BY BOBOYE ONDUKU
Two consummate professionals, Olubunmi Ojo and Taiwo Obe, who have given it all in their chosen fields of endeavour, tell of their early career forays, challenges and new turns
EARLY FORAYS IN PUBLIC HEALTH
I found myself in Public Health as a microbiologist. And I became so passionate and decided to build my career in Public Health. I joined civil service in 1984 and my career started with my posting to the defunct Federal Vaccine Production Laboratory, Yaba (FVPL), Lagos. It was actually amazing as production of vaccine was just a topic in my final year at the University of Lagos.
THE MID-CAREER TURNS
I had challenges with my boss then, as she saw what I did not see in myself and she became so antagonistic and would not put me through process of learning. However, I refused to be perturbed and kept following the preferred anytime he was given a job and I kept learning that way. A day came when my boss had an emergency and could not come to work and this day coincided with a major task that could not be delayed or postponed. The person she was training was also absent. This was a real dilemma.
I opted to try my hands. And this was done successfully and at a good speed and everyone was shocked. The news went round and people including my boss congratulated me the following day. Personally, my trust is in God and He is always there for me. I love jobs that challenge my brain. I love breaking new grounds due to God’s favour upon me. NEW TURNS
My service moved to Epidemiology division of Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) when FVPL was closed down. And I decided to relate a niche around International Health Regulations (IHR). I became more passionate and put all I have into it. Even now in retirement, I am still involved in IHR and global health security
Taiwo Obe: ‘I dream of a journalists’ hub in Igbara-Oke’
EARLY FORAYS IN JOURNALISM
My first ever byline in any newspaper was when a columnist in Nigerian Tribune (now late) Labanji Bolaji (ESELBY) published a letter I had sent to the editor on my observance of a broken widow pane at an about-tobe commissioned General Post Office at Dugbe Ibadan.
That was 1975 or 1976, as a young secondary school leaver, working as a library assistant while waiting to get admission into college. I did get admission into the Institute of Management of Technology, Enugu, and from the first year, I was made the editor-inchief of the Mass Communication Department’s newsletter, on merit.
THE MID-CAREER TURNS
Mid-1988, I took a break from my work as supervisor of copies at the defunct THISWEEK magazine to serve the Alfred Friendly Press Fellowships at the Washington, DC bureau of what was Newsweek International m a g a z i n e . Coincidentally, while working at as a library assistant in Ibadan, my fascination with Newsweek magazine made me dream a b o u t working with the magazine.
I did and it was an enriching experience. A couple of years later, I was editor of Media Review, the industry journal. I did this for five years before co-founding TaijoWonukabe Limited, which is another story altogether NEW TURNS 2014: I started operating The Journalism Clinic which vision is to “raise the next generation of first-rate journalists in Nigeria.”
About the same time, I won the Commonwealth Professional Fellowship which took me to the Thomson Foundation in London, United Kingdom to be trained in convergence journalism. I have a dream: to establish a hub in IgbaraOke, my town, where journalists (and content creators) can come for (re)training, research and recreation.