No fewer than 250 guests were seated in the Oranmiyan Hall of Airport Hotel Ikeja, to mark the 2021 Press Week Gala/Award Night of NUJ Lagos Council on Friday in Lagos.
It was all glamour as Journalists from media houses gathered in sparkling outfits to celebrate themselves and some Nigerians whose outstanding qualities and support for humanity had graced the pages of history books.
Setting the pace for the night, Lagos Council Chairman, Mr Adeleye Ajayi gave the welcome address.
” I welcome everyone to this Gala/Award Night which comes up once in a year.
“The Gala/Award Night is one of the 2021 Press Week events which kicked off on Friday, October 15, 2021 with a media briefing.
“However, I will like to seek the support of some awardees and special guests of honour here present to assist us towards the completion of the NUJ Lagos Council Guest House in Somolu.
“We will also appreciate your support when we shall be inaugurating the Journalists’ Welfare fund for some of our colleagues who are either in distress or sick.
“We also seek assistance in funding our Life and Health Insurance Schemes in view of hazards of our job.
On behalf of the Elders, Executive Council Members, and more than 10,000 Journalists in Lagos State, I wish everyone here a nice time, ” Ajayi said.
Key personalities shortlisted for the Awards were the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; for Most Outstanding Governor; Rt. Hon.(Dr.) Mudashiru Obasa, Speaker, Lagos House of Assembly ably represented by the Chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy, Hon.Setonji David, got an Award for his outstanding contributions to governance as a lawmaker,
Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi, Founder, Love of Christ Generation Church C&S Worldwide, decorated with the Award of an oustanding Philanthropist.
Others included Dr Taiwo Afolabi, Chief Executive, SIFAX Group; Andrew Nigerian Shippers’ Council for their oustanding contributions to the Maritime Sector.
Mr Allen Onyema got an Award for his oustanding contributions to Nigeria’s Aviation Sector
Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), President; Chief Chris Isiguzo and Mrs Funke Fadugba former Chairman of Lagos Council of NUJ were both honoured for their outstanding contributions to NUJ.
Mr Gbenga Omotoso; Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy who represented Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, commended Lagos NUJ under the leadership of Mr Adeleye Ajayi.
He was proud to be associated with the union, while urging the union to be more professional in its conduct.
Iconic Scholar of Mass Communication, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye was also in attendance.
“Lagos Council remains number one in the country. Hence, other states should come to Lagos for the blueprint of how to run a successful and impactful Council, ” he said.
Akinfeleye urged journalists to be more professional, saying that some politicians were taking journalists for granted.
“Journalists should remain members of the fourth estate of the realm and not disrespect their title as there cannot be any democracy without a free press.
‘We must emphasise more of professional ethics than unionism,” he said.
The Academia further appealed to editors of media houses to come back to the classroom, saying the newsrooms were way ahead of the classrooms.
Comrade Ronke Samo; NUJ Vice President, B Zone, lauded Lagos State Government for supporting Lagos Council.
“I am happy with the government of Lagos State for being a firm pillar of Lagos Council.
“The support is obvious and the government is making NUJ proud.
“Tonight is not a speech night but a night to enjoy ourselves as we have come to wine and dine.
“I also want to congratulate all Award recipients tonight because they must have merited the Awards for Lagos NUJ to have given such Awards to them in the first place” she added.
All Award recipients received the plaques happily as it was a call for more duty and service to humanity with a view to transforming the world, by making it a better place for all.
In her response, Rev. Mother Esther Ajayi, an award winner widely known for her philanthropic gestures was grateful to God for the Award.
According to her, it is majorly about projecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“It must also be said that Lagos State Government is doing seriously well.
“I was impressed with the involvement of the state government during the commissioning of my Church in Oniru.
“Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) was in my church with ambulance, checking people’s blood pressure and other things.
“The collaboration between the State Governor and Lagos State Commissioner of Police was superb as everything went well,” the cleric said.
Outstanding journalists of Lagos Council were also celebrated in different Awards categories.
President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chief Chris Isiguzo, gave the keynote address.
He called for continuous review of policies that would take journalism to the next level as we have no other profession.
“We have to make sure that we reposition this profession by making it better.
By the time I also end my second term as NUJ President, I will return to this noble profession as a reporter.
“Hence, we must do all within our reach to continue to proffer solutions that will bring about professionalism.
I also appeal to Media Owners to take members welfare seriously as salaries of Journalists should be paid as and when due.
“I congratulate Lagos NUJ for organising this event while hoping that next edition shall be better,” Isiguzo said.
Mr Wale Akodu, Chairman, Press Week Committee, specially thanked dignitaries and sponsors of the Press Week.
“I want to specially thank all our sponsors for the great assistance.
“I am also extending my gratitude to members of the Press Week Committee for their selfless efforts and commitment to the task.
“I pray that God will grant us all journey mercies as we return to our respective homes, ” Akodu said.