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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: My Father's Name Paved Way For Me In The Media World - OSRC Broadcaster, Folajogun Akinlami Shares Her Life Time Experience



Folajogun Akinlami is a broadcaster and Presenter at the Ondo State Radio Vision Corporation (OSRC) in Akure, Ondo State. In an EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with EMPIRE MEDIA NG in an online segment tagged ONDO EMPIRE MEDIA TOUR; a platform created to showcase media personalities and individuals within Ondo State. Folajogun who is the third media personality and first female to appear on the segment shares with us her experience in the media, life time experience,  reason for being a broadcaster  and the aim of establishing her organisation, DIFFERENTLY ABLED FOUNDATION.

Read the full content of the interview with her below:

• WHO IS FOLAJOGUN AKINLAMI?

Folajogun Akinlami is a broadcaster who was born in the 1980s. I am the first of three children from my mother, I have two younger sisters. I attended Saint Helens Nursery and Primary School, Ondo and graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.  While my father was a broadcaster, my mother a secondary school teacher at the time but later retired as a secondary school Principal

• YOUR PARENTS, HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE THEM?

My childhood was interesting and fun-filled. My father was a broadcaster, just like I said earlier and he loved us all dearly. And my mother, being a disciplinarian; doesn't pamper us. I was never treated differently from my sisters despite my condition (she had polio then). My mom would hold me accountable for them since I am older than them.

` HOW CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND OTHER CHILDREN IN YOUR ENVIRONMENT?

The fact is, there is nothing like stimatisation. I was not stigmatised. But there were instances where other kids assumed they could bully me but they soon learnt the hard way. My hands were strong and they really feared my punches or slap. Anytime, any day I had a chance of boxing them to a corner, it usually was the beginning of the end for them. Even my mum forbade me from slapping any of my sisters. But believe me; I was given due respect younger ones should give their elders.

• HOW WAS YOUR GROWING UP LIKE?

While growing up, at some point, I forgot I had a disability because there was always room for me to do things I couldnt do. Once of it was a game of jumping we engaged in as kids called Luske. It is played by drawing lines and hop on one leg in between boxes. My sisters always created room for me so I could partake.

• WHAT WERE THE AMBITIONS YOU NURSED AS A CHILD?

Just like my father, I have always wanted to be a broadcaster. Though he died when I was seven years old and anytime people see us (myself and my sisters), they link us with him and his profession and how good he was. Even years after his death and till now, the name still opens doors and I love that.

• YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND, HOW WAS IT LIKE?

Going to school was a bit of delay as a result of my condition. Nevertheless, I attended primary and secondary schools and thereafter, I went to study English at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and that was how I came into journalism.
 I could remember during my first year at Saint Louis Girls Grammar School, Akure, my ankle twisted twice; it was a very painful experience then that I had to be rushed home.
The school being a sloppy area, we do trek to and from school to home and anytime I fell down, people would pity me and say sorry. It always got me annoyed because I dont like that type of attention that get people attracted to me. Because of that, I always had issues with colleagues, especially those ones who deliberately wanted to ridicule me. Regardless of that, it was an interesting period for me whenever I look back today.

• WHAT KIND OF STIGMA HAVE YOU HAD TO DEAL WITH AS A GROWING UP CHILD?

What comes to minds of most people when they see me is that she is fragile, helpless and weak. But it becomes a surprise to them when they deal with me. They realise that their initial thought about me was wrong. My abilities leave many people apologetic about their thoughts.



• AS A BROADCASTER, CAN YOU SHARE WITH US YOUR EXPERIENCES?

At first I was terrible at broadcasting. Got all the names wrong and had "intrusive H". Couldn't read Yoruba at all not to mention fluently but I had a lot of help from people who were so determined that I would make it in the industry. I joined OSRC in 2006 fresh from school, and I was welcomed into the fold as a freelancer. They started training me through some rigorous methods till I learnt to pronounce all the names correctly, till I learnt to read and deliver Yoruba script like a professional. My presentation unit bosses were always on my case till I got it right, I got a lot of insults, was compared to my dad severally and I would fall short. I kept hearing phases like " omo eni iba Joni aba yo". You are nothing like your dad, my moral would drop and then I would pick it up again and again.

