The Nation emerges NMMA Newspaper of the Year



The Nation showed class again at the weekend by winning the Newspaper of the Year at the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA), Joseph Jibueze, Deputy News Editor of The Nation writes:

This newspaper beat The Punch and The Guardian to clinch the top prize.

The Nation journalists proved their mettle with 38 nominations, the highest, at the grand presentation, which took place at the Sheraton Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos.

This newspaper also won the highest number of awards (14) on the memorable night.

It came a week after The Nation was named Newspaper of the Year at the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence (DAME), flooring The Punch and Vanguard.

Serial winners Innocent Duru and Collins Nweze continued their streak at the NMMA, winning in four categories each.

Duru, who had eight nominations, won the Olu Aboderin Prize for Entertainment Reporter of the Year with the entry: “Poisoned chalice: shocking story of how Yahoo boys infiltrated music industry.”


His story, “Homecoming agony”, won the Olusegun Mimiko Prize for Foreign News Reporter of the Year.

Duru clinched the Cecil King Memorial Prize for Print Reporter of the Year with the story: “Horrors of Asylum Seekers” and the Most Innovative Reporter of the Year with his entry: “Double jeopardy: sad tales of Nigerians who lost phones, bank savings to hackers.”

Read Also: The Nation is DAME Newspaper of the Year
Nweze, a regular NMMA winner, clinched the Sonny Odogwu Prize for Business Reporter of the Year with his entry: “Hurdles before AMCON N5.4tr debt recovery bid (1) and (2).” The Nation’s Chikado Okereocha and New Telegraph’s Raphael Adebayo were the other nominees.

Nweze also won the Union Bank Prize for Banking and Finance Reporter of the Year, a category in which he had two nominations.  His winning entry was: “Banking with tears: our pains, by visually impaired customers.”

The Nation’s star Judiciary Correspondent Robert Egbe was the other nominee, with the story: “Banks: their customers and unending legal battles.”

The Access Bank Prize for Capital Market Reporter of the Year and UBA Prize for Money Market Reporter of the Year also went to Nweze, who had two nominations each in both categories.

The winning entries were: “Taxing digital economy: noose tightens around tech giants” and “Dumping dirty bank notes, saving businesses”.

The gong for Ernest Sisei Ikoli Prize for Newspaper Reporter of the Year went to The Nation’s Oyesina Fadare, with the story: “Ponmo business sparks fear of epidemic in Lagos community.”

Duru and Isioma Madike of New Telegraph were the other nominees in the category.

The Nation’s Olukunle Akinrinade won the Public Health Reporter of the Year, a category for which The Nation had three nominations. The winning entry was: “The making of poisonous fufu (1) and (2).”

The other nominees are associate editors and multi-award winners Adekunle Yusuf and Olatunji Ololade.

Ibrahim Yusuf of The Nation won the Adamu Mu’azu Prize for Tourism Reporter of the Year, beating Ololade and Eniola Akinkuotu of The Punch.

He won the category with the story: “Lessons from Rwanda.”

The Nation’s Abiodun Williams was named the News Photographer of the Year, beating Salau Olalekan of Vanguard and Saheed Adedoyin of The Punch.

Our Foreign Affairs Editor Bola Olajuwon won the Nigerian Ports Authority Prize for Maritime Reporter of the Year, beating Salau Adebola of The Guardian, who had two nominations.

His story: “Concerns over rising crimes in gulf of Guinea” was found worthy of a win.

Other The Nation staff members who got nominations are Grace Obike, Justina Asishana and Dorcas Egede.

The prize for Editor of the Year went to Ademola Oni of The Punch.

The Nation Editor Adeniyi Adesina and Paul Onomuapoakpo of The Guardian were the runners-up.

Samson Folarin of The Punch won the Alex Ibru Prize for Investigative Reporter of the Year. He won it with the story: “UNIZIK sacks Ekemezie, withdraws Ph.D after Punch investigations.” Tunde Ajaja of The Punch won the Bukola Saraki Prize for Power Reporter of the Year.

The Nation’s Simon Utebor won the MTN Prize for Telecommunications Reporter of the Year with a story he wrote while at The Punch.

