TheCable’s Taiwo Adebulu wins BudgIT Active Citizens Awards

TheCable’s Taiwo Adebulu wins BudgIT Active Citizens Awards
September 11
08:16 2022

Taiwo Adebulu, a journalist with TheCable, has won the maiden edition of the BudgIT Active Citizens Awards.

Adebulu, TheCable’s features editor, was shortlisted in the solution journalism category alongside Hauwa Shaffii Nuhu of Humangle Media, Johnstone Kpilaakaa, a freelance journalist, and Lisa Gwamkat Gwamzhi of Radio Nigeria.

At the ceremony, which was held on September 10 at the Civic Centre in Lagos state, Adebulu was announced the winner of the solutions journalism category for influencing public discourse and policy reforms through his investigative story that exposed corruption in the Nigerian public service.

Speaking during the ceremony, Oluseun Onigbinde, BudgIT’s Global Director, said the award is one of the organisation’s signature initiatives and efforts to spotlight and recognise personalities, organisations, and agencies that are championing causes, programmes, and initiatives that have positively impacted women’s rights, community service, disability rights and inclusion, political activism, civic engagement and action, journalism, human rights, and effective service delivery in Nigeria.


Onigbinde speaking at the award ceremony

“Interestingly, #ACAwards2022 is also a way of celebrating our 11th anniversary by giving back to the ecosystem in our little way,” Onigbinde said.

“I believe there is nothing more remarkable than recognising those who have consistently worked to promote the ideals of democracy. Undoubtedly, this award will engender further dialogue on the need to institutionalise a culture of recognising and celebrating the immense contributions of development leaders to effective governance and active civic space in Nigeria.”

Winners also emerged in other categories of the awards. Adepeju Jaiyeoba of BrownBotton Foundation won the Oby Ezekwesili Award for Women Advocacy. Solomon Ayodele of Boys Quarters Africa took home the Award for Community Service. Sola Owonikoko of Project Enable won the Award for Disability Empowerment, while Muazu Alhaji Modu was adjudged winner for Civic Activism Award.


Other winners were Debo Adedayo, popularly known as Mr Macaroni, who won the Art for Activism Award; and Tunde Onakoya, founder, Chess in Slums.

Femi Falana, a human rights activist, was honoured with the Hall of Fame Award for Civic Activism. The award for institutional transparency went to the Debt Management Office.


Adebulu (second from right) with other nominees of the solutions journalism category

In 2021, Adebulu’s investigative story on the systemic corruption and bribery at the Federal Marriage Registry in Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria’s prominent marriage registry, exposed how corrupt government officials extorted thousands of Nigerians and diverted huge funds into their personal bank accounts through illegal practices.


In June 2020, the Nigerian federal government had reduced marriage registration fees and implementation began on July 1, 2020. A statutory ordinary marriage, which is between two Nigerians was reduced from N21,000 to N15,000 to allow poor citizens to get married with ease.

However, the corrupt officials of the registry bypassed the online portal created to further ease the marriage registration process, charging above the new official rate and forcing applicants to travel from different states of the country to Lagos for a stressful physical registration at their office.

After the publication of the investigation, the story sparked an outcry from the public on social media as they shared more experiences of official bribery and extortion at the same registry. A few days after, the registry was forced to stop physical registration for marriage applications, citing orders from the management. Applicants were referred to the online registration portal that was initially sabotaged to pave way for systemic corruption.

In 2020, Adebulu won the PwC Media Excellence Awards.


Adebulu also won the overall prize at the African Fact-Checking Awards in 2020 for his investigative piece that exposed the falsehood of a claim by the Nigerian government at the UN general assembly.

He was a finalist in the African Growth Story category of the 2020 Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism. In 2021, Adebulu was longlisted for the One World Media (OWM) journalism award and also got an honourable mention on the winning list of the 20th SEJ Awards for Reporting on the Environment. 


Adebulu, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Obafemi Awolowo University and a master’s degree in communication arts from the University of Ibadan, is also a Pulitzer Centre grantee.



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