EFIWE INTERVIEW: I Have Played My Part And I Believe My Works Will Do The Talking - Haleem Olatunji On FOPA Awards

Haleem Olatunji


He was born on the 2nd day of February, several years ago. He is the third child in a family of four children.

He started his nursery and primary education in Aunty Joke Nursery and Primary school, Surulere, Lagos, after which he completed his primary education at Ruesab Private School, Igando, after relocating to the area. He then proceeded to Queenmaris College, where he had his secondary education.

In 2014, he gained admission into the University of Ibadan to study Educational Management. He is currently a final year student of the department.

The involvement of Haleem Olatunji in the field of journalism officially started when he became the Vice President of the Press Club at his secondary school, Queenmaris College, Igando, Lagos.

Upon his admission into the University of Ibadan in 2014, the passion for the profession (journalism) made him became a member of Mellanby Hall Press Organisation (MHPO), thereby learning from the likes of Mr. Ekeh Pascal, Mr. Gbenga Adeoba, Mr, Oredola Ibrahim, among others who were regarded as the best during their days. His effective performance as a pressman in his first year earned him a seat on the Editorial Board of MHPO the following year, 2015.

In 2015, he became a member of Voice of Managers (VOM), the press arm of his department, Educational Management, while serving as News Editor of Mellanby Hall Press Organisation. His contributions to the development of Voice of Managers made him emerge as the Deputy Editor-in-Chief the following year.

In 2016, he became an inducted member of the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan (UCJUI) from which he proceeded to become a member of the Editorial Board, as the News Editor. After the resignation of the UCJ Editor-in-Chief due to personal reasons in 2016, the UCJ Senate found him worthy and qualified for the office, thereby electing him as the Vice President (Editorial).

As the Editor-in-Chief, he played a vital role which led to the victory of UCJUI as the winner of the Best Student Online Platform at the Students' Union Awards in 2016. He also represented VOM at the Professor Egbokhare Inter-press debate competition where he led the team to emerge as 3rd position among over 35 press organizations on campus.

Also in 2016, he was nominated as Best Campus Journalist at the Students’ Union Awards. He emerged as the 2nd runner up in the Hammed Ibrahim Journalism Photo Contest. He won the Press Man of the year award, organized by his department, Educational Management. In addition, he won the Best News Reporter award, organized by the Union of Campus Journalists, University of Ibadan in 2016.

In year 2017, with the aim of promoting journalism, he became a Senator representing the University of Ibadan at the Senate arm of National Union of Campus Journalists (NUCJ). He is the incumbent Editor-in-Chief of Mellanby Hall Press Organisation (MHPO) as well as the Editorial Adviser of Voice of Managers. Also, he is currently the Columnist for ‘Chronicles of Consciousness', a column which was handed over to him by Mr. Amos Adejimi, winner of UCJ Best Campus Journalist award in 2016. In less than four months, Haleem Olatunji was able to improve the publication of the Column from 3 press boards to at least 20 press boards within the University of Ibadan, as well as other online platforms.

Also, he emerged as the winner of Sherrif Folarin Presidential Award for Best Campus Journalist, University of Ibadan in 2017.

Asides the realm of journalism, Haleem Olatunji is public speaker, academic enthusiast and volunteer for several organisations. Currently, he is the Acting Class Representative of his class; General Secretary of Mellanby Hall Literary and Debating Society, University of Ibadan; Director of Social and Cultural Relations, Lumen Society, University of Ibadan; Member, All Nigeria United Nations Students and Youths Association (ANUNSA), University of Ibadan; Volunteer at The Transverse; Volunteer at Brain Builders International; Volunteer at Peacepace Initiative; among others, while maintaining a good academic result.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Haleem Olatunji a news reporter, opinion writer, columnist, investigative journalist and a man of great value.
WOUWO Host, Zenas


 Good evening sire, You're welcome.

Good evening Boss, I feel pleased to be here tonight.

That word "boss" though. It's nice having you here though. Briefly, how has it been? The journey into Journalism?


It has been good so far. Although there has been quite a lot of challenges but I have been able to cope with them.

Briefly feed us on the journey into Journalism. Besides, why not politics? You seem made for one?

It all started while I was in secondary school. I was a member of some other clubs in school Young Farmers, among others. But then, I just had to leave to join the Press Club because I felt I could do better in writing and passing of information than any other area.


Politics? I don't like the pretence in the game of politics. There is so much pretence and fake kinds of things. So I prefer to be real. And that's why I prefer journalism over politics

Pretense??? What about the art of journalism where to avoid SDC query, you compromise a story and paint it less offensive after proper dilution which makes some lose their value, credibility and necessity? That seems the worst "pretense" to me!

 It's an opinion, not a fact. It's the way I perceive it which of course could be different from that of yours or any other person. However the pretense you just mentioned cannot be compared to that of politics. And that's the purpose of satire, whereby you write something 'heavy' in a 'light' manner.

