Ogoni still bleeding

By Odimegwu Onwumere
“We, the Ogoni people, do not want another military installation on our soil. Widespread mayhem, massacre, and scenes of carnage were all too common in Ogoniland. Our iconic leaders, including Ken Saro Wiwa, were judicially lynched by the State.”
That was the theme of a letter made public on February 19, 2010, sent to Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State then, and signed by Chief Stephen Kpea, Chairman, Movement for Survival of Ogoni People, MOSOP, USA Central Working Council; DumBari Tsaro Deezua, Secretary, MOSOP USA Central Working Council.
From local communities to youth organizations, student bodies, community leaders and women associations in Ogoni, Rivers State, there have been the expressions of ferocious anger in their look over the incessant killings and destructions of property in Ogoni-land that had today spanned close to three decades.
In some quarters, it’s said that it’s against this influence that Amaechi proposed relocating a military cantonment to Ogoni-land with the view that the spate of violence in the area could be brought to a barest minimum.
However, while many Ogoni sons and daughters vehemently rejected the proposal, there was suspicion that some of them at the corridors of power then, supported the administration of Amaechi with its proposal.
Apart from that, peace movements have been made to bring succour to the troubled Ogoni and they jammed the bricks-wall. After 6 years that Amaechi made the proposal to install a military base in Ogoni and the subsequent actions taken, the problems with and in Ogoni, persist.
Military takes over violence
The cry in Ogoni-land of Rivers State is still defeating the ears. It is no longer about the rejection or acceptance of the proposal made by Amaechi to install a military cantonment in Ogoni, but that the military men and women have taken to rascality in the area.
The traditional ruler of Mene Bua-Yeghe community in Ogoni-land, Chief Barinaada Gbaranee Ogoni was yet to recover from the shock he experienced in the military occupation of killings and destruction that started on February 22 2016, but escalated on February 25, in Ogoni-land.
By then, over 12 persons have lost their lives. Justifying the invasion of Ogoni, the Army, before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and House of Representatives Committee on Army, on March 10 2016, opined that a cult group known as Island in the area buried its security informant in the state alive, hence the invasion.
“While the killings and destructions lasted, the house of a former Niger Delta militant, Mr. Solomon Ndigbara, his cars, buildings were touched, amongst others,” confirmed the traditional ruler.
Economic activities in Ogoni-land
Many Ogoni indigenes and others believed that the economic activities in Ogoni-land, especially in Bori town, were grounded during the menace.
This brings to fore the ruins the people have been passing through since the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) started operations in Ogoni land in 1958.
A people known for farming and fishing, the activities of oil and gas companies in the area have caused more environmental harm than good. For example, since the operations of the SPDC started in Ogoni, over 96 wells have been explored. Against this backdrop, a group known as the Movement for Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) sprang up in 1990.
The objective of the group was to take a greater control of the natural resources in Ogoni-land which the Federal Government has been manning. There were agendas by the founding fathers of MOSOP with Ken Saro-Wiwa in the forefront to be allowed to take charge over oil and gas resources in Ogoni.
The aim for this was to enable the people develop economically, be autonomous over their affairs. ‘Ogoni Bill of Rights’ contained the MOSOP’s demands in its 1990 review. But instead of the authorities to pay Ogoni people the demand (US$6 billion in royalties from past oil production and US$4 billion for alleged environmental damage, and SPDC was given 30 days to accept or leave Ogoni land) made by MOSOP in November 1992, the SPDC stopped production in Ogoni land and withdrew from the area in 1993 and subsequently, four prominent Ogoni leaders were murdered in May 1994, by a dis-informed mob. Later, in 1995, Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others were accused of responsibility in the murders. They were tried by military tribunal in 1995, and were later executed upon international outcry against murdering them.
Betrayed hopes as Ledum Mitee takes over MOSOP
There was public sympathy for Barrister Ledum Mitee to take over the leadership of MOSOP having escaped death, as vice president of the MOSOP by 1995, whereas other henchmen that founded MOSOP were killed.
While Mitee served as MOSOP president, as according to Lemix Media, April 8 2010, “The people fear Mitee betrays Ken Saro-Wiwa in the trial that led to Ken’s execution including 8 others. The people feel Mitee’s refusal to seek justice for the nine and his inability to sustain the Ogoni cause is an indication the lawyer has failed the people.
“They are asking questions like what is Mitee doing in order to improve life in Ogoni? Why has he decided to stay on till date? Why has he been dodging the sensitive issues such as the exoneration of Ken Saro-Wiwa, and the other 8, creation of Ogoni state, and the recent proposed military relocation to Ogoni by the Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi?”
Many Ogoni sons and daughters are still of the opinion that if Mitee had remained focused in line with the agendas of Saro-Wiwa, the Ogoni-land would probably not have incessantly been in the news as a theatre of the absurd in the inglorious occupation of official killing of the indigenes. The question still persists why Mitee did not include the issue of military relocation to Ogoniland in his “January” Fourth (Ogoni Day speech).
