The Road to Bandar Reminiscences Of A Development Journalist Part III - Amatokwu et al, Thank You All! Akoka to Bandar


14 August 2012

-- The Road to Bandar Reminiscences Of A Development Journalist Part II - Day One at Imalefalafia: Inside Abiola's Concord; Reporting from Yola
-- The Road to Bandar Reminiscences Of A Development Journalist Part I - On The Hot Political Desk; Budding Of A Board Member: Berth at Ikoyi;; Flight To Bandar; Nesting At Ikorodu

By Abdulwarees Solanke

Amatokwu et al, thank you all!

How time flies! Going through some of my old university notes, browned by age, recently, it dawned on me that I have been out of the learning oven called Akoka (that is how we call the University of Lagos} since 1988, baked as a journalist. That makes it 24 years ago. That also makes it 25 years ago that I first stepped into the ambience of a newsroom of an influential newspaper, the Imalefalafia, oke-Ado, Ibadan-based The Nigerian Tribune, founded by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the late 40s, to share seats and desk with some established journalists.

My long, rough, yet enchanting ride through the various media houses on which desks I have pieced bits and pieces and churn words as news stories, features, opinions, editorials and programme scripts in the past 25 years, from the busy newsroom of the Nigerian Tribune at Imalefalafia, Oke Ado as an intern in 1987, the hot desks of the newsrooms and the cosy seats of the editorial boards of the defunct National Concord, The Monitor and The National Guide all demanding cerebral acuity, the boisterous studios of Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, Ile Akede, Ibadan, the mad newsroom of Raypower 100.5 FM and AIT at Alagbado as a radio and television producer, the rewarding sojourn in Voice of Nigeria and the long flights to Kuala lumpur, Bandar Seri Begawan, New Delhi, and Jakarta, capitals of the South East Asian countries of Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, India and Indonesia, respectively with transits in Dubai, UAE; Doha, Qatar; Singapore City and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in the e cause of my journalism and academic odyssey could not have been as relishing and productive without the robust education in public affairs journalism and development communication I received at the University of Lagos.

With colleagues like Azubuikwe ishiekwene, John Momoh, Soji Alabi, Ben Okhakhume, saka Asimi, Francis Borisade, Dotun Erinle, Mary Atolagbe, Bose Eitokpa, abdurrazak Adegboyega, Late major Remi Okeowo (one of the victims of 1990 plane crash into the swamp of Ijegun), Late Saka Asimi, the brilliant pioneer TV reporter at the Channels, Chris Olisa, Abdussalam, Abdulfattah Babatunde, Peter Adebolu and Tunde odediran, we were prepared to fly and reach the farthest heights in journalism and media practice, public relations and advertising. Most of the 50 something student class that graduated in 1988 may not be known names in the Nigerian media firmament now, but all exceptionally gifted. Our classes were never dull, and that was why we had the effrontery to challenge our controversial mass comm. department on the graduation list of that year.

I can't remember any student in that set repeating class. It was momentous that after due diligence and investigation into the circumstances that would have led a number of the students having an extra semester, our class won. Notwithstanding, we were blessed to be tutored by a set of versatile and intellectually intimidating scholars, almost all trained in some of the best American universities with wide research and consultancy experience for the UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Bank and some other international and multilateral organization. Many of them have since left the department and relocated to the United States; two of them are now late, but only one, perhaps, is left in the department. So, I pay my tributes to our gurus in journalism training and social science education in the mass communication, political science, psychology and sociology departments where we took a breadth of courses to sharpen our insights and analytical skills.

Sample the list of my gurus: Fidelis N Amatokwu and Andrew Moemeka initiating me in Development communication; Luke Uka Uche grounding me in Media History, Communication Theories and Research, Foreign Correspondence and Editorial Writing; Olatunji Dare burnishing me in Fundamentals of Journalism, Feature Writing and Public Affairs Reporting; Olu Fadeyibi dazing me in Fundamentals of Broadcasting and Yomi Daramola orienting me in Public me Relations and Advertising.

Professors Alfred Opubor, Onuora Nwuneli, Idowu Sobowale and Ralph Akinfeleye were simply the best in the league of journalism scholarship in Nigeria. I learnt at their feet. I drank from the rich cup of wisdom of Delu Ogunade of blessed memory in mass media Law and Ethics just as Segun Oduko improved my English Writing skills in Writing for the Mass media, a purely language and grammar course.

