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Wednesday, 6 December 2017

EFIWE INTERVIEW: FOPA Should Be Merit Based Not Through Soliciting Votes - Kanyinsola Olorunnisola

Kanyinsola Olorunnisola

Born in the last decade of the 20th century, Kanyinsola Olorunnisola hails from the rich land of Ijebu-jesa, Osun state. He was raised by a celebrated journalist and a veteran nurse – this parental combination is what he claims to be the source of his natural thirst to heal the world with words.

He had the honour of having his primary and secondary school educations in Mayhill Convent School and Nickdel College Ibadan respectively. Spurred by the success he enjoyed almost single-handedly handling his secondary school’s press publications, he soon involved himself in press activities on campus, joining different journalism outfits within his first semester as a student of the University of Ibadan.

His writings, either through his co-authored The Courtroom platform, his personal column or mainstream newspapers, have bordered on students’ rights, youth empowerment, societal consciousness, national unity and other issues of such ilk. In order to give other budding Nigerian writers a voice and space to speak up, he founded the SPRINNG Literary Movement – a multimedia platform which promotes fictional and nonfictional writings by Nigerian youths.

He reads at voracious lengths and seeks to propagate the knowledge and insights he gets from his readings and empirical experiences through the power of his writings. His quest to influence the society has got him to be published on various platforms such as: Nigerian Tribune, Sampad International Journal, Kreative Diadem, The Page, The Eagle Online, Authorpedia,, Kalahari Review, Bombay Review, Lunaris Review, African Writer and SPRINNG, to mention a few.

He has enjoyed the grace of being gifted with a number of cerebral accolades. They include, but are not limited to:

2012 Winner, Most Eloquent Student, NCI Awards
2013 Winner, Most Eloquent Student, NCI Awards
2013 Winner, Best Overall Male Student, NCI Awards
2013 Winner of Multiple Subject Prizes, NCI Awards
2013 Third Place, WESCOSA Writing/Speaking Challenge
2014Winner, Upcoming Journalist of the Year, NAPS Press Awards
2015 Winner, Most Efficient Pressman, NAPS Press Awards
2015 Winner, Columnist of the Year (with Kunle Adebajo) UCJ Awards
2015 Winner, Best Features Writer UCJ Awards
2015 Winner, Most Intelligent Student, Philosophy Awards
2015 Co-Winner, Sampad International Writing Contest
2015 Shortlist, Eriata Oribhabor Food Poetry Contest
2015 Top Six, Surge X Scholarship Program
2015 3rd Place, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (September)
2016 4th Place, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (June)
2016 Winner, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (February)
2016 Winner, Brigitte Poirson Poetry Contest (September)
2016 Winner, Albert Jungers Poetry Prize
2016 Nominee, Outstanding Campus Journalist, JCI FOPA
2016 Nominee, Best Campus Journalist, SU Premier Awards
2016 Winner, Best Columnist of the Year (The Courtroom), UCJ Awards
2016 Runner-up, Best Columnist of the Year (On the Pulse of Morning) UCJ Awards
2016 Winner, Best Satirist UCJ Awards
2016 Nominee, Best Editorial UCJ Awards
2017 Nominee, Best Poet, West African Citizens Awards
2017 Runner-up Igby International Prize for Nonfiction
2017 Nominee, Best Student Writer SWAAP Awards
2017 Nominee, Sherrif Folarin Prize for Campus Journalists
2017 Nominee Outstanding Campus Journalist JCI FOPA (TBA)
2017 Runner-up SRC Essay Contest

Being dedicated to service, he has effected changes in various capacities with his zeal to improve all things intellectual and literary. Here is a brief glimpse of his administrative history
Time Keeper, Nickdel College Ibadan
Headboy, Nickdel College Ibadan
Press Club President, Nickdel College Ibadan
Features Editor, NAPS Press
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, NAPS Press
Head, Induction Committee, NAPS Press
News Editor, Indy Press
Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Indy Press
Public Relations Officer, UCJ Electoral Committee
Public Relations Officer, UCJ Tabloid Committee
Founder and President, SPRINNG Literary Movement
Chairman, UCJ Examination Committee
Chairman, UCJ Electoral Committee
Editor-in-Chief, Indy Press

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, a champion of student rights and precocious literary force – Kanyinsola Olorunnisola.

WOUWO Host, Zenas

Welcome sire, Mr kanyinsola Olorunninsola

Thank you very much. It is, indeed, an honour to be here.

Mr Kanyinsola, tell us about your venture into pressdom? 

Lord knows there isn't enough time to tell the story. But I think it began in my secondary school days. I was then bored, having joined every organisation I could think of, and I decided to join the Press. 