During his over 14yrs reign as MOSOP president, as according to a source, “This act, the people believe, runs contrary to MOSOP constitution, MOSOP philosophy, and principles. As it was later learned, during his over 14-years of ruler ship, Ledum Mitee actually altered MOSOP constitution to the benefit of his personal will. The people see this act, as an aberration from the original will – The people’s Will.
“At this time, there are clear indications that Mitee has not acted right and probably he might have betrayed Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni cause. His mindset about the struggle and his whole demeanor to it tell me something. I cannot believe Mitee didn’t say anything about military relocation in his Ogoni Day speech. My farm land is among the land earmarked for the proposed project and I think Mitee has not come clean.”
Problems of Ogoni, with Ogoni
During the MOSOP struggle, many Ogoni sons and daughters left the land for safer places, especially to overseas. Many of them are still fighting for the Ogoni-struggle from overseers, while those who could not make it to overseas, are doing so as refugees in the bush and forests, due to weighty presence of the military personnel that have not stopped to patrol in armoured vehicles with sophisticated weapons in Ogoni.
Cultism is also on the rise and many have been fingering some politicians as the cause of the bleeding blood the Ogoni experience no matter the remedies that had been put in place to arrest the situation. Recently, a traditional ruler in the area while making an appeal to senators, said, “The continued exposure of vulnerable men, women and children, certainly is beginning to cause hunger, sicknesses and diseases, the resultant effect is sudden death.”
From all walks of life, reports abound that the Ogoni elites have not really stood up with an unbiased socio-eco-pol voice to seeing the end of the despoils that have visited Ogoni, for example, on the issue of UNEP recommendations to clean up Ogoni, which has been the epicentre of the struggles in the area.
A national paper in its 14 February 2016 edition, wrote, “While many in the environmentally battered Ogoni communities anxiously await the commencement of the cleanup of their polluted land, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amini Ibrahim, recently blamed lingering internal issues among the Ogoni elites for the seeming procrastination in actualizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive for the fast-tracking of the exercise.”
Continuing, the paper added, “Last December, two factional presidents of MOSOP emerged, namely; Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara and Mr. Mike Lube-Nwidobie. The two factions subsequently submitted different list of nominees to the Federal Government to be appointed into a board that will oversee the implementation of the UNEP report. This untoward development created confusion that also impeded government’s determination to resolve the prolonged remediation.”
Suggestions: Ogoni problems to be resolved by Ogoni people
Playing politics with the lives and property of Ogoni people and in Ogoni-land shall be the preserve of the people to resolve. The problems with and in Ogoni are beyond the views of the political parties – be it the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or the All Progressives Congress (APC) – that have been trading blame against each other over the recent killings of which the Rivers State Governor, Barrister Nyesom Wike has been in the forefront of the blame game.
A source reported, “Rivers State Governor, Mr. Nyesom Wike, has blamed Sen. Magnus Abe, and All Progressives Congress (APC) for the recent killings in Ogoni, noting that it was due to the desperation for power that Abe and the APC invited soldiers to raid some communities in Ogoni.
“He said that it was unlawful for soldiers to be unleashed on innocent and unarmed civilians in a situations that could be handled by the police, just as he said that real political leaders don’t need soldiers to move around and canvass for votes among their people.”
Ogoni people should therefore retrospect on a statement made by Ledum Mitee, then MOSOP president to mark Ogoni day on January 4th 2010 at BMGS, Bori, Ogoni, “When on this hallowed ground we and our forebears gathered on the 4th of January 1993, at the very first Ogoni Day, to give a dramatic expression to our struggle against injustice represented by political marginalization, economic strangulation and environmental terrorism, few realized that the tinny ripples of hope we were sending would assume the huge currents of transformation across the Niger delta and beyond.”
Ogoni people should also look into the statement made by Mitee who’s one of the conveners in a committee set up to resolve the leadership crisis that has been with the leadership of MOSOP since December 30 2015.
It said the committee is “directed to meet with all sides, including traditional rulers and other leaders from the area, with a view to resolving the crisis and reposition the Movement appropriately in order to meet its avowed objectives.”
“The meeting appealed to all sides to the present crisis to cooperate with the Resolution Committee and to refrain from actions or public statements capable of undermining the current peace process,” Mitee, who handed over to Pyagbara, also stated.
Conversely, the people should recollect a verse in the letter sent to Amaechi in 2010, “May this appeal to the consciences of our Governor and our politicians be heeded in the interest of peace and development in our great Rivers State. Your Excellency, No military camp in Ogoni. We just cannot let that be!”
Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based Poet, Writer, Media Consultant and Winner Digital Category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

