A former governor of Ogun, and Generalsimo of Nigerian journalists Chief Olusegun Osoba and the Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, were among those recognised as icons in the media industry at the Milestone Recognition of Media Icons in Nigeria on Thursday 8 December 2022.
The event, which was organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Muson Centre in Lagos, was its maiden edition and had as its theme, “The Role of the Media in the 2023 General Elections”.
Others awarded as icons included the Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr Buki Ponle; Chairman, Channels Media Group, Mr John Momoh and Founder, ThisDay Newspapers, Mr Nduka Obaigbena, Former Chairperson of Nigerian Union of Journalists ( Lagos State Chapter) Funke Fadugba .
Speaking at the occassion, the National President of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, said the awardees had worked assiduously toward the growth of journalism over the years.
Isiguzo said that the icons had also worked to support press freedom, which according to him, is one of the dividends of democracy.
“The recognition is being organised to celebrate and honour some media icons and to motivate other journalists to promote quality journalism, press freedom, and good governance in Nigeria.
“However, as good as the ideals of press freedom are, journalists have continued to face harassments, threats, physical injuries, imprisonment and even death in the course of discharging their duties.
“The distinguished Nigerians we are recognising today, no doubt, have shown great tenacity in this respect and we commend them always.
“What makes it special is knowing that we have carefully studied the roles played by these eminent Nigerians over the years in the development of the profession; this is indeed our token of appreciation to you.
“Obviously, you withstood the test of time in the midst of the economic challenges that have continued to steer us in the face,“ Isizugo said.
Also, one of the recipients of the award, Dokpesi, said that the media profession had continued to suffer neglect.
Dokpesi, who described the profession as one of those underpaid and underappreciated, urged the National Assembly to look into the conditions of service of journalists generally.
“The media profession has not received the appropriate respect and attention from the politicians; the country has not paid them back adequately.
“Yet, that is the profession that is charged with the responsibility of holding various governments accountable for their actions and inactions,“ he said.
Another icon recognised in the industry, the Chief Executive Officer of Blueprint Newspaper, Alhaji Muhammed Idris, expressed joy at the award.
He said: “We feel very honoured, happy, that our colleagues in this industry are recognising the roles that we have been playing to keep Nigeria united and to be on the path of progress and development for our nation.
“Young journalists should emulate us, those that have come before us; play journalism the way it is; play by the books; they should not promote disharmony, disaffection for our nation.
“Journalism should be for development and that is what we are all for; and we hope those coming after us.
Delivering the lecture titled: “The Role of the Media in the 2023 General Elections,” President of Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR, Mr. Mukhtar Surajo, said there was need for the media to ensure that Nigerians become politically conscious before going to the polls. Surajo, who added that media practitioners have allowed politicians to ride roughshod over them, noted that the media must ask vital questions of politicians ahead of 2023
Additional reports from NAN.