Accolade Rain As Pen Journalists Sweep Awards At NACJ-UDUS Day

By YUSUF Abdulbasit Hozaifah

As the sun glowered at the skins of Sokoto residents on Saturday, January 21, songs of victory filled the mouths of the members of the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto’s most outstanding press outfit. Thunderstorms of claps ensued as Pen Press journalists bagged awards across 5 different categories before their board coasted to victory, claiming a sixth as the ‘Pen Club of the Year’ at the annual symposium organised by the National Association of Campus Journalists, UDUS Chapter (NACJ-UDUS).

NACJ-UDUS is the mother body of the five-campus press outlets on the Danfodiyo Varsity soil, namely Pen Press, The News Digest, Vanguard, Gamji and Interwatch Press Boards.

The university resonated colours of utmost excitement, as students trickled into its auditorium to witness the NACJ symposium for the 2020/2021 academic session, themed, “Tertiary Education In Nigeria: Reflections”.

One of the most anticipated programmes on the agenda was the Outstanding Campus Journalists’ Awards, where the best campus journalists over the academic session earned prizes and awards. The NACJ-UDUS named one of its awards categories the JOA Awards, in honour of its Staff Adviser, Professor Jimoh Olaiya Amzat (JOA), for his sponsorship and persistent support towards the sustenance of Campus Journalism in the university.

Pen and her Journalists’ Triumph

Pen Press UDUS’ brilliant writers, as a result of their passionate, creative and consistent publications throughout the session, grabbed five of the eleven individual awards, the most by any press outfit at the just concluded symposium.

Hayatullahi Mudathir, the incumbent Editor-in-Chief of the outfit, delivered Pen Press’ first accolade in the NACJ-UDUS Awards category, bagging the Reporter of the Year award, with his predecessor, Abdulrasheed Hammad, the immediate past Editor-in-Chief, clinching the Editor of the Year category and Abdulrasheed Abdulkareem Akere, the Editor, winning the Essayist of the Year prize.

In the special categories, Hamid Fatimah Omotayo, the Managing Editor of the outfit, emerged the JOA Female Campus Journalist of the Year whilst Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye, the Deputy Editor-in-Chief, won the Nigeria Health Watch Best Solution Story award.

Words from the Top Guns

In an interview with Abdulrasheed Hammad, the immediate past Editor-in-Chief of Pen Press UDUS and winner of the NACJ-UDUS Editor award for the 2020/21 academic session, expressed joy as Pen Press won bigger during his administration.

He said, “Being the Editor-in-Chief of Pen Press was not an easy task. For me to take that mantle of power, I had to sacrifice a lot of things and edit all the works before me to produce a different and real kind of journalism.”

Hammad insisted that if no one had commended Pen Press and her members, they know how much they toiled and would praise themselves for working together relentlessly towards achieving their aims and objectives.

“I also wish the present administration the best of luck and urge them to also work hard to achieve the same feat in the next session,” he concluded.

Hayatullahi Mudathir, the incumbent Editor-in-Chief of Pen Press and winner of the NACJ-UDUS Reporter of the year category, beamed over the events at the symposium. He confessed that it was a thing of joy for him to witness another NACJ-UDUS symposium.

“Indeed, I feel elated to be there, and it was well and accurately conducted. The presence of our staff adviser, Prof. Jimoh Olaiya Amzat and the ASUU-UDUS Chairman, Prof. Al Mustapha, made the occasion a fabulous one,” he noted.

For bagging the NACJ-UDUS Reporter of the Year award, Mudathir expressed his gratitude to Allah, and to those behind the recommendation, praying that the Lord continues to be their strength.

“I am so happy for my club members too, for sweeping most of this year’s NACJ awards. I commend their efforts and urge them to never relent,” he encouraged.

The Editor-in-Chief advised up-and-coming writers to remain consistent in their work towards self-development, maintaining that they should not be afraid of writing.

“Consistency is what writing needs, and before they know it, they would see it become their blood. Award is like a reward that does not come freely. You work for it,” he concluded, reeling out nuggets of wisdom to younger writers.

More Success Stories

Hamid Fatimah Omatayo, the Managing Editor of Pen Press and winner of the JOA Female Campus Journalist of the Year award, was glad to earn such recognition from the NACJ-UDUS, despite not anticipating it.

“Although I was not expecting an award, I see this as a reward from NACJ-UDUS, for my consistency,” she said, highlighting her commitment to working towards her personal development.

The NACJ-UDUS Essayist of the Year, Abdulrasheed Abdulkareem Akere, also noted that he was overjoyed over the recognition he bagged.

“I’m glad about the merit awards. It stimulates motivation and encouragement to do more,” he added.

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