Gathering annually to celebrate those who take the risk of protecting our democracy by holding those in authority accountable is important to the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism. It is with the intention to provide support for these people that we instituted the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting in 2005.
It has been hard to keep going – because, for many years, we have been sponsoring this initiative in whole or part with our meagre savings. We are however emboldened by the work Nigerian journalists do and the pressure they through. We intend to continue no matter the obstacles.
This year, in particular, has been as one for journalism and freedom of speech in Nigeria with the harassment of the media on different occasions by the government. The words of our grand patron, Wole Soyinka “Investigative Reporting is the vital force for the restoration of human dignity”, is beyond a byline for us, It is a constant reminder that the work we do is ultimately about getting social justice for the people.
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Stifling the media and freedom of speech through draconian laws and intimidation using the state apparatus is a sledgehammer that must not see the light of the day and become the new normal. It is the roles of reporters to give voice to the people and demand answers from the government. Government’s role is to deliver on the oath of office and remain accountable. If the government wants to look good without doing the hard work, it will look beyond the media.
We are here today to make those that keep our hope for good governance happy. Enjoy the programme and may our democracy be the winter in it all.
This paper titled “Making Nigeria’s democracy win” was presented by Motunrayo Alaka, Executive Director CEO of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) during the 14th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting (WSAIR) at the Main Hall of NECA House, Hakeem Balogun Street, Off Lateef Jakande Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja Lagos on Monday, 9 December 2019.