Ex­press­ing my­self through jour­nal­ism

Sunday Trust - - TAMBARI -

I have a de­gree in English Lan­guage from the Uni­ver­sity of Abuja. I have a very long his­tory of ed­u­ca­tional pur­suit and I be­lieve that is what has made me the per­son that I am to­day. I went to dif­fer­ent schools be­cause my fa­ther was al­ways on trans­fer. I went to New Bussa Pri­mary School in Kainji. My fa­ther was then work­ing at the Niger River Basin. I fin­ished pri­mary school in 1979 at NEPA Ju­nior Staff School. Then I went to Burgu Sec­ondary School, New Bussa and then moved to Girls’ School, Obangede, in Kogi State and from there to Himma Com­mu­nity Sec­ondary School and fi­nally fin­ished at Com­mu­nity Sec­ondary School, Ogam­nana, in 1986.

I didn’t go straight to the uni­ver­sity due to some per­sonal is­sues. There was a long break in-be­tween dur­ing which I went to the Kwara State Polytech­nic and was there for two years. I went to the Uni­ver­sity of Abuja in 1991 grad­u­ated in 2000. So I spent close to 10 years get­ting a four-year de­gree. My stay in the Uni­ver­sity of Abuja was quite event­ful be­cause dur­ing that pe­riod, I was ex­pelled, sus­pended and ar­rested be­cause I was a stu­dents’ union ac­tivist and we had is­sues with the school. We were try­ing to set the pace for the school. We felt it was on our shoul­ders to leave a legacy been the first sect of school. There were too many things go­ing wrong and we were aim­ing to cor­rect them. We held sev­eral protests. Sadly, some of them were vi­o­lent and as usual, some of them were hi­jacked by crim­i­nal el­e­ments. We had to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for it. We were ha­rassed. We went to court and in-be­tween that pe­riod was when I went to the In­sti­tute of Jour­nal­ism and got a diploma and started work while the is­sues were be­ing re­solved. Even­tu­ally, we had a very hu­mane VC, Dr.Laraba, who called us back and asked us to with­draw the case from court and come and re­sume from where we left off. I was al­ready in my fi­nal year at that time. So we did that and I grad­u­ated even­tu­ally with a sec­ond class up­per. The school also gave me my most cher­ished cer­tifi­cate; Cer­tifi­cate of Ex­cel­lence, which was the very first, at a very elab­o­rate cer­e­mony.

So these are things that have shaped me. When you spend 10 years get­ting a four-year de­gree; it tells a lot. But the good thing is that the NUJ was very sup­port­ive of our cause at that time. The struc­tures of the NUJ were there for us.

I didn’t go for NYSC. I was too up­set with the sys­tem that I took ex­emp­tion. By the time I grad­u­ated, I was al­ready prac­tic­ing jour­nal­ism. I worked for Woman To­day news­pa­per, The Her­ald, for some sports mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers as well. I was given an ap­point­ment let­ter by Daily Trust but I couldn’t ac­cept it be­cause I was ill. So I’ve pro­gressed and presently I work with the Voice of Nige­ria (VON) and I’m the on­line edi­tor head­ing the so­cial me­dia unit. I am also the first fe­male sec­re­tary of the Nige­rian Union of Jour­nal­ists (NUJ) in the FCT and chair­man of the Voice Of Nige­ria (VON) chapel of NUJ.

It was tough be­cause I was an only girl. So I al­ways had to as­sert my­self in the midst of boys. I grew very com­fort­able around them, which is why I don’t find is­sues work­ing with men. I don’t see bar­ri­ers be­tween men and my­self. But apart from that, my child­hood was fun and we were a very close-knit fam­ily.

I’m still work­ing on my main chal­lenge in life; which is hav­ing a child with spe­cial needs. I have three kids and the last of them had is­sues at birth. He was sick and the con­se­quence is that he’s be­hind in reach­ing de­vel­op­ment and mile­stones. When you have that kind of child, your life stops. It stops be­cause no one even un­der­stands what you’re bat­tling. He was born in 2004 when knowl­edge on dis­abil­i­ties in Nige­ria was lim­ited; and still is. If I had the right med­i­cal at­ten­tion for him, he would have been okay. He was ne­glected by three dif­fer­ent doc­tors at three dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals who all told me he would be okay and as a re­sult he suf­fered brain dam­age due to the coma. One of the doc­tors ac­tu­ally told me to al­low him to go be­cause they felt that he would be a bur­den to me and I

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