Seasoned broadcaster, Rashidat Mustapha-Olagunju, in this interview with STELLAMARIES AMUWA, bears it all on her experience and journey so far, in journalism.
How it started I attended the Holy Trinity Nursery School in Kano, then proceeded to Shekara Girls Boarding Primary School, Kano and later gained admission into Moremi Girls High School Offa, Kwara State. I have a diploma in public administration from Kano Polytechnic and BA in mass communication from Bayero University Kano.
How long have you been in NTA? I joined the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in July 2000. Through the years, I have worked in the programmes and news department. As a programme person, you have to know how to use the camera, lights positioning; programme directing, audio mixing and others. In basic production techniques, one thing i realized is that if you have the background as a programmes person and you find yourself in news, definitely the knowledge you got from programmes department will impact on your input and general operation of the news room.
I started as producer II in Programmes unit. I produced programmes like ‘Light of Islam,’ ‘Issues,’ ‘What It Takes’ (a carrier programme) ‘Zuma Kids,’ and what’s cooking: before I moved to the news directorate. I was a news caster and presenter in NTA channel 5, Abuja. As a news person, I covered Islamic beat, foreign affairs, health and I am presently the head of education desk in the NTA headquarters. I produce a basic education focus programme, ‘Basic Education,’ a 30 minutes programme that highlights efforts geared towards building a standard basic education for Nigerian children of that category.
Has it been worthwhile? Yes it has! Although it has been a bit challenging but fruitful. The most important thing is, if you like what you are doing, not all about the money, then you will find the job enjoyable. Having passion for what you do will keep you going. Working environment also matters a lot. I have a very good working relationship with my colleagues although once in a while we might have beef which is natural as human but usually it is over within minutes as you find yourselves eating from the same plate shortly after the arguments, 95 per cent of people I work with are people I am comfortable in their company. I see them as my family because I spend most of my time with them in the office.
Work kind of music do you listen to? I love old school, old school from the 70s and 80s. Either in English, Yoruba or Hausa. You know you can relate with the messages therein. which to me is almost absent in today’s music.
Where is your best tourist destination? I love Tiga dam in Kano for picnic that’s when we were growing up in Kano the dam was constructed between 1971 and 1974. It is a major reservoir on the Kano River, the main tributary of the Hadejia River. I also love visiting the beach. Incidentally I am not a Lagos person but whenever I find myself in Lagos, I ask my husband to take me to the beach.
Tell us about your family? I am married with children. I am the second child in the family of
seven; six girls and a boy.
What does fashion and style mean to you? Fashion to me is whatever I am comfortable with. I don’t like tight fitted dresses, I love free loose gowns that I can just flow in.
How do you unwind? I listen to music and I play games. Once in a while, I go out with my husband for grilled fish and may be Nkwobi.
What is your beauty routine? I don’t have any. My cream has always been pears lotion or shea butter. I use powder just once in a while when I am going on air because my makeup artiste would want me to put a little powder on my face and little makeup but once I am off air, I quickly wash off the whole thing.
What is your favourite meal? I am very adventurous when it comes to food as I eat just about any food; tuwon shinkafa, edika ikon. I like Banga soup, Ekpankwukwo, Amala, Gbegiri, ewedu. I love cooking.
How is your plan for retirement from civil service? I pray God keeps me safe to see that moment of retirement. I want to be closer to my creator. I don’t want much, I tell my husband to build me just a small bungalow with big space of land for garden behind. I want to be a strong member of the Federation of Muslim Women in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and one other NGO. That is just all I want.