Nigeria’s foremost investigative news platform, PREMIUM TIMES, has announced new appointments in its newsroom.
The paper’s Editor-in-chief, Musikilu Mojeed, said the appointments were made as part of the regular review and revamp of structures paramount to the organisation’s goal of becoming one of the most successful and respected news organizations in the world.
In an internal memo to staff members on Friday, Mr Mojeed announced the creation of two new desks and the redeployment of some staff.
He announced the creation of the National News Desk, which succeeds the Politics Desk and will coordinate political, education and security/law enforcement coverages.
The desk will be led by Festus Owete, a veteran journalist and the long-standing head of the organisation’s newsroom. Mr Owete, as General Editor, has effectively coordinated the paper’s political coverages and mentored its young reporters for years.
Another new desk, Human Rights, Judiciary & Anti-Corruption Desk, has been created. The desk will be headed by Ade Adesomoju, a veteran judiciary reporter who recently joined the organisation from PUNCH newspapers.
“As we all possibly know, one of the key missions of Premium Times is to defend the rights of our people and expose the widespread corruption in our country. We are hopeful that this Desk will help deepen our coverages of these important matters,” Mr Mojeed stated.
He expressed confidence that Mr Adesomoju, a microbiology graduate from the Obafemi Awolowo University, will deploy his wealth of experience to deliver huge reportorial and editing values to the organisation.
On reassignments, Ini Ekott, deputy managing editor, has been given additional responsibility as Head of the Business/Economy Desk.
While on this role, he will remain the defacto deputy to the managing editor.
“Effective business/economy coverage is central to our reportorial mission as well as to our survival as a business,” Mr Mojeed said. “Besides, the time has come for PREMIUM TIMES to take its rightful place as the most authoritative platform for business news, delivering in-depth news and analyses and investigation. With a recent MBA from the University of the People and a certificate from the Bloomberg Media Initiative Africa Financial Training Programme, we believe no one is better prepared than Mr Ekott to lead this charge at this time.”
A graduate of Physics/Electronics from the University of Port Harcourt, Mr Ekott, who has been with PREMIUM TIMES from inception in 2011, succeeds Bassey Udo, who left the organization in December to pursue other interests.
Also redeployed is Bisi Abidoye, an assistant managing editor (AME) and former head of the Standards Desk. He is now the AME in charge of Mentorship, In-depth Coverages and Special Projects.
“Mr Abidoye is an excellent writer and analyst and perhaps the most experienced journalist on our team. In his new role, he is expected to help implement an enduring mentorship programme while also helping to improve our special reports and investigations,” Mr Mojeed said.
Tosin Omoniyi, a senior assistant editor, will replace Mr Abidoye as the new head of the Standards Desk.
“Mr Omoniyi, a literary enthusiast, is an excellent writer and editor in his own right,” Mr Mojeed said. “One of our missions this year is to make PREMIUM TIMES completely error-free, and we are confident that Mr Omoniyi has the wherewithal to deliver on this mandate. He is expected to lead his team to eradicate all factual and grammatical errors from our copies.”
Ben Ezeamalu, an assistant managing editor, has now become Head of Lagos/South-West Operations. Mr Ezeamalu, multiple award-winning journalist and one of PREMIUM TIMES’ most gifted storytellers, was the paper’s Lagos Bureau Chief. He will now lead the paper’s operations in the entire South-West zone.
Also elevated is Cletus Ukpong, assistant managing editor, who was assistant editor for the South-South region.
He was named Regional Editor, South, and will now coordinate the paper’s operations in the South-South and South-East zones.
Mr Mojeed praised Mr Ukpong for helping to grow PREMIUM TIMES’ coverage in the South-South geopolitical zone.
“We have come to know Mr Ukpong as a talented, committed and thoroughbred professional who does not consider journalism just as a means to a meal ticket,” Mr Mojeed said. “His passion for journalism is simply out of this world and we are now pleased to expand his responsibility to cover the South-East region as well.”
Mr Ukpong is expected to take all necessary measures within six months to firmly plant PREMIUM TIMES as a leading news platform in the South-East just as he did in the South-South.
While assuring staff members that more hiring and deployment will follow, Mr Mojeed encouraged staff members to keep working as a team to attain the goal of raising PREMIUM TIMES to the highest level of excellence.
Founded in 2011, PREMIUM TIMES has grown to become one of the most respected and reliable news media in Africa, harvesting a basket of awards and recognitions along the way.
In addition to a Pulitzer (which it shares with ICIJ colleagues who worked on the Panama Papers), the Global Shining Light Award, and the One World Award; the newspaper’s journalists have also carted home other numerous local, national, and international awards in the platform’s less-than-a-decade of operation.
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