There was a day, I mispronounced one of our staff's family paid advert name. The woman drove down from the news room to the FM and gave me a dirty slap. After the slap, she gave me the script to go read again. I read in between tears and got the name right. She then spent the rest of her years in OSRC making trying to make it up to me.

When I went to serve in Lokoja, my "intrusive H" was to be removed by fire by Force. I was yanked off air severally (that was and its still the most humiliating thing any presenter can experience). At Grace 94.5FM Lokoja, they brought in whites ( Native English Speakers) to come and train us and then one of my bosses then Enigma, loaned me her computer and I had to re-learn all the words that started with alphabet "A" and the ones with "H".

It took me weeks, but by the time I went back on air, my M.D gave me the name Spicy- Phoenix (meaning I have been reborn with a hot spice).  I rocked the name.
After my service, when I returned to OSRC, I started hearing phrases like "Like father, like daughter". And since then, it's been from one smooth sail to another.

• WHAT MOTIVATED YOU INTO THE MEDIA SCENE AND NOT ANY OTHER PROFESSION?

My father was a broadcaster of repute and when he died I made up my mind that his name wouldn't die with him. I lost him at the age of seven and growing up, anytime people hear my surname they always say" Are you the ace broadcaster's daughter? The great Bamikole Akinlami's daughter? And they would go on and on about how good he was behind the microphone and how they can never forget him and his contributions to the media in Ondo state and so on.

When it was time for me to choose a University I chose OAU and the minute they dropped English Studies on my lap, I knew I was going to be a broadcaster like my daddy.

• WHO WERE/ARE YOU ROLE MODELS IN THIS CHOSEN PROFESSION?

My Bosses in OSRC all my presentation unit bosses then. They were my mentors and my role models.

As at today I learn from the likes of "Mo Abudul, Ellen Degenerous, and the Opera Whinfrey



• NOW TO YOUR FOUNDATION, WHEN DID YOU ESTABLISHLISHED YOUR NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATION?

Yes, I founded an NGO called DIFFERENTLY ABLED FOUNDATION and this came as an offshoot of my television programme, Beyond challenges. It was established last year, August to be precised and in September 2018. Between August and September, we've carried out 12 projects, where we provided clothes for 300 deaf children in 30 days. Items such as school uniforms, sandals and some writing materials were provided in 30 days.

• HOW DID YOU COME ABOUT YOUR FOUNDATION?

I believe there is a lot to be done aside talking and sensitizing. My team and I once interviewed a hearing impaired man (deaf) at the Ondo State School for the Deaf and we saw some of the students in torn school uniforms. Speaking with their principal, we found out that some of the students there had been abandoned. Their parents just came to drop them there and left. The government provides clothing, feeding, accommodation but the government cannot alone do everything.
I looked at these children, some of them were below age five and tears rolled down my eyes. I couldnt sleep, couldnt rest, I kept seeing their faces  the faces of those voiceless children. Then I knew that I had to do something for them. While I was meditating, I decided to establish an NGO.

• PROJECTS YOU'VE CARRIED OUT SO FAR?

So far, DIFFERENTLY ABLED FOUNDATION has been able to carry out almost 12 projects within Ondo State and environs. Some of these projects include: Back to school, Project Equip.

• IN WHAT WAYS DO YOU THINK PERSONS LIVING WITH DISABILITIES CAN MAXIMISE THEIR POTENTIALS TO COME OUT BIG AND SUCCESSFUL IN LIFE?

There is no body spare part shop where you can just order brand new legs or eyes or any body part. My advise them to learn how to live with what they cant change. They should identify their talents and potential and work on them. People in this category should stop complaining instead; they should learn to live life to the fullest despite their conditions and in no time, they will overcome such challenges.

© EMPIRE MEDIA NG.



MISSED OUR PREVIOUS INTERVIEWS WITH ONDO MEDIA PERSONALITIES, CLICK BELOW:

® Expect More Of Lafta Unplugged Than Before - Sweet Steve

® EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: "Self-Censorship is a broadcaster's duty to society"- Adeolu Gboyega


WATCHOUT  FOR WHO OUR NEXT MEDIA PERSONALITY WILL BE.

ANY MEDIA PERSONALITY YOUVE BEEN WANTING TO KNOW MORE ABOUT??? NO PROBLEMS, KINDLY REACH US VIA CALL OR WHASAPP ON 081-4444-3171 AS WE GET THEM INTERVIWED AND YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM.

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