His winning entry was: “Telecoms base stations under siege of battery, inverter robbers, poorly paid guards.”

Samuel Oluwasegun of The Guardian won the Bashorun M.K.O Abiola Prize for Sports Reporter of the Year; Iremeka Jideofor of New Telegraph won the Nigerite Prize for Real Estate/Construction Reporter of the Year.

The Lateef Jakande Prize for Political Reporter of the Year went to Clifford Ndujihe of Vanguard; the Nnamdi Azikiwe Prize for Cartoonist of the Year went to Erapi Esierumua of the Daily Sun, while the Abubakar Imam Prize for Newspaper Features Writer of the Year went to Chijioke Nelson of The Guardian.

The Peter Odili Prize for Power Reporter of the Year went to Juliana Francis of the New Telegraph. She also won the Buba Marwa Prize for Defence Reporter of the Year as well as the Gani Fawehinmi Prize for Human Rights Reporter of the Year.

The Prize for Female Reporter of the Year went to Rachael Omoniyi of New Telegraph. Asishana and Francis were the other nominees.

Daily Trust’s Eleweke Madako won the Olagunsoye Oyinlola Prize for Culture and Tradition Reporter of the Year; John Olukayode of the New Telegraph won the Ibrahim Shekarau Prize for Education Reporter of the Year.

The Keystone Bank Prize for CSR Reporter of the Year went to Madike of New Telegraph; NAFCON Prize for Environment Reporter of the Year was won by Uzoma Nwakunor of The Guardian;  Conoil Prize for Energy Correspondent of the Year went to Eboh Ike of Vanguard while The Guardian’s Femi Ibirogba won the IGI Prize for Insurance Reporter of the Year.

The Guardian won the Prize for Editorial Writing of the Year. The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) won the Radio Programme of the Year.

Television Continental (TVC) beat Arise TV and  Channels  to win the Television Station of the Year.

Chairman, NMMA panel of assessors, Prof Ralph Akinfeleye, said there were no winners in seven categories because the entrants did not meet the 70 per cent cut-off point.

They are the Coca-Cola Prize for Brand Marketing Reporter of the Year; Chevron Nigeria Prize for Oil and Gas Reporter of the Year; Aviation Reporter of the Year; First Bank Prize for Business Publication of the Year; George-Bako Prize for Radio Reporter of the Year; TV Production of the Year and TV Drama of the Year.

Prof Akinfele said the entries for investigative reporting lacked depth and were fewer than last year’s.

He said: “Some of the write-ups are left footed, both structurally and conceptually.

“Media owners should invest and provide adequate funding for investigative reporting because it is time consuming and of a high risk venture.”

The eminent professor of Mass Communication said many of the entries for Female Reporter of the Year lacked focus.

“Some were not even tangential to the subject matter. Our appeal to the female reporter is to wake up from their slumber,” he said.

Prof Akinfeleye praised the entries for Columnist of the Year, for which no winner was declared, saying they were “highly commendable”, “relevant”, “informative as well as educative”.

“Topical and contemporary issues were treated with robust local examples,” he said.

Prof Akinfeleye said despite the pandemic and the short notice in the call for entries, the media responded positively.

He said: “Initially, I was of the opinion that NMMA 2020 will not hold due to so many uncertainties of the PANDEMIC around the world and particularly in Nigeria. The call for entries was sent out late and the deadline given was also too close for comfort.

“ln spite of all these uncertainties in 2020, the media responded overwhelmingly. Do you know that this year, we received a grand total of 895 entries from 665 entrants as against 752 entries from 520 entrants in 2019, an increase of about 1.19 per cent?

“The Panel of Assessors was given only one month to complete the assessment. With constant gentle reminder from the NMMA administrators and the Board of Trustees (BOT), the Panel did a good job and submitted their report within the deadline to the Board of Trustees for further processing.

“Without wasting time, The Board of Trustees (BOT) also approved our recommendations without delay. Therefore, it is bravo and kudos to all the entrants, the administrators, the panel of assessors and our honourable members of the BOT.”

Prof Akinfeleye said the special awards categories – Newspaper of the Year, TV Station of the Year and others – ”were highly competitive, with the declared winner leading others by only half to a point”.

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