I ended up heading it for two years, during which I had developed strong affection for the art. So, upon entry into the campus of the University of Ibadan in 2014, I wasted no time inquiring about forms for memberships of Indy Press and NAPS Press long before they even started recruiting for the year.

Your style of writing is more criticism and when it's poem, never a love/romantic poem despite having written both in hundreds, Does this say a lot about your person? Your say sire?

I am deeply analytical. I am the kind of person who believes art, especially the cerebral kind, necessarily has to be a weapon for moving for social change. I observe a lot, being a philosophy student, and I end up noticing more flaws than most people do. So, my writings often mirror my discomfort with my reality.

As for the poetry, my poetry is of a different sort entirely. It expresses a different side of me.

In your four years in the university and writing on politicians in this community, who has been/mirrored your ideal leader?

No one. I am rather insatiable when it comes to being impressed, as I believe there are many things wrong with our sociopolitical system on campus that make it difficult for any leader to particularly triumph in terms of attaining perfection. All have been problematic, I suppose.

This is not to say it is their fault, though. I am certain I would have problems too if I held public office. . So, no one has been or can be ideal for me, due to our present decadent system.

What of Ojo Aderemi and his 26days as SU president, As a political analyst, what's your analysis of his administration and the potentials you see? 

Ojo Aderemi delivered exactly what he promised. I have followed him for three years now and for me, he represented - and still does represent - the ultimate rebel. And such rebellion can be a true glimmer of hope for pessimists who believe the youths are empty. His administration represented just that for me.

What he got wrong, and what he failed to do?

 It feels a little strange for me to start discussing what he did wrong when I knew about the steps taken even before they were implemented.

What I would say, though, is that the cause of our troubles began during the unholy Congress which held right before the Union embarked on the protests. A lot of things which were not planned occurred. And I think it can be argued that there had been no strong support base in the real sense from many students, contrary to what he believed. Appearance does deceive.

The way forward from the current interregnum faced by the Students' Union

The way forward, as it seems to me now, is to apply crass pragmatism to the matter. We need to gather a lot of support from key Senate members and reason with the management as regards how the   Union can be restored. Unless it be at the cost of our existence as a Union, I think we should be willing to try any means no matter how supposedly undignified it might seem. Politics is dirty, after all.

A lot of things which were not planned... Meaning some things were planned but the unplanned had their way.

Does this mean you're among the kitchen cabinet referred to by the members of the 2017/2018 executive who revolted against Ojo Aderemi?

I have always been a silent supporter of Ojo's. I never told him that during the elections. But we have always had similar political orientations. So he called me during the whole situation and asked for my help. And I did the best I could. I do not just criticise. I help when I am asked to. That is all I can say. I know nothing about a supposed cabinet.

"...try any means no matter what..." Does it include getting back a Union stripped off all its teeth and power?

Perhaps I should have said, "Unless it be at the cost of our primal existence as a Union". As long as the basis of our existence which is our power of expression, is not sacrificed alongside, then yes.

Okay, one of the hallmark of your stint in journalism was your courtroom with Adekunle Adebajo. How was it?

It was certainly terrifying at first. We were stepping into gargantuan shoes. I had been a fan of Oredola Ibrahim and Gbenga Adeoba's writings, so I had the fear people would feel we were not as good. 

But all that changed after about three publications and people I did not know would randomly compliment my writing. Over time I grew more confident. It was indeed fan awesome stint. And I had the best partner in the world to make it all the more glorious. Kunle is an enigma.

Wow, Campus journalism has come under severe attacks from politicians and they have many complaints summing up into one, before I talk about that... What are the defects you've identified in UCJ over the years?

The Union of Campus Journalists is so dear to my heart, so you must know how truly biting this question is. The problem with the UCJ has always been unity. Too many pressman do not identify with the mother-body. That is pathetic. 

Also, it has not really been as defiantly  rebellious as I would have wanted. I think I have stomped on my own heart enough.

The major criticism against UCJ UI is that most local press (if not all) don't carry out investigations before writing or publishing... What's your take on that and investigative journalism in UI?

 It is sometimes true. I remember discussing with a veteran pressman a few days back. We lamented the lazy approach to journalism which seems to be gaining ground. However, let us straighten out the narrative. 

In my experience, most people who engage in this criticism are those who have been exposed by these pressman and seek a way to invalidate their findings. I have witnessed this a million times.

What do you think about investigative journalism in UI?

As for investigative journalism itself, I believe it is witnessing a revival. I believe the UCJ can further encourage this by rewarding the field glamorously. Awards alway motivate people.

You admitted Kunle is an enigma. That reminds me, how did you feel, losing FOPA award to Kunle last year?

I knew he was going to win as far back as a full year before he did. He is actually my one-year senior in the Press and he had paid his dues heavily. 

