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Three National Light staff win Amazon awards for female journalists

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Nnabuife, Unoaku others laud Nigeria Association of Women Journalists …

 IT WAS  historical,  Friday, when the Nigeria Association of Women  Journalists ( NAWOJ),  Zone C , held it’s 2019 South East Media Amazons Awards and unveiled the maiden edition of the Amazon journal.

The award was in recognition of some members who had contributed immensely to the development of the journalism profession in Nigeria . The group also honoured the Governor of Enugu State,  Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi,  for his support .

Chairman of the occasion and Managing Director,  Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation,  publisher of National light Newspaper, Ka O Di Taa (Igbo language  news publication) and SportslightXTRA,  Sir Chuka Nnabuife , in his opening  remarks, observed that since the inception of NAWOJ, South East  zone has never honoured their members.

“lt has never happened.  I started my journalism 24 years back. I can’t remember the kind of people that we are recognising today. With my understanding of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists,  I can’t remember NAWOJ stepping out so boldly as they are stepping out today.

“You will be surprised of what history is going to turn out today. The amazons  that journalism turned out.  These amazons are unsung history and tonight,  NAWOJ, South East  zone has  taken a bold step to  say at least,  we can remember  those people  that worked in Igboland. NAWOJ South East zone can look back and say, at least, we can recognise some women journalists  from the zone.”

Sir Nnabuife  noted that women are very important and influential, saying, ” when you are going and you want to be better,  go with a woman.”

He commended the Vice President of NAWOJ,  Zone “C”, Lion Chibota Edozie, for taking a bold step to honour the amazons.

In his goodwill message, Vice President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Zone C,  Comrade Petrus Obi, commended NAWOJ for  organising the programme,  noting that,  “what is happening  at NAWOJ  is worth emulating. It is a good thing to emulate”.

He commended the Governor of Enugu State,  Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi , for his tremendous support to NUJ, saying, ” he is one of us. The VP, NAWOJ remembered what was very vital, the International Conference of Women Journalists.  They were invited.  It was almost a flop.  A colleague was down with cancer and Governor Ugwuanyi  came to the rescue, ” Obi said

The vice president announced that NUJ, Zone C, will set up an endowment fund for members in need and will also organise awards for Journalists from the zone.

Earlier in  her  welcome address,  the Vice President of NAWOJ,  Zone ‘C’,  Lion Chibota Edozie,  said that the award was conceptualised  out of the  need to honour some  outstanding  female  journalists  of SouthEast  extraction,  who have  contributed immensely,  not only to journalism profession  but also to  the development of the SouthEast. She described them as, “the shining light  of our profession. ”

According to her , “It’s  often  said that journalists  love to celebrate  other people  but hardly  have time to celebrate  themselves. Tonight, we are changing the narrative as this is the  first  of its kind  here in the  Southeast”.

The vice president  noted that there were other  female and senior journalists  of SouthEast  extraction  who similarly deserved to be honoured,  promising that “this initiative  would  be built upon in subsequent  editions. ”

She commended the Governor of Enugu State,  Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, for his support to NAWOJ,  South-East zone during the International Conference of Women Journalists, held in Ghana in 2018 and for paying the medical bills of a member of NAWOJ in the zone who went for surgery.

Lion Edozie  appealed to the governor to  assist  the union  in getting  a secretariat, with facilities like computers and  a  vehicle. She also appealed to the awardees to also assist the South East NAWOJ with the aforementioned request.

In a remark, Chairman, Planning committee, Comrade Ngozi Ugwu, thanked the guests for attending the event. She also thanked the vice president for organizing the event

The Chairman, Amazon Journal Committee, Comrade Uche Kalu, in an interview, expressed joy on the successful publication of the maiden edition of the journal and returned all the glory to God.

Comrade Kalu, who explained that the journal was aimed at bringing into front burner issues affecting women and children in the society, noted that it was in line with the fundamental functions of the media to educate, inform and enlighten the society and commended the awardees for their support to development of journalism profession in southEast and Nigeria in general.

In her remarks, the National Treasurer of NAWOJ, comrade Ifeoma Obi while  congratulating the awardees, urged female journalists to remain focus, dedicated and truthful in the dicharge of their duties.

