Azubuike Ishiekwene has carved a niche for himself in journalism. Today, he is a household name among newspaper readers, and one of the nationís most prolific columnists.
The commentary he wrote on November 1, 2005 in the paper, Flying wonít ever be the same again, was adjudged the best among the over 50 entries submitted in that category.
Coming on the heels of the Bellview aircrash of October 22, Azu, as he is fondly called, noted that the crash has definitely altered the belief of people that air transport remains the safest.
He noted that the practice where only the airlines and their cronies at the Nigerian Civil Aviation authority knew about the air worthiness of aircraft must change. The airlines should be made to publish at pre-determined, publicly-known intervals, a statement on the state of their aircraft, new routes and additional services.
Azu has a Bachelorís degree in Mass Communication and a Masters in Public Administration and International Affairs from University of Lagos. He joined Punch in 1989 as a staff reporter and has since remained there. He has served at various times as Head, Sunday Desk; Features Editor; Deputy Editor, Toplife; Editor, Saturday Punch. He was appointed Editor of the paper on January 1, 2002, a position he held until October 30, 2006, when he was promoted Controller, Publications.
This yearís award is Azuís fourth DAME award in the Informed Commentary category, having won in 1993, 2002 and 2004.