• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

The Guardian’s Odita To Be Awarded Most Outstanding Security Correspondent In West Africa


Nov 1, 2022

The Guardian Head of Defence and Security Affairs, Odita Sunday has been nominated to receive award as Most Outstanding Security Correspondent in West Africa (Print) in The Gambia.

The event is holding in the Smiling Coast of Africa from November 9 to 11, 2022.

The earlier plan to host the event in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Dubai, was thwarted by the recent visa ban on Nigerians by the UAE authorities.

At the event, persons and organizations that have performed well in the security sector in the years 2021/2022 will be honoured.

A long list of prominent Africans have already confirmed their attendance of the November 2022 Awards and Conference, including Keynote Speakers, Lead Speakers and Àwards Recipients.

Prominent among them are Nigeria’s Ambassador to Benin Republic and former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai (Rtd.), Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, Dean Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Prof. Samuel Tshehla.

Others are Chairman Conference Faculty, Security Watch Africa Initiatives (SWAI), from South Africa, Prof. Henri Fouche, former Chief of Defence Staff, Ghana and Chairman Board of Trustees of SWAI, Gen. Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd.).

Also for the Awards, Conference and Exhibition are Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Faruk Yahaya, Nigeria’s Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao.

Eminent among other arrays of dignitaries expected at the Awards and Conference include the Director General, Gambian Immigration Service, Mr. Seedy Touray, and Head of Department, Department of Safety and Security Management, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa, Prof. Jabob Mofokeng.

The last edition of the Awards and Conference, which is the 16th Edition, was held in Dubai in the year 2019.

Due to the issues of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns, the Awards and Conference could not be held in the years 2020 and 2021.

Born over four decades ago, Odita Sunday-Udemaguna could best be described as a man on a divine mission to fulfill destiny. Born in Catholic Maternity in the ancient town of Boji-Boji Owa, Agbor, with a humble parental background from Onicha-Ugbo, Aniocha North Local Government Area, Delta State and Ute, Ika North East LGA, he seemed to have realized quite early in life that while some are born into existing parental greatness, others achieve greatness for themselves through hard work and divine assistance.

Quite unlike some of his peers, Odita was able to identify the purpose of God for his life, ostensibly based on his innate ability. He did not waste time chasing shadows when he obviously understood what he is naturally meant to be – a journalist.

His quest for higher knowledge led to his admission as a Mass Communication student at the famous Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi in Edo State. There, he took time to learn the arts and science of journalism for four good years and subsequently bagged the Higher National Diploma. Not done with that, he obtained an Advanced Certificate in Media and Communications from the prestigious Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Certificate in Investigative Journalism in a Digital Age by the United States Consulate, Lagos and Voice of America (VOA) in addition to other qualifications in Public Relations, photography and ICT obtained from Mattson Photography Academy and Google Media Academy respectively. He holds a certificate in Digital Marketing and New Media Optimisation from Odigital Academy, Lagos.

He had also undertaken a leadership programme at the Daystar Leadership Academy and obtained a Certificate at the United Nations Anti-Drug training workshop. He holds a special certificate for Digital Journalisms from the Voice Of America (VOA). He holds a Post Graduate Diploma (Pgd) in Maritime Administration and Management from the University of Lagos (UNILAG).

Having armed himself with good knowledge, Odita set out to ply his trade as a journalist with The Guardian newspaper/British Council in 2002 as a Youth Corp member. With over a decade in the journalism profession, he has steadily moved up the professional ladder and he is currently the Head Defence/Security Affairs of the Nigeria based flagship newspaper, The Guardian. With 20years experience in journalism, over the years, he had stint in Maritime, Health, Entertainment and Political Reporting.

A well-travelled newsman, Odita was in Senegal in 2010 with the Nigeria Navy to receive Nigeria Navy Ship Thunder on arrival from United States of America. He was in Benin Republic with the Nigerian Navy on joint naval operations tagged “Operation Prosperity”. In 2012 he was in Ghana to cover Africa Security Summit organized by Security Watch Africa and accompanied the Nigeria Navy for eight days on military operations tagged ‘Exercise Farauta’ at the Gulf of Guinea water just as he was also in Douala Cameroun for coverage of a multi-national sea exercise tagged “Exercise Obangame Express’ involving 16 countries from different parts of the world in 2012. He also sailed several days to Ghana with the navy on Exercise Obangame Express in 2015.

In the course of his career as a Defence and Crime Correspondent, he had been embedded in many military gun exercises by the Nigerian army as well as naval sea operations.

Odita, a core patriot, he has boarded the Nigerian Air force ATR 42-500 Maritime Patrol Aircraft to Cameroun during one of the editions of Exercise Obangame Express and other Air force jets at various events.

In 2013, Odita was in Philadelphia, New York and New Jersey, United States of America for the four-day International Conference of Chiefs of Police and in October, 2014 he attended International Workshop on Security hosted in Orlando, Florida by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Similarly in October, 2015, he was in Houston Texas for Security Watch Africa Award and lecture conference.

