By: GELE AGBAI
An award is a prize or other mark of recognition given in honour of an achievement. Awards are accompanied by plaques or certificates or both. In whichever forms they come, awards are in celebration of feats, accomplishments or attainments of the recipients.
Awards are geared towards motivating the recipients to do more. Remember to whom much is given, much is expected.
There is no human being that does not treasure awards especially if given by people or organizations he reposes confidence in or values.
Again, every awarding organization or individual cherishes certain ideals and wants to encourage those ideals. Nobody will institute an award in a field he does not like and because he likes that particular field of human endeavour, he commits his resources into it to encourage it. It is natural that whatever and whoever you love, you give towards its/his upkeep and wellbeing.
Governor Hope Odidika Uzodimma of Imo State loves journalism and media practitioners. He obviously must have seen the immense contributions which media practitioners are making in sustaining the country’s democracy. He knows that with a robust journalism, the country could take a rapid leap to greatness.
He also wants media practitioners to ply their trade in a manner in which the ethics and ethos are observed and adhered to. The society is today grappling with incidences of fake news which spread in torrents in different media platforms.
By promoting excellence in media practice, Gov Uzodimma is simply giving a pat on the backs of practitioners who have refused to be swayed from the path of rectitude.
The governor’s media awards kicked off in 2020. Seven media practitioners won in the maiden edition. They were Emma Iheaka (Best Feature Writer), Jerry Osuji (Best Documentary Producer), Paul Emoghene Best Radio Presenter, English), Reyna Obasi (Best Reporter, Electronic), Grace Igwe (Best Presenter, Igbo), Chidi Nkwopara (Best Reporter, Print) and Georgeline Ezikoha (Photojournalist).
Owing to the huge success of the maiden edition, the second edition of the awards was expanded from seven to 11 categories.
They are Best Investigative Journalist, Best Documentary TV Journalist, Most Outstanding Radio Journalist, Most Outstanding Radio Presenter, Most Outstanding TV Presenter and Most Objective Radio Station.
Others are Most Balanced Local Newspaper, Most Outstanding State Correspondent, Best Sports Reporter, Most Outstanding Photo Journalist and Most Creative Cameraman TV.
The 2022 Committee on Governor Hope Uzodimma Media Excellence Awards headed by a former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State Council, Chief Fidel Onyeneke swung into action upon its inauguration on August 1, 2022, sat severally, sorted the entries and at the end selected winners in nine of the 11 categories.
Chief Onyeneke on Tuesday, November 29 while officially submitting the committee’s report to the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Emelumba announced the winners of the awards.
According to him, the Editor of The Statesman Newspaper, Chris Anucha clinched the Best Investigative Journalist of the Year award; Reginald Mbajunwa of the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) won the Best documentary TV Journalist and Ngozi Ejimmadu also of the IBC won the Best Documentary Radio Journalist award.
Others are Adaeze Opara Anyanwu of the Ozisa FM (Most Outstanding Radio Presenter (Igbo); Mary Omeni Nwode of MyRadio (Most Outstanding Radio Presenter (English); Akunna Azuike of IBC (Most Outstanding TV Presenter); Faith Chichi Igwilo of Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, (Most Outstanding State Correspondent); Cosmos Chukwuemeka of Darling FM (Best Sports Reporter) and Chigozie Emeremgini of IBC (Most Creative Cameraman TV.
Oneyneke also announced that entries for Best Objective Local Newspaper could not meet stipulated template while there was no entry received for the Most Objective Radio Station.
Meet the awardees who will at a ceremony holding this December stand on the podium to be celebrated.
Most Outstanding TV Presenter
Akunna Sonny-Azuike hails from Umunkwo Obazu Mbieri in Mbaitoli Local Government area of Imo State.
She is married with four children. Mrs. Sonny-Azuike studied Languages at Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, AIFCE, Owerri.
She currently works at Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) as a newscaster/presenter/producer.
Reginald Chiekezi Mbajunwa
Best Documentary TV Journalist
Sir Reginald Chiekezi Mbajunwa is a veteran broadcast journalist in the employ of Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) Owerri.
