This week’s edition of Life Stories focuses on two women who have been outstanding in their profession. Chizoba and Adeola spoke about their successes, challenges and future endeavours.
OGBECHE CHIZOBA MARYANNE
Mrs. Chizoba Maryanne Ogbeche graduated from the department of Sociology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State with a B.Sc in Sociology in 1998, and thereafter enrolled into the University of Abuja for MSc in Sociology (Criminology emphaisis). She also completed her post graduate diploma in Journalism at the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Abuja, in 2014.
She is a current deputy editor with Blueprint Newspapers.
Ogbeche joined the journalism profession as a reporter in 2001 with the Abuja Today Newspaper, having worked as a public relations officer (PRO) in the hospitality industry after her one year compulsory National Youth Service Corps programme in Osun State.
She joined the LEADERSHIP Newspaper Group in February 2006 and rose to become an assistant editor in July 2007.
She moved to the Blueprint Newspapers in 2012 where she was editor in charge of the crime desk and was subsequently promoted as deputy editor.
She is an active member of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as well as the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), where she has served as financial secretary and secretary FCT Chapter, respectively.
She has won awards in recognition of her job as a journalist including the NUJ Torch Bearer of Press Freedom Award 2019.
My major success on the job is growing from a reporter without a background in journalism to an editor.
Also, having groomed and inspired young journalists, some of who also joined the profession like me without background in journalism, to succeed on the job.
Unfortunately, my greatest challenge is gender-based. I have experienced discrimination by my contemporaries because they see me as a woman rather than an editor.
I have also had similar experience with my subordinates who would address me as madam rather than editor but hardly refer to male colleagues who are editors as sir.
Sometimes, it is as if they want to remind you that your place is at home where madams are home keepers. I have become used to it and it doesn’t bother me anymore. What is in a name or title? I try to do my job to the best of my abilities and my gender doesn’t and has never affected my performance in any way.
I look forward to having more female journalists as editors and in management positions in different media organisations. Yes, the situation has improved over time but there are still much more males than females in editorial and management positions in the media.
I also look forward to when the profession will be reformed and standards are set in terms of employment, remuneration and condition of service. As it is now, the profession is an all-comers affair.
I equally look forward to getting to the peak of my journalism career by becoming a title editor and eventually own a media outfit with bias for women and children related issues.
My advice to younger female journalists is to stay focused and not be intimidated by direct or indirect attempts to cut them down. They can’t control how people react to them but they can control how they react to such people by ignoring them and focusing their attention and energy on becoming better on the job. That way, they will shame those who didn’t give them the chance. They should always bear in mind that their gender has nothing to do with their performance and many women have excelled in the journalism profession and other fields of endeavour. So, there is nothing stopping them except themselves.
Mrs Adeola Tukuru, born on August 9, is married with two children. She hails from Ondo State by marriage. Tukuru obtained a National Diploma at Bwari Polytechnic now Dorben Polytechnic and proceeded to the University of Abuja for her degree. She officially started reporting in 2006 in Abuja and she is currently a line editor.
I owe my successes to God Almighty for coming this far. The key thing about this job is to make impact in the lives of people one way or the other and I know I have made impact through my reportage. I remember one report from one of my human angle stories. It was about a young man who was shot and abandoned at National Hospital after a riot in Nassarawa State. I took up the story, interviewed his family and took his pictures. After the report came out, the then governor of Nasarrawa State, Almakura, flew the man to India for treatment. I also remember a story of a pregnant woman that was abandoned at Wuse General Hospital after she had an accident while traveling with Peace Mass transit. In the cause of my investigation, Peace Mass transit was expected to foot medical bills of travelers who were involved in an accident with their buses but they didn’t until I reported the case and the transport service finally paid her medical and she was later discharged. I have also been able to do meaningful things for myself and my family.
The challenges are enormous; having to balance motherhood and journalism together. In the cause of the job, I gave birth to my children and you can imagine what it is like looking after them and also meeting deadlines in the office. In the cause of the job I also went back to school, so I had to ensure I attended classes, took care of my children, husband and also report on the field. It’s been one of the toughest challenges so far but it’s been God all the way.
I also get sexual harassment from the other gender in the line of doing my job. Some will tell you to meet them at hotels while some term your closeness to get stories as been sexually loose. Also, having to report stories at any time and day of the week especially weekends is also very challenging.
Your family expects you stay at home and cook for them but you are already running out for stories. Insecurity and inadequate remuneration are other challenges.
I want to further my education at least to PhD level. I look forward to the freedom of speech bill being put into use whereby journalists can express themselves freely without fear or favour. I look forward to the federal government heeding to the masses’ plights through our reportage such as providing basis infrastructural needs for the people. I look forward to the insecurity been abated where we can all walk freely and sleep with our two eyes closed. I look forward to a better remuneration for media practitioners and I hope for a better Nigeria.
I urge younger females to be very hard working because the work will speak for them. I also enjoin them to be consistent and respectful to those ahead of them because it is those ahead of them that can pave the way for them. With these, the sky is their limit.