Nigerian lawyer, journalist and media entrepreneur, Chude Jideonwo opens up to TopNaija.ng‘s Founder, Isaac Oladipupo in an exclusive and inspiring interview (2011). The multi-award winner talks growing up, success and humility.
Chude Jideonwo is one of the few young Nigerians who’s been at the forefront of championing the course of a new Nigeria. He is also the co-founder of RedMEDIA/The Future Projects and Editor of Y!
Tell Us About Growing Up…
Chude: I’m the only child of my parents, who gave me the best childhood and education I could hope for. I mean they would do anything to make sure that the foundation was great. It might have to do with the fact that, for instance, my mother is a teacher! My father – God bless his soul – passed on two years ago. He was a brilliant man, the best father money cannot buy; he was just a rock and a solid one at that. My mother is responsible, I always say, for giving me that spirit of reaching as far as I can. She is my role model. And growing under my mother and my father was just a blessing. I couldn’t have asked for anything else.
Ten Years In Journalism And Still Waxing Stronger, Why Did You Choose Journalism?
Chude: It’s incredible really. From the children’s choir in church and drama group, everyone thought perhaps I would sing or act. It wasn’t until my 4th year in secondary school that my desire and talent for journalism developed. And I absolutely credit the Vanguard newspapers for that. I had started writing fiction, small novellas that I sadly cannot find now from Primary 5, and you know I kept doing that, writing stories and keeping them away. But from JSS3 I began to read newspapers voraciously, and my father’s favourite was Vanguard which soon became mine too. They had a delicious crop of writers, some names I cannot even remember who have left, and others like Obi Nwakanma, Helen Oviagbele, Dele Sobowale and others who are still there, and I would read these columnists and the reports and I wanted to be like them; to break news, to influence opinion, to tell stories.
You’ve Done Quite A Lot In A Short While; Tell Us About Your Career…
Chude: Ah, I have done a lot of things o! Let me try and remember. My career started as TV presenter with Levi Ajuonuma’s The Sunday Show in 2000; I was researched with Inside Out with Agatha and then Celebrating Jesus with Gina Harry. I worked with Funmi Iyanda on New Dawn, which showed on the NTA Network. I was Columnist with Tempo magazine, columnist with Thisday with the Sons & Daughters two pager, columnist with The Comet which is now The Nation, I have even been a personal assistant! In the period I was with the international NGO Common Ground Productions, from where I grew to become Assistant Director and then Associate Producer and then moved to the PR department, as assistant publicist. I have been a pioneer writer for a number of magazine brands True Love, Made, Joy; written for Farafina and others.
Aside Journalism, You’ve Been Very Active In Championing The Cause Of A New Nigeria. What Drives These Moves Of Yours?
Chude: The major drive is nothing highfaluting. It’s a simple worldview and I and my partner Adebola are terribly passionate about this: If not us, who? If not now, when? When I decided to form the EnoughisEnough group, it wasn’t a grand plan; it was a simple, spontaneous idea that sprung from a desire to make a point that we are not a do-nothing; we need to show as a country that we have a threshold as we can’t just take anything that we find. Government should be afraid of the people! Not the other way round! What kind of country is it that takes anything that we are given without complaint? It was on my birthday that I led the march to the National Assembly in Abuja, and family and friends were worried, and I said to them, is it this small sacrifice that we are afraid of? Marching to the National Assembly in a democracy and followed by the international media? What’s the big deal in that! If we cannot take even this small action, then we are truly screwed as a nation and as a generation! Change will not come unless we work towards it. It’s not enough to make noise in our bedrooms or on Facebook. We really need to take charge of our destiny, and I cannot have enough of saying that.
Read Full Interview on TopNaija HERE
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