By Omolabake Fasogbon
Nigerian Breweries plc has honoured six journalists at the ninth edition of its Golden Pen Award which held yesterday at Eko Hotels & Suite in Victoria Island, Lagos
The award ceremony was graced by dignitaries from the nationâ€™s media, political and social circles.Â
The award is aimed at promoting professionalism and objective journalism. It is also meant to reward professionals who abide by the fine ethics of journalism profession.Â
Â This year’s programme rewards outstanding reports on agriculture, local sourcing and industrial development in 2016.
Â The night of glitz and glamour saw Isioma Madike of New Telegraph Newspaper emerge as the NB Golden Pen Reporter of the Year withÂ Arukaino Umukoro of The Punch as the first runner-upÂ while Caleb Ojewale, of Businessday emerged as the second runner-up.Â
Â The Photo Journalist of the Year award went to Olatunji Obasa of The Punch Newspaper.Â Suleiman Hussaini ofÂ The New Telegraph emerged as the first runner-up, while Toluwani Eniola of The Punch Newspaper was the second runner-up.Â
Mojeed Alabi, a reporter with The New Telegraph Newspaper won the â€˜NB Report of the Yearâ€™. Â
All the winning journalists also got cash prizes, a high-end work tool and special NB Golden Pen Award statuette as part of the reward package.
In his remark, the Managing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc., Mr. Johan Doyer noted that in the last three years, the theme of the award had been â€œEducation, Youth Empowerment and Talent Developmentâ€.Â
He explained that with the completion of that phase, attention was directed to â€œAgriculture, Local Sourcing and Industrial Developmentâ€ to align with Nigeriaâ€™s current push for economic recovery and growth. This he said was hinged on the expectation that the media, in its agenda-setting responsibility, will exploit the Nigerian Breweries Golden Pen Award to draw attention of all stakeholders in the Nigerian project to these keys sectors for economic revival.Â
Doyer also acknowledged the role of the media in the successes recorded over the last nine years withÂ the Award and thanked the panel of judges who rigorously analysed the entries for originality, credibility and factuality
Editor â€“in- Chief of the defunct Newswatch Magazine and Chairman of May Five Publications, Ray Ekpu who was a guest speaker at the event, thanked the organisers onÂ the initiative and called for soul-searching by the media and extolled them to bridge the gap between training and practice.Â
He recalled that before crude oil was discovered in commercial quantity in 1958, Agriculture was the main stay of the economy that produced food and prosperity for the nation. He lamented that the subsequent neglect of Agriculture became an albatross that has been tormenting the nation.Â
He challenged the press to wake up and support the effort to domesticate the Nigerian economy, use what they produce and eat what they grow. He maintained that Nigerian Breweries had set a worthy example on how to grow our local industry and agriculture and enjoined other corporate organizations to follow suit.
Â Present at the occasion were, the Ministers of State of Power, Works and Housing, Hon. Mustapha Baba Shehuri and Surveyor Suleiman Zarma Hassan, Permanent Secretary, Works and Housing, Directors, Special Advisers and other top officials of the Ministry and the Ministry of Finance while on the contractorsâ€™ side were Managing Directors of Reynolds Construction (Nigeria) Limited, CCECC, Arab Contractors, CGC and Mothercat among others.