‘Trainings you want, Trainings you get’

By Lekan Otufodunrin

I have been involved in media trainings for journalists and other professionals for years, but none compares with what I had to do in the last three weeks which involved travelling to Borno, Kano and Kaduna states.
More than ever before, especially as I prepare to become a full-time media career development specialist from next year, my desire has been that I begin to get opportunities to lead media trainings for various organisations and institutions.

What I didn’t bargain for was the kind of plan God had in stock for me. I have been used to trainings in Lagos, south west states and occasionally Abuja, but the SRAP-C Media Training on Corruption Reporting and Storytelling organised by ActionAID Nigeria in especially Maiduguri, for safety reasons, was something else.

In my bewilderment as I read the mail on the three weeks schedule from the Project Manager, I heard a voice saying to me “Trainings you want, Trainings you get.” In some moments, I wished I didn’t ask to be considered as a facilitator for the project. I wanted to be part of the training in Lagos, but what was available was not what I bargained for.

I came up with supposed ‘good’ reasons why I should be excused, but those who recommended me said I had no choice. “If you are planning to become a full-time trainer, here is your chance to boost your profile. Don’t blow it,” my contacts told me.

My boss at The Nation, who could have turned down my leave request because of the sudden exit of my deputy, shockingly said “You can go. Take your leave. It’s what you like doing”

The dreaded three weeks are over. I couldn’t have imagined missing the awesome opportunity of interacting with widely experienced journalists based in Borno, Gombe, Bauchi, Adamawa, Abuja, Kano, Jigawa, Katsina and Kaduna.

Along with my co-facilitator, Mr Francis Nwosu, retired Deputy-Editor-In-Chief of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), we had the opportunity to challenge, inspire and exchange experiences with participants on how the media can better report cases of corruption in the country to ensure good governance.

Together we reviewed the practice of the profession and drew attention to emerging trends and new opportunities for being a journalist in a new media age despite the myriads of challenges we have to cope with.

The workshops are over, but there are group and individual story proposals on the four thematic areas of the project including Tax, Power, Education and Health for publication and broadcast by the participants who are more empowered with relevant skills to hold the governments in their states more accountable to the citizens.

One particular thing that gladdens me about this training is that my message of conscious career development resonated throughout the sessions. From the feedbacks I got, I could sense the determination of the participants to become more professional in their practice.
I can’t wait to commence a nation-wide training tour to other states. Definitely it will happen next year.

This morning, I am joining two other mentors to facilitate a week-long Female Reporters Leadership Fellowship organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism in Lagos.

I’m looking forward to another exciting shared learning experience with twenty female journalists from across the country. Expect to read the details of the programme which promises to be very impactful like the first edition.

Trainings I want, Trainings I am getting. I am not complaining. To God be all the glory.

Lekan Otufodunrin, is Journalist, an Arthur and Media Career Development Specialist.

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