Best African Journalist Award: A friend Favours Friend Award?

14 December 2009

BY Ken C Mbata 

We want to appreciate the good thought of the Protection Rights of Journalist of Africa in her preparation to honour Journalists who have indeed excel in the profession for the year 2009. It is also appreciated too that Nigerian Journalists are nominated for the award.


It is the expectation of every hard working journalist to reap the fruits of his labour as the profession is not a simple one. To encourage practitioners and  lure other talented and qualified journalists who have been neglecting the profession because it does not bring instant big money into the profession, this award I suppose, is designed.


It is imperative therefore, to look out for those who merit this award to serve as model and encouragement. Generations unborn will be celebrating the elaborate support of truth and fair judgement in the selection of the right people to a right award. In contradistinction to this basic principle of selection, generations unborn will equally not forgive those who deliberately soiled the truth.


The best this association can do is to protect her integrity at all times irrespective of one's frienship with one or interpersonal contact main man. Understandably, two journalists or rather two nominees have been sloted from Nigeria. The question now is, how qualified are these two academically, professionally and morally? I would like to ex-ray the qualification and capability of Nigerian nominees under this heading.. Though the Protection Rights of Journalists of Africa did not make it known her criteria for selection. However, basic principle for selection of awardees are always assessed objectively as I would like to do below.


 It is very clear and disappointing that in selecting Nigerian representatives, freedom radio was selected as a body and not on individual basis. One can understand the journalistic activities of the Radio Freedom as a body and how the radio house has affected individual person.with her objective journalism. The Radio as an instrument of communication has conducted itself within the ethic of responsible journalism, this every listener of the medium can comfortably attest to.


The second Nigerian Nominee as learnt is no other person than Mr. Tukur Mamu, the Chief Executive, Managing Director, Editor-in-Chief and publisher of the Desert Herald. Newspaper. The activities of a media house are usually assessed good or bad based on the individual members of staff and their capabilities as well as their qualifications in the said profession. Except the left side of a shoe is remolded by a cobler, it cannot fit the right leg.  The activities of the said Desert Herald in the field of journalism obviously lives much to be desired.  For instance, one cannot give what one does not have. The Newspaper- Desert herald in all its ramification lacks journallistic education and bases, in reporting, presentation, colour, style, facts and semantics. Talking about her grammatical structure is like bringing a Nigerian kindergaten (Nursery Pupil) into Oral English competition. The newspaper does not intend to be so but because the Managers of the paper lack what it takes to make correct sentences.


From information under the sun, the selection of Tukur Mamu is as a result of two major factors namely; godfatherism and nepotism. It is  known fact that two members of the Association are strongly, as a result of interpersonnelcontact- main- man favoured Tukur Mamu nomination. Rumour has it that Dr. John Mkunu of Mass Communication Department of University of Cape Town and the Secretary General of Protection Rights of Journalsits of Africa and Mr. Sowore, Publisher of Sahara reporters are hell bent on IMPOSING a journalistic nonentity, Mr. Tukur Mamu on this award. Little wonder therefore, the Sahara Reporters exchanges  frivorous, non-existent infornation, dubious reporting, character assasination report and unethical news with Desert Herald, since bird of a feather flocks together.. Educationally, Tukur Mamu is not a journalist, a mere Diploma holder in Basic accounting and has nothing that prepared him for this profession. Counting numbers is different from linguistic know-how and both are in parallel line. In short,  Tukur Mamu has never aquired orientation in Journalism.


The activities of the Secretary General of Protection Rights of Journalists of Africa is akin to apathy and the clear expression of unprofessional behaviour if the rumour is anything to go by. In his position in the Association, coupled with his educational status in the profession, one expects a fatherly attitude from him in being neutra and fair in the selection. His relationship with Tukur Mamu should be very personal and unofficial. The association should be mindful of what journalists in Africa and beyond are going to say in criticism if it allows her reputation to be soiled by nepotism, favouratism and suspected bribe to rob the rightful owner of the award for a mere friend.


Note that the whole world beyond journalists are aware of the forthcoming award in Mexico and are expectantly watching to see or hear the nominees made by the general public. The association should be mindful of the fact that since it is now a public news, there is fire on the mounting if Dr John Mkunu decides with her cohorts to favour an unqualified journalist who merit nothing but disbanment from the profession. We all know how Tukur Mamu got his so called American Congress award, which he carries on every picture he takes in his Desert herald as if it is part of his cloth. We are not unaware! 

Whoever  you nominate should be justified,  and who is justified should merit the award. A stitch in time saves nine.
Mr. Ken C. Mbata writes from Kano and can be reached on email:




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