Otunba Niyi Babade is a veteran journalist. He is an International media practitioner hoisting the continent’s flag in global media space. He’s generally known for his reportorial expertise on CNN. But he also has his hands in other areas of the media as he explained to City People’s TITILOPE OSHUNLALU in the interview below.
What have you learnt from international reporting as compared to mainly Nigerian based reporting?
Well, I am an international reporter myself, it is the reason they call me a miracle man because I have the ability to dodge bullets. I have covered Sierra Leone and Liberia war, I know a lot about international reporting.
Kindly introduce yourself to our Readers.
I am Otunba Niyi Babade, I studied Journalism in London and studied history and diplomatic studies in Nigeria
A lot of People wonder why Western Media seems to focus mostly on negative stories from Africa, what’s your opinion?
As a news person,no news is good news, the impression of the West about Africa, despite the fact that they colonised us,they believe we are not doing things well,that was why Trump cannot rate us well, as an African, and Professional Journalists,you need to know how to blend the news around you well.
How will you rate the Nigerian?
They are trying their best,if you give them tools to work with,they will perform better,tools like pay them well,give them a conducive environment to work, encourage them in all areas,but when they are hungry, they will do stories that are not suitable.
Do you feel pressure to deliver or navigate your way in Nigeria because of your CNN post?
There was not much challenge, as we do not see much activity then, so, I started Voices of Africa, which is known as inside Africa now. I brought the idea to CNN, the reason was to show Africa in a positive light abroad.
Nigeria especially seems to have an image problem globally, how can the Media help?
The media can help by portraying, helping those abroad, giving more good news in Nigeria, we have to report news the way it is. Media should be given medium to attend conferences and more.
If you have to sell Nigeria to the world, highlight 5 points to do it.
- Area of entertainment, we have artists and upcoming artists, who are doing well in the entertainment industry up to international level, Davido, WizKid and the rest of them
2. Resilence, despite the situation in Nigeria, we are still doing well.
3. Hardworking, Nigerians are hardworking
4. Ability to break barriers.
5. Business: Look at Billionaires Dangote, Otedola Adenuga, Nigerians are good in business.
How did it all start for you?
Well, it’s a funny story, when I was in school, in Efon Alaye, Ekiti State,I loved taking pictures, so, I bought a camera and went to ask one of my aunties, that I have a camera and what can I do with the camera, my aunty said, Journalist. So, I wrote ‘Call me a Journalist’ at the back of a polo shirt and I was the Editor of the School Magazine then but I wish to retire a Diplomat, that was why I went to the University from year 1 to final level to study History and Diplomatic Studies. I am a fulfilled Journalist. The journey which started as far back as 1985, today, I stand as a Consultant to some TV Houses, to become a Diplomat and represent Nigeria well.
A word of advice to upcoming media practitioners…
They should be determined to succeed at all cost,even if the environment does not permit them, they should not lose focus and say because they are hungry then change stories/news.
What has kept you going?
I love my job, I am a consultant here, I produce news, I direct and I also write news, I also consult for the Nigerian Army School of Information. The passion for the job is what keeps me going.