Toyosi Ogunseye: For the Love of Investigive Journalism
For ToyosiOgunseye, her venture into journalism started when she was a year two bio-chemistry student of the University of Lagos, when her burning passion to be a writer spurred her to approach the news editor of The Sun newspaper, seeking to write for the newspaper.
For her quest, she was given a chance to prove herself by providing two stories from any source. And that eventually marked the beginning of her career in journalism as she grabbed that single opportunity, reporting two newsworthy stories from her campus, a story of a student who was killed by cultists and a story of a student that got drowned in the lagoon.
Today, Ogunseye, the young bio-chemistry undergraduate student, has morphed into the first female editor of The Punch, Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper. She has won 25 media awards, including the health category of the CNN MultiChoice African Journalist of the Year Awards in 2011 and 2013.
Remarkably, Ogunseye’s three-series investigative report, “The Rich Also Cry,” won six national and international media awards in 2013. In 2014, she won Knight International Journalism Award and was also shortlisted to participate in President Barack Obama’s Young African Leadership Initiative in the US.
Without doubt she stands among young Nigerians whose story inspires young people to pursue their dreams without fear of failure.
Dike Chukwumerije: Building the new with Words
From his facial look and surname, it’s easy to guess that he’s one of the sons of the famous late senator, Uche Chukwumerije. But he’s hardly recognized for his father’s fame, though. Dike has carved a niche for himself as an award-winning novelist and a unique performance poet in the Nigerian performance poetry industry.
In a clime where many would see practising law as more lucrative than performance poetry, an evolving genre of art in Nigeria, Dike, a lawyer by training who also holds a master’s degree in law, has chosen to deploy his creativity to pursue a career in performance poetry, which he calls “Spoken Words”. No wonder, he named his show, “Night of Spoken Word”, a national event that brings poets together to promote literature by presenting poetry and other literary arts to a live audience in an entertaining, educational and inspirational way.
For Dike, passing messages of love, unity and peace across to his listening audience in different lines gives him fulfilment. His ability to muse his audience into the deep messages of his poems is worthy of commendation. In pursuing his dream as a poet, he has recorded some of his poems in CDs. In 2013, his book, Urichendere, a prose fiction written in the first narrative point of view, won the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prose Fiction Prize.
Of course, performance poetry has its root in our culture as Africans, but an outside-the-box thinker like Dike is one of the few providing a narrative that gives aspiring poets a hope that performance poetry could be a vibrant industry in Nigeria.
Oyeronke Oyebanji: Blaizing The Trail In Reproductive Health Activism
Sometimes it is difficult to remember that she is only 21. But if one is to assess age by worthy activities, then Oyeronke has washed her hands well and earned a seat at the table of the elders.
Right from her undergraduate days at the Department of Public Health in Babcock University, Ogun State, she has shown that living one’s passions as well as achieving the accompanying dreams have little to do with age and, even less, with money.
In her third year in the university, she led a team of other Public Health students to kick-start a sexual and reproductive health radio programme. It was the first of its kind in the university.
The project provided the avenue for the students to tackle issues bordering on contraceptives, sexually transmitted infections as well as unsafe abortion.
The programme effectively equipped the student community with the required information to protect and improve their sexual and reproductive health. It became such a success that it was presented at the annual Towards Unity For Health Conference in 2015 in Gauteng, Johannesburg, South Africa.
She also succeeded in training traditional birth attendants in Ilishan Remo, Ogun State, thereby greatly improving the maternal health status of the entire community.
It’s morning yet for Oyeronke but her achievements so far will continue to inspire her peers for a long time to come.