Christianity has turned Ndigbo to cowards

By Odimegwu Onwumere

The Christian-dominated Igbo-land has been preaching in all spheres of the media, saying, “Vengeance is of God”. This is sequel to the ethnic cleansing of Ndigbo in the Ukpabi, Nimbo in Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, on April 25 2016, by the Fulani ethnic group.

It has been erroneously said to be Fulani herdsmen that carried out the attack. The true word is that Fulani people carried out a war against the Igbo. The bone of contention here is that our people have become cowards in the name of Christianity.

Those in this line of jaundiced statement want one Jehovah or is it Yahweh, to go and face the Fulani people. They forgot that the Jehovah they so much rely on did not save the followers who were murdered in torrents by the crazy Islamic group called Boko Haram, even while worshipping and praying to the Jehovah, in the house built for him.

Many Igbo people have been murdered in that direction and all that was left of them was, “God knows everything; and he said we should give him praise both in bad and in good times”. Hooey! They will not fight back, where they think that dying is an abomination, where they think that they love the Jehovah so much, but will not want to meet with him.

The Igbo spirit of today that is being hypnotized by Christianity was not the spirit of the Igbo fathers, who were ever ready bold and ready to die for a just cause, inlure of waiting for a Jehovah to fight for them.

It was that crass spirit of waiting for Yahweh to go for fight that compelled the Enugu State governor to shed tears like an imbecile and mouthed that Ndigbo should embark on prayer and fasting, when the dastardly act had been committed by the mindless Fulani tribe and its Hausa co-killers, who do not care for human life.

The irony is that these tribes never wait for their Allah to go and fight for them when they feel provoked, but the Igbo will sheepishly do. It is most idiotic to ask a people who are grieving to go into fasting and prayer, especially the Igbo who are a nation of their own that were invaded by marauders from far away north.

This is exactly how the Arabic-Fulanis through their war-teacher called Usman dan Fodio carried out an Islamic war against the Hausas; and in any Hausa land that was conquered, an Emir would be installed. Except for the Middle-Belt that fought that war-monger called Usman dan Fodio seriously and never allowed him and his co-Fulani killers to cross, Ndigbo would have been conquered and Islam introduced in the land.

The Middle-Belt people did not wait for Jehovah or whoever to go for war for them, they engaged in the war and victory later became theirs. And going through some Bible verses, one wonders if Ndigbo really read the Bible (although not important); the stereotyped Christianity they have come to swallow in whole without thinking has made them cowards.

They forgot that vengeance is not of any Jehovah; that even the Jesus they have come to believe in so much also asked men to safeguard themselves and their property. The Bible said, “Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?” (Lk. 14:31). Jesus also said, “When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle, his property is safe” (Lk. 11:21).

There is no justification for Ndigbo to run away from fighting back those that want them extirpated, all in the name of Christianity. The above quotations have shown that the Jesus, even though was of non-violence mission, never asked Ndigbo to be cowards. The Fulanis came and killed Ndigbo in Enugu like a thief the Jesus said that he would come like. “I will come as a thief in the night,” (Rev. 3:3).

There is no amount of Bible quotations that will douse what is intended to be said here. One does not understand why Ndigbo should be shrugging in the face of targeted wiping-out of the Igbo generation by the Fulani/Hausa tribes. Even the Jehovah was not quiet in a situation like what the Fulani did in Enugu.

