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June 17, 2009 | Nigeria

Daniel Gets Outstanding Gov Award From His Own Newspaper

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Daniel Gets Outstanding Gov Award From His Own Newspaper

The declaration of Otunba Gbenga Daniel of Ogun state as the most outstanding governor in education in the country has been condemned by communication scholars and journalists alike.

The award, which is organised by the Nigerian Compass Newspaper, owned by governor Daniel, has been described as obscene, unethical and laughable. A cross-section of Nigerians who spoke to our correspondents this morning, on the award scheduled for Sunday, in Abuja, condemned it and called on media practitioners to reject it. Reacting to governor Daniel's declaration as the most outstanding governor, the Dean, Faculty of Information and Communications Technology, Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Dr. Femi Ademiluyi, described the award as obscene.

“I am surprised that in this 21st century, such manipulation can take place. It is not right and should be condemned by media practitioners. It is incredible that a national newspaper can go to the extent of boosting the ego of its proprietor by giving him an award that he does not deserve,” he stated. In his reaction, the coordinator of the International Press Centre, Ogba, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, who has been at the forefront of the campaign against media giving awards, described the Compass awards as unethical.

“In this instance, it is not right. It is unethical. You can't be a judge in your own case. It is not right because the proprietorial interest of Daniel in Compass Newspaper is well known. They shouldn't have included their proprietor in the list of those considered for the award. “I have always been opposed to newspapers giving awards to people. This is because it compromises their principles. How do you reconcile the interest of the newspaper to hold the government accountable to the people with the interest of the awardees, who, in this case, are state governors? The media is the watchdog and this role is compromised when it starts giving awards.

“We should all frown at this and condemn it,” he stated. Also condemning the award, a lecturer at the Osun State Polytechnic, Iree, Mr. Idowu Akinrosoye, described it as sycophancy of the highest order. “You cannot sing your praise by yourself. Compass should allow others to do the assessment. It is not right and in fact, it is unethical for the Compass newspaper to be giving an award to its proprietor. Forget the reason they gave for the awards. They are going political and this should be discouraged. “I am staunchly against the award and it should be condemned by all,” the journalist-turned lecturer stated.

Speaking on the award, Biodun Oduwole, Editor-In-Chief of the Nigerian Compass newspaper, said Daniel also bagged an award as outstanding governor in the area of education, not because he is the proprietor of the newspaper but because of his achievements in that regard during the year under review (2007-2009). He said the six outstanding governors, which include Bukola Saraki (Kwara- Power Generation), Danjuma Goje (Gombe-Water), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos- Roads and Transportation), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo- Health), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers- Security) and Gbenga Daniel (Ogun -Education), were selected after six months of rigorous screening and a tour of the 36 states of the federation by an independent assessment team of 35 persons.

Mr. Oduwole, however, declined to disclose the best governor out of the six that had bagged the outstanding governor's awards. According to him, that is still a closely guarded secret that would be revealed on Sunday, 21 June, in Abuja, where the award would be bestowed on the winner. He also said there was nothing wrong in giving Daniel the outstanding governor award in the area of education simply because he owns the newspaper that is giving the award.

In his analogy, he said: “Do you deny a brilliant student of a school an award simply because his father owns that school? We did not see Daniel as the proprietor of the Nigerian Compass, but as one of the 36 state governors who has excelled in the area of education among his counterparts. Besides, independent panelists picked him as winner in that category after careful assessment.” But Dr. Ademiluyi explained that giving an award to a brilliant student in a school owned by his father or mother is not the same as giving an award to a governor by his own newspaper. “While the brilliant student is recognised by his colleagues as brilliant owing to his performance which is visible to all, the same thing cannot be said of the governor who is assessed by journalists working for his paper,” he stated.

C. PM News

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