The Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) honoured a renowned businessman, Sir Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu, with a fellowship award at a special convocation which was part of the celebration of the golden jubilee of the journalism training institution.
At the ceremony attended by media gurus and many members of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), the owner of the institute, the Chairman of the Governing Council, Chief Olusegun Osoba, said Sir Adebutu’s philanthropy is second to known.
This is just as the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu urged more corporate organisations and philanthropy to support the press and commended the NIJ for its “great job” in raising professional, bold journalists who are knowledgeable and fearless.
According to Osoba, the fellowship had the imprimatur of the International Press Institute (IPI).
He said, “The award we are giving him today is recognised by the International Press Institute (IPI) which is made up of editors, publishers and who is who in the media worldwide. What that means is that what we are doing is recognised globally.”
“The award is in recognition of his contributions and support for education. There are many people who are richer than him but who are not as generous and supportive of education and other causes like him.”
Provost of the NIJ, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, reiterated that the institution decided to honour Adebutu for touching lives with his wealth
“NIJ is a public trust that requires continuous support from the public and private organisations and well-meaning individuals to assist in fulfilling the mandate of training the apostles and foot soldiers of the critical drivers of democracy and sustainers of good governance – the media industry,” he stated.
Sanwo-Olu represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, described Adebutu as an exemplary and enviable personality who has dedicated his wealth to better humanity and transform lives.
He said, “There is no honour too big to be bestowed on Sir Adebutu. He has been an enviable personality in our society for decades. He deserves the honour being conferred on him. He is one person who has dedicated his wealth to promote worthy and good causes in the society.
“I am also happy for the Nigerian Institute of Journalism because it has proven to be efficient in shaping and directing the journalism profession in Nigeria. NIJ is also influential in ensuring the freedom of speech and the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.”
In his acceptance speech, Sir Adebutu decried the neglect of the press which is regarded as the fourth estate of the realm, noting that while the other three estates – executive, legislature and judiciary – are being catered for in the budget, the press is left in the lurch.
He vowed to support the press in Nigeria while challenging others to do the same, saying this is imperative towards engendering a better society.
“I will support journalism in Nigeria and rally others to follow suit. The press needs the support of all. The press is on its own, even as the fourth estate of the realm. The other three estates are provided for in the budget, but the press is on its own
“The press must be supported to truly be the watchdog that the masses can lean on. I accept the award to be able to support the press and sustain its motto of publish and be damned,” the businessman said.