The Nation’s Akioye is Reporter of the Year
Quality journalism was on parade last night in Lagos where The Nation won the much-coveted Golden Pen Award.
Senior Correspondent Seun Akioye mounted the podium at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island to receive the Nigeria Breweries Golden Pen Reporter of the Year Award and the N1million cash prize.
Akioye, all smiles, emerged the overall winner with his story, titled “Even the rich envy us the way we live” – an expose on Dustbin Estate, a community in Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State.
To win the coveted prize, which comes with a cash prize of N1 million, Akioye, a past recipient of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Journalism, shrugged off the challenge from Joseph Undu of Champion, who emerged the first runner up and Mojid Alabi of New Telegraph, who is the second runner up.
Akioye, a graduate of International Relations from the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, according to the organisers, was thorough and professional in his report on the slum community. In picking the final winners, the chairman of the jury, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, said this year’s entries were better in terms of presentation and accuracy. He praised Akioye’s entry for projecting the plight of the people of Dustbin Estate.
A member of the panel, Mrs. Nkechi Ali-Balogun, said Akioye’s entry fulfilled all the criteria necessary to win the prize.
“ You need to read this story; it is so compelling,” she said. Other members of the jury are: renowned journalism teacher Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye and former President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) Mr. Gbenga Adefaye. Akioye dedicated his award to The Nation Editors and children and people of Dustbin Estate, Ajegunle.
An excited Akioye said it was a clarion call for him to continue to project the voice of the underprivileged.
He said: “I‘m so short of words. I was almost giving up on it but glory be to God. It is unbelievable. I was never expecting it. I am so happy. I am grateful to my Editors, my colleagues in office. I dedicate this award to the children and people of Dustbin Estate, Ajegunle and my editors.
“The situation at Dustbin Estate was bad, but right in the midst of it you see the young people determined to get education, you see women and men struggling to make a better living and at a side is a young girl, Tolulope Sangosanya who founded an NGO called Love on The Streets (LOTS) dedicating her life to improving the conditions at Dutbin Estate.”
Akioye was not the only winner of the night. Raheem Akingbolu of This Day, emerged winner of the Nigeria Breweries Reporter of the Year with the story “Star: Beyond music in the bottle”.
Sulaiman Hussain of New Telegraph Best Photojournalist of the Year. Stanley Ogidi of The Punch was first runner-up and Ayodele Ojo of Daily Trust was the second runner up.
The Managing Director/CEO of Nigeria Breweries Plc, Mr Nico Vervede, said the company was celebrating journalists who excelled in 2013.
“We just need to celebrate them. Those journalists who have excelled and differentiated themselves in terms of developments and education,” he said.
Vervede added that it was about celebrating great professionalism in Nigeria.
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