“I am a storyteller and a journalist fishing in forgotten waters not for the sake of making trouble” says Eromo Egbejule while describing himself “but because our stories have to be told, no matter how tragic, how ugly and how old.” he adds.
He got into journalism while still an undergraduate during which he and a few friends started a campus newspaper which led to him being called up by Jahman Anikulakpo, then Editor of Guardian on Sunday to write about a campus riot “that was 2009, I think”.
Meager and delayed payments, being taken fore granted by Nigerian media organisations , are the primary challenges he has faced being a writer and journalist.
There have been quite a number of challenges but primarily, Nigerian media organisations don’t value writers and journalists. They either want to pay peanuts or delay payments; sometimes, it’s both. People still do not take writers and journalists seriously.
Eromo has been inspired either directly or indirectly by a lot of journalists (local and international) “but beyond them, most of my inspiration and direction have come from reading a lot of things. A good writer has to read more than s/he writes and my bookish background has helped me a lot. These days I read a lot of The New Yorker, Atlantic, NY Times, history books, novels – I devour everything I see but mostly these.” he adds
A project that has helped the storyteller clear all self doubt was his reporting on Boko Haram “I decided to go to the troubled North East and live for a month with no prior knowledge of the language and nothing but my savings. So it was a plunge into the wild and I had to visit camps everyday and write one story a day, asides my normal reporting. Eventually when that translated into opportunities and more, I was glad that I had believed in my ability enough to take such a risk.”
On opportunities he’s open to he said “any opportunities that help me tell under-reported perspectives of stories or untold stories, I’ll definitely consider working on.”
“In a country of 180m+ people with immense potential but limited resources, youth is everything. While this is not to say that empowered youths are the magic wand to solve our plethora of problems, it is important that both the private and public sectors work towards equipping us to introduce innovation into the mix. We need everything from vocational institutions, institutionalised mentorships, loan schemes, to improved infrastructure in our universities, more jobs. There’s a lot and I haven’t even touched the surface.” says Eromo Egbejule on youth empowerment in Nigeria.
Twitter is my online playground, connect with him – @EromoEgbejule