Nigeria: Premium Times, Others Honoured for 2019 Election Coverage

PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday received the award of "the most courageous online platform" for the coverage of the 2019 elections.

The award was bestowed by the Sun City News magazine in Abuja.

Established in 2011, PREMIUM TIMES is widely regarded for its independence and capacity for investigative reporting.

During the elections, the newspaper deployed reporters across the country to enable on-the-ground and witness-backed reporting, and also run live updates.

Others who received awards on Thursday include Dino Melaye, the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District (the most courageous and outstanding vocal politician in 2019); and Samson Itodo, the Executive Director of YAIGA Africa (the best election local observer).

Ned Nwoko, who is still in court battling to gain a Senate seat, was honoured with an award of "icon of human development and social welfare in 2019," while Usman Dimka, a police officer received "the most courageous crime buster of the Nigerian Police" award.

The award ceremony featured a key speech delivered by Sam Amadi, former head of the electricity regulatory commission.

In his remarks, Mr Amadi, now a lecturer at Baze University, said, "As Nigerian elections grew in their ugliness so does Nigeria moves steadily towards state failure.

"We just can't arrest the slouch towards state failure except we are able to build a tradition of credible, free and fair elections."

Speaking further, Mr Amadi drew a link between Nigeria's future and the future of the coming elections. He harped on institutional reforms.

"It is not an exaggeration or a simplification to say that the future of Nigeria depends on the quality of its future elections," he said. "Nigeria is gradually turning in a very politically divisive country."

He added: "The centripetal forces tearing at the heart of its unity and statehood is stronger than the centrifugal force constraining and containing the divisive elements. Nigeria's statehood is shaky and troubled primarily on account of failure of political leadership in much of its political history to build consensus and offer the citizens reason to believe in the country.

"So, Nigeria has become a fragile and tottering state primarily on account of failure of leadership."

The lecturer said institutional reforms are more important than legalistic approaches.

"The absence of an institutional and systemic approach to electoral reform is the reason previous revisions of the electoral law have not significantly improved the integrity and effectiveness of the electoral system," he explained.

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