By Akintunde Akinleye
I never wanted to be a photojournalist. I loved broadcasting and had nurtured dreams since childhood of being a radio or TV correspondent. Almost by accident, I picked a camera at age 11 instead and started shooting pictures. Well, here I am.
My first degree was in social studies at Ondo State University, in Nigeria’s southwest. It didn’t do much to advance my photojournalism career, but I learned about society – both theory and practice! Years later, I did two post graduate diplomas — in journalism and mass communications.
In a country like Nigeria, academic qualifications don’t take you far, though, unless you also learn how to adapt to the rough and tumble of life here. Be sure, Nigeria is a school!
My birthplace is a country of 160 million — a vibrant population housing something like one fifth of the world’s black people. It is blessed – or should I say cursed? — with huge natural resources that for decades have attracted foreign visitors to trade with it, and eventually, in the case of Britain, to conquer and colonize it.
The people are its best resource, more important than oil or gas — though politicians seem to forget this sometimes. Some of the best brains in mathematics, engineering, economics, literature, medicine, photography, and music have emerged from its shore. Economists frequently say it has the potential to join the world superpowers.