Two time national president of the Nigeria Association of Women journalists (NAWOJ),Chief Mrs. Ifeyinwa Omowole’s passion has always centered on journalism, defending helpless women and becoming their voice at any given time. When the opportunity presented itself to serve the umbrella body of female journalists both at the state and national levels, she was quick to grab it. The rest, like they say is history.
Omowole whose members and colleagues fondly refer to as a dynamite, fashionista, game changer or the Mother General of defenseless women, finally agreed to speak with Gtechnews via Zoom but not before series of emails going back and forth, in a simple statement the number one member of Nawoj said, “I will be leaving behind a vibrant NAWOJ”.
Born over 50 years ago to Sir and Lady A. Okafor from Delta state, married to her heartthrob, Mr. Adedapo Omowole, an Ondo state indigene and blessed with four children. Omowole said, “My journalism career started in 1992 at the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), where I was employed as a reporter, today, I am a Deputy-Editor-in Chief in the same establishment. Journalism is a profession of passion- once you are not passionate, you have lost it. When I joined the profession, there was more passion for the job, there was zeal and dignity. Everyone looked up to you and had a kind of reverence for what you do. “The truth is that most people who became journalists in those days didn’t necessarily study mass communication, very few schools offered the course at that time, and they just had flare for
writing and good command of English and language use. What we see in newsrooms now, are young people who do not have the patience of the older ones. We need to go back to mass communication schools, we need to comprehensively change the curriculum of mass communication schools to suit the realities of time and make it more hands on, more field work, more industry placements as well as ensure that those who are in the practice of Journalism or retired are more in the teaching staff strength of mass communication schools. To help the younger ones have nose for news, we need to teach them that in the mass communication schools”.
On data journalism, the enigmatic National president noted that it is the trend and Nigeria is on track, saying, “That is where the strength of the younger generation of journalists lies. I must say that so far, at least in the news room where I work. I am impressed by the way we embraced data journalism and the younger generation is driving it”.
Omowole who was supposed to complete her tenure on May 18, 2020, but for COVID-19, which dictates that people maintain physical distance and large gatherings have been stopped all over the world, said, “As I step aside I will be remembered as Mother-General as I am fondly called by members of NAWOJ because of my insistence on training and other vibrant activities in all chapters of NAWOJ.
Like every servant leader, Omowole laid bare her scorecard, according to her, she promised training and delivered her promise.
“We have tried to ensure that we facilitate that all over our chapters. NAWOJ at the state chapters have also become very vibrant, our chairpersons are no longer waiting for the National secretariat to roll out events, they are marking international observance days that has to do with women and children, they are doing charity work, conducting training for themselves including skills acquisition training. Some have initiated mentorship programmes for secondarily school girls, some have gone as far as road safety programmes, marking Zebra Crossing on busy roads in their cities”. She enthused that she would be leaving an all round vibrant NAWOJ, an Association that has become a household name.
“All my predecessors did brilliantly well because everyone had a focus, and they achieved it. My focus was on training for all and that is my scorecard. Training and retraining was my drive, I was conscious of training and re-retraining and it’s importance to professionals. And that is what I did, instill the consciousness for training and re-training and the consciousness to give back to the society where we live and work by being involved in campaigns that will save lives, change lives and bring healthy living to our communities. In my time, even chapters that had gone moribund became very vibrant and the few vibrant ones became excellently vibrant”. And what exactly turns off Omowole, she has this to say, “I am turned off by lies, betrayal of trust. For me Loyalty is 100 per cent not 99.9 per cent. Let your yes be Yes and your no be No”.
Omowole loves good music, dancing and also love to make people happy, “I love it when people around me are happy, I usually go the extra mile to ensure people are happy and a passionate defender of women, she said”.