How I Started My Journalism Career: Tribute to Chief G.A. Adejuwon

How I Started My Journalism Career: Tribute to Chief G.A. Adejuwon

Monday, April 22, 2024 7:16 am

Chief G.A. Adejuwon, right, and Senator  Babafemi Ojudu,

Chief G.A. Adejuwon, right, and Senator  Babafemi Ojudu,

Babafemi Ojudu

This is my tribute to an important person who, through a simple act of ingenuity, had a fundamental influence on my career path. I wrote this piece to express my gratitude to him, albeit belatedly, hoping his children and grandchildren will find it and feel a sense of pride in their late father or grandfather.

When I started secondary school at age 11, I was the class clown, playful and full of restless energy. I couldn’t resist making fun of my older classmates. I’d often draw hilarious caricatures of them, causing total chaos and laughter. This continued into my third year. My studies were affected, and I barely did well in my exams. Then came the new principal, and he heard about this reckless, playful, but pleasant student.

One day, the principal called me into his office for a reason I didn’t know and couldn’t fathom. He asked me to sit in the visitor’s chair right in front of him. My attention was quickly drawn to his cartoonishly bald head. For a moment, I imagined how I could make a caricature out of it when I left his office. He kept me sitting for almost 30 minutes, occasionally lifting his head from the files on the table he was working on. It was the longest wait of my life. “What’s on his mind?” I wondered helplessly. I was anxious and, at the same time, expecting a serious punishment for some offense I could not put my finger on. Finally, he raised his head, looked at me sternly, and asked me to return to his office at the same time the next day.

The suspense almost took my heart away. I lost my appetite for the whole day and could not concentrate on anything; just as much, sleep became a luxury throughout the night. I shared my ordeal with my friends and classmates; no one could come up with a convincing reason why the principal invited me to his office without telling me what my offense was.

At the morning devotion the next day, I thought my matter would arise when he addressed the students and staff. However, there was no word or indication of his intentions.

That same day, I went to see him promptly, as instructed. He again kept me in suspense while he went about his business. After about 25 minutes, he reached under his desk and pulled out a transistor radio. He handed it to me along with a set of batteries. He instructed me to listen to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA) news each day at 5:00 a.m., write down the day’s news, and post it on the school bulletin board.

For a while, it became a chore for me. I did it every day with pain and anguish. It robbed me of hours of sleep and drained my body of energy. It was drudgery to decipher the accents of the broadcasters and then put their words down on paper. What a punishment!

Not long after that, I fell in love with it. I became an encyclopedia of world affairs, and my register and vocabulary improved. I became more confident as a student, and my performance in my studies improved tremendously.

This simple act ignited my passion for journalism. I became an avid reader of newspapers in the school library and a contributor to the Letters to the Editor column in the newspapers of the day. This set me on the path to a fulfilling career in journalism.

I am grateful to Chief G.A. Adejuwon for this act of creative discipline and my appreciation to him for igniting my love for journalism remains eternal.

Chief G.A. Adejuwon’s simple act of giving me a radio with instructions to practice news reporting can teach us all a valuable lesson about channeling the energy and creativity of young people in a productive direction. Whether you’re an educator, a mentor, or a parent seeking to discover and nurture the latent talents of children and young adults, you can use this lesson to shape young people for the future.

For teachers, this story highlights the importance of recognizing and nurturing students’ individual talents and interests. It encourages them to think outside the box, find creative ways to engage with students and guide them toward their passions. Most likely, there are students in your classroom with untapped potential just waiting to be discovered.

For mentors, this story serves as a reminder of how your guidance and support can impact a young person’s life. It encourages mentors to look for ways to positively channel their mentees’ energy and creativity, setting them on a path to a fulfilling future.

For parents, this story underscores the importance of allowing children the freedom to explore and discover their interests. It encourages parents to pay attention to their children’s natural inclinations while providing opportunities for them to develop and pursue their passions.

In a nutshell, if you’re someone who has any kind of influence on young people, the best thing you can do is to help them find and develop their talents in a fun and unique way. Following in the footsteps of Chief G.A. Adejuwon, I always strive to give my mentees the spark that will light a fire in their hearts for the rest of their lives and set them on a fulfilling path.

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