By Niyi Oyedeji (Neyoor) — UCJ’s Ex-DG ||
“Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you.” — Phillip Sweet.
It has always been my dream to become a journalist right from my year-one days on campus, when I joined the Union of Campus Journalists, (UCJ) at the University of Ilorin and during one of our press weeks, Ajetunmobi Ridwan Olawale, who was invited to talk to us about the profession, reinforced my passion for the job, especially, when he said he became a journalist even as a Chemistry graduate and that we all can achieve such. His words formed the basis of my determination and I was already picturing myself as a future journalist. I gave journalism my all while on campus and the titles I achieved at different point while on campus couldn’t be left out from the fact that journalism was my bride.
Even after needless failures at the Biology Education, which was my course of study at the University, my ambition to one day, become a journalist was still virile. Upon my graduation, I started looking out for internship opportunities. After applying to some media organisations without positive feedback, I was still unperturbed.
On August 27, 2017, I woke up in the middle of the night like someone who got stung by one of the African specie of insects but alas, it was my dream that stung me like a poisonous bee. I couldn’t help but to jump out of my bed to shoot a shot, even to the world of uncertainties. I wrote to Nigerian Tribune handle on Facebook via messenger, chronicling my passion for the job and agility to learn and that was how I was lucky to meet Victor Adeoye, who invited me for an oral interview and I remember the first time we met, he asked me series of questions ranging from why I’m interested in the job and if I would still be interested in the job even without a pay.
With my burning desire to learn directly from the newsroom and have an experience of what it takes to practise real journalism, aside the campus journalism I had tasted. I was ready to resume that day, if he had given me the chance.
Learning under the tutelage of my bosses like Seyi Gesinde-Gheshe, Davidonthethrone Olagunju, S-Davies Wande Israel at the Online department of the Nigerian Tribune gave me the opportunity of being exposed to the rudiments of digital journalism and as well have first hand knowledge of how the traditional media works.
Even as an intern for months without pay, I was still resolute with my determination to keep on learning on the job and the job already became part of me, that I was working for the whole 7 days in a week. At a point, I was even scared of deviating from the job to go for NYSC but God in His awesomeness made me get posted to Oyo State for my service year and that was how my sojourn at the Nigerian Tribune continues.
I mustn’t forget of how my tenacity on the job earned me various fellowships and training opportunities that availed me the possibility of meeting wonderful journalists like Kelechukwu Iruoma Akintunde O. Babatunde Alao Abiodun Mojeed Alabi Adejumo Kabir Adeniyi
Today, I am not just being elevated to the position of a Senior Reporter but I’ve also achieved some feats to show for it and that’s why when my our Editor, Alhaji Debo Abdulai while talking recently said, “Niyi has paid his dues. He has trained himself on the job and although, he doesn’t like blowing his trumpet, he has achieved some notable feats within his two years of being with us here”
And just as my other boss, Yejide Yejide said, “You can never succeed on the job if you are not passionate about it.” Journalism has become part of my existence in life and I will remain committed to its course.
However, this is a clarion call on young individuals out there, that there is no limit to what you can achieve. If you can dream about it, you can achieve it.
Also to the veteran journalists out there, please, never stop advising the young ones, especially the students journalists, for you don’t know how important and helpful your insights are to them.