It was a night of accolades for Africa’s foremost business conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, (DIL), as journalists in Lagos State conferred an award of excellence on the Group for its outstanding contributions to the economic development of Nigeria and Africa in general.
The award, according to the journalists, was because of Dangote’s aggressive employment generation drive, which has seen thousands of able youths, gainfully employed in the Group as well as the commitment to provision of critical infrastructure.
This award presentation was during the Gala/Awards Nite marking the end of the 2023 Press Week of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council, where some corporate organisations and certain individuals were also recognised for their contributions to society.
The NUJ award for Dangote Group came barely a week after the conglomerate emerged as Nigeria’s Most Valuable Brand for the sixth consecutive year, an achievement that was announced by the brand and marketing firm, TOP 50 BRANDS NIGERIA, as part of its comprehensive 2023 Top Brands perception assessment.
Dangote Cement Plc, a subsidiary of DIL, is the leading producer of Cement in the country and employs more than 65,000 direct workers and over 100,000 indirect workers, across all its Plants.
The journalists specifically lauded Dangote Group over the leading roles played by the Company regarding backward integration in the cement and sugar industries with continuous expansion of its operations, both within and outside the country, which has transformed the nation from being import-dependent to self-sufficiency and thereby creating the much-needed jobs for the employable youths.
Chairman of Lagos State Council of NUJ, Mr. Adeleye Ajayi, in his address of welcome said the Council set aside the Gala Nite as an occasion for his Council administration to reflect on its major landmarks, roll out the drums, and celebrate excellence by recognising those individuals and organisations who have made the journey eventful for the Council over the year.
As parts of the landmarks recorded in the last three years, the Council boss enumerated some of the achievements including the successful completion of the building of the new Council secretariat complex, training of journalists, and allocation of lands to the subscribers to the Council estate project at Abaren in Ogun state.
Mr. Ajayi also disclosed that the Council was almost completing the process of establishing a community radio station for the Council, adding that the NUJ is awaiting the issuance of a radio license by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Of note, according to him, is the renaming of the popular NUJ Light House in Victoria Island to Lateef Kayode Jakande (LKJ) House in honour of one of the founding fathers of Journalism in Nigeria and former governor of Lagos state who passed on recently.
Giving a goodwill message, an accomplished award-winning Journalist, now the Queen of Apomu-land, Her Majesty Olori Janet Afolabi, commended the Ajayi-led administration for its achievements so far and urged it not to rest on its oars.
She decried the plight of media practitioners in the present-day economic crunch and insecurity but charged them not to succumb to the temptation of sacrificing the ethics of the profession.
Describing the roles of journalists in society as indispensable, the Olori advised Journalists to report more on the happenings at the grassroots as many people at that level are suffering and their plight needs to be reported to elicit positive response from appropriate quarters.
In the category of awards for organisation were the Dangote Group, Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Breweries Plc., while individuals conferred with awards included Senator Mukhail Abiru, of Lagos East senatorial district, Adewale Adedeji, of Ifako-Ijaiye Constituency 01, Lagos State House of Assembly and Mr. Fola Adeyemi, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Strategy, Lagos State.
Other recipients were Mr. Kehinde Bamigbetan, former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Lagos State, and Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, Director General, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, RMRDC.
Speaking on behalf of Corporate Organisation award recipients, Mr. Francis Awowole-Browne of the Dangote Group said the corporate bodies cherished the award and it will serve as the required catalyst to continue to deliver goods and services that will ultimately transform the country’s economy.
He thanked the NUJ for the honour, describing the award as a call to better partnership with members of the pen profession in the task of building a better Nigeria that can hold its own in the comity of nations.
According to him: The Dangote Group has continued to garner global recognition through its expansion into other countries. These accomplishments, he said were a clear demonstration of the Group’s resolve to be the number one in Africa in meeting the needs of the people.
The event was attended by the South West leaders of the NUJ, ably led by the Vice President, B Zone, Mrs. Ronke Samo.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Deputy-Comptroller, Nigeria Customs Service, Haniel Hadison; General Manager, Radio Lagos/Eko FM, Mr. Jide Lawal; General Manager, Lagos Traffic Radio, Mr. Eyitayo Akanle; and Olori Adesola Kosoko, General Manager, Lagos Television, including Elders and Leaders of the Union amongst others.