MY ODYSSEY THROUGH JOURNALISM AND PUBLIC RELATIONS PRACTICE.


 

By Otori Ozigi

 

It goes without saying that my over 39 years eventful journey in Journalism and PR practice was not accidental in any way.

As a young man growing up in the sleepy town of Ihima, I have always wanted to be a journalist during my highly successful 5 years in St. Augustine’s College, Kabba, Kogi State.

I got my inspiration from the remarkable life of one of the doyens of journalism in Nigeria,Late Dan Ikunaiye, the former Editor of The Sunday Herald Newspaper, published by the Kwara State government.

I was an active literature student in my secondary school years.
I was one of the bright minds in the school.

I actually emerged as the best overall student of the 1982 set with two awards to my credit.

I was also the Assistant food prefect in my set .

My literature master, Mr Momoh Ahutu ,a native of Ihima town, actually played a significant role in my choice of career.

He gave me the necessary encouragement to pursue my lifetime ambition to become a journalist.

Fortunately for me, I passed my English and Literature subjects in my WAEC examination at credit levels.

I actually obtained credits in 6 subjects out of the 8 subjects I registered for.

It is noteworthy that I also sat for external WAEC in form 4 and obtained 5 credits at a sitting.

But I couldn’t proceed for higher education immediately,due to financial constraints, as my mother who singlehandedly sponsored my primary and secondary school education could not raise money for me to sit for JAMB.

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Undaunted,I decided to travel to Lagos state to go and do menial jobs to raise money for my University education.

I was employed in Lagos as a bar man in one of the famous hotels at Isolo town, where I worked for over 2 years to save enough money to fund my territory education.

It was at this point that I saw an advertisement by Times Journalism Institute, Lagos state,calling for entries for enrollment for professional training in Journalism.

I bought the form and sat for examination and was given admission to pursue the highly intensive training program.

It was during my industrial attachment with The Herald Newspaper, Lagos office, that Late Ikunaiye ,my mentor, decided to offer me automatic employment as a Senior Reporter with the newspaper, because of my exceptional performance with the newspaper.

I was immediately posted to the Murtala Muhammed Airport Ikeja as an Aviation Correspondent.

I was one of the go-getters and reliable hands in Lagos Office.

As fate would have it, I met and developed a mutually symbiotic relationship with Late Agidi Ovurevu, a former Management staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority,NPA, Lagos.

It was the Late Mr. Agidi who facilitated my employment with the Nigerian Ports Authority ,NPA as a Public Relations Officer in 1988.

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I now began a highly successful career with the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, that lasted for good 20 years, before I voluntarily retired from the service of NPA to go and pursue a full time private PR practice with one of the leading Advertising and Public Relations company, namely M–Gold Communications Ltd, Lagos

As an adventurous man, I utilized every opportunity I had to develope myself academically through informal education and training programs.

That was how I benefited from both local and foreign trainings and Media related courses that would enhance my knowledge and broaden my horizon, as a journalist and PR expert.

It was while I was with NPA that I studied Media management at Institute of democracy in Africa at the prestigious University of St.Thomas, Miami, Florida. USA .

I was also a media member of PMWACA that took me to no fewer than 6 Countries in Africa as a federal government delegate to Senegal, Ghana, Republic of Benin , Togo, Cameroon and Congo Brazzaville, for the council meeting of the association.

NPA also offered me the rare opportunity to attend International Trade fairs in Kano, Enugu, Kaduna and Lagos state.

As an Assistant Editor of NPA News magazine for over a decade,I had the privilege to visit no fewer than 26 states in the country today.

My Journalism journey brought me to Kogi State,where I was offered employment as a Media Aide to the wife of the former Deputy Governor of Kogi State,Mrs Grace Salawu for another period of 6 years.

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After the expiration of their tenure in office,I transferred my service to The Graphic Newspaper, Kogi State for another 3 years as a Political and Crime Correspondent.

I ended my active journalism practice in 2015 to try my hands in PR consultancy till date.

To God be the glory,I made sure I gave my children University Education to the highest level they desire in life.

That was how I was able to produce 5 graduates, including a Masters degree holder in Civil Engineering (Structural), from the prestigious University of Ilorin, Kwara state.

If you are asking me if I have abandoned my dream to study Mass Communication or Journalism in the University,I would say no.

I have obtained admission to study Mass Communication at the Nigeria Open University,at their Lokoja campus.

Yes. Otori Ozigi is going back to school.

Money is no longer a hindrance.

Satan is a liar.

The above writeup is culled from my autobiography soon to be published to serve as an inspiration to the younger generation in Ebiraland.

You can become whatever you want to become in life, if you work hard at it.
I’m a resilient and resourceful person.

Poverty and adversity can not hold me down from reaching out for the sky.
Yes,I feel fulfilled in life.


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