This year’s edition of Advanced Writing And Reporting Skills (AWAReS) course, sponsored by Chevron Nigeria Limited at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, ended Friday, October 21st. In this special feature package, one of the course participants, SportsDay editor, Sam O’Femi Olusetire presents details of the final day, highpoints of the project plus his lofty impressions and those from some colleagues in the four-month programme.
Participants Visit Sponsor’s HQ
AWARes 2016 came to a hilarious close with a visit by participants to the sponsor’s head office at Lekki, Lagos as well as a guided tour of one of the company’s community projects.
The day’s activities began with a visit to Lekki Conservation Centre, funded by the course sponsor, Chevron and operated by Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF), where the participants and director of the course at Pan-Atlantic University, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos were intimated with the values of natural life.
The project manager, Adedayo Rahman, representing the director-general, Saturday Okulegwe, disclosed that it is a resource centre to perpetrate and preserve floral, ecological, animal, riverine and other aspects of life in their natural state.
Also present at the occasion was Mr Ike Okonkwo, the operator of another Chevron-sponsored project, Arrive Alive Road Safety Initiative, which deals with advocacy for better driving ethics and accident-free movement on Nigerian roads.
The day’s activities ended at Chevron’s corporate headquarters, where the participants and their guides were received by General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Mr Deji Haastrup, on behalf of the chairman, managing director, Mr. Andrew Lawrence Fawthrop.
Haastrup explained that AWAReS is part of Chevron’s social investment initiatives in education and praised Pan-Atlantic University for properly managing the media reach out programme.
He said: “We build our efforts on people, partnership and performance, as we try to strengthen the external community where we are involved.
“We are thankful than Pan-Atlantic University has been a strong partner in our effort to build the capacity of people in the Nigerian media to report better.
“Our intention is to find people in the media who can do more in terms of capacity building in rural areas across the country, rather than focus solely on urban areas for their reportage.”
In response, AWAReS 2016 class president, Ena Agbanoma said the course provided immense opportunities for him and the other participants to enjoy the privilege of furthering their education in the conducive environment provide by PAU.
He said he was personally elated with the opportunity of making new friends and recounted that just a day earlier they had all rolled out superlatives for PAU and Chevron during the course’s valedictory training session in the AWAReS lecture room.
“Words are not enough to describe how I feel. But we are aware of the efforts Chevron has made to make this course one of high standards and quality training.
“We are aware of the effort Pan-Atlantic University put into making the programme credible and we are aware that Chevron is aware of how much of an impression they have created on us.
“This is the beginning of a useful relationship that will last forever and develop into more benefits for all of us,” Agbanoma said, while presenting to Haastrup a specially designed Chevron card, on behalf of the class as a gift to the company.
Accolades Flood Pan-Atlantic University
The last day of lectures at AWARES 2016 saw the course director, at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Mr Isaac Ezechukwu moderate a send forth that saw each of the participants present personal verbal testimonials.
The testimonials, which were presented by each member of the class via either graphic slides on the projector or with written scripts were recorded on video by the School of Media and Communication (SMC) at PAU.
During the presentations, which lasted over two hours and ran till late in the evening, saw many of the participants rain accolades on Chevron Nigeria Limited and Pan-Atlantic University for making the course possible.
Among those who made their presentations with slides were education correspondent of This Day newspaper and ‘in-house pastor’ of AWAReS 2016, Mrs. Peace Obi, who noted that the course gave her an opportunity of increasing her repertoire of knowledge about journalism, while also learning the basics of graphic in page planning.
On his part, Jacob Abai from baramatu.com said he was glad with step forward he gained to combine news report with critical thinking, while Kofoworola George-Taylor emphasised on the privilege of learning from several top class academicians that served as facilitators of the course.
Those who did their presentations with pre-written scripts equally showered praise on PAU for providing a very conducive environment, ambience and base of lecturers for what they described as first of a kind in their lives.
While Margaret Mwantok said she was happy to get an academic certificate from Pan-Atlantic University, Chikodi Okereocha of The Nation said he had been enlightened by the business angles highlighted in the course and Jerome Utomi of the pointer said he will return for master.
