PUNCH in historic CNN African Journalist Awards win
On Saturday, two journalists of your darling newspaper, The Punch, Mr. Arukaino Umukoro and Mr. Femi Asu, were declared winners in the CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.
The prestigious ceremony, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya, had four Nigerians for the first time in the history of the awards, emerging tops in their categories.
The PUNCH, the most widely read newspaper in Nigeria, won two out of the four awards that came to Nigeria.
It was the first time a newspaper in Nigeria would win two prizes at the same time during the awards.
The CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist Competition is the most prestigious and respected award for journalists across the African continent.
Other winners from Nigeria are Adewale Emosu of Tribune, who won in the Culture Award category with the story, ‘Bahia: Even in Brazil, African heritage lives on;’ and Ibanga Isine of Premium Times, who emerged winner in the News Impact Award with the story, ‘Investigation: Massacre in Gboko: Soldiers at Dangote Factory kill 7; company, govt abandon victims’ families.’
Umukoro and Asu were earlier in the year named among the 31 finalists for the prestigious awards.
Umukoro, a senior correspondent withSUNDAY PUNCH, emerged winner in the Sports Reporting Award with the story, ‘Monuments of waste: Nigeria’s white elephant stadiums.’
The story, published on December 28 in 2014, explored the deplorable state of Nigeria’s stadiums.
According to the report, only a few of those stadiums hosted any form of sporting event regularly.
Umukoro had reported: “One of the most recently built is the National Stadium, Abuja. Built in 2003 at the cost of N54bn (about $321m), it is one of the costliest in the world. However, in the midst of illustrious company, which includes the iconic Allianz Arena – home of former European champions Bayern Munich – at €340 million (about N71bn), and Arsenal football club Emirates stadium that cost about £390 million (about N102bn), the Abuja National Stadium sticks out like a sore thumb.”
An intrepid journalist, he has numerous awards to his credit.
In 2012, he won the Anthony Enahoro Prize for Development Reporting of the Year at the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and in 2013, he was named the Sports Reporter of the Year category at the Nigeria Media Merit Awards.
Umukoro holds a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Chemistry and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Print Journalism from the Nigeria Institute of Journalism.
Asu, a correspondent with The PUNCH, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting. He started out his writing career when he was appointed Campus Life correspondent for The Nationnewspapers in 2009; and in 2010, he was nominated for Best Opinion Writer in the Coca Cola/NBC Campus Life Awards.
Asu on Saturday, won in the Ecobank Economics and Business Award with his entry, ‘Small business in death thrills as power supply worsens.’
The story written last year December revealed the debilitating effects poor power supply has on millions of Nigerians who depend on electricity to eke out a living and create jobs for others, as they continue to fork out large sums of money to fuel generators.
Asu wrote in his report, “Up until November 2013, the entire value chain of the power sector from generation and transmission to distribution was managed by the Federal Government. Now, the private investors, who took over the successor generation and distribution companies unbundled from the government-owned Power Holding Company of Nigeria, are still grappling with the challenges in the sector.
“But not much has changed, according to the views from the streets.”
In 2011 and 2013, Toyosi Ogunseye, Editor ofSUNDAY PUNCH, was winner in the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards MSD Health and Medical category and the Environment category of the CNN/MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Award, respectively.
In 2014, The PUNCH’s columnist, Mr. Bayo Olupohunda, was nominated as one of the finalists.
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