My name is Abdulfatai Ayomide Adams, better known as Ayo Adams or Ayo of Ibadan, which is inspired by my being an Ibadan indigene. I am from Alaadorin Compound in Yemetu and my parents' house used to be opposite Salem Baptist Church. Our farmland is at Akinyele.
My father, Ahmed Abayomi Adams, is an electrical engineer while my mum, Sekinat, is a civil servant.
I was born on 25 September 1994.
We left the Salem area for Iresitedo around Iwo Road towards 1995/96. Iresitedo is a settlement of people from Iresi (in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State).
It was here that I attended Heart and Soul Nursery and Primary School, starting from nursery and finishing in Primary Five, which was named Primary Six, in 2005.
It was in this school, whose proprietor is B. A Agberemi, that a class teacher, Mr Akinola, who was also a photographer, used to send me to develop his photographic films at a studio near the Alao Arisekola Mosque. I happily carried out the task.
I was the one he sent, maybe because he believed I was smart, but, indeed, I was.
I was in the Top Five in his class.
Girls, namely Sukurat Olajide, Folashade Afeniforo and Suliat Rasaq, usually took the first to third positions. When they would have shared those positions, they left the next top positions for me, Alabi Lukman and Bello Korede to share.
I became active in the arts and cultural performances from this school. I also used to draw well.
We used to perform a lot of cultural displays and playlets that the people in the neighbourhood used to look forward to.
In one instance, I was to be removed from one of the cultural performances because they said I was not getting the dance steps but I persisted.
My mum's younger brother, Nurudeen Akinwale, had also made me and my siblings to have interest in Yoruba language and culture. One of the books he used to read to us was Eda Omo Oodua by C. L. Adeoye.
In Primary Six, I played the son of a judge in a playlet based on a book which title was The Impartial Judgment although I cannot remember the name of the author.
In the play, the judge's son had got himself into some trouble and the people thought that the judge would let him off but that did not happen.
Once when I fell ill, and a rehearsal could not continue without me, the teacher came home to plead with my mum, a civil servant, to allow me to join the troupe, even if for an hour or two. My mum let me go. This act boosted my morale.
I was outspoken and had a sense of responsibility.
From a young age, I had always been active in making things happen. Even the ones I could not do, I always offered to try.
My dad was my first role model in selfless leadership. In our community, when it was time to make contributions toward developments, he would always lead the way. At home, he was always up and doing. If anything got spoilt, he would fix it.
I attended Loyola College from September 2005 to 2011.
From the second week of being in the school, I was made the captain of Class 1A.
I started exhibiting leadership traits from when we got admitted that when the class teacher asked for nominations for the captaincy, all the boys mentioned my name.
This time around, there were no girls to outshine us: we were all boys.
But then, nothing was going to take me out of the Top Three.
I was Class Captain till JSS 3 because I became the school's health prefect. You cannot occupy both positions.
To choose perfects then was like an employee interview. The interview was conducted by the vice principal (administration).
I had made up my mind that I would be the health prefect, because during my deliberate interactions with the prefects, in preparation for a possible role as one, I liked what the health prefect was doing but I believed that I could do better. So, when we had the interview with the VP Admin, I offered to be the health prefect.
In the senior class, the teachers chose the prefects but I was not interested.
I joined the Press Club.
My Uncle Nurudeen had, by then, graduated in mass communication from The Ibadan Polytechnic and was already writing for Nigerian Compass and Leadership newspapers.
He greatly influenced my choice of career.
I had filled mass communication in my Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB) form but I was given performing arts.
I believed it was the same as theatre arts, so I had no problem accepting it; after all, I had been acting from primary school.
And, thanks to my parents: they never said there was no route in the path I had chosen.
Technically, they chose the University of Ilorin, where I was admitted into in October 2011, for me. They had found out that the university then had an uninterrupted calendar: no strikes.
Truly, we did not have any interruption.
I graduated in 2015 with second class upper.
You could major in drama, dance and music. I majored in drama.
But I intentionally did compulsory courses in media.
I co-produced radio drama, stage plays and films for marks. I performed in the convocation play.
I directed a play Hard Choice by Sunny Ododo in my second year.
My time in performing arts complemented my journey from primary school to secondary school.