In journalism pretense could be the method, but in politics, it is the lifestyle. Thank you.

As a lifestyle...Could it be indisputably posited that "like some said" Ojo Aderemi is a pretender who seeks personal glory?

 It depends on the person saying it and the rationale behind such statement.

From your perspective sire, what do you think? A pretender seeking self glory or astute defender of a just cause...perhaps both?

Of course I believe in the Ojo Aderemi. At first, I see him as an astute defender of a just cause. But the assertions made by his fellow executives made people doubt his intentions, thereby making people (including me) to see him as both.

 Quickly moving from there (of course, we're coming back). What's your strength when it comes to journalism?

 I am good at getting story ideas.


More like reporting news???

By getting story ideas, I mean knowing the kinds of news to report, getting topics to write for news, features, opinions, among others. Because one of the problems which pressmen do have is getting topics to write on. But this is where my strength lies, I know how to get topics to write on. And news reporting is something I do so well too.


Throughout last year, Before I got to know who Haleem Olatunji is, the name was always on the board for news report, an effort recognised at UCJ @ 30 where it was mentioned again.
Fast forward, more of this year has featured "Alao Abiodun" when it comes to news reporting. Why do you have to say to this?


Yes, last year my focus was on news reporting and I was able to top the game in that aspect. However, not being at the forefront this year in the area of news reporting was intentional.

I observed that I have achieved a feat in news reporting, therefore there was need for me to improve myself in other areas. That was why I took up the column and also did an investigative story. Plus I wanted members of my local press organisation (MHPO) to be good at news reporting, so I had to take my hand off from it to a large extent.


You mentioned investigative story...Which did you work on in particular?

I wrote a story related to the comfort of special students in UI. It was regarding the injustice in the system.

What was the motive behind writing that story? Was it to expose to students how their fellow students are unfairly treated Or For the Management to see, acknowledge and redress it?

If it's (b) what steps have been taking to achieve that and what are the results yielded thus far?

It's both option A and B.

Majority of us are not aware of the kind of pain these set of people go through. It was after writing that story that people had a reorientation. And believe me, several people have seen me and appreciated the good work. Some informed me that they never knew about all what was written until I wrote about it.

However, it is also to seek a change in the system. I am a journalist, my job is to bring out the ills in the society and not to implement it. 

The story was written and made public. That's my role. Those who have links with the management or other influential personalities can do the needful by sending it to them.

Don't you think beyond writing to the public, you can as well write to these authorities seeking a proper investigation and redress?


In the part 2 of the story, I narrated how I wrote to the Physical Planning Unit to have an interview with them and also to look into how things could be done in a better way. They didn't respond to my letter.

Crossing over, having been a core member of MHPO for 4 years, What would you say is the cause and course behind the curse of Mellanby hall showing in SU election...?

For the Presidency? Or which part precisely?

3 times back to back presidency. This year, of all three candidates, none won. Not just presidency, generally?

The basic explanation for that is simply the low number of occupants in the Hall when compared to other Halls. Number is key in elections and since Mellanby Hall does not have enough occupants, we are often at the losing end.

Another thing is the number of candidates presented over the years. Bello won the presidency because they presented just one candidate and that was why they were able to negotiate easily with other Halls. Such is not the same for Mellanby. We present more than one candidate almost every year.


Don't you think the quality of candidates presented is also a factor. Put differently, take for instance, the Gen Sec aspirant and Presidential aspirants were woefully routed in every other halls of residence. Even Queens Hall?

Quality in what sense, is it competence or likeness by ladies? If it is based on competence, you can say for a time or the other. But if we are to talk of quality of candidates (based on competence), then a lot of Halls would have to answer questions. Quality of candidates could be reason for the loss of specific people, but *generally* speaking, it isn't.


Likeness by ladies though...Now to our Students' Union! What do you think about the events that led to its suspension and its current situation

The events were just, because we fought for something worthy. The current situation is actually saddening and it is not a step in the right direction. I feel so bad when we are taught to stand for our rights, only to do so and get punished.

What about the method and tactic employed?

 I think the tactics we used was what led us to where we are. I feel we could have been flexible.

Good! How?

When we observed that things were getting bad, we could have been humble, not in the name of giving up, but in the interest of not losing the platform (the SU).

When exactly were things getting bad sire... More explicit replies will be appreciated sire?

When the VC announcement was made, it was evident that the game already changed. But our approach was still the same. While students were aggrieved, the leaders could have started making moves to calm the situation by going down to see those in power and doing the needful.

Which announcement? 

 The announcement on the radio.

What approach? 

The approach was still confrontational.

What is the needful?

By needful, I mean making moves to apologize for the state of things, at least things could have been resolved by now. But then, that's simply an option with its own consequence. Pleading is no good idea, but at least the Union could still have been with us.


Don't you think running to the mgt feet immediately after the VC's release is sheer cowardice and lack of a sense of direction...
I mean why challenge a status quo when all it takes to make you bow is just a release, without fighting back and see if things could  still work your way?