She commended the vice president for efforts towards achieving success and advised other leaders to emulate the leadership quality of the present vice president.

The awardees were Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, ‘NAWOJ man of the year’,  Dame Unoaku  Ekwegbalu , ‘Outstanding Media Woman Award of Excellence, ‘ Maureen Chigbo,  ‘Evergreen  Female  Journalist’, Grace Nnadozie, ‘Award of Excellence’,  Kande  Ibrahim  Daniel,’ South East NAWOJ Distinguished Trailblazer’.

Former Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists,  NUJ,  Anambra State  council (The first female NUJ Chairman), who was also a staff of  Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, the late Comrade Tochukwu Udoji , was conferred with  “Touch Bearer of Southeast  Media Amazons Post Humours Award.

Other awardees were Ngozi Ihekere,  Chieso Aninwagwa, Angela Nduka, Angela Agoawike, Richard Akinnola, former Governor of Abia State,  Chief Orji Uzor Kalu and Senator Chris Anyanwu.

Highlight of the occasion was the unveiling of NAWOJ, South East Journal. Guests were treated to a dinner at the colourful event which attracted journalists from Enugu,  Abia,  Anambra,  Ebonyi,  Imo, and other parts of the country.

In an interview, the former General Manager, Anambra Newspaper and Printing Corporation, Dame Unoaku Ekwegbalu, emphasized that journalism profession has no time for lazy people or gender, saying that the issue of being a woman does not arise in the profession as every practitioner is expected to submit his or her story alongside others.

Dame Ekwegbalu started her journalism career after her graduation from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1978 in the Daily Star Printing and Publishing Company, Enugu. She held various positions such as Woman Editor, Features Editor, as well as the Editor of the weekly edition. She equally contributed significantly to other key regional media establishments such as the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Enugu and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA).

At creation of Anambra State in 2001, she became the General Manager of National Light group of Newspapers and from there, she had various stints in the Government of Anambra State where she served meritoriously till her retirement in 2008.

In the journalism profession, Unoaku played vital role in its development. She was the first Chairperson, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in the old Anambra State. She equally served in various capacities in the association.

Unoaku, who received the ‘Outstanding Media Woman Award of Excellence’ expressed her joy in the recognition, advising the upcoming women journalists to be courageous and trust God for strength. “Journalism has no room for lazy people or that I am a woman. What matters is that you get your story when others get theirs and be as fast as others, she said.

She further advised practitioners to always learn to support the leaders, avoiding the attitude of pulling each other down. “When you help others to succeed, you will be surprised that success will come knocking at your door. Avoid pride.”

Maureen Chigbo is the publisher and Editor, Real news, the pioneer Nigerian weekly investigative online news magazine. She was the first female general editor of a very influential weekly news magazine based in Lagos, the Newswatch.

She started her journalism career in 1992, as a crime and police reporter in the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), 28years ago, with the professional goal of promoting peace, justice and equal opportunity for all through investigative journalism that will expose any form of injustice and corruption and facilitate political, socio-economic development in the country..

While with the News Agency of Nigeria, Chigbo joined the economic desk covering international and regional economic, financial and development institutions in Nigeria such as ; the World bank group, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), among many others.

Having travelled wide, Maureen, who joined News watch in August, 1998, as an assistant editor, has covered major national, regional and international assignments, including ; African Development Bank Annual Meetings in different countries and years such as Morroco, 2013, Zambia, 2015, India, 2017, among others.

She received an ‘Evergreen Female Journalist Award’, though not expecting it but felt great and returned the glory to God

Comrade Angela Ngozi Nduka, who received an Award of   Excellence expressed gratitude to the organizers of the event. She started her journalism practice with the Daily Star Printing and Publishing Company, Enugu in 1989. From 1989 till date, she has worked with the Abia State Ministry of Information and Culture, Umuahia, Ebonyi State Ministry of Information and state Orientation, Abakaliki.

Mrs Nduka has been in various public relations offices in Ebonyi State and has equally held various positions in NUJ and NAWOJ both in national, state and chapel levels. She commended the leadership of NAWOJ Southeast for honouring her.

