Two journalists in Kogi State became millionaires on Tuesday at the presentation of prizes to the different categories of winners in the maiden edition of the GYB Essay Competition for journalists in the state.
The Correspondent of The Sun Newspaper in Kogi State, Emmanuel Adeyemi, won the competition with a total score of 75.8 per cent. He was followed closely by Richard Elesho of The News, who scored 72.6 per cent.
The Correspondent of Independent Newspapers in the state, Julius Atabor, was the second runner-up, with a total of 70.6 per cent, while Adeiza Momohjimoh of Nigerian Link and Bashir Muhammad of New Telegraph were tied for the fourth place, each scoring 70.4 per cent.
At the prize presentation ceremony in Lokoja, which was well attended by top government officials, including journalists in the state and across the country, the winner went home with N2million.
The first runner-up got N1 million, second runner-up, N500,000, while the two journalists who tied for the fourth place prize went home with N250,000 each.
There were consolation prizes, ranging from N20,000 to N100,000 for many other journalists that participated in the competition.
The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chris Iziguzo, in his goodwill message, commended the Governor for his unwavering support for journalism in Nigeria and the recognition of the importance of the profession in building a better Kogi State.
“By establishing this essay competition, you have indeed demonstrated your unwavering commitment to nurturing and empowering journalists to excel in their craft,” he said.
He noted that this would not be the first time Governor Bello would be empowering, and at the same time, rewarding outstanding journalists with cash and other prizes, but that he was particularly glad that the beneficiaries of Tuesday’s event were journalists practising in Kogi State.
The NUJ President said the feedback from the state was that the government of Governor Yahaya Bello had placed premium interest on the welfare of journalists in the state, adding that the result was visible in terms of positive reportage.
While thanking the Governor for putting smiles on the faces of journalists, he congratulated winners and encouraged practitioners to continue in their pursuit of excellence while adhering to the highest standards of professionalism.
The Chief Host, Governor Yahaya Bello, expressed confidence in the professional capacity of journalists in Kogi State, saying, “They are my own special people. If I don’t embark on capacity building and empowerment for them, no outsider will.”
He assured media practitioners that the essay competition would be institutionalised and would outlive his administration.
He said he would want to be remembered as a leader who was determined and dogged in fighting for his people and providing visionary leadership.
The governor added that, at the end, he would be satisfied that he left the state better than he met it and handed over to a successor that will sustain his legacies in the person of Alhaji Usman Ododo.
The governor congratulated the winners of the essay competition and encouraged those who won consolation prizes to strive harder and sharpen their skills towards the next competition.
In his vote of thanks, the overall winner, Emmanuel Adeyemi, who was highly elated, expressed gratitude to God almighty and Governor Bello.
According to him, the N2 million prize was “a big shock”.
“Such gesture is an encouragement to media professionals in the state and also an eye opener for better performance,” he said.
Dr. Tunde Akanni, Associate Professor of Journalism at the Lagos State University, led the panel of five judges.
General Manager and Deputy Director, Radio Nigeria, Bimbo Oyetunde, who presented the scores on behalf of the panel, listed the criteria for the award of marks to include Grammar, Content and Flow, among others.
Other members of the panel include Eddy Odivwri, member, Editorial Board of This Day Newspapers; Ayo Olesin, Editor-in-Chief, TheNewsMatrics and member, Nigerian Guild of Editors; and Gabriel Akinadewo, Managing Director, Freedom Online and Asst. Gen. Secretary, NGE, among others.