That's why I said it is not the best option, as it has its own consequences (one of which you just mentioned). But what has fighting back caused us?

I am not blaming anyone here because it was a joint decision and Ojo did very well by following the decision of the people.

However, I am saying that only if we could see the future, we wouldn't have taken the steps we took.

So Mr Haleem, what do you think is the way out of this interregnum the Students' Union has been entrapped in? 

I am sure many of us have read this release made by the VC. We can only hope that things will get better and that the management will begin to see things from our end.

I should have probably said that we should plead, but it is no longer needed and it would only be a waste of time. I could have also said we should try to reach out k those who can influence the management, but we already did that. Ojo made a release informing Uites that those of us whose parents are members of the Senate should try to make them see reasons for the reinstatement of the Union before the last Senate meeting. But that didn't work either. So we can only hope that the management will begin to see things from our end.

In short, No more way forward, except miracle?

We can still try to influence those in power. I think that's the only option we have.

Well said! Let's move on. How does it feel to be nominated this year for FOPA Awards?


I feel good to be found worthy of recognition as one of the outstanding persons in the University of Ibadan.

Are you just contented with nomination or you want to win?

It is an award based on merit. I don't know the criteria being used to judge who wins, but whatever it is, I know that If I am found worthy at the end, I will be given. If not, the best man will.

What are your chances?

 I have played my part and I believe my works will do the talking.


Why aren't you soliciting for votes either?

 I actually released a BC but it was sent just once. I wasn't planning to even compose any bc, but I just did to satisfy the purpose of "public acceptance" as written in the letter I got.

 If not you, who would you award the FOPA award to?

Lol..... To the best man of course. The issue is I don't know the criteria. If I have a criteria then I would know the person to award it to. So until the criteria is made known by the committee in charge of FOPA, I can't mention any name.


Okay! Interesting! A journalist yourself, you know the best criteria to judge the best journalist... Give the award to someone?

Of course I know. However, we should be conscious of sentiment here. I may give it to Kanyisola because I met him before Alao and I may give it to Alao because share the same faculty.

So in essence, I can't give it to anybody because I have a relationship with both of them, therefore I would be very bias.


Nice game... You see, Politics! With your years of experience, what is that thing you still feel uncomfortable with in UCJ?

 It is simply the level of unity among local press organisations and the commitment of pressmen to the development of the Union.

Even your rivalry with Indy Press won't let you give Kanyin! What do you think can be done to halt this or alleviate it to the minimum?


Haba.... Kanyin is a brother to me. I was in his room last night, at exactly this period. This shows the kind of relationship we have. And the competition between us is a very healthy one.

The bulk of the work lies with the Editors-in-Chief. They are the link between the leadership of the Union and other pressmen. The Editors-in-Chief must be carried along by the leadership of the Union. The leadership should also try to reach out to pressmen by attending their meetings from time to time. 

The Union should always endeavor to reward hardworking and committed pressmen,as this will serve as an example to others. Believe me, the average individual wants to be rewarded and recognised.

Noted Sir. I will convey the message to those mentioned.

Not restricted to them sire. Others you know too can join? 

Of course, we shall give our best.

Still rounding off, Mr Haleem sire, What do you think of the UCJ response to the suspension of the Students' Union? Do you objectively think the UCJ hasn't done enough?


I think the UCJ's response was timely and appropriate. The Union did very well and I must commend the President, Arowosafe Samuel, for the steps he took.

Was it enough? Rate the UCJ body language, actions and inactions on a scale of 100%?

75%

Sire Haleem Olatunji, Where do you see yourself in the next five years?


I see myself making lives better through information, research or entrepreneurship.

Is Journalism an option?

Of course, it is. Information (journalism). Research (lecturing). Entrepreneurship

Okay! Is there anything you regret not doing?

Yes. I regret not giving my best to the MSSN.

What's your most memorable day in UI?

The night I had Mellanby Hall Press Organisation interview in 2014. I can never forget that day in my life.

Okay! In the absence of further questions, we've come to the end of this interview. However, there is a game to play

Match: Dammy Idia hall, Heritage, Aisha Babatunde into Take home to mama, One night service, Crush!


Section B: Kunle Adebajo, Kanyinsola Olorunnisola, Alao Abiodun into Most Honest, Most diligent, Most intelligent


Dammy Idia hall (Crush), Heritage (One night service), Aisha Babatunde (Take home to mam)

Section B; Kunle Adebajo (Most intelligent), Kanyinsola Olorunnisola (Most honest), Alao Abiodun (Most diligent).

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. 

EFIWE INTERVIEW: I Have Played My Part And I Believe My Works Will Do The Talking - Haleem Olatunji On FOPA Awards EFIWE INTERVIEW: I Have Played My Part And I Believe My Works Will Do The Talking - Haleem Olatunji On FOPA Awards Reviewed by BloggerWeyDeyAppreciate on 10:54:00 Rating: 5

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