You Have a Price To Pay—Fasilat Rauf on Leadership

To give people, especially current Campus Journalists, a full view into the world of journalism as students, we had interviews with some outgoing Campus Journalists out of many that were impactful during their undergraduate days . We will be publishing series of interviews, starting with the immediate past president of the union, and the longest serving president in the union’s history. It is no fluke her administration was dubbed the ‘Tenacity’ Administration

Fasilat Rauf-Oyedele is a recent graduate of Law from the University of Ibadan. She is a skilled writer, and  an advocate for female inclusion in leadership. She served as the Editor in Chief of the first female hall in the University of Ibadan, Queen Elizabeth II Hall where she provided a structure for the proper running of the press. For the first time in the history of the hall press, she raised funds to purchase a laptop for the effective running of the press activities. She served as the 33rd President of the Union of Campus Journalists,  University of Ibadan where she introduced various systems to resuscitate the act of reporting on campus. Fasilat is an avid reader, writer, graduate of law, a data analyst, entrepreneur and a journalist. She currently works with Decentralize Africa, a subsidiary of Jelurida Africa  as a content writer  with a niche in crypto currency. She looks forward to a world where women are not marginalised based on their gender and background.

Can you tell us how the journey into campus journalism began and what motivated you?

My journey into journalism started in 2016. As most freshmen, I was curious, naive and lost but I had Mr Oredola Ibrahim, the then UCJUI President, who told me I needed to join an organization on campus. In his words, “school is too easy to focus on for 5years.” As at then, UCJUI was the only vibrant student organisation I knew of, so I started off by joining Queens Hall Press.

Are there any ways campus journalism was instrumental to your personal growth or not?

If you are into campus journalism and you can’t boast of how it has helped your personal growth then you need to check yourself. First, I must say that I wrote my first article in 100 level when I was preparing for Queen Hall Press interview. Since then, I’ve written various articles both paid and free. Also, I was able to channel my curiosity to discovery, taciturnity to being outspoken. The list goes ad infinitum

The notion that Campus Journalists are anti-management, how true is this?

(Laughs). I don’t quite agree with that. The question ought to be “are campus journalists anti-management?” because it sounds less factual. Well, I would say NO. To say that campus journalists are anti-management is the same as saying mainstream journalism is anti-government which is untrue. The clashes arise from the need to put the school management on its feet which is mostly considered an affront. There were times we visited the school management to discuss way forward on certain issues rather than publishing. It does not change the fact that we wouldn’t write a report when the need arises. Both management and campus journalists are working towards making the school better, no grievances attached. 

You were the erstwhile President, what were the challenges you faced in balancing academics and discharging your duties?

For every student leadership position, you have a price to pay, which is your academics. I always say that UCJUI is the only student organization on campus that combines the activities of two other students’ organizations. You have to train your members, carry out social responsibility (publications), and maintain law and order at various local press organizations. This is quite overwhelming as the duties are more than tripartite. Most times, official duties clash with scheduled time for academics. That was my major challenge. There were others, let’s just keep it at that.

Did you at any point in time earn opportunities for being a campus journalist?

Yes, I got my first job at a tech company in 2020 because of my affiliation with UCJUI. It’s a long story, in short, I convinced the interviewers of my ability to deliver by stating that “if I could discharge my duties as a campus journalist without getting paid for the things I do, what will stop me from doing the duties I will be paid for? And that was it. I got the job. 

What changes do you expect from the subsequent executives of union campus journalists?

I believe the Union can be better. UCJUI has been in existence for over 30 years and I won’t say that we are there yet. We need a better framework for UCJUI- like a short- term and long–term goal that would be passed down to a new set of executives. Not that every administration will come on board to do new things, but to improve on the blueprint that is set for the next 5-10years. 

Now that you are out of school, do you plan on pursuing a career in journalism?

Not really. I am a very diverse person. I enjoy trying my hands on new things. Now that I still have the chance, I look forward to acquiring more skills and getting new roles to fully decide where I fit in. I plan to settle for any of the roles later; it could be journalism. 

Advice to campus journalists seeing you as a model?

I would say that anything that is worth doing at all, is worth doing well. Don’t waste your time in any organization if you plan to be dormant. I believe it’s stressful to join organizations and be dormant. Make efforts to be better, it’s the reason you joined in the first place. If you can’t cope, take a bow. Put in your best and you will see results.

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