Wednesday, March 21, 2018


I’m blessed to have beautiful, strong and intelligent, super amazing women in my life; that I could write a bestseller about each of them.

Today, being International Women's Day, I dedicate this Facebook post to one of these special amazons. They say people make the world go round; I think women make the trip worthwhile.

I remember walking into her office in Lagos about 10 years ago, not knowing what to expect. She had fixed an appointment after one of my closest mentors had introduced me to her. Fresh from the university, I was simply armed with a degree in Industrial Chemistry and untapped potential, waiting to be ushered into a professional world I didn’t really know much about at the time. And I wondered if I could fit into it.

But she welcomed me warmly after I had introduced myself. She had that vitality and effervescent personality. She asked me about my passion for writing and then gave me my first ‘journalism’ test. About an hour later, I was ushered back to her office with my ‘script.’ She read it. Although she said she was a bit impressed with my writing; she noted that it needed more polishing. But then, she asked me to resume that week in the magazine where she was Editor-in-Chief. Just like that.

She gave me my first chance to become a professional journalist. I took it like my life depended on it. I knew I had to make my closest circle proud.

A few months after swapping my chemist lab coat for professional journalism robe, I won my first major award, as the magazine’s “Writer of the Year.” It was a brand new standing fan, which she presented it to me. I felt on top of the world. She had so much confidence in me and belief in my raw talent, it was almost like I was her special somebody. It was a huge statement of her faith in me, and that unexpected gesture spurred me to greater heights.

I literally wrote a part of my first award winning story while sitting in her office. She had brought a Nollywood guru to her office and sat me down with him. She threw questions and discussions about Nollywood and its history at him, to give me deeper insights into the Nigerian movie world. I listened with rapt attention and asked questions where I needed to. But she was the driver. About two hours later, it felt like I had become a Nollywood guru myself. Those insights literally became flesh for me as they sank into the meat of the story I would write later on. Armed with this new knowledge and further research, I went out to interview the who-is-who in Nollywood at the time; actors, producers and directors.

Let’s cut to the chase. My Nollywood piece became the cover story for the National Standard magazine. It went on to win a Nigerian Media Merit Award where I emerged Nigeria’s best entertainment reporter of that year.

For over a year, I learnt the ropes of quality journalism, excellent writing and leadership from this amazon; from hours-long pep talks, discussions to editorial meetings at the office. She gave me daunting assignments, because she just had faith in my abilities, even when I didn’t believe I could. She was my boss, teacher, mentor and big sister, all rolled into one. The editorial meetings were brainstorming sessions; she drove everyone to perform better; “No, you can do this and that better!” She would always insist. Sometimes, it seemed she was hard, but simply getting the job done wasn’t enough, she wanted it to be the best, and for you to be the best at it.

The team was like a family. During production days, when we had to stay over at the office on some nights, she would order food for everyone from a choice eatery. She did a lot more to motivate staff, and me. For a bloody reporter, and a rookie one at that, the salary wasn’t so much then, but I was driven by my passion, and a woman who pushed me towards excellence in my profession, so much so that journalism became my ministry, despite my Industrial Chemistry background. I didn’t need to read professional journalism books per say (although I read a few) to become better; I was literally being schooled by a doyen at work every week.

Nine months after I had joined the magazine, I was to go for the compulsory national youth service in the Northern part of the country. She paid for my flight ticket to the NYSC camp. Then she insisted that I got redeployment to continue my job with the magazine in Lagos. Although it didn’t work out, she still gave me a few editorial assignments to do from my NYSC base, and assured me that a job was already waiting for me as soon as I finished my youth service.

She kept her word.

Mobola Lanre-Badmus. Thank you for the platform you gave me to explore and harness my potential and talents; for the opportunities to grow and excel; for simply being amazing to me.

Thank you for the standing fan too. I’m out here, eternally standing, because being outstanding in one’s calling or profession is one of the many great things I learnt from you. Thank you so, so much, from the depths of my heart, with love.

P.S: In the jet age of smartphones, microwave ovens, instant coffee, Internet banking, quick fixes and quick results, not everyone takes a chance with potential or raw talent.
But great people mostly do.

At every stage, recognise the people God brings into your life, either to teach you or vice versa.

Sometimes, all someone needs is a chance, and another one. Be someone’s guiding light; it doesn’t diminish yours. If it is in your place or power, provide a platform for them to discover, harness and maximise their potential and talents. Be patient with them, to help them become a better version of themselves.

Take a chance with potential. Give someone the opportunity to bask in the klieg lights of your inspiration. It might just be their audition for future greatness.

Happy International Women’s Day. 

First published online on March 8, 2018 to mark the 2018 International Women’s Day. 

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