Estimated reading time: 14 minute(s)
. . . Says Childhood Ambitions Fulfilled.
. . I am Rich Not By Figures, But By Contact
A 60-year-old veteran journalist, Ayobamidele Ayodo has said that he was happy to get arrested for stories he did in his early days of journalism practice.
He made this known in an Exclusive interview with PLATFORM TIMES about his life and career to mark his 60th Birthday.
Ayodo, who revealed that he has “never done any other job in Nigeria aside journalism for 33 straight years”, has worked in several media organisations from 1988 till date.
Stating that the journalism of now gives a wide range of opportunities that make the practice easier than the way it was in his days as a cub reporter.
He said the availability of telephones, internet photocopier and the likes set the difference from the way of practice then and now.
He said, “Now, I read as many stories on at least 20 different media in Nigeria today and I discover that they do copy and paste. In those days we don’t even have photocopiers to make copies, and that was the beauty then because you worth the salt and measure. The fact that you identified yourself as a journalist, they wouldn’t even ask which media you represent because they respect your profession and you earned it.
“You can’t compare that with what we have now, it’s not that we were paid to do assignments. We were happy to get arrested by security agents for stories we did then.
“I will tell you a story I did then, a real life story. There was a religious man called Primate Olabayo, he was involved in scandal story. I was a staff writer with vintage people then. We got the scoop and we had evidence of the story and it became a running story. It was one of the biggest stores at that time. I was happy about the work I did, that was my price.
“As cub reporters, we were paid by story and bylines. We were paid 5 kobo for a news story at that time. One could be a fine writer but poor at sourcing news while the case may be vice versa for others. Hence, we had editors, proof readers and other important departments and compartments in news rooms in my days.
“So, we were happy about the works we did and got paid. We got 2 Kobo if it’s an inside story and 5 kobo for a front story.
“I did another story on paramilitary games in 1993. It was a festival for uniformed men except a few. I covered it and the final football match competition was between prison authority and the customs. When the prison authorities won the match,I overheard one of the players demanding that his room should be changed as he had done his part in the game. Meaning, prisoners were used as players in the sport competition. I got my recorder and did the story.
“Babangida was the head of state then and when the headline came out, it became a big one. The headline was, ‘IBB Presents Paramilitary Cup To Prisoners’.
“The next day, both the custom and prison authority came looking for me. I had earned the trust of my editors, so, they stood for me. It was a story I could stand by. They knew it was a fact,so, they could merely threaten us.
“I was very happy that my story, my sweat was troubling them. Many of us were daring. That is why journalism was the only profession that survived unblemished during the military regimes. We were excited when people talk about us and our stories at news stands. That was the money we received for journalism.”
He also added that the true definition of riches in life is not by the figures in one’s bank account, but by the contact one has.
Ayodo disclosed that while some individuals may not agree with his perception of fulfilment, that he has no doubt about it being a beneficiary.
The current Roots FM Chief Operations Officer and Chief Consultant disclosed that he has lived and loved all that he did as he had never had regrets over choosing journalism.
He made it known that he has never had challenges in the profession, explaining that he only sees the negative aspects which other people considered problem as normal happenings.
His fulfilment as a jormalist therefore followed his set ambition since he was a child, Ayodo disclosed.
In his words, “I feel very fulfilled. My ambition while growing up was to be somebody that will impact knowledge to people. To be somebody that people will know; such that even when you don’t know them, they will know you and want to associate with you. Thirdly, is to be somebody that people are ready to assist.
“I don’t have more than N20,000 in my bank accounts; one is about N20,000 and the other has one thousand naira. But believe it, if I need twenty million today or this week, I am sure that I will get it, because people will rally round me.
“Hence I feel really fulfilled. Definition of riches is not about what we have in our bank accounts but just like I said, there is no contact in this state that I cannot get to, rarely none.
“These have been my childhood ambition and all these ambitions I listed have been achieved.
“I never had challenges. I consider those things others call problems or difficulties as normal happenings. I started journalism as a matured person, perhaps that was why I could reasonably handle certain issues that could have proven difficult.” Ayodo submitted.
He added that the evidence of his claim was obvious when he got recognition and assistance while he was giving out his daughter’s hand in marriage in 2016
Estimated reading time: 1 minute(s)
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