She urged the upcoming journalists to trust God in their endeavours, be honest, dedicated and show high sense of responsibility in discharge of their duties any time, any day, any place to accord respect to the noble profession.

Nduka stated that journalism profession is a platform through which activities of other professions are being made known to the public.

The immediate past Vice President of Southeast Zone C NAWOJ and also one of the awardees, Chieso Aninwagwa said that women have a vital role to play to fight corruption in the society. “The kidnappers, armed robbers, prostitutes, among others are all born by women. And no one understands his or her child more than a mother.

She emphasized that journalists have significant roles to play in order to breach the gap and to install peace to people.” We are supposed to be the voice of the voiceless, especially to the vulnerable. We are supposed to be speaking between the small man and the government “.

Aninwagwa, who was given the title ‘Distinguished Leader Award,’ called journalists in order to understand that there is a great different between reporting and blackmailing; thus adviced them to always engage in  investigative reporting than writing with imagination or from what they heard of.

In her words,” i don’t write what I don’t know. Some of my colleagues sit at their comfort places, make calls and start writing something without investigation which is not good.

It is not helping us. It is only us that can help the society the way it is supposed, especially the women journalists; because we are the mothers and God had made us to be the managers of the foundation which is home”.

 

The former VP who was the Public Relations Officer, Ministry of Transport; Chairperson NAWOJ; as well as President Women for Women International Enugu, charged the female journalists to go back and imbibe family a calls value because according to her,” churches and the society at large has failed. Women suffer mostly as a result of such failure”.

Aninwagwa stated that positive result would be achieved if everyone tightens up their belts and bring all hands on deck so that Nigeria would become better again.

Comparing present day NAWOJ to that of the past, she attested that the union has gone digital now unlike before when NAWOJ had little to make mark in various areas of life.

She also used the opportunity to highlight some of her achievements during the office as a vice president as;  providing the union a vehicle, allocation of land for their office; organising various workshops and NEC – where we sit together as friends to learn from each other.

Aninwagwa added that for one to be a good leader, he must live to create another leader ” because all those things you know and after you have lived and died with it, you achieved nothing and that was why I handed power over to Comrade Chibota Edozie (who is the present VP South East  Zone C NAWOJ.

Chieso is a human rights activist who fought for the widows, less privileged and the marginalized in the society. She is among the few that fought the issue of Opi  Nsukka rape, being at the fore-front with the problem of women at Global Com Network and was noticed at Nimbo during the Bimbo attack.

Also, the Director , News and Current Affairs and Corporate Affairs Manager of Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), Owerri, Ngozi Ihekere, expressed gratitude for the honour given to her( Distinguished Leader Award), confessing she list expected it.

She stated that such action shows the mark of a good leader and encouraged Comrade Chibota not to relent from doing good.

Ihekere, who had served NUJ and NAWOJ in different capacities, both in national, state and at Chapel levels, described Chibota as a genuine person who don’t support evil, a mother, straight forward, respectful and worthy to reckon with.

Speaking on her achievement during her tenure as vice president, she revealed that there was nothing like NAWOJ in the Southeast then but only existed among those that held positions. She said  that when she came into office, she was able to institute NAWOJ in all the states in the southeast single handedly and ensured they were actively operational.

She advised all the NAWOJIANS to come together, pointing out that” an outsider cannot do the work for us”.

Also in her gesture, Deputy Editor-in-chief of National Light Newspaper, Awka, Grace Nnadozie wished NAWOJIANS to be strong because according to her ” they are not yet strong. We are still very weak. This idea of when you get something it becomes yours should come to an end.

I belief in legacy and there must be a legacy because the upcoming NAWOJIANS would one day ask, what had the past executive achieved. If we begin to bear this in mind, then, we will start doing something”, she concluded.

Nnadozie wished NAWOJIANS to be strong because according to her, ” they are not yet strong. We are still very weak.

This idea of when you get something, it becomes yours should come to an end. I believe in legacy and there must be a legacy because the upcoming NAWOJIANS would one day ask, what has the past executive achieved. If we begin to bear this in mind, then, we will start doing something”, she concluded.

 

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