Who doesn’t love beautiful grass to grace stories? Not us!
Wherever personal stories of triumph about Nigerian women are been shared, you’ll find us there giving the loudest applause.
I have read different well written news stories by Ruona J. Meyer over in the past few years but became really impressed when I heard her winning entry for the Presidency’s Pidgin Explainer Contest for its whistle blowing policy. Ruona recently became a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC’s new pidgin service and she shared her story in a Facebook post. Good read.
“Today, 12 June 2017 is my official start date with the BBC. God sure has a sense of humour; my first ever by-line in journalism came in a THISDAY newspaper on 12 June 2003. Today makes it exactly 14 years of sweat, tears, grit, sacrifices, smiles, successes and blessings. I have had the privilege to be mentored by great journalists including Simon Kolawole, Paul Ibe, Ijeoma Nwogwugwu, Kadaria Ahmed, Dele Olojede, and sound professionals like Femi Adeniran, who picked me to work under him at GTBank HQ. I cannot thank you all enough. You have raised me to be a go-getter;
I was the girl who would walk all the way from Cele Bus-stop back home through Ilasa to Isolo at midnight after “production;” the one who had a small business selling kerosene by the bottle in front of my Mother’s “chemist” shop at Ilasa, while racking up by-lines for Thisday. I was the girl who had no degree, yet wrote speeches for Tayo Aderinokun (God rest his beautiful soul).
These people moulded me in a way that it has become second nature to me to see every setback was a learning curve, every challenge as an exercise to overcome and smile back on. Thanks to you all, I have had the privilege of an extensive professional life; Reuters, the FT, and who knew I would now be paid to go to work, for the BBC, and be “allowed” to speak Pidgin?? I am literally in Journalism Heaven right now! I have not stopped intermittently crying happy and sad tears, as my Dad Godwin is not here physically to share in this joy. Then there is Micha, who has never stood in the way of my professional progess, and has instead made extensive emotional and financial sacrifices for me and supported me roundly to be the best at this role since I moved back to Lagos. My siblings have been just THE BEST, even though the one that drives me mad of them all is Ronke.
Those who knew when the process began months back (yes this has been from way back) often asked me: why would you move from Germany? Well, because the BBC is pioneering a great thing for Africa, opening a Pidgin Service, and I would NEVER turn down the privilege to be a witness and worker at the start of what is going to be a great shift in my continent’s media landscape. I am so excited to be back in the newsroom, I feel…alive, and…I cannot say too much, but we hope to show you all what is possible, so help us God. 14 years since it all started, I am back here, in Nigeria, and if anybody reads this, just know that with hard work, EVERYTHING is possible and what is yours will be yours.
Invest in yourself. Do things the right way. Surround yourself with the right partners, mentors, family members and friends – quality over quantity. Cutting corners and being ashamed of being thought of as a nerd/efiko/mumu is not cool. Own your straight-mindedness and unique personality aka Ibile factor. Own your degree and the opportunities it brings. Own your career and be strategic about it. Work hard, and then…play hard. Like, laugh HARD. No one is guaranteed a long life, so it is better to live your best professional and personal life.
As I take on this role, I want to ask you all to please make sure I never walk alone o. Abeg, if there are ways I can serve you the public better, let us know. When I make a mistake, tell me; critique me, because we are all in this o. Na me and una waka come!”