Story by Dili Utomi.
It was a gathering of great personalities last night at the ambience of the main hall of the Oriental hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos as the Maritime Media Limited, the publishers of the Shipping World Magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary with an award ceremony to match the occasion.
The Bayelsa State governor, Senator Duoye Diri was represented at the event by Dr. Churson Obosi, Gen Barry Ndiomu (Rtd) was also represented by Flight Lieutenant Terry Akpobena, Madam Lamin Tumaka, the former director of Corporate Communications at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was at the event as well the representative of the Director General of NIMASA, the representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority, as well as representatives of many other agencies of government who came to grace the occasion. Music icon, Timi Dakolo was also at the event.
The chief executive officer of the Maritime Media Limited and the organiser of the event, Elder Asu Beks opened the event with a speech as he went down the memory lane to recall the events that gave rise to the registering of the company and the subsequent publication of the first edition of the Shipping World Newspaper which later became the Shipping World Magazine.
Elder Asu said that he left his position as the Shipping editor of the defunct Concord Newspaper to delve into the world of the relatively dangerous waters of the publication of a Newspaper with specialised interest in the Maritime Industry. He described the last 25 years as the most challenging in his life and condemned the situation where government agencies now largely depend on issuing press releases rather than inviting Journalists to places where events do take place so that the journalists can have the opportunity to assess the situations independently.
Elder Asu praised Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo’s) efforts in helping to secure oil pipelines as he said that Nigeria’s oil production has increased by 17% since he started securing the pipelines around the Niger Delta.
The representative of the governor of Bayelsa State, Dr. Churson Obosi in his remarks eulogised the role that Chief Government Ekpemupolo also known as Tompolo has been playing in his job of securing the nation’s oil pipelines and said that the honour being bestowed on Tompolo is long overdue, he also lauded the role of Elder Asu Beks as a thoroughbred journalist of high repute and his bravery in charting a course in Maritime Journalism and sustaining same for such a long period of time.
The representative of General Ndiomu (Rtd), Fl. Lt. Akpobena in his presentation asked a rhetorical question about whether the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta has been a blessing or course to us as a nation. He went on to reveal a few fact about the exploration of oil in the Niger Delta areas as the effect of environmental degradation and social economic distruption have taken their tolls on communities in the Niger Delta area, but aslo said that it has not all been doom and gloom as we have witnessed a whole lot of economic, social and Infrastructural developement for the entire country since the 1960s as a direct result of the discovery of oil and its exploration.
A lot of goodwill messages and remarks followed with Chief Michael Onuoha, Madam Lamin Tumaka and a host of others paying tribute to the efforts of Elder Asu. Timi Dakolo was prevailed upon by adoring fans in the hall to render a few songs as they gladly sang along.
The award proper took place with Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo) being given the award of the maritime man of the year, Chief Tompolo was represented by Dr. Pearl Paul Bedenemo who received the award on his behalf and also thanked the organisers profusely for the honour and indicated that this will further spur Chief Tompolo to do more for the safeguarding of public facilities and the general developement of the nation.
Many personalities present at the occasion were given various awards of different categories and a young maritime journalist, Dapo Olawuni was awarded the Bashir Jamoh prize for the best maritime journalist of the year 2022 which carries a prize tag of one million naira, he was handed both the dud and real cheques as he thanked the organisers for the prize, Mr. Olawuni also promised to work harder in order to inform and educate the reading public.
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