According recognition to exceptional Journalism is one of the greatest incentives for journalistic excellence. Hence the honoring of Journalists who went the extra mile by the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) on the 9th of December at the NECA hall in Ikeja, Lagos.
Prof. Ropo Sekoni, WSCIJ Board Chairman in his opening speech emphasized the role of the media in holding accountable the government as the voice of the people to ensure a better Nigeria.
This was reiterated by Ms Ibim Semenitari, Commissioner for information Rivers state who represented Governor Rotimi Ameachi.
Representing the British High Commissioner Dr Andrew Pacock, Mr Robert Fitzpatrick, the Commission’s Political and Press Officer, said the media will forever play a role in holding the powerful to account be it in government or in business. He emphasized that the British High Commission was pleased to be associated with the Centre and its award programme through its support of the online category.
Chairman of the Judges Board and Dean of the School of Journalism University of Lagos, Professor Lai Oso urged the WSCIJ to include a training programme because most of the entries received were not up to par.
Nevertheless the recipients of the various awards and commendations had distinguished themselves by the creativity and pursuit of truth as evidenced in their work.
Two honorary awards were presented at the event. Veteran Journalist Amma Ogan, received the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Anti-corruption Defender Award was presented to Dr. Chidi Odinkalu which was received by his 10 year-old daughter Solumfeechi due to his unavoidable absence.
Commendation certificates were presented to Ade Adesemoju of Punch Newspaper for his story “Courts where alleged offenders are rushed to jail”, Emmanuel Ogala of Premium Times’s “Jonathan awards $40 million contract to Israeli company to monitor computers and Internet communication by Nigerians” and Ayoola Kassim of Channels Television’s “The Ikeja Police College”.
The categories awarded were Photojournalism, Cartoon, Print, Online, Sports, Health, Local Government and Investigative Reporter of the year.
Stanley Ogidi won the Photojournalism award with his piece titled “Two Bridges, One City’. Asukwo Bassey’s piece Nigeria’s “Misapplied Talents” won the Cartoon category followed by Temitayo Famutimi’s 13 series piece on “Virginity Test”.
The award for Investigative Reporter of the year and Online category was presented to Ini Ekott and Ruona Agbroko-Meyer for their piece titled “How Nigeria squanders money on generators its foreign missions don’t need”.
Sports catergory was won by Aderonke Ogunleye with her piece “How the Nigerian Sports commission enrich selves and cheats Paralympians”.
Other winners include Toyosi Ogunseye for the Health sector and Ini Ekott and Bassey Udo for the Local Government category.
ABOUT THE AWARD
The Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting was first held in October 2005 to encourage the development of an investigative tradition in the Nigerian media through rigorous scrutiny of human rights violations, regulatory failures and corruption in the public and corporate sectors of the nation’s life. It has so far rewarded 65 finalists out of which there are 36 ‘Soyinka Laureates’ and 29 runners-up. It has also honoured 4 investigative journalists of the year and 12 honorary awards recipients.
ABOUT THE CENTRE
The WOLE SOYINKA CENTRE FOR INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM (WSCIJ) is a non-governmental organisation with a vision to stimulate the emergence of a socially just community defined by the ethics of inclusion, transparency and accountability through support to journalists. Initially known as the Wole Soyinka Investigative Reporting Award (WSIRA), the change in name became necessary in 2008 to reflect the intentions of the coordinators to embrace a more robust line of activities that have greater capacity for engendering the right values of investigative journalism in the Nigerian media. The Centre is named after Professor Wole Soyinka in recognition of his life-long work in support of the freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinion, and freedom to impart them without fear or favour and without hindrance or interference.