Due to his vast knowledge and desire for a better police image, he was appointed a member of the Committee set up by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. M.D. Abubakar in 2011 to reform the Nigeria Police Public Relations Department. He was indeed, a privileged member of that committee that reformed and refocused the NPF’s Public Relations Unit..

His journalism profession has also taken him to political assignments at various times like election monitoring in the 2011 governorship polls in Akwa Ibom, National Assembly and House of Assembly elections in Edo State and the Presidential election in Delta State on behalf of the Guardian newspaper.

The man Odita had also participated in Media Round Table Training on Drugs and Related Organised Crimes hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Abeokuta, Ogun State in 2013 and was certified at the end of the course, just as he also participated and completed a training programme in Google Tools for Media Research and Analysis in August, 2016. He was certified at the end of the training.

In his quest for self-development, Odita enrolled for Photography skills training at the Mattson Photography Academy, Lekki, Lagos in 2013, where he bagged a Special Certificate in Advanced Photography.

He was awarded a Certificate in Investigative Journalism Course sponsored by the Voice of America and the United States Embassy in 2017.

In 2018, Odita Sunday-Udemaguna bagged another special certificate in Defence and National Security Reporting. The course was sponsored by the United States Consulate in Lagos.

He also bagged a special certificate from the Governor Yahaya Bello’s capacity building workshop for Crime and Political Correspondents in 2021.

Also in 2021, he bagged another special certificate from Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters after a rigorious trainng on Defence and War reporting.

In 2022, he was nominated for a Drug Prevention, Treatment and Care sensitization course for NDLEA and top journalists, organized by the UNODC. He was certified after the training.

He also bagged another special certificate from the 2nd Governor Yahaya Bello’s 2-day capacity building workshop for Crime and Political Correspondents in April, 2022.

In May 2016, Odita Sunday was overwhelmingly elected as the President of the Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) in a keenly contested election and has since assumption of office taken the Association to greater heights in various spheres particularly on issues of training, professionalism and welfare for members. He is a bridge builder who has leveraged on his position as CRAN President to reach out to the authorities of Nigeria’s security agencies, private security practitioners and other stakeholders in the Nigerian project.

A prolific writer and public speaker, Odita is a Fellow of the Chattered Institute of Management Consultants, an Associate Member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and holds membership of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anglican Communion, Pilgrims Baptist Old Boys Association, University of Lagos Alumni Association, School of Media & Communications, Pan Africa University Alumni Association, Auchi Polytechnic Alumni Association, Onicha-Ugbo Patriotic Union, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Chattered Institute of Management Consultants and Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria, Delta Journalists Forum, Anioma Politicians Forum, Life Member- Association of Mass Communications Students, (AMCOS) Auchi Polytechnic, etc.

Besides his membership of the afore-mentioned associations, Odita Sunday had at various times held leadership positions such as President, Association of Mass Communication Students, Auchi Polytechnic, Chairman, Welfare Committee, Students Union Government, Vice President, Minstrel Theatre Troupe, Auchi Polytechnic, Games Prefect, Pilgrims Baptist Grammar School, Issele-Uku and Founder/National Coordinator, Anioma Youths Network for Development, an NGO with focus for charity for orphans and less privileged, Chairman of Electoral Committee of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Lagos State Chapter.

In his quest for self-development, Odita enrolled for Photography skills training at the Mattson Photography Academy, Lekki, Lagos in 2013, where he bagged a Special Certificate in Advanced Photography.

He was awarded a Certificate in Investigative Journalism Course sponsored by the Voice of America and the United States Embassy in 2017.

In 2018, Odita Sunday-Udemaguna bagged another special certificate in Defence and National Security Reporting. The course was sponsored by the United States Consulate in Lagos.

He is a co-author of the book: “Essentials of Public Relations For Private Security Officers”.

In 2017, he founded The Odita Sunday Charity Foundation (TOCF), where he reaches out to the less privileged, widows and orphans in primary and secondary schools. The foundation has gifted thousands of school bags, text books, Note books and several educational materials to orphans, while dozens of women have benefitted fro his Seed money for petty traders and artisans.

In spite of his active involvement in many professional and social activities, which are time consuming, Odita Sunday is a good family man. He is happily married to beautiful Ozioma whom he fondly calls OZ and they are blessed with three lovely children.

He bagged the awards of Most Outstanding Crime Reporter in Nigeria in Houston, Texas, 2015, courtesy of Security Watch Africa, Most Innovative Crime Reporter in Nigeria, 2015, courtesy of CRAN, Most Proactive Crime Reporter in Nigeria 2014, courtesy of City Pride Magazine, Excellence Award in Crime Reporting 2017, courtesy of Tech TV, Pan-African Crime Reporter of The Year 2017, courtesy of Technology Africa and Most Investigative Crime Reporter in Nigeria, courtesy of Security Watch Africa in Ghana. He is also a recipient of Nigeria Philanthropy Award and many other awards.

He is presently the Head, Defence and Security Affairs for the Nigeria’s flagship newspaper.

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