Late Lai Oso, the distinguished professor of communications and scholar, who died on June 24, 2023, will be posthumously honoured with both the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Anti-Corruption/Human Rights Defender Award at the 18th edition of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.
The event will be held on December 9, 2023 at Abuja Continental Hotel (formerly Sheraton), Abuja by 5pm.
Oso will make history as the first person to receive both awards.
The decision to honour him, albeit posthumously, is to immortalise him and recognise his profound contributions to the growth of the Nigerian media landscape, his notable service as the chair of this award’s judges’ board on four occasions (2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017), his pivotal role in nurturing journalism talents and his insistence that the media be the voice for the voiceless.
Abimbola Oso, his wife, will receive the honorary awards on behalf of the family.
This recognition will be part of the broader Amplify In-depth Media Conference Awards, scheduled for December 8 and 9, 2023 by 9am daily at the Abuja Continental Hotel.
The AIM Conference will feature a distinguished lineup of over 40 speakers and will precede the award ceremony.
The award event that will conclude the programme will also see previously announced finalists from a competitive pool of 244 applications receive the investigative reporting awards.
Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher of Premium Times and Founder/CEO of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, will take centre stage as the Keynote Speaker, with the theme: “The independent media equation: Policies, ownership, technology, and sustainability.”
Other speakers include Umaru Pate, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Kashere, Gombe State; Amina Salihu, Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation; Yemisi Bamgbose, Executive Secretary of Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria; Toyin Akinniyi, Vice President, Africa, Luminate Group; Franca Aiyetan, Spokesperson, National Broadcasting Commission; Dili Ezughah, Director General, Nigerian Press Council; Bilal Randeree, Programme Director of Africa and MENA, MDIF; Kobus Louwren, Co-founder, Food for Mzansi; Lanre Arogundade, Executive Director, International Press Centre; Kayode Akintemi, Managing Director, News Central Media Ltd; and Deji Badmus, Founder, TV360.
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The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism co-hosts the AIM Conference and Awards this year with MacArthur “On Nigeria Project” Media and Journalism cohort as a two-day physical and virtual conference to reflect on investigative journalism, democracy, and how to amplify, and sustain investigative reporting and ideate on strategies that foster change through conversations, debates, and practical explainers.
The Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting has since inception in 2005, recognised the contributions of 116 finalists, 59 Soyinka Laureates, 13 investigative journalists of the year and 28 honorary awards recipients.
The MacArthur Foundation provided funds for the conference, while the award programme is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy in Nigeria.