The participants were unanimous in their testimonies that the running schedule at Pan-Atlantic University was second to none as the institution provided a frosh and serene structure that made concentration on studies quite easy, san distractions of city life and traffic that is found in other tertiary learning fields in the irony tower across Nigeria.
News Agency of Nigerian [NAN] correspondent, Tayo Ikujuni said he was impressed by the cordial nature security personnel and catering staff at PAU, while Mrs. Margaret Innocent of University of Ilorin in-house journal, Bulletin, said even the bus driver showed the stock of noble of gentlemen.
SportsDay editor, Sam O’Femi Olusetire took the rain of praise to a crescendo during his farewell testimonial on the last day of lectures at PAU, as he served highlights of the gains he acquired studying at the university.
Olusetire stated at length. “I am impressed by the humour of the course director, Mr Isaac Ezechukwu, who reminds me of one of my classmate in secondary school, Charles Ezeh.
“He makes us relax with his smiles and sense of humour. He also brings up one intelligent exercise or the other when he wants to address us immediately after lunch.
“I actually studied English Language and Literature at Obafemi Awolowo University for four years, but what I learnt about grammar from Dr. Ikechukwu Obiaya in just four months was of higher level.
“I also appreciate the mixture of philosophy with lexis and structure that Professor Emevwo Biakolo gave us in lessons under critical thinking, while Barrister Tomi Vincent gave us legal angles to journalism through ethics and value.
“We must also not forget the immense values of graphics we acquired from Mr. Kenneth Esere as well as the economic and business angels provided by Dr. Isah Momoh and Dr. Austin Nweze.
“I was able to add to what I already know and improve in my writing skills. The truth be told, PAU’s array of erudite lectures imported invaluable knowledge on me at AWAReS 2016.”
Nike Popoola Celebrates Fourth Birthday
One of the highpoints of this year’s AWAReS course was the remarkable occurrence of four separate birthday celebrations among participants in the programme sponsored by Chevron Nigeria Limited.
Dramatically, AWARes 2016 ended just two days after the fourth participant celebrated a birthday, as a female staff of The Punch newspaper, Nike Popoola, added another year to her age on October 19.
As usual, the class of AWAReS 2016 rallied round to give the svelte and tender-looking Nike a befitting birthday bash, which was augmented by a commemorative cake presented by Pan-Atlantic University.
Miss Popoola was enchanted further same night when she was presented yet another cake and a specially designed card by the management of Hotel De Kajola, where 20 of the participants sponsored by Chevron were accommodated.
Incidentally, the hotel had earlier blazed the trail in August, when they rolled out the drums with a live band and special feats to join in celebrating the birthday of another female participant, Margaret Mwantok.
Mwantok, a staff of The Guardian, had earlier been joined in celebration at Pan-Atlantic University by vastly-articulate newscaster at African Independent Television (AIT), Ena Agbanoma, who clocked a year older the day before.
They became the first set of AWAReS 2016 participants to be awarded a cake by PAU during lunch time at the university’s posh restaurant.
The third birthday, that of Opeyemi Gazali, however, happened during the break between August and September, which meant the participants could only send their good wishes through e-mail, but could not get together for a celebratory bash.
On the other hand, Nike Popoola appeared to be luckiest of all, as her special day happened after resumption for lectures in October and came just two days before the last class of AWAReS 2016.
Popoola’s day was also was graced by two professors, Emevwo Biakolo and James Tsaaior, as well as the course director, Mr Isaac Ezechukwu, who all joined in exciting photograph sessions with the celebrant during lunch at the university’s restaurant.
Dramatically, the class of AWAReS 2016 is bound to come together for yet another birthday, even as the course has come to a close, as one of the participants, Mrs Ifeoma Grant has invited her colleagues to wine and dine on November 23.
That would be just few days after the joint-graduation ceremony of all students of Pan-Atlantic University holds on November 19 at the Ibeju-Lekki campus, which also promises to be a rallying point for the expected continuum of contacts and relations among AWAReS 2016 participants.
