By Victor Nwachukwu
Owerri , Nov. 18, 2020
Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo, on Wednesday , said that plans were on the way to reward outstanding journalists in the state.
Uzodimma made the disclosure at the second edition of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) 2020 Legacy Awards held in conjunction with Wells Network Ltd. in Owerri on Wednesday.
The governor, represented by the state’s Commissioner for Information, Mr Declan Emelumba, restated his administration’s commitment to encourage professionalism in journalism.
He listed the Best Journalist in Photo Journalism and Feature Writing as two of the four awards to be instituted.
According to the governor, the promotion of professionalism in journalisism practice would re-brand the state and positively market it to prospective investors.
“This administration will begin to reward outstanding journalists starting from year 2021.
“This is part of our commitment to the promotion of professionalism in journalism to restore the lost glory of our dear state,’’ Uzodimma said.
Dr Sam Amadi, the Guest Speaker at the event, in a paper entitled “Democracy, Leadership and the Future of Nigeria’’, identified the country’s problems to include poverty, insecurity and poor governance.
Amadi, a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, urged journalists to use their profession to fight corrupt leadership in Nigeria and to address the numerous challenges facing the country.
Another Guest Lecturer, Prof. Protus Uzoma, in a paper on “South East and Rotational Presidency: A Critique of Equity in Nigeria Democracy’’, frowned at lack of equity in the practice of Nigeria’s democracy.
He urged journalists to champion the course of equity in rotation of the office of the president in Nigeria, saying it was the only way to heal the wounds of the past and ensure national cohesion and growth.
Also, the Chairman of the occasion, Mr Frank Ojukwu, noted that media engagement and journalistic practice required well-informed and properly re-oriented individuals for its duties and functions, especially in terms of training, ideological orientation and relationship management.
According to him, journalists need to position themselves in the debates that drive policies and decisions that affect the ordinary citizen and away from a parochial interest of narrow mindedness or self centeredness.
Earlier in his welcome address, Mr Christopher Akaraonye, Chairman, Imo Council of NUJ, thanked the invitees for honouring the invitation in spite of the protocols associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged journalists to remain proactive in the discharge of their duties.
Akaraonye also called on aggrieved members of the NUJ in the state to sheathe their swords and join hands with him to move the union forward.
“We thank you, our highly esteemed guests, for defying the fears associated with the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic and coming out to grace this auspicious occasion.
“Let us also remind members of our great union of the need to work together as one body because together we will overcome all our challenges,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were presented to over 30 beneficiaries for outstanding performance in their various fields of endeavour.
Prominent among the awardees include Sen. Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South), who received award as the most outstanding senator in the southeast for year 2020 and Mr Reginald Udunze, a retired Police Officer and Forensic Expert.
Speaking on behalf of the recipients, Emeka Ugoanyanwu, the General Manager of Imo Water and Sewerage Corporation, who received award for “The Most Outstanding Manager on Water Services’’ thanked the organisers for the honour and promised to do more.