“The Day I saw it was a day before the deadline ” – Ademola Adepoju, winner of Goal essay contest

Reading Time: 9 minutes

[Interview]–Earlier in September 2017, foremost sports journalism platform in Nigeria, goal.com, organized an essay competition for Nigerian students. The competition was categorised into two major categories, Category 1 & Category 2.  The first category was for undergraduates and NYSC members throughout the country whilst the second category was for senior secondary students across the country.

The essay competition which was in its second year was created to spur young Nigerians to write using Football as a vehicle to explore their imagination. The reception that welcomed the competition was widespread, albeit its seemingly short assigned period for submission, it still recorded over 600 entries from all over the nation.

ADEMOLA ADEPOJU emerged winner of the first category of the competition, ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO emerged as his runner-up while OREOLUWA JAMES emerged as the winner of the second category. BOLU DANIELS caught up with the three of them and had brief interviews with them.

Excerpts:

 ADEMOLA ADEPOJU

BOLU DANIELS: Kindly Introduce Yourself?

ADEMOLA: I’m Adepoju Ademola. I’m a graduate of Project Management and currently serving in Osun State.

BOLU DANIELS: How Does it feel to have won the essay in the Second Category?

ADEMOLA: As with (almost) every win, it feels very good, knowing that the Judges found my essay worthy of winning the competition. It provides me a sort of validation for my writing.

BOLU DANIELS: How did you get wind of this essay competition info?

ADEMOLA: I saw a call for entries on Brittle Paper, an online literary magazine. The Day I saw it was a day before the deadline. I almost didn’t eventually submit my entry, but Thankfully, I did; and Here I am!

BOLU DANIELS: Do You Have An Interest In Sports Journalism?

ADEMOLA: Maybe. I like to keep my options open. I do poetry, prose and a lot of fictional write-ups; so maybe sports can also get fixed in it someday! Maybe, Maybe Not!

BOLU DANIELS: If Not Writing, What Would It Be For You?

ADEMOLA: Project management basically. It’s a discipline I love and fortunate to have studied it in the university. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

BOLU DANIELS: Describe Yourself In Five Years?

ADEMOLA: In five years, I’ll love to have been an author of at least a novel.

BOLU DANIELS: Any Advice For Prospective and Young Writers?

ADEMOLA: Every writer, including myself, should just keep reading and writing. And then keep repeating the process until the craft becomes excellent.

 

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO

BOLU DANIELS: Kindly introduce yourself?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: I am a final-year student of Law at the University of Ibadan who has fallen in love with the rites of writing rightly and generally stringing words together to achieve beauty and make impact. I am equally a campus journalist, lover of arts, grey supremacist and embryonic entrepreneur.

BOLU DANIELS: You recently emerged third-place winner in a nationwide essay competition by Goal.com; how does it feel knowing that your essay was third best in the nation?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: It feels highly fulfilling. And this is for many reasons, not just the position or reward – the great number of entries that were received for the competition, the quality of judges who evaluated the entries and the fact that I participated alongside members of the National Youth Service Corps and was the only undergraduate to make top three. It gave a powerful push to my cart of confidence, and I am grateful to Goal Nigeria and the University of Sussex for this.

BOLU DANIELS: How did you hear of the essay competition?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: I believe the first time I set my eyes on the opportunity was through WhatsApp. A friend, Damilola Omotosho, had sent me the link and urged that I participate. I then checked it out, was fascinated by the topic and noted it for action. I, of course, have no regrets today.

BOLU DANIELS: Do you have interest in Sports Journalism?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: Oh, not at all. Some of my friends who know about my apathy for sports were surprised to find my name on Goal website as a winner for a football-related competition. When one of them asked how I went about it, I simply replied with the words: “the power of research.” I do not have a favourite football club, either locally or internationally, and I do not follow trends in the industry. This is not something I am proud of though; but neither am I ashamed of the fact.

I saw the topic as a challenge and proceeded to battle. I had to ask friends who were familiar with Nigerian football fundamental questions and hold Google by the scruff for needed information. At the end of the day, it paid off. During the awards ceremony, Ms ChisomEmmenuellaOreoluwa, the first-prize winner for the second category made a similar confession. So I guess it is less about what you know now, but how far you are willing to go in learning.