INFO IN BITS
*AWAReS 2016 is the third edition of advanced writing and reporting skill course sponsored by Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) at Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos.
*This year’s edition had a total of 30 participants, drawn from various media houses, online publications and corporate bodies across the country.
*There were two participants each from The Guardian (Sam Oluwalana and Margaret Mwantok), The Nation (Muyiwa Lucas and Chikodi Okereocha) as well as Vanguard (John Egbolehan and Prince Okafor).
*Three of the female participants shared the same first name- viz Margaret innocent, Margaret Mwantok and Margaret Nongo-Okojokwu.
*Margaret is also the second name of a fourth member of the class, Yemisi Izuora.
*Three of the male participant had the same first name- Sam O’Femi Olusetire, Sam Oluwalana and Sam Eferaro.
*SportsDay editor, Sam O’ Femi Olusetire shared his second name with a participant from chevron, Femi Abode.
*Two members of the class had the same surname- Joseph Okafor and Prince Okafor- but they are not related.
*Two broadcasters, Ena Agbanoma of AIT Lagos and Segun Owolabi of Rhythm FM, Port- Harcourt were among the participants.
*The class elections in August saw the emergence of Ena Agbanoma as president, Maureen Chigbo as vice-president, Muyiwa Lucas as secretary and Prince Okafor as social secretary/public relations officer of AWAReS 2016.
*Chevron Nigeria Limited gave full scholarships – covering tuition, accommodation, feeding and allowances – to 20 participants among the total of 30 people that were registered for the course.
*While 20 participants sponsored fully by Chevron were lodged at Hotel De Kajola for the sessions in August, September and October, they had actually started out in July at Jonaith Hotel near Sangotedo area of Lekki.
*All the course participants were unanimous in raining accolades on the course coordinator, Obinna Ojekwe, for a job well done in meeting their every need during the programme.
*There were also high marks for the course director, Mr Isaac Ezechukwu, who was always apologetic for any lapses made by the staff or management.
*Three members of the staff at PAN-Atlantic University – Opeyemi Gazali, Tochukwu Ibekwe and Uzo Chineme were also part of the course.
*While regular students of the university were on break during the first three sessions of AWAReS 2016 – July, August and September – they were in full bloom for the final lap in October.
*The return of regular students in October meant the class of AWAReS 2016 had the pleasure of taking tea break and lunch in the university’s executive restaurant, as against the regular dining room that had been used for meals in July, August and September.
ALL THE PARTICIPANTS
Sam O’Femi Olusetire
FACILITATORS IN FULL
Professor Emevwo Biakolo
Professor James Tsaaior
Dr Ikechukwu Obiaya
Dr Josef Bel-Molokwu
Dr Eugene Ohu
Dr Isah Momoh
Dr Austin Nweze
Barrister Tomi Vincent
Mr Kenneth Esere
Mr Ikeddy Isiguzo
Mr Emmanuel Nzeaka
“We are AWARE of the key role Chevron Nigeria Limited played in making this course possible. We thank Chevron for making us AWARE of their love for education and zeal to make Nigerian journalist more AWARE. In return we want Chevron to be AWARE that we appreciate their gesture to make us more AWARE’’ – Ena Agbanuma, AWAReS 2016 class president.
Olusetire Reveals ‘Top Three Take Away’
SportsDay editor, Sam O’Femi Olusetire had the longest speech during the presentation of testimonials by participant of AWAReS 2016 on the last day of the lectures.
During the presentations, in which Olusetire had the privilege of being the very last to speak among over 25 participants, the veteran spots journalist, who is also former editor of Complete Football magazine and National Sportslink Weekly, as well as ex-head of Birla FM’s Kaduna station, said he gained socially, professionally and vocationally from AWAReS 2016.
The graduate of English Studies from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife heaped praises on Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL) and Pan-Atlantic University in his presentation, which lasted over 11 minutes.
Olusetire declared: “My experience of being a participant at the 2016edition of Advanced Writing And Reporting Skills (AWARES) comes in a multi-dimensional scope which flows from emotional to social, professional vocational, academic and humorous points.
