In a keenly contested competition held at the Channel View Hotel Calabar this last December, the Cross River State Correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, Mr Anietie Ben Akpan has emerged the winner of the 2010/2011 Best Journalist competition in Cross River, with a star prize of a brand new Chevrolet car with N250, 000.
Mr Lawrence Mkpama of the Watchman magazine who emerged second won a cash prize of N125,000 and an LCD flat screen television set while Mr Smart Usang of the Cross River Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC) took the third position and smiled home with N75,000 and an LCD television set for his effort.
In his address shortly after presentation of the award, the state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke lauded the award sponsor, Princess Senator Florence Ita-Giwa for the initiative and sustenance which had lasted for more than 20 years now.
Imoke who commended Ita-Giwa for celebrating her late mother in her chosen profession of journalism said the award will help bring out the best in journalists in the state.
The governor urged journalists in the country and Cross River in particular to strive to revive, sustain and truly exercise the might of the pen by sustaining the values the late Chief Beatrice Bassey Ita represented.
While congratulating the star prize winner, Mr Anietie Ben-Akpan, for the feat, he enjoined corporate bodies and well meaning Nigerians to encourage the profession to enable journalists carry out their function of news reporting effectively.
Earlier in his opening remarks, chairman of the occasion and leader of the Senate of the Federal Republic, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egbe described Chief Beatrice Bassey as one of Nigeria’s pioneer and best female journalists who even reported from the war front during the Nigerian civil war.
Ndoma-Egba commended the sponsor of the award/Senator Florence Ita Giwa, for celebrating a woman who pursued excellence in her profession several years after her demise, adding that the star prize of a brand new car will certainly spur journalists to put in their best in the profession.
In her remarks, the award sponsor, Senator Princess Florence Ita-Giwa, thanked the people for celebrating her mother whom she described as an infatiquable journalist during her days and the Nigerian media for making her what she is through their incisive coverage.
Princess Ita-Giwa said she does not believe in the 35 percent affirmative action but in the ability of women to work hard to get to where they want to be.
She said, she decided to institute the award in memory of her mother who lived the profession throughout her life and to celebrate hard work as well as encourage journalists to put in their best in the profession.
In his remarks the national president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mallan Garba Mohammed represented by the Vice President Zone F, Mr Pius Ede described the award as a challenge to Nigerian Journalists, especially those in Cross River to excel and follow the ethics of the profession religiously.
The NUJ president called on corporate organizations and Nigerians to emulate the award sponsored by instituting more of such awards to bring out the best in Nigerian journalists.
Also in his goodwill message, the father of the day, Obong of Calabar Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V while thanking Senator Ita-Giwa for the award expressed delight that such laudable initiative is happening in Calabar that always achieved first in all spheres of life.
The Obong of Calabar advised journalists to emulate chief Beatrice Bassey Ita by being very objective in their report and ensure that they always present both sides of any issue in their stories in the interest of the nation and not for the monetary or material reward they get from such work.
The state chairman of the NUJ, Mr Eniang Ndem, earlier in his welcome address thanked chief Florence Ita-Giwa for instituting the award and for sustaining that dream.
He called on corporate organizations and other Nigerians to identify with the award to bring the best out of journalists who he described as the setters of the agenda for national discussion.
In his response the star prize, winner Mr Anietie Ben Akpan said he was humbled by the award, adding that it will spur him and other journalists in the state to bring out their best in the profession.
The occasion also featured the unveiling of the state council of the National Association of Women (NAWOJ) Trust Fund.