The 30th edition of the Nigeria Media Merit Awards (NMMA) held on Sunday night at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island and The Nation newspaper emerged the big winners of the night with 15 awards.
The Nation newspaper was named best in Editorial Writing, while some reporters of the paper either won awards or were runners-up in many categories.
The Nation’s Business Correspondent Kemi Dauda won Sony Odogwu Prize for Business Reporter of the Year, while Innocent Duru scooped four awards on the night; namely Olu Aboderin Prize for Entertainment Reporter of the Year, Ernest Sisei Ikoli Prize for Newspaper Reporter of the Tradition, Olagunsoye Oyinlola Prize for Culture and Tradition Reporter of the Year and the Olusegun Mimiko Prize for Foreign News Reporter of the Year.
Assistant Editor on the Business desk, Collins Nweze scooped the Union Bank Prize for Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year, Access Bank Prize for Capital Market Reporter of the Year, as well as the UBA Prize for Money Market Reporter of the Year.
The Nation’s Kunle Akinrinade was also named the winner of the Gani Fawehinmi Prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year; Gboyega Alaka clinched the Buba Marwa Prize for Defence Reporter of the Year; Muyiwa Lucas, the Nigerian Ports Authority Prize for Maritime Reporter of the Year; Ibrahim Yusuf won the Coca-Cola Prize for Brand and Marketing Reporter of the Year; Raymond Mordi won the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Journalist of the Year, and Lucas Ajanaku won the Chevron Nigeria Prize for Oil and Gas Reporter of the Year.
The Punch newspaper, which won nine awards, was named the Newspaper of the Year, while eight of its reporters won various awards – Tessy Igomu won the NAFCON Prize for Environment Reporter of the Year. Afeez Hanafi won the Adamu Muazu Prize for Tourism Reporter of the Year, the Keystone Bank Prize for CSR Reporter of the Year and the IGI Prize for Insurance Reporter of the Year.
Punch’s Anibobo Percy won the Newspaper Feature Writer of the Year; while Dr. Oladimeji Ramon won the Nigerite Prize for Real Estate/Construction Reporter of the Year as well as the MTN Prize for Telecommunications Reporter of the Year.
Olatunji Obasa, formerly of The Punch, also won the News Photographer of the Year.
The Guardian newspaper won five awards on the night. Gbenga Akinfenwa of The Guardian won the Bukola Saraki Prize for Agriculture Reporter of the year. His colleague, Iyabo Lawal, won the Ibrahim Shakarau Prize for Education Reporter of the Year.
The Guardian’s Wole Oyebade won the Aviation Reporter of the Year, while Kingsley Jeremiah won both the Conoil Prize for Energy Correspondent of the Year and the Peter Odili Prize for Power Reporter of the Year.
New Telegraph newspaper won four awards including Female Reporter of the Year by Juliana Francis.
Dare Adekanmbi of Sunday Tribune won the Political Reporter of the Year.
Henry Umah of The Sun won the Alex Ibru Prize for Investigative Reporter of the Year.
Azubuike Ishiekwene of Vanguard won the Alade Odunewu Prize for Columnist of the Year.
The Editor of the year award went to General Editor of Daily Trust Hamza Idris.
The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) won the Radio Station of the Year, while Channels Television was again named Television Station of the Year, ahead of Television Continental (TVC) and Arise.
It was the 15th time that Channels Television would win the category in NMMA’s 30 years.
According to Chairman of the Panel of Assessors, Dele Adetiba, 837 entries were received from 588 applicants for the 50 categories.
According to him, each winning entry was scored on accuracy, originality, initiative, evidence, freshness of ideas, depth, perspective, language, mood, balance and objectivity, human interest and social significance.
The grand patron, President Muhammadu Buhari, praised the NMMA for its consistency and for sustaining the award for 30 years.
Represented by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, President Buhari said: “The NMMA has helped to foster media excellence and has emerged as the foremost in Africa.”
The chief host, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, urged the media to continue to hold the powerful accountable and to fight for the downtrodden.
He emphasised the need for the press to uphold the highest levels of professionalism and ethics, especially in election reporting.
He praised the NMMA for sustaining the vision of its founding fathers and surpassing their expectations.
“Your standards must never be lower for anything and not in this age of which social media and the internet have enabled the amplification of fake news and malicious content that are intended to give undue political advantage.”
Also present were Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu; Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotosho; former Minister of Health, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi; the Director-General, National Broadcasting Commission, Shehu Ilelah; the Chairman of DAAR Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, among others.