So I was elated to be nominated beside him. It felt cathartic. But I did not deserve to win last year. He did.

What about this year, weigh your chances alongside your competitors?

You were Indy Editor in Chief for two years, one has acting and the other in power...How has it been so far?

 I think one-and-a-half is more accurate. It has been a true blessing, really. I had to learn to work with different kinds of people. It is a lot of stress, believe me. Mental and physical. But there are great moments of reward, such as winning the Best Press Organisation Award last year. And realising that I am practically mentoring the next batch of top campus journalists.

Tell us about your view of Indy Hall Politics?

It is a graveyard. The political atmosphere is not what it used to be. Apathy is the definition of our political terrain. People only talk about politics when the press talks.

Your political analysis of the present administration?

It has failed to own up to certain plans promised. But it has succeeded in involving Katangites in certain key areas. A few words do no justice to my thoughts.

One area you would have love to but never served as a Student?

President of my department.

What about Jaw War?

That. I really wanted to do so in my 200 level. I would even practise for made-up debates alone in my room. Yes, it was that weird. But I went about it the wrong way. I took advice from someone I believed knew how I could get my way around competitive public speaking. I was misled. I later lost interest in the whole thing.

Any regrets with that? Or with any other thing you failed to do(well) in UI?

I wish I had joined the choir. Nothing else. That is the only thing I actually regret. I have moved on from the others.

Good you didn't...Wizkid would have christened you should he hear you sing?

That is rather undefined.

 Is Journalism in mind? Say; next five years sire?

It is one of the many options being considered, but it is not the priority. In the next five years, I intend to have my first novel out. I should have begun a career in the Digital Marketing world. 

And I plan to be at artist residencies all over the world. There are many options. The only constants are the novel and the artist residencies.

What's the future of Campus Journalism? 

It is known in names: John Akinteye, Akinpelu Yusuf, Sanya Martins, Segun Olopade, Seyi Adedokun, Chidera Anushiem and many more. These people are  custodians of so much promise that I see a bright future ahead.

To help bring that promise to life, Kúnlé Adébàjò and I are working on a book, "The Road Before the Fourth Estate: Guide to Being the Ultimate Pressman". It is a book which will guide every single campus journalist in her/his endeavours. It contains all the experiences we have gathered over time. It also contains insightful interviews with top campus journalists.

The book should be expected by when sire? 

We are looking at December 16.

Besides, shed more light about the origin, content and inspiration behind the book?

Well, I was having a discussion with Femi Adesope and Alao Abiodun about what we can do to sustain or improve the quality of journalism when we graduate and after deliberating for long, we had trouble agreeing on what was best. 

But I kept thinking of what could be done. I felt I had a wealth of experience which would go to waste after I leave and the new guys would have to start learning afresh instead of building on where we stopped. So, the idea to document my little  knowledge about journalism popped into my head. I went on to draw out a framework for the book. 

I wanted to collaborate with someone who I felt knew exactly my flow and could easily key into my vision. I pitched it to Kunle and he ecstatically accepted. It was all magic from there. I believe the book will guide a new generation of pressmen. That is the hope, at least.

Why aren't you campaigning for FOPA votes?

I am definitely against that idea of soliciting votes. Such awards are supposedly merit-based. It would be a great honour to win the FOPA not because it is just another award but because the great Junior Chamber International is recognising you. 

So, if I win I want it to be because the organisation giving it out deemed me worthy and not because I won some popularity contest.

Why didn't you contest for UCJ presidency?

I considered it briefly last year. But I had already been saddled with responsibility at Indy Press. Beyond that, I knew Samuel Arowosafe was contesting and I trusted him to deliver.

 I could only contest if I felt the candidates running were not good enough. But I had faith in President Arowosafe and Lord knows I have not been let down. So, no regrets!

Sire Kanyinsola, Answer these
A. Iyin Alabi
Doyin D law
Ogeroju Robiah

Take home to mama
One night

Match them?

Take home to Mama - Iyinoluwa (She knows I love her)
Kiss - Ogeroju (If Seyi does not mind)
One night stand - Doyin (LSS, forgive me)

B. Give the three these awards

Most hardworking pressman
Best writer with intelligent write-ups
The ideal journalist for the 21st century

Kunle Adebajo
Hakeem Olatunji
Alao Abiodun

Most hardworking pressman - Alao Abiodun
Best writer with intelligent write-up - Kúnlé Adébàjò
The ideal journalist for the 21st century - Haleem Olatunji

Thank you for reading this Interview. Feel free to share with Others and post on your prestigious platforms. If posted, kindly give credit to Unibadan Efiwe and WOUWO. Thanks and God Bless.

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