In his “The Holy Bible describes the Christian God as Satan”, Naiwu Osahon, renowned author, philosopher of science, mystique, leader of the world Pan-African Movement, writes the following:

“God the perfect being, did all of the following: He created evil (Lam. 3: 38, Jer. 26: 3, Ezek. 20: 25 – 26, Judges 9: 3, 1, Sam. 16: 23, 18: 10); He deceived (Jer. 4: 10, 15: 18, 20: 7, 2, Chron 18: 22, Ezek. 14: 9, 2Thess. 2: 9 – 12); He told people to lie (Ex. 3: 18, 1Sam. 16: 2); He lied (Gen. 2: 17, 2Sam. 7: 13); He rewarded liars (Ex. 1: 15 – 20); He ordered men to become drunken (Jer. 25: 27); He rewarded the f**l and the transgressor (Prov. 26: 10); He mingled a perverse spirit (Isa. 19: 14); He spread dung on people’s faces (Mal.2: 3); He ordered stealing (Ezek. 39: 10, Ex 3: 22); He made false prophesies (Jonah 3: 4, Gen. 5: 10); He changed his mind (Jonah 3: 10); He caused adultery (2 Sam. 12: 11 – 12); He ordered the taking of a harlot (Hosea 1: 2, 3:1 – 2);

“He killed (Num. 16: 35, 21: 6, Deut. 32: 39, 1Sam. 2: 26, Psalm 135: 10); He ordered killing (Lev. 26: 7 – 8, Num. 25: 4 – 5); He had a temper (Deut. 13: 17, Judges 3: 8); He was often jealous (Deut. 5: 9,6: 15); He wasn’t omnipresent (Gen. 4: 16, 11: 5, 1Kings 19: 11 – 12); He wasn’t omniscient (Deut. 8: 2, 13: 3, 2Chron. 32: 31); He often repented ( Ex. 4: 22 – 23, Joshua 22: 20, Rom. 5: 12); He played favourites ( Deut. 7: 6, 14: 2, 1Sam. 12: 22); He sanctioned slavery ( Ex. 21: 20 – 21, Deut. 15: 17); He degraded deformed people (Lev. 21: 16 – 23).

 

“He punished a basta*d for being illegitimate (Deut. 23: 2); He punished many for the acts of one (Gen. 3: 16, 20: 18); He punished children for the sins of their fathers (Ex. 12: 29, 20: 5, Deut. 5: 9); He prevented people from hearing his word (Isa. 6: 10, John 12: 39 – 40). He supported human sacrifice (Ex. 22: 29 – 30, Ezek. 20: 26); He ordered cannibalism (Lev. 26: 29, Jer. 19: 9); He demanded virgins as a part of war plunders (Num. 31: 31 – 36); He ordered gambling (Joshua 14: 2, Num. 26: 52, 55 – 56); He ordered horses to be hamstrung (Joshua 11: 6). He sanctioned violation of the enemy’s women (Deut 21: 10 – 14); He excused the beating of slaves to death (Ex. 21: 20 – 21); He required a woman to marry her rapist (Deut. 22: 28: 29); He taught war (Psalm 144: 1); He ordered the burning of human faeces to cook food (Ezek. 21: 3 – 5); He intentionally issued bad laws (Ezek. 20: 25); He excused the sins of prost*t*tes and adulterers (Hosea 4: 14); He excused a murderer and promised his protection (Gen. 4: 8 – 15); He killed a man who refused to impregnate his widowed sister-in-law (Gen. 38: 9 – 10); and He is indecisive ( Gen. 18: 17)…”

So, if the Jehovah knew about battle, Ndigbo should not be afraid of battle. No Jehovah or Jesus is coming to fight the battle. Ndigbo were not cowards to allow their sense of duty be overcome by fear all in the name of Christianity. Most times, war is the test of manhood. If Ndigbo should continue to flee when the marauders attack, death will continue to follow us behind. Ndigbo should not give up when attacked. That’s not the spirit. Forgiveness can only come if the enemies are revenged. No Jehovah will do this for Ndigbo.

Odimegwu Onwumere is a Rivers State based Poet, Writer, Media Consultant and Winner Digital Category, Nordica Media Merit Awards 2016. Tel: +2348057778358. Email: apoet_25@yahoo.com

 

Nordica Fertility Awards That Added Fertility To My Journalistic Womb

It was a long walk to success. I was declared Winner, Digital Category, in the Nordica Media Merit Awards on April 9 2016, at the gala night for the awards held at the Banquet Hall, The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos State.

{Odimegwu Onwumere displaying his award}
{Odimegwu Onwumere displaying his award}

The journey started in 2015, when I came across a call for journalism contest organised by The Endometriosis Association, Media Excellence Award, with the address, 8585 N. 76th Place, Milwaukee, WI 53223, USA.

