Muhammad Auwal Ibrahim of the Mass Communication Department, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) been declared winner of the inaugural Lekan Otufodunrin Campus Journalists Award.
He was announced the winner on Sunday at a virtual ceremony to mark the 57th birthday of Otufodunrin, an accomplished journalist and media career development specialist.
The Lekan Otufodunrin Student Journalists Award is for outstanding student journalists in the country initiated by two of his former junior colleagues at The Nation, Shehu Olayinka and Late Yinka Akintunde.
Ibrahim, a fresh graduate, was the pioneer founder of the Union of Campus Journalists, ABU Zaria branch and Editor-in-Chief of Halal Campus Reporters.
Fasilat Oluwuyi a fresh graduate of Mass Communication from Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta was the first runner up, while Oluwatobi Odeyinka of the University of Ibadan was the second runner up.
Mohammed Yakubu, a Mass Communication student of Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State was fourth and Ibrahim Taofeek Kegbegbe of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos was fifth.
The Judge’s report for the award stated that The story by Mohammed Auwal Ibrahim on “How Nigerian State Governments Poorly Interacted with Citizens via Emails During COVID-19 Pandemic, Despite ICT Advancement” addressed a critical issue of public interest.
“Ibrahim’s winning piece looks at how the Nigerian government, in the face of the global pandemic, interacted poorly with citizens electronically despite numerous announcements and publications that the government has put in place to address people’s concerns and inquiries during the pandemic.
“The creativeness and uniqueness of the story takes it ahead of other nominees who, to their best, also touched on challenges and failings by the government in their primary assignment.
“The story’s depth exposes government at all levels’ continuous lack of understanding of the advancement of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in ordinary citizens’ day-to-day lives,” the judges stated.
Responding to winning the award, Ibrahim said he was delighted and stressed the need for journalism to be used to promote public good.
The first-prize winner will receive N70,000, the Second prize winner, N50,000 and the third prize, N30,000. There are other cash prizes for other winners.
Otufodunrin, who congratulated the winner and the runners-up commended the high quality of entries.
He said the stiff competition for the award is indicative of the capacity of student journalists in the country.
The award is the fifth named after Otufodunrin, Executive Director of Media Career Development Network.
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