Yenagoa—The Bayelsa Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), has conferred an award of excellence to some political leaders in the state including Governor Douye Diri, his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and the former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ndutimi Alaibe.
According to the NUJ, the leaders were recognized for their various contributions to the practice and development of journalism in the state.
Also recognized were three members of the Federal House of Representatives from the State, Hon. Preye Oseke, Hon. Fred Agbedi and Hon. Isreal Sunny-Goli.
Diri who was recognized with the Media Icon of the Year award while speaking at the NUJ Press Week 2022 at the secretariat in Yenagoa with the theme “Investigative Journalism; Key for Peace and Development in Nigeria” tasked media practitioners to uphold the tenets of good journalism.
“The essence and the revered place of journalism as the fourth estate of the realm is being eroded by the unprofessional manner of social media influencers and bloggers practicing the trade,” he noted.
The governor who was represented by his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo expressed regret that most online reporters do no proper background work and checks before publication. As a result, he said they publish untrue stories.
He, however, called on the conventional media to rise to the challenge as their usefulness is greatly threatened by social media.
Also delivering his keynote address titled “Investigative Journalism: Key to Peace and Development in the Niger Delta”, former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ndutimi Alaibe called on media practitioners to emulate the journalistic footprints of late Earnest Sisei Ikoli.
He said this will help journalists in the state to write against injustice and promote developmental journalism.
Alaibe, who was represented by a lecturer in the Department of Agriculture, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Doctor Achimota Dickson, charged journalists to beam their searchlight on the reason why the Federal Government and administrators of the NDDC have failed to execute the Niger Delta development master plan.
Also speaking, the Chairman of the occasion, Chief Executive Officer, Ayalla Group of Companies, Chief Robert Enogha said investigative journalism should not always be about reporting negative and secretive occurrences, advising that, newsmen in Bayelsa State should tell the good story of the Ijaw man.
The Royal Father of the Day, Chairman, Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, King Bubaraye Dakolo highlighted the significance of investigative journalism to societal development.
He further explained that it is only through such reportage that the alleged involvement of top government functionaries and security personnel in oil theft in the Niger Delta region could be brought to the fore.
In separate goodwill messages, Director New Media to Governor of Bayelsa State, Kola Oredipe, and Chairman, Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Bayelsa State, Alambo Datonye advised journalists in the area to build their capacity by training and re-training to up their games.
Alaibe on the night was awarded the NUJ Man of the Year award while Deputy Governor Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, and the duo of Hon. Oseke, Hon. Agbedi and Hon. Sunny-Goli was given an award of excellence.
Also, the management of the Nigerian Content, Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) emerged as the Best Content Promoter of the Year.