The contest was meant for journalists around the world. I did not know what ‘Endometriosis’ was or meant. I ventured into research and was shocked by the sordid stories of people that I gathered. Data collection on the subject was an eye opener.

I entered for the contest, which was benchmarked for December 31 2015. And since then, I have not heard from the organisers of the contest – whether they received my entry or not – since I entered the contest via post mail.

Nordica Media Merit Awards

I was surfing the internet on January 14 2016, when I came across the Nordica Media Merit Awards, which deadline for submission, was January 15. I noticed that the call for submission had been in place since 2015, but why I did not notice it till that day, I would not know.

I contacted the number I saw with the content of the contest information to find out the deadline, because it was not stated on the portal I read about the contest. The receiver of my call told me that the deadline was January 15. The awards were open for journalists to submit at least three articles on fertility that were published the previous year.

{Odimegwu Onwumere with other winners and Dr Abayomi Ajayi}
{Odimegwu Onwumere with other winners and Dr Abayomi Ajayi}

I filed in three of my articles with the hope that a particular article on fertility would make the shortlist. Smallest-amount did I envisage that it was going to be the story on ‘Endometriosis’ I had entered for the USA awards that would bring this smile on my lips.

Entering for the awards

When I made my entry, I sent a text to the number to confirm the receipt of my entry. To my shock, I was told that the entry was not in the organisers’ entries bank. The reason, I would not know.

The following day being January 15, the deadline for submission, I left my house early to a place in Port Harcourt to resend the entry.

There was no electricity in the area where I live that day and even the night before. Even if there was, Telecommunications network in the area that I reside are so poor, which suggests that the area needs effective Internet boost to help residents work with their modems – for those who use such devise for internet connectivity.

My entreaty to find out if my entry was received was from an experience I got from a particular journalism contest, which I entered and, on inquiring from the organisers if my entry was received, I got ‘no’ in response.

I entered for the said award via a form meant for submission on the organisers website. When they could not receive my entry after multiple trials, they provided an email through which I did the submission.

That experience taught me a lesson that most of the awards entries made by journalists in Nigeria online are not received by the persons or organisations they were meant for. I guess poor telecoms network in Nigeria should be held responsible for this!

After resubmitting my entry for Nordica Media Merit Awards and thought that the entry was received, I got a mail after a period of time; precisely on February 24 2016, with the info, “Urgent need to get the entries of the following is critical.”

Seven people’s names that included mine were mentioned as those whose entries had not been received by the organisers of the awards.

I checked the email of the sender and it was different from the earlier email through which I had made the former entries. I resent my entry and inquired to find out if it was received, I got a response that the entry has been received. In my reply, I wrote, “Thanks for clearing the air on my submission. I appreciate.”

Shortlist

I was in a long queue in a bank in Port Harcourt on April 4 2016, when I received a call. The person introduced himself as Olakunle Oyebanjo, Head of Marketing & Sales, Nordica Lagos. He then asked if he was speaking to Odimegwu Onwumere. I said that he was.

“You entered for the Nordica Media Merit Awards?” he asked. “Yes, I deed” was my response.

“To confirm you are the right person, send us with your email address again.” I did that immediately and within some seconds, I got an email from Oyebanjo with the subject “Invitation – Endo Gala Night & Fund Raising Dinner – Saturday April 9th 2016.” I was a shortlist! Instructions pertaining to attendance were clearly detailed in the mail that came to me in the “BCC” icon.

Preparing for the Awards

I started preparing immediately for the awards – To travel from Port Harcourt to Lagos by road. A journey of about 8hours, depending. But by air, it is usually 45mins.

I decided to travel through the road, due to the government of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, which majority Nigerians can now see hoodwinked them with the “change” mantra during the All Progressives Congress electioneering campaigns in 2015, has impoverished the country than lessen poverty in the citizenry as Nigerians had anticipated.

It is only in this government that a dollar had equaled N400; and a litre of fuel (PMS) sold at N400 in fillings stations across the country – in variations. In short, it is a government of “Trial and Error” of “Blame Game” and “All Promises Cancelled (APC)”.

I did not join the bus from Port Harcourt, I went to Aba in Abia State, knowing that as Aba is a commercial place, buses would load very fast.

I was disappointed that Friday night. There was a decline in the rate of people travelling to Lagos that night. An official of the motor station I was at, told me that ordinarily, the first luxurious “Night Bus” was supposed to leave Aba for Lagos by 7pm, but here ‘we’ were by 10pm.

