In a dazzling display of journalistic prowess, Muhammed Akinyemi, a correspondent with HumAngle, clinched the top honor at the 2023 West Africa Media Excellence Conference Awards held in Accra, Ghana on Saturday.
Besting 16 other finalists, Akinyemi secured the prestigious subregional accolade with his compelling narrative titled “All Die Na Die: At the Heart of Nigeria’s Soot Problem.”
The awards, orchestrated by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), saw Akinyemi not only claim the overall victory but also take home a substantial $2000 cash prize.
His earlier triumph in the Environment category added an additional $500 to his well-deserved winnings.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) covered the event, highlighting the significant role played by the MFWA in recognizing and celebrating journalistic excellence within the subregion.
The award categories spanned diverse topics, encompassing Human Rights, Business, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Migration, and Investigative Reporting.
Addressing the audience, Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of MFWA, underscored the challenging backdrop against which journalists operate in the current geopolitical climate.
Braimah emphasised the pivotal role of the media in the face of democratic setbacks, rising insecurity due to terrorism, kidnapping, and banditry, along with the weakening of institutions even in established democracies.
“Media is not spared by the challenges in society such as attacks on journalists and the challenge of the prevailing economic situation,” Braimah remarked.
Despite these adversities, he commended journalists who excel in spotlighting corruption within the system and contributing to the democratic discourse.
The conference, now in its seventh year, received a remarkable 825 entries from journalists representing 15 countries.
The annual awards, aimed at recognizing and applauding the crucial contributions of journalists in the West African subregion, have become a beacon of appreciation for those who navigate the complex media landscape.
The event enjoyed the support of various sponsors, including the United States Embassy in Ghana, MTN Ghana, Stanbic IBTC bank, OXFAM, and WADEMOS, signifying a collaborative effort to uphold and celebrate journalistic excellence in the region.