Of Media Awards and Need for Pedestrian Bridge at Regina Junction, Awka

Recently, a Media Excellence Award organized by the Association of Digital Media Core Advocates of Nigeria (ADMCA), was held in Awka where some media practitioners in Anambra were recognized.

According to the National President of ADMCA, Comrade Harris Chuma, the award recipients emerged after a rigorous selection process by the governing body of the organization.
The awardees included some media executives, reporters and a traditional ruler.

While we congratulate all those so honoured, we wish to quickly point out our strong misgivings about the process which we consider as wrong, very wrong.

The main awardees were selected through ”popular” votes cast online. This means that the winners must have emerged on the basis of their popularity; not necessarily competence. It also means that a good but unpopular media practitioner had no chance of making it.

We are miffed with the process because the selection of the best journalist in the profession should not be subjected to online voting as though it were a Big Brother Naija show.

When in 2013, Chief Godwin Ezeemo came up with the idea of rewarding the best journalist in Anambra State, he contacted the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Anambra State Council, who took over the organization of the award. They constituted a credible panel headed by the first female professor of Mass Communication, Chinyere Okunna. The panel called for entries from media practitioners in the state and those entries were subjected to a thorough assessment by experts after which the winner was announced. In all this, the leadership of the NUJ was fully involved from start to finish.

Can the same be said of the recent Media Awards? Definitely not. The organizers merely called for online voting after which winners were selected by a panel known only to the organizers. The leadership of the NUJ was also shut out from the process and only invited to witness the event and be part of those to be recognized.

Journalism being a serious profession, we feel, should not be subjected to such ridicule. Actually, in some quarters, the whole thing was seen as being put together by appointees and sympathizers of the State Government. While that may not be true, it was given fillip by the non-involvement of the leadership of the NUJ, Anambra State Council, and the preponderance of government aides in the planning and conclusion stages.

However, the harm having been done, we hope that such a mistake should not be allowed by the NUJ to be repeated. Any such thing that excludes the NUJ should not just be condemned by the union, but should be totally boycotted. Outside influences should not pick NUJ’s best. The union remains the only one to do that.

Regina Caeli Junction Deserves a Pedestrian Bridge

In the late hours of Sunday, December 1, a young woman was killed by a hit and run driver while obviously attempting to cross the road at the busy Regina Road Junction in Awka. She died instantly. Her death was one among numerous others at that place. The regularity of accidents there makes it imperative that a pedestrian bridge be constructed there, especially, given that it is a connection between two sides of Awka Town and a very busy place for that matter.

Two years ago, Gov Willie Obiano had announced plans by his government to construct a pedestrian bridge there to the joy of most people. A date for its completion was also given which was January of this year. But it came and passed with nothing being done.

Being that Regina Junction is far from the pedestrian bridge at Unizik Temporary Site Junction, the State Government should see the imperative of constructing another bridge there to save lives. Indeed, if any place deserves a pedestrian bridge in Awka, that place is Regina Caeli Junction. The government must therefore act fast before more lives are lost.