I was exposed to creativity.
I learned from the greats. Prof Ayobami Akinwale taught us directing, speech and oral presentation. Dr Dolapo Ojediran and Prof. Zikky Kofoworola were my project supervisors. They are specialists in theatre directing; Prof. Abdulrasheed Adeoye taught theatre directing while I learnt radio and film production in Mr. Adesina Adegbite's classes.
In my second year, I did a six-month industrial attachment with Amuludun FM and in my third year I was at BCOS (Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State), also for six months. Here, I was attached to Lanre Akanji, popularly known as the "Anointed Presenter" and I was sent out to do Vox Pop. Akanji said that I was not just ready to take over the world but also that I had been ready for so long.
I like to think that I am always ready to take up any role.
For my National Youth Service Corps, I taught at the Ugwogo-Nike Community Secondary School in the Enugu East Local Government Area.
While in Enugu State, I created a social media hub, which I called Enugu 24/7, to document places and individual events in Enugu.
I was aggregating activities in Enugu and gradually was getting invitation from folk in the city who wanted mentions and tell stories about their events.
Of course, I knew I was doing something important, not necessarily to make money.
I came back to Ibadan soon after we completed the service, hoping to get a job; to join a media house. But it did not happen. I wrote a lot of applications.
Enugu 24/7 had taught me that I could build a brand.
I joined Emiralty Africa as a Public Relations Executive remotely when I was about to leave Enugu.
I started working for a shoe brand as a PR Manager for a salary of twenty-five thousand Naira a month. But, the owner's wife said I was not getting her bag when she came to work and I was not sweeping the floor.
I lasted for only one month. I did not even collect the salary.
At some point later, they asked me to come back to work for them. I gave them my terms and conditions which they did not like. No deal.
I applied to EbonyLife as a content writer.
They did not even get back to me.
I believe that if I do that now, it should be different.
I met an elderly man who advised that I could send out opinion pieces on tourism.
I was getting jobs in Yoruba.
I decided to go for a master's degree in theatre arts at the University of Ibadan, specialising in media & PR. When I was going for this programme, I applied to Silverbird Production for a job in Digital Content Production. I started the job but spent only a month as I was required to manage both Ibadan and Lagos. I resigned and focused on my postgraduate studies.
I earned my master's in 2019.
My opinion pieces in newspapers including the Tribune were getting attention.
Through Emiralty Africa, I was able to work on Adebayo Salami’s brand.
I got an offer to be a Yoruba Language instructor/ translator at ODTC Consulting, an Ibadan-based research and product development firm.
I was there for a year, in 2020.
Before ODTC, I worked with my friend, Ayo Fatoba, on the effect of COVID-19.
There was a time I was tagged on a COVID-19 video with Morgan Freeman voice-over and I was challenged to make a Yoruba version. Of course, I did it. It was a public service video.
I believe, and work more on content that are going to bring positive turnaround to people.
I created a tourism community, Tour Ibadan, and we went to places on select weekends and I started using visuals to tell the stories of the places
I think the one I did in April 2021 on the magnificent mansion of Salami Adebisi Giwa at Idi Ikan, Ibadan showed me that I have something serious on my hands. And: I began to take my YouTube channel seriously. The video has had at least 33.8k views on Twitter where I first share my pieces via my handle, @theayoadams, before posting the full video on YouTube.
I did everything myself.
But, I have inspired other people to join me, including my younger brother, Abdulbasit Adams and my cousin, Salaudeen Ahmed.
I currently work - during the week - at YES FM - as digital content producer.
I work at weekends as Ayo Adams to change people’s lives and the results I am getting are heartwarming.
Worthy of note is that what I do makes my family, particularly my parents, happy gives me the motivation to continue to tell important stories to impact communities and individuals.
I am providing community service.
I did not set out for the money.
I do not think that currently what I am doing will be a business venture. However, if you contact me for a commercial job, then it is a different matter altogether - that is money-making.
TO KEEP US GOING
This initiative which started as a demonstration project for an intern of The Journalism Clinic has, before our very eyes, taken a life of its own, demanding a lot more resources than envisaged.
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Taiwo Obe, FNGE
Commonwealth Professional Fellow
Founder/Director, The Journalism Clinic
+234 818 693 5900