The CJA F2019 finalists posed with their certificates with eminent media practitioners

Money, gifts rain on campus journalists at award event

NEWS DIGEST–It all began with a call for entries, then the submission of works by over 240 student-writers and campus journalists from Nigeria and even neighboring African countries. After 30 finalists were shortlisted, 15 of them eventually carted away various awards at the 2019 edition of the Campus Journalism Awards (CJA).

The event, held at Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, saw Abdulsalam Mahmud, a Mass Communication graduate of Fati Lami Abubakar Institute of General and Administrative Studies (FLAILAS) Minna, carts away the award for ‘Upcoming Writer,’ Ekpali Joseph, 400-Level Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) bagging the award for the ‘Best Feature Reporter’, Ibrahim Adeyemi of Usman Dan-Fodio University (UDUS) was conferred with the award of the ‘Best Campus Editor,’ while Emmanuel Ayamga of the Ghana Institute of Journalism CJA Finalists at the Interactive Journalism Workshop coasted home with the ‘Sports Reporter’ award.

Daud Adebayo, a student of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), received the ‘Best Magazine’ award on behalf of UNILORIN Watch, just as Adejumo Kabir, an English student of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) was bestowed with the ‘Photojournalist of the Year’ award, while Aondover Eric of Bayero University Kano (BUK) went home with the award for the ‘Best Author.’

Others award recipients are Alfred Olufemi of University of Ibadan (UI) who emerged as ‘Best Investigative Reporter,’ Adekola Mercy of Adekunle Ajasin University (AAUA) Ondo State, as ‘Broadcaster of the Year,’ Abdulhamid Abdullahi Aliyu of Bayero University (BUK) Kano as ‘Entertainment Writer,’ Oluwatobi Odeyinka of Moshood Abiola Polytechnics (MAPOLY) as ‘Best Opinion Writer,’ Fatima Abbas of the University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) got the ‘Social Media Influencer of the Year’ award, while Maryam Abdullahi, a student of the Usman Dan-Fodio University (UDUS) won the ‘Best Gender-Equality Reporter’ award, and then the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic’s MAPOLY Press went home with the award for the ‘Best Pen Club’. Maryam Abdullahi also emerged as the overall ‘Campus Journalist of the Year’ at the colourful event.

The duo of Hajiya Aisha Ahmed Binani, a former House of Representatives member and owner of the mega Binani Printing Press, together with Chief Olusegun Otunba Runsewe, Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), were also honoured with personality of the year awards for their contributions to the development of both the private and public sector.

Prominent guests at the A-list event include the Chairman, Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Justice Danladi Umar; President of National Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo; Executive-Director, Transparency International, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani; former Director Defence Information, Gen. Chris Olukolade; Publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi; Head of Northern Operations for The Nations newspaper, Yusuf Alli; President of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Comr. Bello Shagari, and Comr. Danielson Bamidele, the President National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), among others.

Otunba Runsewe donated N10,000 and fabric materials each to the student-awardees, while an award-winning investigative reporter with Premium Times, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, also pledged N5,000 each to the 15 campus journalists who bagged various awards. Mr.

Rafsanjani also announced that CISLAC would sponsor the ‘Campus Journalist of the Year’ award, Maryam Abdullahi, to a two-week female and gender development course in US, aside presenting her with N50,000 as a cash gift.

Prior to the award-presentation event, the quintet of Dr. Theophilus Abah, a senior Editor at DailyTrust newspaper; Mrs. Patyi Eneze, veteran broadcaster with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); Dr. Umar Kari, Head of Political Science Department (HOD) at the University of Abuja (UNIABUJA); an Award-winning Investigative Journalist with Premium Times Abdulaziz Abdulaziz; and the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Image Merchant Promotions Limited, publishers of PRNigeria, Mr. Ewache Ajefu, served as members of the distinguished panel of judges.

At a workshop organized for the 30 finalists, Abdulaziz said accuracy, clarity, originality, creativity and unique style of delivery, were the criteria used to assess all entries, and selection of the final awardees. The other judges, while urging the shortlisted finalists to read extensively so as to polish their writing skills, also expressed amazement over the quality of their entries.

Gidado Shuaib, Editor of Youths Digest and convener of the award pointed out that the essence of organizing the CJA event is not only to reward brilliant campus writers, but to also celebrate their unique journalism exploits on campuses.