society. He described the media as one of the real engines of growth and a real barometer that gauges the mood of the nation and helps to stabilise the polity of any sovereign country.
He said press freedom is an important ingredient of any civilized democracy, noting that media practitioners in Nigeria should be given the rights and privileges to do their jobs without any hindrances.
The Governor, who commended the role of the media in Nigeria, said media practitioners should be recognised and encouraged to continue to perform their roles in society.
He said: “Press Freedom is an important ingredient of any civilized democracy. The profession is noble and very sacred. It must also be given the rights and privileges to do its job. People must be able to continue to know that there is somebody that would be the voice for the voiceless. Media practitioners should continue to deploy their skills and intellect to check people in authority, speak truth to power and use their training and intellect to direct leadership to ensure that we are not in a banana republic.
“Personally, I see the media profession as one of the real engines of growth. I see them as a real barometer that gauges the mood of the nation and helps to stabilise the polity of any sovereign nation. I am sure Nigeria is not an exemption. You can see and measure where the country is based on what the media is saying. And if people have donated their time and intellect to be the voice for the voiceless, I think it is proper that such people should be recognised and be encouraged to continue to do that.”
Sanwo-Olu, who praised the NMMA for appreciating media practitioners and their works in Nigeria, assured the organisation that the Lagos State government will support the 30th anniversary of the award.
“I am happy that you have been able to explain to us that over the years Lagos and its citizens and businesses have played major roles and so we feel highly honoured and encouraged that a landmark celebration; 30th anniversary would be taking place in Lagos. We will not shy away from supporting the anniversary because that is something that is proper.
“On behalf of my entire team, we want to congratulate you for continuing to hold the space high and for continuing to ensure that you are identifying and encouraging men that have kept the profession. We also commend you for using the merit award as a proper yardstick to encourage others to continue to do what is right at all times and to continue to give proper and fair reportage because there is a body that is looking at them,” he said.
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, Dr. Haroun Adamu, said the choice of Lagos to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the awards in November is not accidental, noting that “Lagos is the birthplace of Nigeria’s struggle for press freedom from which all other freedoms emanate.
He said Sanwo-Olu during the 30th anniversary of the NMMA will unveil the Nigeria Media Merit Award Alumni Association, which comprised over 1,000 past winners in the print and electronic media categories on NMMA in the last 30 years.
Adamu said NMMA has become a cornerstone that has continued to promote the values and ideals of journalism in Nigeria, as well as freedom of speech.
“We are gratified that your excellency in your inspiring address at our kick-off event on 20th September 2002, explained that the “Idea of the founding fathers” especially the pioneer Chairman, Dr. Babatunde Jose and other veterans in the industry has not only endured, but the Nigeria Media Merit Award has also become a cornerstone that has continued to promote the values and ideals of journalism in Nigeria and therefore Freedom of speech.
“The choice of Lagos to celebrate our 30th anniversary is not accidental. Lagos is the birthplace of Nigeria’s struggle for press Freedom from which all other freedoms emanate. The Nigeria Media Award and all its associate members, especially our honorees of the past thirty years, are humbled by your assurance that you are excited to play the best host to this year’s edition of the NMMA. “Democracy and good governance,” you affirmed, thrive on freedom of the press.
“The NMMA does not blow its own trumpet. The nation’s recognition of its meticulous and stringent criteria and standard of selecting the best amongst Nigeria’s Media practitioners speak for themselves. In the recently concluded national award ceremony, the nation through President Muhammadu Buhari recognised six media practitioners as worthy of receiving medals of honour of various categories. Out of the six, two had received the NMMA award as follows: Abike Dabiri, Cadbury Television Reporter of the Year- 1996 and Mr. Femi Adesina, Editor of the Year – 2007.
“Chief Nduka Obaigbena wears two hats; years ago, he endowed DELE GIWA PRIZE for the Editor of the year and was recently honoured by NMMA for his service to the Media Industry on 20th September 2022, hardly a month ago.”
“The event you are excited to host is indeed a special one, out of about 30 award ceremonies conducted Nationwide over the years, Lagos can claim more than 50 per cent which goes to show our affinity and loyalty to our base, Lagos. We reserved the big one, our 30th Anniversary for Lagos.”
The award BOT Chairman said that it was in the light of the significant place of Lagos in the entire NMMA process was why Sanwo-Olu was requested to unveil one of our most significant achievements in the award’s three decades of operations, the unveiling of the Nigeria Media Merit Award Alumni Association.
He added that with one thousand strong memberships, the NMMA alumni are made up of crème de la crème of Nigeria’s media practitioners, both print and electronic. “It is without doubt Africa’s beacon of light, as far as press freedom in particular and freedom of speech, in general, are concerned.
Adamu thanked the governor, though belated to him, for appointing someone NMMA discovered and honoured twice for two separate awards, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho, Editor of the Year, 2013/2015 as your Commissioner for Information.