BOLU DANIELS: Asides Law and Journalism, what else tickles your fancy as a student?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO:I consider my fancy as one that is excitable; it is easily stimulated especially by words in any form and interesting facts and theories in any field. So I have a natural liking for such things as poetry, public speaking and content development. I have also recently developed an interest for graphics designing, digital marketing, web development and social entrepreneurship. I hope to drive these interests to the point of proficiency soon enough.

BOLU DANIELS: If not Law, what would it be for you?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: It would be a career that challenges me, intrigues me and maximises my skill in writing. Law or not, I cannot imagine a future for myself that will suffocate my sense of morality, longing for expression and aversion for inhibition and rigidity. I also cannot imagine one without me championing one corporate solution or the other. I look forward to embarking on a voyage of discovery, trying out many things, seeing which work best for me and hoping for the best. I am sure that, as anyone else, I can excel in virtually anything I put my mind to. But I seek more than excellence; I seek heartfelt fulfilment.

BOLU DANIELS: Who is Kunle Adebajo in 5 years?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: All things being equal – and life is a PhD holder in inequality – a graduate of Law and lawyer, professional writer, author of multiple books, full-fledged entrepreneur, a host of other things and, on a light note, possibly a husband (emphasis on possibly).

BOLU DANIELS: Your advice for prospective writers?

ADEKUNLE ADEBAJO: You are your own incubator. If you are reading this, then you already have all it takes to hatch your success story inwriting. So look inward. Do not be eager to seek help or attention from others. Keep working on yourself in silence, with confidence and persistence. If you hit hard enough, your iron will glow; and if you dig well enough, you will find the soothing spring of success. In the end, we cannot all become Wole Soyinka, NgugiwaThiongo or Kazuo Ishiguro. But we can all make true impact through the pen; and that is all that matters. Everything else is extra.

OREOLUWA JAMES

 BOLU DANIELS: Kindly Introduce Yourself?

EMMANUELLA: My name is Emmanuella Chisom James. I am 15 years old and an indigene of Rivers state, Nigeria. I am a writer, a blogger as well as a poet.

BOLU DANIELS: How Does it feel to have won the essay in the Second Category?

EMMANUELLA: Winning Writinggamesng 2017 is one of the best things that has happened to me. It was an honor to be recognized as the winner and a even greater honor learning in the course of writing the essay that I can always channel my creative ability in whatever area I want.

BOLU DANIELS: How did you hear of the Essay Competition?

EMMANUELLA: I was told by my mentor, Mr Zion Oshiobugie about the contest. He was the one who asked and motivated me to apply for the competition, though I didn’t want to since I hadn’t interest in sports

BOLU DANIELS: Do You Have An Interest In Sports Journalism?

EMMANUELLA:Winning Writinggamesng has enabled me to see that the scope of writing is very large. I do intend on reading journalism and being a sports journalist is an idea i fancy at times.

BOLU DANIELS: What Is that Special Thing About You As A Secondary School Student?

EMMANUELLA: I am currently the assistant prefect in my class. Im an Ss2 student and I stand as a role model and inspiration for my juniors.

BOLU DANIELS: If Not Writing, What Would It Be For You?

EMMANUELLA: I honestly dont think I can do anything but write. I was born to write and I’ll die writing. I dont see why you should live doing anything you can’t die for.

BOLU DANIELS: Describe Yourself In The Next Five Years?

EMMANUELLA: In the next five years I’ll already ve done with my secondary school. I do hope to have published five books. I recently published a book, ‘Feelings’ on Amazon which is a collection of my poetry. I plan on having my own writing academy that will help to inspire and motivate other young writers like me. I expect to be a renowned blogger by then.

BOLU DANIELS: Your advice for prospective writers?

EMMANUELLA: It’s true that we have successful Nigerian writers such as Chimmanda Ngozi Adichie and Wole Soyinka but the general attitude of people towards writing and most form of art is yet to be changed. I know a lot of people don’t see writing as a ‘professional’ course or career but I believe you should define your profession and not the other way around. For the future writers I advice that you prepare yourself for the hostlity of the society but it will only be a test of your passion. Stay true to your heart and never stop writing.




Copyright 2017 The Page. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.thepageng.com as the source.

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