MY LIFE AFTER SCHOOL by VINCENT IHESINULO
Intro by Edith Ohaja
Many people are not privileged to earn their living doing what they are passionate about. Many do not work in areas related to what they studied. Vincent Ihesinulo, the subject of this post falls into these categories. So what is his present occupation? And does this mean he’s given up on journalism and writing? His story below answers these questions. Before we get to the present, though, he regales us with a narrative of his exploits during the one-year compulsory service that follows graduation.
You may recall that we started this tale two days ago with my preamble (A Social Conscience Worth Applauding) and Vincent’s account of his busy days at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). In case you haven’t seen them, you can read those articles by clicking on their previews under this post. They will help you to make better sense of this piece.
Below, we have the conclusion of Vincent’s story and with it, we wrap up this edition of Celebrating Super-Jacksonites. Read and be blessed!
MY LIFE AFTER SCHOOL
Leaving the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), I hoped to continue my journalistic endeavours at a higher level but alas, I could only do that briefly due to prevailing circumstances. On graduation, I was posted to Ibadan, Oyo State where I found myself as Leader of One Platoon and later at Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Ibadan Network Centre as my place of primary assignment. My membership of the Outside Broadcasting Service (OBS) at the orientation camp must have contributed to that.
While at NTA as a production assistant, my acting skills got reactivated. I played a minor role in a Yoruba movie because of the language handicap and a major role in a star-studded TV flick, A Woman Called Doris, produced for NTA by Tunji Adeshina. The experience, different from stage performance, was strenuous but quite thrilling.
I also became the editor-in-chief of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in the state, working with the State NYSC PRO. I formed an editorial board at our Community Development Service (CDS) group and we repeated the UNN magic in Oyo State. The monthly bulletin, Periscope, published in monochrome leaflets became bulkier, juicier and more colourful. It was no easy feat convincing the PRO to deviate from the norm that was black and white and to increase the pagination, content and budget.
The first trial (for which I staked my allowee*) convinced him and he gave us the freedom to run the show on our own. Coupled with the massive support and inspiration from a more youthful and avant garde editorial adviser, Mr Joe Idalu, our guts to stretch our creative abilities were fired more. When websites were not as popular as they are today, we created one for Periscope with the assistance of an IT-oriented colleague, Kola Ladejobi.
Oyo Kopa, a sister publication to the Periscope, also benefitted from the transformation that our editorial team brought on stream. Being sessional, it only came out once per batch, unlike the monthly Periscope, and featured memorable literary take-aways, a little beyond the regular corps members’ contact manifest that it was primed to be. Always handy with assistance then was my good friend and colleague, Sheriff Momodu. Together we lost nights of sleep and shared in the pains and gains that ensued.
At the peak of the Obasanjo-Adedibu vs Ladoja brouhaha in Oyo State politics, we (myself, Sheriff and Tammy Jaja – another foot soldier of the editorial team) braved all odds and sought audience with the late Lamidi Adedibu, better known then as the strongman of Yoruba politics and garrison commander of amala* politics. The man hosted us despite the retinue of guests that thronged his residence seeking his attention. And instead of giving us the scoop we sought, Adedibu promised to sponsor a project for us. We felt the visit wasn’t entirely a waste in view of that promise.
But the devil of Nigerian civil service really has ugly fangs and bared them on the matter. We were chided for the Adedibu visit as our bosses failed to see the opportunities therein. Facilities as basic as decent conveniences were lacking at the state secretariat of the NYSC then and Adedibu could have fixed all that and more without a mention. This was shot down.
Those fangs were bared again at the end of my service year when the outgone state director queried the PRO for allowing the editorial board to publish a damning report on her stewardship. For publishing the true state of affairs at the secretariat and not doing a whitewash on the interview the past director granted our board, our certificates (mine and Sheriff’s) were almost confiscated but God gave them the Egypt treatment and we signed them out before they realised it.
On my last day as a corps member, THISDAY newspapers invited me for training immediately I hung my NYSC khaki. I proceeded to their Apapa office, venue of the training where I won the Tony Momoh prize as the best among the new recruits. This gave me the liberty to be able to change my posting from Damaturu in Yobe State to Port Harcourt (PH). I chose the latter in order to be nearer home to keep checks on my ailing father.
I spent a short time with THISDAY before I joined FirstBank. Why? There was no window in PH for me to pull my Dele Giwa stunts. Funny (the Dele Giwa quip), but seriously, I missed writing which wasn’t the core responsibility of the office I got in PH. I was an advert executive. Some of the work I did was handling ads during the launch of Tinapa and supplements on hotels in the South South. Damaturu would have been it but I put family first…
I was on duty in Edo State, waiting to see the then governor of the state, Prof. Osaremen Osunbor, when FirstBank called. I came back and resigned from THISDAY on August 20, 2007- exactly one year after I joined them.
I maintained a monthly column, Off Stage, for Lagos-based Applause magazine and later 234Magazine in my early years at FirstBank until the magazine shied away from the stands. At the moment, I still write but only occasionally; and when I do, it’s usually ghostwriting. I write stories on salient issues and send out to my contacts in the mainstream news media to publish. That way I affect my environment in a subterranean mode.
However, I am perfecting plans to return to my first love, the media. I don’t know when or how but I shall surely return. And that will be very soon, by God’s grace!
On 9th of October, 2011 (notice the serial arrangement of numbers – 9/10/11), I got married to a gorgeous lady, Queen Erivo. Having her as Mrs Ihesinulo has added so much joy and fulfillment to my life.
Queen studied Economics and Marketing at the University of Bologna and worked for a while with a credit bureau agency. She is currently a staff of the Ministry of Interior in Italy. Our union is adorned with two lovely kids, Jamie and Michelle, to God’s eternal glory.
*allowee refers to corps members’ monthly allowance
*amala is a popular meal in Western Nigeria, the home of the Yorubas.
Amala politics refers to the politics of offering material gratification to members of the public to deflect them from more important and lasting issues. It also connotes the politics of patronage that works through conferment of favours to earn loyalty and future rewards.
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