Taiwo Adebulu is from Ilaje Local Government in Ondo State. He had his primary education at Army Children Nursery and Primary School, and secondary education at Methodist High School in Okitipupa. From there, he gained admission to study Language Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife where he graduated in 2011.
Taiwo proceeded to the University of Ibadan for Master of Education degree in Communication Arts. He is based in Ibadan, Oyo State capital where he teaches and blogs on literature. He is also a freelance journalist for The Nation newspaper, where he writes features bothering education, culture and other human-interest stories. Being influenced by the works of Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ngugi Wa Thiong’o which he fumbled on in his father’s library, he started writing in secondary school, most of which were traditional fictional narratives and love stories.
Enjoy our interview with him!
God is my greatest inspiration because he guides my footstep. However, I’m really inspired by the need to add value to people and the society. That is why most of the activities and courses I engage in are geared towards human and community development. My idea of a safe and great society propels me towards involving myself in helping and developing people and the society in one way or the other. I believe if your mission in life does not aim at providing certain solutions to the community you belong, one has not fulfilled a divine mandate.
2. Could you describe what you do, your role?
I’m a freelance journalist for The Nation, Nigeria’s widest circulating newspaper. I write features mostly on education, culture, society and gender-related issues. My knack for investigative journalism has taken me to remote areas to dig for stories. I also write for a couple of other media platforms. I own a blog Alakowe Online Review (www.alakoweonline.com) where I analyse Literature, mostly poetry, for secondary school students and undergraduates. Most importantly, I see myself as a teacher before I lay claim to any other profession. I love being in the classroom.
3. At 40 what do you hope to achieve?
I must say, only God knows tomorrow. He has my future in his hands. But by God’s grace, I hope to be a successful journalist and a teacher. By then, I hope I’d have successfully built a solid media platform where I can help the younger ones coming behind in their career. By 40, I should have produced excellent students who passed through my tutelage. I wish to have given more to the society through capacity building and the stories I write in such a way that when I sit back to reminisce on the journey so far, I’d stroke my beards and thank God for a life well-spent.
4. 5 years back did you see yourself where you are today?
Of course, I did. I worked really hard and deprived myself to get to where I am. Although I haven’t reached the desired place yet, I’ve sacrificed a lot to place myself on a pedestal where I can easily forge ahead. I do set plans for myself annually which I strive to achieve come what may.
5. Tell us more about your journey.
The journey has been a meticulous process, yet totally challenging. I started writing professionally during my undergraduate days at OAU on a digital platform nigeriavillagesquare.com. The beginning was quite discouraging because I’d spend days to write an article and submit it, yet it won’t get published. I felt quite discouraged. In fact, I thought wasn’t good enough. At that point I felt like giving up to face my studies squarely, something dropped on my mind. I asked myself a question. What is it that marks out those writers whose articles get constantly published? What is so special about them? So, I printed essays of those writers I found so alluring, Okey Ndibe, Pius Ayesanmi, Sam Omatseye, Tatalo Alamu, Farooq Kperogi, Levi Obijiofor, Sonala Olumhense, Reuben Abati and a couple of others. I bound it as a handout to read and teach myself the art of writing. The turning point was when my first article was published in 2009. Thereafter, I wrote scores of articles for the site. I cut my journalistic teeth on Campus Life pages of The Nation newspaper, from where I moved to its Sunday Title as a freelance feature writer. The journalism experience has been great, especially when you get commendation from people for adding values through your stories.
6. Who is your role model?
My parents. They have taught me a lot in life and they still motivate me. Prof. Wole Soyinka is not just my role model too, he was my childhood hero. I read three of his books while in Primary school – The Trial of Brother Jero, A Play of Giants and The Lion and the Jewel.
7. What is your career highlight so far?
I wrote for Nigeria Village Square for four years. I was a campus reporter for The Nation newspaper. As a Literature teacher, I own a literary review blog (www.alakoweonline.com) where I analyse literary works and it’s been running for about three years. Currently, I write features for the Sunday title of The Nation newspaper. I’m a young critic of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). I’ve attended conferences and workshops on journalism.
8. What is fascinating about your job?
Having to visit rough terrains and meeting people to share their stories have been quite fascinating, yet a herculean task. You come across a lot of people on a quest for stories. People and communities see you as the last hope in amplifying their faint echoes to the world. As a feature writer, one must develop an inquisitive instinct for stories, hunting and digging out untold stories. The most fascinating side of it all is when you publish a story after a painstaking job and it produces the desired effect by solving certain solutions. As a literary blogger, the fascinating side of the job is receiving feedbacks often from readers on the positive impact of your analysis. On the greater side, I feel great contributing to the body of knowledge.
9. What can you tell young people who are still struggling to find their vision?
Whenever I have the opportunity to speak to the younger ones, the basic things I tell them is to acquire skills and utilise them without thirsting for financial gratification immediately. Most young ones will ask you what is there to gain monetarily when they do certain jobs or engage in certain activities. Money will surely come but you have to secure your future by acquiring the right skills. Your certificate alone cannot fetch you that dream job. Learn the skills; utilise them. If you are not getting enough payment for the skills now, relax. Be patient and don’t ever give up. Let the process continue as you acquire more skills, learn new things and take on more challenges. And before your very eyes, everything will start falling place.
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