These mass comm courses were the oil or the lubricants to chew and digest other core social science and humanity knowledge-based intellectually stimulating and rigorous courses which we were to undergo at Unilag to prepare us for the expertise in development communication and public affairs champions and not just as mere reporters and broadcasters.

We were being trained to be relevant in the public sphere as agenda setters and critical stakeholders and actors in the public policy process in our nation. So the mass communication department led us into the hands of erudite political scientists, psychologists and sociologists for the necessary intellectual grooming. Professors Moyibi Amoda and Alaba Ogunsanwo took turns in taking us through the elements of of political science, just as Dr. Femi Badejo gave me depth in International Relations. Professor Remi Anifowoshe was my teacher in Constitutional Developments in Nigeria while I had a rare privilege of some Marxist or socialist indoctrination (that was what our Marxist Political Economy was) from the late guru, the inimitable Professor Bade Onimode who could melt your hearts and draw tears from you in explaining the tragedies of imperialism, monopoly capitalism, unequal exchange and the role of multinational or transnational corporations in the underdevelopment of the Third World countries in the Sub-Sahara Africa, Latin America and the Pacific Rim.
Professor Peter Omoluabi was simply an authority in the explanation of human mind and behaviour as he took me Basic Processes in Psychology, while a certain Dr. T Kehinde grilled me in two core courses in Sociology: Values and Ethics in Classical thoughts and Philosophy and Contemporary Religious and Political Systems. But most remarkably, I gained leadership training in the university within the university of Lagos, the beautiful masjid of the campus Muslim ummah where the Muslim Students Society provided the training ground through its daily activities - usrah, dawah camp, morning talks, Jumah and other obligatory ibaadahs . From that Islamic university, I learnt a bit of the Tafsir-ul-Quran, Hifz and Elementary Fiqh. For Muslim students like me, the likes of Professors Nurudeen Alao, Tajudeen Gbadamosi, Abdufattah Egberongbe, Laide Abbas and Murtadha Bidmus were mentors in the macro and micro universities of Lagos.

Akoka to Bandar

From the temporal, intellectual and spiritual perspective, the University of Lagos lives up to its reputation as a first class institution and to its mandate of building us in learning and character which I took to various news desks on which I laboured as a development journalist in the past 25 years. Happily too, that grooming prepared me to cope with the fiery baptism in public policy analysis and administrative studies I underwent at the University Brunei Darussalam while being a beneficiary of a UBD-Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Graduate Studies Scholarship.

Professors Shafruddin Hashim, Kim Loy Chee and Ms. Saraswathy Rajagopal were inspiring in the core courses of the Study of Public Policy, Advance Research Methods, Economic Aspects of Public Policy and Strategic Public management. Dr. Muhammed Habiburahman, a Fulbright fellow and a well rounded scholar of Bangladeshi origin tutored me in Public personnel Administration as he also volunteered to supervise my case study in Strategic management in Public Service Broadcasting. Professor David Seth Jones, a Briton who has had an enriching academic career at the national University of Singapore before berthing in Brunei Darussalam was very rigorous in public policy analysis while Dr. hajah Sainah binti Saim was passionate in teaching Public sector administration.

Which of the favours of our Lord can I deny with this depth of grooming ! As I glorify Allah for the opportunities I have had, I seek His benevolence and forgiveness on Maami and Baami as I call my parents both of blessed memory. My mum, Aasiah Adufe, a true mother who sacrificed all possessions and pleasures, toiling in the heat of the sun in the mid-road of Dugbe, selling pepper and dried crayfish and my dad, Alhaji Daud Ayinde Solanke (he called himself a philosopher) weathering inclement cold, risk-climbing tall ladders to cream houses and paint roofs in Ibadan, Abeokuta and beyond as an artisan in the employ of the maintenance department of the University of Ibadan before retirement in1978. In their sweat and blood, I swam through Abadina School, UI, Egba High School, Asero Abeokuta, Baptist High School (for Highers School Certificate or Advanced Level), and University of Lagos finishing my education under 22 years which is quite unusual for children of peasants as my parents. With their pennies and pains, I picked pearls in principles and practices of life through the rich education afforded me which I now share Nigerians on pages like you are reading, shaping people's opinions and facilitating generative learning and public engagement in the public sphere as a development journalism practitioner.

AbdulWarees Solanke, Head, Voice of Nigeria Training Centre (Transmitting Station, ikorodu), Lagos, studied Mass Communication at the University of Lagos and Public Policy at the Universiti Brunei Darusslam and writes viakorewarith@yahoo.com , korewarith@voiceofnigeria.org

 

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