Journalism of Courage

Gani Fawehinmi Awards: Sound Sultan, 12 others honored

...the Outstanding Integrity Award was won by Mr Olasupo Abideen Openyemi, an Alumnus of Harvard Business School, United States of America


The late comedian and musician a.k.a “Sound Sultan’’, was among other eminent personalities who were honoured with the “Gani Fawehinmi Impact and Integrity Awards (GFIIA)’’ on Friday in Lagos.

Sound Sultan, born Olanrewaju Fasasi, was a Nigerian rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, and recording artist. He was regarded as one of the pacesetters of modern hip hop music in Nigeria. 

He was notable for using his music to speak against poverty, corruption.

The awards, now in its 4th edition, is organised annually by the Lagos-based Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, in collaboration with the MacAthur Foundation.

The 12 distinguished personalities across Nigeria and the Diaspora honoured, were selected for the awards following a five-month public process of nominations, shortlisting and voting.

The Executive Chairman of Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Centre), Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, said at the awards presentation: “Today is the climax of the 4th edition of the Gani Fawehinmi Awards which started on July 13, 2021 with a public call for nominations.

“Following that 271 nomination entries were received; of this number, 21 persons were shortlisted for voting in the four categories of the Awards: six for Outstanding Impact, eight for Outstanding Integrity, four for Valuable Whistle-Blower and three for Nigerians-In-Diaspora Integrity Ambassador.

“Finally, the top three nominees in each category were honoured today as follows: The Outstanding Integrity Award was won by Mr Olasupo Abideen Opeyemi, an Alumnus of Harvard Business School, United States of America.

“The runners-up are Dr Tonye Clinton-Jaja, former Chairman of the Governing Board of the Nigerian Copyright Commission and Acting Head, Bills and Legislative Drafting Division of the National Institute for Legislative Studies; as well as Mr Molik Sherifdeen, a member of the Junior Chamber International (JCI).

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“The Valuable Whistle-Blower Award was won by Mr Paul Alaba Lawani, a winner of the Global Town Crier Media Award; while the runners-up are: Mr Akinyemi Ojo Adebayo, Chair of the Board of Trustee, International Organisation for Human Rights Development and Environment, Nigeria; and Mr Tukur Muazu,’’ he said.

He added: “The Outstanding Impact Award was won by Mr Baba Muhammad Dzukogi, former National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Authors.

“The runners up are Ambassador Chineke Cajethan Goodluck, founder of the United Organisation for Education and Sports Development; and Prof. Nwaocha Ogechukwu, a Professor of Religious Studies and 2022 Nominee for Nobel Peace Prize’’.

Suraju said that “the Nigerians in Diaspora Award was won by Ms Onuike Ifeoma Chinenye, a passionate girls’ rights activist who has also displayed the attributes of distinction when she graduated as the best student and valedictorian in the Girne American University securing a first class degree in law and repeated the same feat in her Master’s degree.’’

According to Suraju, the overall objective of the Awards is to take the fight against corruption beyond the usual naming and shaming, and to step outside the box by ensuring that those who notwithstanding the attractiveness of corruption, bribery and other forms of sharp practices have taken to a life of transparency, honesty and integrity are identified, duly recognised and honoured, as a form of inspiration for greater number of people to follow.’’

“This is why HEDA, with the Support of MacArthur Foundation, launched the GFIIA in 2018 to recognize these forthright individuals, ” he added.

The awards which was graced by Mr Femi Falana, SAN, as well as  Justice Habeeb Abiru, JCA, also presented a post-humous lifetime Awards to Mohammed Fawehinmi, Olanrewaju Fasasi (Sound Sultan) and Dr Ayotunde Alao.

Channels TV Judiciary correspondent, Mrs Shola Soyele and Mr Emmanuel Eluu, a staff of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd and driver at Muritala Muhammed Airport, who found and returned $40,000 belonging to a passenger, were also honoured.

Other prominent personalities at the Awards ceremony include members of the Board of the Award Comrade Achike Chude, Mr Nurudeen Ogbara and Mr Junle Adegoke (SAN).

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