Veteran broadcaster, Vinmartin Ilo, gets a surprise birthday gift

Obiora VinMartin Ilo

The Ilo family, in partnership with the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, announced Thursday in Lagos, the VinMartin Ilo grant for broadcast journalism to commemorate the 50th birthday anniversary of Mr. VinMartin Obiora Ilo.

The grant, an annual $3,000 award for a report by a broadcast journalist adjudged outstanding in acutely reflecting the deep promises of progress within the current challenges of the Nigerian political, social and economic dynamics. It was sponsored by the Ilo family for the veteran broadcaster who family members say has played a wonderful role in the development of his siblings.

Mr. VinMartin Obiora Ilo is current director of the South East operations at Daar Communications, owners of the Africa Independent Television (AIT), and Raypower radio station.

“Rather than throw him a party we just want to honour his incredible contribution in our lives by helping to invest in the development of an industry that has honoured him,” said Jude Ilo, a lawyer and international development expert, who announced the endowment on Thursday.

With over three decades experience on the field, VinMartin Obiora Ilo cut his professional teeth at the Radio Nigeria in 1982 where he started as an announcer.

After his professional training at the Institute of Management and Technology in Enugu, VinMartin Obiora Ilo proceeded to earn a graduate degree at the Lagos State University where he earned a masters degree in international relations. He took a second masters degree in development studies from the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, and capped it all with a leadership training at the London School of Economics, and another executive management training at the Kennedy School of the Harvard University in the United States.

As director of the South East operations at Daar Communications, he also hosts the major news “News Hour” programme. He coordinated the establishment of three new FM stations and three new Television stations as part of the DAAR Communications expansion in South East Nigeria.

Between 1986b and 2006, he covered major events in the world among which are the 1997 British Parliamentary Elections, the Republic of Benin Parliamentary Election, a year after, and the  OAU Summit Addis Ababa Ethiopia in 1999.

In 2002, He covered the Zimbabwean Elections; in 2003 the Intifada (Israel) the US Presidential Election in 2004; the British General elections in 2005; and the Guangzhou International Trade Fair, in China in 2006

In proposing the grant administration to the Centre, Mr Jude Ilo, representing the family also said, the grant would be made annually, on Vin’s birthday – 30 January, to honour the veteran and give back to the profession through the development of young journalists.

In her acceptance message to Jude Ilo, Motunrayo Alaka the Centre’s Coordinator, noted that with eight years experience in award making in the Nigerian media, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism can confirm that the broadcast media needs urgent intervention.

According to her, it has proved difficult to find a worthy winner for the broadcast category (radio or television) of the Centre’s award for investigative reporting for the past four years.

The maiden call for application for the grant will be made alongside that of the 9th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting on 4 October 2014.


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