He went through the crucibles of education starting from National School Nkwerre 1972-78 where he obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC).
He proceeded to the famous Saint Augustine’s Grammar School Nkwerre where he got the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Ordinary Level in 1983.
Reginald Mbajunwa also attended Government Secondary School, Owerri where he bagged the Higher School Certificate (HSC); WAEC Advance Level in 1985.
He attended the University of Cross River State, Uyo where he obtained the Bachelor of Arts Degree Second Class Lower in Philosophy in 1990.
He has a Diploma in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism, Abuja in1996 and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management Sciences Marketing University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State 2000.
Reginald Mbajunwa was employed by Imo Broadcasting Corporation Owerri in 1992.Within a short period of six months, he distinguished himself in the service as a reliable and dependable broadcast journalist and IBC posted him to Government House Owerri as its Correspondent during the administration of late Governor Evan Enwerem.
When the corporation was looking for a committed journalist who will work creditably without supervision outside Imo State, Reginald Mbajunwa was posted to Umuahia as its Abia State Correspondent.
When Ebonyi State was created in 1996, Reginald Mbajunwa was asked to cover Abia and Ebonyi States for IBC Owerri. This he did creditably with the fear of God. His greatest achievement as a state correspondent was his scoops and exclusive special reports. He made the people of Abia and Ebonyi states rely on IBC Owerri to know the actual things that were happening in their states.
Reginald Mbajunwa was recalled to the headquarters in 1998 to head the Corporate Affairs Office during the transition from military to civil rule. One of his assignments as the Corporate Affairs Officer was to take care of Motherless Babies and destitute in Imo and Abia states, a job he did to the glory of God and God rewarded him with the gift of twin sons in 2003.
Reginald Mbajunwa has worked in all the divisions in the News and Current Affairs Department of IBC Owerri including being the Government House Chief Correspondent between 2007 and 2010.
He was asked to produce a Television Documentary captioned FACTSFILE the first of its kind in 2010.He took up the challenge and in December 2010 he emerged the best TV Documentary Producer in the state and the Staff of the Year in IBC Owerri.
He was honoured by the state government through the Ministry of Information and Strategy. As a reporter, his news reports were wonderful. As an editor, his news productions are faultless.
Reginald Mbajunwa has attended so many professional courses including Investigative Reporting and Management Training of BBC in conjunction with Thompson Foundation and British Council in Nigeria.
Presently, Reginald Mbajunwa is the Deputy Director in the News and Current Affairs Department of IBC Owerri.
He produces and moderates IBC Orient Television personality programme, ENCOUNTER and in charge of radio news production on Orient FM 94.5.
Sir Reginald Mbajunwa is married to Lady Alice Reginald-Mbajunwa and the marriage is blessed with children. He is a knight of Saint Christopher in the Anglican Communion.
Uche Mary Omeni Nwode
Most Outstanding Radio Presenter English
Uche Mary Omeni Nwode is popularly known as Mary D Slimdiva, Most Adorable. She is a native of Delta State.
She is a 2011 graduate of Delta State University, Abraka and holds BA English
Nwode did her NYSC programme in Enugu State in June 2013.
She worked with ESBS (Sunrise FM Enugu Radio/TV) as a newscaster, producer and DCA from 2016 to 2017.
She is at present working at My Radio 101.1 FM Owerri as a newscaster, producer, DCA.
Awards she has in her kitty include Imo OAP Media Awards 2020 (Presenter of the year English, Radio… Female Category); Imo OAP Media Awards 2021 (Presenter of the year, English, Radio… Female Category).
She also clinched the Most Outstanding Radio Presenter (English) Governor Uzodinma Merit Awards 2022.
Nwode is a health journalist. Her hobbies are travelling and listening to music/ radio. She said she loves socializing and meeting people. But what turns off are pretence, gossip and negativity.
“I feel fulfilled knowing that I impact on thousand of listeners daily via my programmes. Apart from family, radio is my life”, she said. She is married with children.
Emeremgini Augustine Chigozie (Ezeji)
Most Creative Cameraman TV
Twenty-three-year-old Emeremgini Augustine Chigozie hails from Elekenaowasi Obohia Community in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.
