Inoyo Toro Foundation advisor Udom Inoyo inaugurated a five-person committee for the Ray Ekpu Award for Investigative Journalism for journalists working in Akwa Ibom State.
In his remarks to the committee, Inoyo, immediate vice president of ExxonMobil Companies in Nigeria, enumerated the role played by the quartet of Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbase and Yakubu Mohammed in forging a dignified and noble path towards journalism. investigation in Nigeria.
Inoyo said he was inspired to honor the value of the quartet’s hard work and tenacity and recalled that in 1985, four young men motivated by a passion to elevate the practice of investigative journalism founded News watch Magazine. These four young men; Dele Giwa, Ray Ekpu, Dan Agbese and Yakubu Mohammed would radically redefine and elevate the practice of investigative journalism in Nigeria. It was one of the most impressive eras of journalism in Nigeria. News watch has become the mark of excellence and perhaps a kind of annoyance for those in power. Of course, true journalism should not only bring about positive change, but should also have the courage to speak to power. News watch did it with classic panache fueled by professionalism. The squad of the four gentlemen mentioned above represented the golden age of journalism and our dear son and brother; Ray Ekpu has been a key player in this movement.
He went further to highlight some of the concerns over the practice of journalism by explaining why the Inoyo Toro Foundation has found it important to reposition the profession. “Journalism, like teaching, is often called a thankless service. In recent times, the practice of journalism has lost its once positive appeal and appeal, but I believe it is our collective duty to restore the practice’s obscure reputation, elevate the profession, and reward excellence. Our vision is therefore to inspire our journalists in Akwa Ibom State to exploit the opportunities in the global media space. This is our first outing in this area of human capacity development and we hope that our collective aspiration will come true.
Inoyo observed that the Ray Ekpu Prize for Investigative Journalism is not only an honor for him, but that it aims to draw attention to professionals of this noble art to uphold the principles of fair reporting. and precise as the world admires their integrity, passion and service as the watchdog of society.
“As they diligently report, it behooves us to celebrate those who dare to prepare for the gang of investigative journalism. “
In response to the chairman of the committee, Nsikak Essien, former editor-in-chief of National concord felt that “Mr. Ray Ekpu has made a name for himself as Akwa Ibom State’s standard bearer for good journalism. His story on the path to the pinnacle of professional journalism practice is very familiar and current. Therefore, a dedicated award to honor him for his achievements in the practice of journalism in Akwa Ibom State in particular and Nigeria in general is worthy.
Kayode Komolafe, deputy managing director of Thisday Newspaper and board member of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, praised Ray Ekpu as a great journalist and respected brand, adding that the well-deserved award in his honor would inspire the professionalism in the state.
Akpandem James also congratulated the Inoyo Toro Foundation for instituting the Ray Ekpu Award for Investigative Journalism, adding that the award would differentiate men from boys as it would help define the true essence of journalism. He stressed that this exercise would be independent of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Section and the Inoyo Toro Foundation.
Another committee member, Prof. Ini Uko, commended the Foundation for its vision of promoting professional excellence and pledged to support the Foundation to carry out this task diligently.
The President of the Union of Nigerian Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk, assured the committee that the Council will support the committee to achieve the goal of this historic award for journalism in investigation in Akwa Ibom State. He further said that the Council has started receiving nominations for NUJ Press Week 2021 and the annual awards ceremony scheduled for December 2021.
The committee scrolls through experienced professionals from the media and academia. Nsikak Essien is a former editor, National concord newspapers and former chairman of the board of directors of Pioneer Newspapers, owned by the Akwa Ibom state government. Akpandem James, former editor-in-chief Daily Independent The newspaper was also special advisor to the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Kayode Komolafe, deputy director general This day Journalist and board member of the Inoyo Toro Foundation, Professor Ini Uko from the Department of English and Literary Studies, Amos Etuk, President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council and Emem Nkereuwem as secretary.
The Ray Ekpu Prize for Investigative Journalism with a price tag of five hundred thousand naira (N500,000) is sponsored by the Inoyo Toro Foundation.