Mr. Ayodele Ojo, a 2016 runner-up, has won the 2017 Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Reporting award (Photojournalism category).
On his award, the centre commended Ojo for his “exemplary courage and outstanding reporting.”
Ojo won for his photo, Law of jackboot, published in Daily Sun.
Kolawole Aliu was the runner-up with VIO being molested by hoodlums for trying to arrest a traffic offender, a picture published in Leadership Newspaper. Ayodele Adeniran of The Guardian was commended for his entry, Tragedy as another three-storey building collapses in Lagos.
The winners got cash prizes of N200,000, an award plaque, two terra-byte hard drives, certificates of commendation and will proceed on an international study tour in 2018.
Adekunle Yusuf of The Nation emerged the Investigative Journalist of the year, at the 12th edition of the award, just as Mrs. Obiageli Ezekwesili, a former minister of Education, Executive Director, Media Rights Agenda, Edetaen Ojo, as well as nine other outstanding journalists were honoured.
The event, which held on Saturday, December 9, at NECA House, Alausa, Lagos, had several dignitaries, including Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature and grand patron of the centre, Prof. Wole Soyinka; Femi Falana, lawyer and human rights activist; Deputy Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands, Michel Deelen; Head, Influencing and Public Engagement, Oxfam in Nigeria, Abdulazeez Musa; and Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria, Nneka Ijeoma were among others in attendance.
Held first in October 2005, to develop investigative tradition among journalists, the Wole Soyinka award for investigative reporting has produced 83 finalists, 41 Soyinka laureates, 28 runner-ups, 16 commended works and 18 honorary awards, so far.
The 2017 edition opened with a speech from Ropo Sekoni, the chairman of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) board, who emphasised, among other things, that the unfortunate return of slave trade, evidenced by the recent occurrence in Libya, requires thorough investigation of the Nigerian side of the faces behind human trafficking. “Africa cannot afford a third slave trade,” he said.
In his remarks, Soyinka congratulated the winners, adding that the Nigerian media is considered one of the foremost and most interesting all over the world. While also applauding the award recipients, Prof. Lai Oso, the chair, 2017 Judges Board, observed that going by the entries, much needs be done in the continuous education of journalists. He affirmed that mere feature stories are not necessarily synonymous to investigative stories.