A Chief Correspondent on Weekend Titles Newspapers, Tunde Ajaja, has emerged the winner of Africa’s Best Re/Insurance Print Journalist (English category) of the Year award.
Ajaja was named the winner at this year’s edition of the award in Lagos on Friday.
The event, organised by Continental Reinsurance Plc, had as its highlight a send-forth dinner held for the chairman of the company’s board, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, and some directors. Ogunshola is a former chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited.
Meanwhile, Ajaja won with his article titled, ‘Poor life insurance, rigid covers plunge vulnerable families into deep poverty’. The report highlighted the need for Nigerians and, by extension, Africans to embrace life insurance to minimise the prevalence of dependants sliding into poverty when the breadwinner of the family dies or becomes incapacitated. It also stressed the need for insurance companies to introduce more flexible covers that would meet the needs of more people across the varied income levels.
Among the four runners-up in the print (English) category were another Chief Correspondent with The PUNCH, Nike Popoola, who was named the overall winner at the maiden edition of the award in 2016 as well as the Best Re/Insurance Industry Analysis and Commentary Journalist of the Year in 2018.
Popoola was also a runner-up in the Online (English) category, won by Felix Klutse, of Business Day Media, Ghana.
Other winners at the event were Destiny Onyemihia, of the Voice of Nigeria, who won the broadcast (English) category; Ouedraogo Oumar, from Burkina Faso, who won the French category for Print, Broadcast or Online; while Atif Mahrous and Maher Hanna, both from Egypt, were joint winners in the Arabic category for Print, Broadcast or Online. Also, Fraterne Ndacyayisenga, from Rwanda, was named the winner of the Future Talent category.
In his remarks, the chairperson of the eight-member jury, Michael Wilson, applauded the winners, saying, “The top entries were very competitive, covering topical issues, and combining the industry’s role in building trust, responding to risks and committing to sustained growth, with compelling human interest angles and strong narratives. For the first time, the awards welcomed entries in Arabic, which contributed to a rise in submissions by 37%”
The event organisers said about 100 entries were received from 22 countries on the continent, and that about 20 journalists from 10 countries were shortlisted for the six categories.
Winners were rewarded with cash prizes, certificates and plaques.
The Deputy Commissioner, Technical, at the National Insurance Commission, Mr Sabiu Abubakar, who represented the Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Mr Sunday Thomas, and the Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, were among the dignitaries and stakeholders at the event.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director, Continental Reinsurance Plc, Mr Lawrence Nazare, eulogised Ogunshola for his exceptional record of service to the company and for being at the forefront of advancing the course of journalism in Nigeria.
Nazare said, “Over the last seven years, we have had a distinguished gentleman as the chairman of Continental Reinsurance Plc. He is Chief Ajibola Ogunshola. He has provided distinguished stewardship to Continental Re in the period of unprecedented growth and success for the company.
“He is the chief reason for this event. We like to thank him and wish him well as he leaves his mark on Continental Reinsurance. We will also like to pay tribute to three of our distinguished directors, who are luminaries of the insurance industry.”
While appreciating the honour bestowed on him by the organisers of the event, Ogunshola thanked the directors who worked with him, saying, “As chairman, my job was made very easy by the quality of directors that I had to preside over. I enjoyed my position as the chairman.”