”The side of humour for me came from the privilege I had in eating four meals a days, as against only twice at home and the opportunity to watch live football matches and CNN on a regular basis at the sponsored hotel- without any worries about power failure.
“However, the most important gains that form my top three take away from AWARES 2016, sponsored by Chevron Nigeria Limited at Pan-Atlantic University, are social, professional and vocational in nature.
‘’On the social level, I am overjoyed with the golden chance I got to make new friends and the possibility of commencing professional bonds that are likely set to last forever.
“I am happy that these fresh bonds that are among top academicians and many colleagues in the pen trade, from various media houses across Nigeria.
‘’Secondly, AWARES 2016 has boosted my quality as a journalist of repute. This has been possible by the high level of many innovative and enhanced concepts of journalism that I have learnt in only four weeks- spread across four months to five days each.
“I have been able to add to my repertoire of knowledge in the profession, improve my writing ability and add to what I previously knew about the field.
‘’Lastly, from the vocational level, I have been able to key into the class of poetry handled by Professor James Tsaaior with a challenge for me to turn one of my creative passion into a monument.
‘’By this, I am glad to have received an inspiration to publish my books of poems – a total of 23 in two separate collections – and I believe Professor Tsaaior would assist me with advice, direction and connections.
‘’Conclusively, attending AWARES 2016 has created a massive turning point in my life, whereby I have become a better person on several levels- personal, interpersonal and professional and added values.”
Adebawo Explains CNL’s Community Investments
Manager communications at Chevron Nigeria Limited, Sola Adebawo took centre of attention during the visit of AWAReS 2016 participants to the oil company’s corporate office at Lekki Peninsula, Lagos, during which he gave a concise rundown of several community development projects they are involved in across the country.
While outlining what he described as Chevron’s ‘social investment thematic focus,’ Adebawo, who is in charge of corporate education at Chevron, said the company always tries to strengthen the external community in which they operate.
Adebawo disclosed that the annual media training programme, Advanced Writing and Reporting Skills (AWAReS) course is part of Chevron’s advocacy reach-out, which includes various other projects in various regions across Nigeria.
The community development projects Adebawo mentioned during his presentation included Lekki Conservation Centre, which opened in 1992, through the inspiration of Chief S.L. Edu’s Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) that was founded in 1980 and registered as a charity trust in 1982.
The project manager, Adedayo Rahman earlier said during the participant’s visit to the site that the foundation encourages people to plant trees to celebrate their birthdays, while serving as a panacea for climate change and tackling the issue of carbon emissions.
Another project Adebawo spoke about was Arrive Alive Road Safety Initiative, which the operator, Mr Ike Okonkwo said aims to battle the menace of rod traffic crash (RTC).
Okonkwo said AARSI is part of Chevron’s promise to create a positive impact in the world, with respect to road safety, sequel to an accident in Uganda that claimed the lives of some of the company’s officials and several members of the community.
He explained that AARSI is an accredited non-governmental organisation that works with companies and partners for safety engineering, road improvements, safety enforcement, legislative measures and advocacy, which focus mainly on safety education in and around schools.
While proving insights into all the investment projects Chevron is involved with, including support of people living with HIV-AIDS and other health programmes, Adebawo stressed that more awareness should be given a venture tagged Foundation for Partnership Initiatives in the Niger Delta (PIND).
PIND, which was established d by Chevron in 2010, made a huge impact in singing an agreement with United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) for a five-month rural WASH project in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Delta and Edo States.
Furthermore, PIND and other stakeholders in July 2015 commissioned an ultra-modern Appuginate Technology Enabled Development (ATED) centre to help demonstrate advancement that are relevant to the Niger Delta region.
Adebawo further noted that human beings are the greatest aspect of any nation, hence Chevron’s resolve to build the capacity of people and empower them to make a lot out the little resources they might have at their disposal.
He stressed: “We have a commitment to enhance the potentials of people in the country to a higher capacity and empower them to create a great impact through our advocacy programmes.
“We have taken that advocacy further into training programmes for the media, because we know that an empowered media has a better capacity to understand and report various aspects on the importance of oil.”