He works at the Programme Department of the IBC Orient 94.5 FM Owerri. His job entails editing and other jobs as may be approved by the director.
Chigozie holds FSLC, SSCE & Trade test obtained at Okporo Technical College Okporo, Imo State.
He is computer literate and good at e-sign and e- education related television and radio devices.
He was conferred with the best staff award by Imo Broadcasting Corporation management.
Cosmos Chukwuemeka (aka Puyaka Master)
Best Sports Reporter
Cosmos Chukwuemeka is Head of Sports at Darling FM 107.3 Owerri, Imo State. He is a graduate of Ebonyi State University.
He is a former Media Officer of Heartland Football Club and former Public Relations Officer of All Nigeria Professional Football League Media Officers.
Best Investigative Journalist of the Year
Chris Anucha is the Editor of The Statesman Newspaper. This is not his first time of winning award in the course of his journalism career. When he was South South Bureau Chief of The SUN Newspaper, the bureau won the Most Improved Bureau of the Year, 2012.
Within one of assuming duty as the editor of The Statesman, the newspaper received an award from the Imo State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, as the Most Tourism-Friendly Media.
Anucha started his journalism career in the old Daily Times (Sunday Times) in 1993. He also worked as a reporter in The Mail, The Post Express and ThisDay from where he became a pioneer staff of The Sun Newspaper in 2003.
While in The Sun, he rose through the ranks of Chief Correspondent, Assistant News Editor, Crime Editor and later, South South Bureau Chief.
In March 1, 2021, Chris Anucha was appointed editor, The Statesman. Anucha holds MA in Communications, from the University of Port Harcourt, BSc, Mass Communications, from Lagos State University, HND, Book Publishing from Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Diploma from Nigeria Institute of Journalism(NIJ), Lagos and Diploma in Law from University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
He is married to Stella and they have three children, two boys and a girl.
Best Documentary Radio Journalist
Ngozi Ejimadu is a native of Ogwa Community in Mbaitoli Local Government Area.
She is a graduate of Imo State University. She is a broadcaster with the Imo State-owned media house (Imo Broadcasting Corporation, Owerri.
She is also a writer, reporter, sports analyst among other things.
Faith Chichi Igwilo
Most Outstanding State Correspondent
Igwilo Faith ChiChi hails from Abba in Nwangele Local Government Area of Imo State. She was born on 26th October 1976.
She is a graduate of Abia State University. At present, she works as Principal Reporter at the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).
Adaeze Opara Anyanwu
Most Outstanding Radio Presenter (Igbo)
Mrs. Adaeze J. Opara-Anyanwu (Adaigbo) hails from Obama Ezinihite Mbaise, Imo State.
She is a presenter, producer and translator with Ozisa FM Owerri .
She also presents a riveting programme on an online television channel, Universal Heritage Television (UHTV NAIJA) based in Owerri.
Before joining Ozisa FM, she had taught in different basic educational institutions in Imo State including St. Johnbosco Nursery and Primary school Owụ-Amakohịa Ikeduru LGA and Unique Nursery and Primary School Owerri.
She also worked with MyRadio 101.1 FM Owerri and Ikoro Igbo Newspaper owned by Imo State government during the tenure of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
Adaeze studied Mass Communication at Federal Polytechnic Nekede Owerri. She also took a course on media presentation and production at West African Broadcast and Media Academy, WABMA.
She also has a BA in Linguistics and Ịgbo from the Imo State University Owerri. She has always been cherished by many for her unquenchable zeal to promote the Igbo language.
No wonder she has been variously decorated by Igbo organizations and groups with awards of excellence.
She won Igbo Literature and Translation Competition (Igbo Awards Celebrating Igbo Sons and Daughters. Eze S. M Ahamba Prize for Igbo Literature).
She is also the winner, Imo OAP’s Award 2022 (best Igbo presenter female). The teaching of Igbo language has indeed fetched her rare opportunities to deliver lectures in different intellectual gatherings.
Adaigbo is a gifted writer who is capable of turning a mere event into a two hundred and fifty page book. Adaeze Opara-Anyanwu is married with kids.