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Thoughts on Nigerian Young Journalist Awards
It was exactly two years and five months, on August 27, that I won the Nigerian Young Journalist of the Year award. And as I sat in front of this gathering, comprised majorly of young journalists, the memories of March 27, 2010, once again filtered through the membranes of my brain.
For whatever reason(s), the Media Career Services, organizers of the awards, aimed at encouraging young journalists, deemed it fit to have the fourth edition that cool Friday of August. The weather outside the auditorium of the Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS) was rather dour, but it did not at all affect the enthusiasm with which a new winner was being expected.
Indeed, the setting, reminded me of the suspense, that pervaded the Lagos Television (LTV) auditorium in March. Then, it was a Thursday. I was dressed in a lilac coloured shirt, complemented with a wine coloured tie, and of course, engulfed in anticipation of who was going to emerge as the successor of Adeshina Oyetayo, who won the first edition. Oyetayo, my colleague then at TELL, won that edition, which was sponsored by a highly revered Pentecostal Church leader in Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.
I still very much relish that day. It was just two days after my birthday. The last three finalists were called in no particular order. They were Toyosi Ogunseye, from Newstar, Rafiu Ajakaye, from Daily Independent, and Segun Adeoye, from TELL magazine.
The panel of judges, as the final winner would afterward be announced in minutes, had deemed it fit to unanimously adjudge my entries: The Genius Among Us, Life in Filth, and A Deadly Shot of Breath, as the best. In short, I was afterwards announced as the winner of that edition. For me, it was a great leap in my career, one that further boosted my morale even in my chosen journalism profession.
How time flies! Three years after, I find myself, not only witnessing the fourth edition, but finding myself speak as a member of the panel of Judges. Indeed, that is how far the awards can increase one's profile. Perhaps, what however, thrills me most, was the fact that the winner of the Student Journalist of the Year, Olufisayo Soyombo, a graduate of the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, had in the past, attended a campus journalist workshop I had at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, under the auspices of the university's Association of Campus Journalists (ACJ).
Handing over the prizes to Nike Ashogbon, the joint winner with Tosin Makinde, in the company of Olayide Akanni, executive director of JAAIDS, and O'femi Kolawole, chief executive officer of Posterity Media, stirred in me a spring of satisfaction and delight.
Credit, no doubt, must be given to Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, the man behind Media Career Services, who initiated the awards. He says it's basically to encourage young journalists, and to make them realize that journalism is a profession of great possibilities.
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