Education journalists elect new leaders

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The Education Writers’ Association of Nigeria (EWAN) has elected its new set of leaders to pilot the affairs of education journalism in the country for the next two years.

The election held on Thursday saw the Head of Development Desk at one of Africa’s foremost investigative newspapers- PREMIUM TIMES, Mojeed Alabi, being elected as the chairman along with other officers.

EWAN, an affiliate of the Lagos State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), comprises journalists across print, online and electronic media, who are dedicated to reporting issues concerning education globally, but with specific focus on Nigeria.

The keenly contested election, which was held within the compound of Lagos Television on Agidingbi road, Ikeja, was supervised by the incumbent executive council of NUJ in the state.

Mr Alabi, who was sworn in immediately after the polls by the chairman of NUJ in Lagos, Adeleye Ajayi, defeated his opponent, a veteran education correspondent, Gabriel Dike of The Sun Newspapers, with a narrow margin of four votes.

Two other members, Taiwo Omilani and Saidat Alausa of Upshot Media and Brand Visibility respectively, were also elected alongside Mr Alabi.

While Mrs Omilani was returned unopposed as the group’s secretary, Mrs Alausa was returned as vice-chairman.

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Shortly after the swearing-in ceremony, Mr Ajayi, who was assisted by the union’s secretary, Tunde Olalere, admonished the members to unite in their efforts to impact the education sector positively.

In his short acceptance speech, Mr Alabi, thanked members, the interim committee which he noted was chaired by a senior official of Radio Nigeria and one of the recently ordained pastors at the Redeemed Christian Church of Nigeria (RCCG), Mrs Kikelomo Ifekoya, for their sacrifices towards ensuring a smooth transition.

He thanked his opponent, who he described as a renowned education reporting specialist, for what he described as a show of sportsmanship.

He also applauded her predecessor and assistant editor with Tribune Newspapers, Mr Tunbosun Ogundare, for what he described as his forthrightness, accountability and hard work.

“Despite the pre-election politicking and exchanges, the conviviality and camaraderie that we exhibited here today say so much about what we can offer this nation as a united team because Nigeria’s wobbling education sector needs our critical interventions.

“We must wear our critical reporting caps because our urgent interventions are required on issues of teacher quality, rising figure of out-of-school children, violent attacks on schools, incessant industrial actions, and lately, the crisis of appointment of principals officers in tertiary institutions,” Alabi said.

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He said as a result of politics of religion and ethnicity, Nigeria’s universities are now being localised as host communities or states and religious bodies are now fighting over who gets what in the management circle.

Mr Alabi appealed to members for their support, guidance and counselling at all times, saying the tasks towards making impactful contributions to the reform of education in Nigeria “cannot be achieved by a few but by everyone through collaborative engagements.”

About Alabi

Mr Alabi, an alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University where he bagged a BA certificate in English, is also a holder of Masters in Diplomacy and Strategic Studies (MDSS), from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka.

He joined the defunct National Mirror Newspapers in 2010 and served as both education correspondent and campus page editor. He later moved to New Telegraph Newspaper in 2014 as correspondent before joining PREMIUM TIMES as deputy head of investigations.

He was in May announced as the pioneer head of Development Desk by the management of PREMIUM TIMES. The desk, which is dedicated to reporting and x-raying issues of human development including health, education, environment and gender, is arguably the first to be created by any newspaper in Nigeria.

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The multiple award winning journalist won the education category of Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) in 2012 and 2017. He won Human Rights Reporter of the Year of the same award in 2018.

Mr Alabi also won the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting (Print Category) in 2016 and 2018.

He is a recipient of Golden Pen Report of the Year (Sponsored by Nigerian Breweries) 2017 and 2018, and was a fellow of the World Health Organisation’s Road Safety Fellowship at the Road Safety Conference in Brazil in 2015.

He has participated in conferences and workshops both locally and internationally including the 2017 Global Investigative Journalism Conference at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

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