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December 1: When THISNIGERIA set a national agenda

The list parades achievers and titans in their different endeavours. Some of the country’s distinguished public intellectuals were also on hand to deliver and discuss a lecture on the Nigerian condition and to deepen the national conversation.

The lecture which attracted people from all walks of life including diplomats, the academia, politicians and media practitioners had as its theme: “National Cohesion For Growth & Progress: The Nigeria Dilemma”. The lecture was delivered by no less a personality than Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto.

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The distinguished public intellectual had his Ph.D in 1990 from the University of London.

His paper was discussed by Mike Ozekhome SAN, Ph.D and Issa Aremu, mni a foremost labour activist and Director General of the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Ilorin, Kwara State. The lecture was moderated by Prof. Tonnie Iredia OON, former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.

Chairing the event, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, Governor of Ekiti State and chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, said if we agreed Nigeria is “a sleeping giant”, then we must do all we can to rouse her from her deadly slumber. His Excellency, (Barr.) Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the courageous and hardworking Governor of Rivers State, who has since the past six and a half years turned his state to a construction site, got the prestigious award of the “Gold Prize in Exceptional Leadership.”

Other recipients of our Gold Prize include His Excellency Babagana Umara Zulum, a Professor in the theatre of war who is providing democracy dividends to his people despite his peculiar situation. Others would have given reasons for their non-performance, ascribing it to the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East and other tales but he remains one of the best governors who has survived several assassination attempts.

While investing heavily in infrastructural and human capital development, he recently used N12 billion to pay off the arrears of pensioners in the state, thus putting a smile on the faces of our old men and women in his state. He got the “Gold Prize in Good Governance”

Other awardees are: chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the First Class graduate of history from Usmanu Dan Fodio University , Sokoto.

In spite of pressures and challenges, INEC has given good account of itself. The recent Anambra governorship election is a case in point. He won “Gold Prize in Public Service”. Before Prof Ishaq Oloyede’s appointment as Registrar/ Chief Executive of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, JAMB was almost a dead zone where monkeys and snakes were swallowing millions of naira.

Now, under his watch, the organisation can remit billions of naira to the Federal Government. Oloyede walks briskly where angels fail to tread, with his head high. He was also conferred with the “Gold Prize in Public Service” In fact, it was a delectable spectacle as a multitude of compatriots of the media community in Nigeria and the society at large converged on the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja to celebrate these uncommon achievers.

In attendance was an impressive array of media men, politicians and students including Chief Osita Okechukwu of the Voice of Nigeria, Von. Dr. Solomon Arase, a former Inspector General of Police, Gen. M.B. Marwa (retd) chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the NDLEA, was represented, and a host of others.

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The event announced THIS NIGERIA newspaper as a publication of consequence. For a publication that debuted in September 2020, in a dramatic style, a brand that is proudly Nigerian, the paper promises to piously restate, zealously redefine and conscientiously redelineate the topography of the Nigerian print and digital journalism in all ramifications and perpetuate the long cherished ideals and traditions of journalistic practice in the country.

In just one year on the newsstands, and with patriotic zeal, the paper has invested in the public interest with an uncommon passion for integrity, accountability, transparency, good governance and the rule of law. Within this period, THISNIGERIA has assumed the toga of the veritable tribune of the Nigerian people, the custodian of public morality, the treasurer of our plural cultures, mores and traditions and the repository of balanced and investigative journalism.

On every issue of national significance, THIS NIGERIA has tried to be independently neutral and yet unashamedly biased towards the public good, articulate and yet endowing and lending the people a powerful voice of their own, objective and yet unafraid of the truth even when it hurts.

The paper has tried to accommodate a carnival of multiple and diverse voices and opinions but has striven to make the compelling and competing voices coherent, clear and capable of contributing to the ever brimming, never receding public discourse for the public good.

At THIS NIGERIA, we believe that it is one desire to freshen public debate , stimulate patriotic fervour and catalyze national development with the quality and integrity of our intellectual energies and compelling parliamentary language. In this regard, our style has always been racy as it is populist, our vision nationalistic as it is Afrocentric and our deposition uncompromising on matters of national unity and the public good.

Since, the past one year, (we debuted on the newsstands on September 28, 2020), we have tried to applaud transparency and accountability in public and private life, good corporate governance, freedom of speech and enforcement of other fundamental human rights and freedoms of the people for a fulfilled and happy society.

THIS NIGERIA Annual Lecture and Gold Prize is in fulfillment of our cherished template as a policy, which is dedicated to celebrating exceptional Nigerians, promoting national discourse and shaping our world. While it is customary that our primary role is to inform, educate and to entertain, our most compelling function is to provide moral leadership for our people.

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This means that we are set to take a plunge into more profound and apparently untrudded areas in developmental journalism. Consequently, our journalism is that which probes, engages and illuminates the complex circumstances underlying the human condition; and that which also questions the boundary between the eclipse of the public or national interest and the interest of the truth, hence our motto: “KNOW THE TRUTH”. THIS NIGERIA is authoritative with zest and candour.

The event has been attested to as one of the best media festivals that had ever taken place at the Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja. We therefore invite all people of goodwill and conscience, advertisers and the reading public, to join us in this noble and patriotic effort.

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