Writer's Diary: How I Became NACJ UDUS Essayist of The Year


By Abdulrasheed Akere

The 2020/2021 academic session symposium of the National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ), Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto, UDUS chapter held at the university auditorium was a memorable conference on a memorial day. It blooms honour to UDUS campus journalists including me. Primarily, my presence at the venue aimed to drink from the oceanic knowledge of award-winning journalists across five press boards under the NACJ umbrella and dignitary lecturers in attendance.

Abdulrasheed Akere with his award

After exhausting several items on the event's agenda, the programme anchor promulgated the presentation of the award as the next entity on the items list. Distinguished awardees have been called out and I rejoiced, suddenly, I heard from the master of ceremony that, ‘the next merit award, Essayist of the year goes to Abdulrasheed Akere’ I stood up blissfully from my seat and stepped forward gently to the podium where the award was presented to me by Professor. N.L Almustopha (ASUU Chairman, UDUS).

I was elated and glad for the honour it brought to me. Friends, relatives and honchos congratulated me one after the other, a maximum of them said it was a well-deserved award, probably due to my dedication to campus journalism.  I had a passion for writing right from my secondary school days, but I haven't published any article in media press outlet until 2020. I joined the campus press because I was fascinated when active members were awarded for their committed works; I spoke to myself in silence that I can do it and do it well.

I became a member of PEN PRESS, the foremost and the best press board on the UDUS campus through its former Editor-in-chief (EIC), Abdulrasheed Hammad, who encouraged me and gave me the necessary guidelines to be a bonafide pen member. He connected me with the former principal editor, Hayatullahi Abu Lubaba, who motivated me that I can be a good and competent writer.

Initially, Abu Lubaba asked me to write on 'Effect of Covid-19 on Education' which was published by PEN PRESS as my first work. All pen members stand with the board's motto, ‘Pen is mightier than gun’ and always work towards its factual reflection. PEN PRESS has a weekly editorial meeting where members are trained on how to write, what to write and the best way to write it.

The significance and impact of the training can not be underestimated. In our editors’ voice, “a good writer must be a good reader, you can learn and become a better writer by reading other writer's works.” I always put their advice into practice and also learn from their experience to become the best of my kind. I was told that the more I write, the better I become.

Promise Eze, former deputy EIC of PEN PRESS once told me that, 'don’t write purposely for awards, keep on writing for your improvement, when you deserve an award you will be given'. So, those that proclaimed that I deserved the award said the truth. I also bagged the PEN PRESS reporter of the year award in the same academic session. Everyone should know that being acknowledged with a merit award is not day work, it's a result of long-time efforts and hard work.

At times, when other students were reading, we would be writing articles, covering conferences, and attending editorial meetings, among others as if the primary assignment didn't matter. Campus journalism requires extraordinary efforts for one to be justifiable in the core and extracurricular activities. I took journalism as a four-unit course that must be passed, this made me devote the required time and energy to it.

My relentless actions in the field unveiled some facts and knowledge that served as building blocks of my experience edifice. One can not reap what he has not sowed in journalism. The award made me know that the field is promising, if one keeps doing it well, one will be acknowledged. Bunch of appreciation to my mentors for their mentorship, I wish to always make you proud of me.

 Abdulrasheed Akere is the correspondent of ObserversMag at Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto (UDUS).

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