Sunmi Smart Cole, veteran photojournalist was given an honorary award at the 14th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting. Mr Smart-Cole received a Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence
“I don’t have any other title I prefer to be known as Sunmi Smart Cole. I got the autograph of Wole Soyinka three times and he wrote the foreword of my first book. He gave me the title for my second book ‘Sunmi’s Lens”, he said.
Smart-Cole also poured encomiums on Femi Falana Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who is the lawyer to activists, Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare for rendering his legal services for free.
Commenting on Sowore’s detention, he said:”You don’t hold people indefinitely without trial in a democratic society.
While speaking at the award presentation held at Neca House, Ikeja Lagos on Monday, Umaru Pate, the chairman of the 2019 judges board, said selecting the finalists was a rigorous task as the centre received many entries from different parts of Nigeria.
Femi Falana (SAN), who presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to veteran photojournalist , Sunmi Smart Cole, seized the moment to congratulate all the winners, urging them not to rest on their oars.
Falana slammed Malam Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity to the Muhammadu Buhari administration and Femi Adesina, special adviser on media and publicity for insulting Nigerians by issuing a false statement that the Department of State Services arrested Saharareporters publisher to protect Nigerians from Insurgency.
A total number of 194 entries were received, while 13 journalists were shortlisted for the award and commendation in different categories.
Since it began in 2005, the award has produced 91 finalists, 48 laureates, nine investigative journalists of the year and 20 recipients of honourary awards.
Mr Pate said the quality and quantity of the 2019 entries is an indication that journalists in Nigeria are putting a lot of efforts into Investigative Reporting.
Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s Vice President, who was also shortlisted for an honourary award, had his award presentation postponed due to controversies surrounding the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore, the Sahara Reporters Publisher on Friday.
Below are the 2019 award winners from different categories:
Ayodele Adeniran – Guardian Photojournalist Award commending him for his five-picture on how pupils in Lagos lament pains and long trek in search of Knowledge.
Saheed Olugbon – Punch Newspaper Photojournalist (Award commending him for his picture story on retirees in Nigeria, their struggles and poor financial state)
Odutayo Odusanya – Punch Newspaper (Runner up)
Damilola Banjo – Sahara Reporters (Award commending her work on “Blood thirsty demons of Zamfara”)
Chikezie Omeje – International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) ( 1st Runner up)
Isine Ibanga – The Next Edition Newspaper (Winner, online category)
Editorial Cartoon Category
Albert Ohams – The Sun Newspaper Cartoon Editor (Award commending his cartoon on sitting allowance for Senators)
Mary Abayomi Fatile – FRCN (Award commending her work on the alleged extra-judicial killing of Basirat Akinmushire
Bukola Samuel Wemimo – TVC (Award for commended work on Depression and Suicide in Nigeria)
Sharon Ijasan – (Runner up- Television Category)
Oladimeji Ramon – Punch (Award for commended work)
Chinwe Agbeze – The Sun (Runner up)
Samson Folarin – Punch (Winner)