By Daruwana Daku
Precious Ukeje, a former reporter with Fides Media, has won the Fides Best Reporter for the Month, FiBROM, Award. This came after the Editor-in-Chief, Mr Jude Atupulazi, made the announcement last Monday, at the monthly meeting of the News and Editorial Department at Bishop A.K Obiefuna Auditorium, Fides, Awka.
Mr Atupulazi explained that Ukeje’s story captioned, “Paucity of Teachers, Facilities, Cause Bleak Hope for Basic School Pupils in Ndiukwuenu”, published in the edition of August 1-7, 2021, earned him the award.
He commended the reporter for showing what he described as a high level commitment and passion for the job which enabled him to put up such a story; even as he noted that the story was not one that had any financial gain for the reporter.
Ndiukwuenu, a community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, is one of the remotest areas in the state, with little infrastructural development. The Editor-in-Chief hailed Ukeje for undertaking such a taxing job in difficult terrain on his own initiative.
‘For Precious to have access to the community proves his commitment on the job,’ Atupulazi explained.
Receiving the award on his behalf, Mr Alexander Johnson Adejoh, Ukeje’s colleague, thanked the Management of Fides Media for finding Mr Ukeje’s story worthy as the best one for the month.
He further stated that the story was inspired by the partnership the media organization had with Let’s Save Her Girl Initiative (LESHI), a Non-Governmental Organization advocating for the rights of the girl child in Anambra State.
According to Adejoh, LESHI gave its volunteers the platform to visit Ndiukwuenu and they were perturbed by the deplorable state of basic schools in the community and neighboring towns.
When Fides contacted Ukeje on the phone, he said, ‘Honestly, I’d thought I made an entry that would compete for the award, but didn’t bother so much about it, owing to the fact that I am no longer in the employ of Fides Media. To my surprise, however, I got news that I had been announced the winner of FiBROM for the month of August, 2021. I must say I feel very happy.
‘It shows again how the Management holds its staff members, present and former, in high esteem; also how the Editor-in-Chief has continued to raise the bar for reporters and not compromising the set standards.
I profoundly appreciate the Management of Fides Media, especially the Director, Rev. Fr Martin Anusi, who has allowed this to continue despite the hard bites of the economy.
‘Considering when I did that story, on my last birthday, and how much help I received from my team mates, notwithstanding the jests of doing a story on my birthday, I sincerely appreciate them for not falling short of the bond we shared and still share.’
He thanked members of the News and Editorial Department, expressing his gratitude for their solidarity.
For his part, Rev. Fr Dr Martin Anusi, Fides Media Director, commended the efforts of Ukeje, stating that the award came timely for him and at a time he (Precious) was bidding the company farewell for academic purposes.
The director also observed that the LESHI partnership with Fides Media was yielding good fruit, even as he also encouraged other reporters not to sit at their comfort zone.
FiBROM is a monthly award put together by the Management of Fides to help encourage reporters on their reportage on heart rending stories that change societal narratives. It also serves to encourage reporters as they perform their duties.
Additional report from Ifeoma Ezenyilimba