Hundreds of Nigerian journalists converged on the Grand Ballroom of the Eko Hotel in Lagos on Friday to celebrate this year’s Golden Pen Award.
The Golden Pen Award was an initiative of the Nigerian Breweries which was inaugurated eight years ago with the aim of promoting professionalism and objective reportage of events in Nigeria.
Managing Director Nigerian Breweries, Nicholas Vervelde said the initiative was also designed to honour journalists who stood out in the course of discharging their professional duties.
Vervelde says the fourth estate of the realm which the profession is known must continue to uphold its tenets and ethics and ensure objective response to events.
”The Nigerian Breweries has established partnership with the media to encourage journalists who are rarely celebrated, to be honoured,” he explained.
The Nigeria’s Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who was a special guest at the event commended the efforts of the journalists to the use of power of pen to restoring peace across the country.
’’During the struggle for independence, our journalists were at the forefront, they fought, not because there was everything for them in it, but because there was everything in it for all of us,” the deputy Senate President said.
He saluted the courage of journalists for their contribution to the nation’s development and appealed to the media to continue to be the watchdog and gatekeeper of the nation’s democracy.
About 267 entries were received for review and at the end, Sodiq Adelakun of the Punch newspaper won the Photojournalist of the year with a cash price of 500 thousand naira. Odutayo Odusanya also of the Punch emerged as the first runner-up, while Ayodele Ojo of the Sun Newspaper was the second runner-up.
Gabriel Dike, an education reporter with The Sun Newspaper won the ‘Report of the Year’ with his work ‘’It’s Anambra week of Glory in Education”.
The Journalist of the year award was lifted by Tobi Aworinde of the Punch newspaper with his story “Lagos government shut NECO miracle center after PUNCH report”. He received cash price of One million naira. The first runner-up was Gbenga Salau of The Guardian Newspaper, while Charles Abah, also of The Punch emerged as the second runner-up.
All the winning journalists also got cash prizes and hand-held mobile devices as part of the reward package.
Other dignitaries at the events include the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu, former senator and deputy governor of Osun State, Iyiola Omisore among other media personalities.
This year’s award theme is ‘Education, Youth Empowerment and Talent Development.’