When the bus finally left with a negligible number of commuters, I wanted to sleep, but could not sleep, due to the irritant called dilapidated-roads in the country.

There was never a smooth-three-minute drive from the East to South on the journey. I got to Lagos by 9am. My brother (cousin) Udoka, who was on the fuel queue in Lagos, left for the ‘Black Market’ at a very mouth-vomiting price, when I called to inform him of my arrival.

He came to the bus-stop, where I had alighted and we rode through the Mango Bus-stop axis to his residence. As we got home, we expended the one day that I stayed in his house, burning the generator.

Awards gala night

The weather in Lagos was so hot unlike the weather in Port Harcourt. When it started drizzling around 3pm on April 9 2016 – the D-Day for conferring of the awards – I was relieved as the weather became mild.

Udoka, who passively knows the bus-stops by their names, but knows the roads very well and I, set out in his Camry car to the venue.

{Odimegwu Onwumere recieving the award}
{Odimegwu Onwumere recieving the award}

An alluring environment with hard-working security officials making sure that the influx of cars in the venue was regulated, The City Centre, Victory Island, Lagos, could win an award for the orderliness of its environment.

We parked the car and were directed to the Banquet Hall. The decoration in the hall was sparkling. Udoka and I looked for a table and occupied just two seats.

There were several tables in the hall, each with over five seats making it up. We sat waiting, filling our eyes with the appearances of some women, who were making the occasion booming with their oversized and downsized outfits! The security men and women were neatly dressed.

The awards ceremony that was billed for 6pm started latter. In making sure that all the journalists that were shortlisted for the awards were present, we were gathered at a particular place in the dazzling hall. Each of the journalists was wearing a look of “Am I going to be the winner?”

The MCs – a man and woman – were very good. The woman in doing everything to keep the place fun-running was loquacious. The good-looking, brilliant and soft-voice wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo was a Special Guest of Honour.

She had the brain in her Keynote address. “Endometriosis poses a danger in making the women world go on extinction if the menace is not arrested soon,” she said.

I saw the likes of Veteran Journalist Dele (Momodu); Musician Shina Peters; Ex-Beauty Queen Nike Oshinowo whose authentication of how endometriosis had been an unfriendly friend brought bitter tears down her jaws; music star Tiwa Savage as well as MBGN World Unoaku Anyadike were there; Tanzanian beauty Millen Magese; Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, a consultant Obsterician and Gynaecologist and the Managing Director, Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos; and so many other dignitaries were present and represented.

Conferring the awards

I was bewildered when the occasion got to this stage if I was going to be a winner. My befuddlement heightened when a good-looking man who introduced himself as Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, the Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard newspapers, mounted the pedestal to call out how many entries from journalists that were gotten for the awards and how many journalists were shortlisted.

Adefaye was among the Panel of Judges that screened the entries. I did not know him. He said that there were three categories for the awards: Print, Electronic and Digital. One winner will emerge in each category; each will get a reward of N250, 000.

The Health Editor of New Telegraph newspapers, Mrs. Appolonia Adeyemi won in the Print Category, while Toyin Aboh of Television Continental won in the Electronic Category and, I won in the Digital Category.

Conclusion: Nordica Media Merit Awards open and plain

I would say that the Nordica Media Merit Awards were judged on merit and not, on tribe, or who you know.

I want to thank Nigerian editors and newspapers publishers, who do not publish the chaff and dropping, the wheat. The online publishers have kept the spirit running and they deserve the support of Nigerians and the leaders.

{Odimegwu Onwumere with Dr Abayomi Ajayi}
{Odimegwu Onwumere with Dr Abayomi Ajayi}

I’m of the view that no matter what some quarters are suggesting that journalism in Nigeria was heading to extinction, I want to make a consolidated remark that journalism will not die in the country; rather some journalists may be going out of the profession for something, but the ones who remain stoical will continue to represent social justice and impartiality, contributing to society as well as being the watchdog in society.

I want to thank Udoka who was my ‘guide’ in Lagos. I want to implore the authorities to support the Nordica Media Merit Awards and in so doing, initiate other journalism awards to encourage journalists.

Conversely, I want to especially thank Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, managing director, Nordica Fertility Centre, organisers of the awards, for their fertility initiative, which has added fertility to my journalistic womb.

Contact Odimegwu Onwumere via email: apoet_25@yahoo.com