I’M THE ELDEST IN MY FAMILY AND I GREW UP KNOWING I HAD RESPONSIBILITIES, EVEN AS A GIRL
I attended Baptist Primary School, Minna and proceeded to Government Girls’ Secondary School, Kawo, in Kaduna. It used to be St Faith’s. After that, I went to the NTA College, then Bayero University, Kano (BUK) for my professional studies in Mass Communication. I did my BA in Journalism at the Heritage University, California. I also went to the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) and did diplomas there, just to be a professional. Career I started work right after I dropped my pen for the West African Examinations Council (WAEC). The late Senator Adamu Augie actually fished me out. He heard me in Kaduna and said “this is a natural broadcaster.’’ So I owe it to God and the likes of him that sought me out. So there I was, getting ready to go to SBS and there was work being dangled at me, so I chose work. At that time I was very sickly.
I started from Radio Nigeria, then went to Ilorin, which made my dad happy because at least I would go home and see what it looked like. I later went to the NBC training school, which was mandatory as a presenter then.
The NTA Ilorin was going to start, and the then governor, Gen Bamigboye said, “Come and work at the NTA, we’ll take you to all the schools you want to go to.”
I ran away initially because I wasn’t ready to work. I was only 20 and wanted to go back to school. All my mates were already at the SBS. So I came on and got hooked. I went to school while I was working, and that has been my life. That set me up to start work in earnest. I became the first face on the NTA, Ilorin. My father wanted me be a lawyer, but at least his granddaughter, my daughter is one, so I kept telling him while he lived that she would stand in for me. Challenges A lot. Initially, I didn’t like the stereotype of having to cover just women and children. I wanted to do other things. I’ve been punished, kind of, to cover the agric desk. I became an uncertified agriculturalist. But whatever I do, I put my whole heart into it. I learnt everything, from tilling the soil to good yields, bad yields, pesticides and all that. I just believe that every beat you cover as a journalist, you should be an authority on it. It gave me exposure. It was meant to be a punishment by the authority then, being a popular presenter and dining with the so-called authorities in the land, “so take her to the farm.’’ Today, I can seek farmers and encourage people and the potentials that are there.
I think the most challenging thing for me in life has been dealing with preventable deaths. My mum suffered the same fate. She was involved in an accident, but because she couldn’t be treated immediately (she didn’t have any open wound) we lost her to internal bleeding. That, for me, was a life changing moment, and I decided that I Life lessons There are many. The complexity of human beings, wickedness, in terms of the things we do to ourselves; but most importantly, the love we share, which is why my heart bleeds for the state we are in this country today. The Nigeria where we grew up was one. While growing up in Minna as a young girl, I could speak Hausa, greet you in Gbagyi and play with the Igbo. Today, there is no sincerity in what people preach and what they do. There’s too much bitterness these days that I wonder when we got to this level. But I’m very optimistic that things will turn around for the better. I have a lot of hope for the young ones and I believe in their potential. What ordinary Nigerians are asking for is minimal compared to what those of us who have opportunities are asking for. So I hope the country changes. We see children severely malnourished. It is beyond me. Most rewarding part of your career The opportunity it has given me to knock on any door is very rewarding. If I feel bad about anything happening in government I can pick up my phone, and even if I can’t call the president, I can call someone close to him. The acceptability you get because of who you are is great. Joys of motherhood It is beautiful. If you survive, it is wonderful. The joy of bringing life forth is very fulfilling, especially when you have a child with potential and living to that potential. It’s a