Star interview with Lara Owoeye- Wise
1. Please, can you tell us who Lara Owoeye- wise is and your journey into Journalism?
Answer:- Lara owoeye -Wise is a very simple, thorough human being, a humourist. I like to laugh. I am a Christian, a lover of God and people and children. I am a journalist by profession and a firm believer in the betterment of this great country Nigeria and also an optimist.
I will say that my foray into journalism started when I was all but a little child. I remember seating in front of my mum’s dressing mirror with my dad newspaper turned upside down in my hands with me saying whatever came to mind in imitation of newscaster I saw in the television. I also, right from that young age, loved to write and read continuously. When I graduated from the University of Jos, I went to learn the job, I went to the news magazine and I vividly remember being the only female reporter at that point, which was in the period of Abacha.
A very traumatic period to say, my colleagues and I were beaten, hounded in prison, it was so bad that one of my colleagues was killed. Anyways I am very happy to say I was one of the fighters back then.
2. Why do you choose journalism, and looking back after many years in the industry, will you say you are fulfilled as a journalist?
Answer:- I don’t think I chose it, I think it chose me. Like I said earlier, I think it has always been a part of me right from my young age, I had passion for it right from a young age. I will say I am very fulfilled as a journalist in the industry. looking back and at every struggle, I will say I am very fulfilled. I have had a very fulfilling and satisfactory career and I thank God for that.
3. Can you share some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the industry and how you have been able to manage them?
1. The first will be the tools of trade for Nigerian journalist. I believe that Nigerian journalist are among the best, if not the best, journalist in the world. We don’t have the equipment and tools of journalism. That is the biggest challenge. We don’t have the modern technology used in developed countries and that is the biggest challenge.
2. Another challenge is the lack of remuneration for journalists in the country. There is no health insurance, no housing scheme, and no retirement benefits. Most of our senior colleagues that are retired, retired on nothing, most of us have to make extensive plans for our day of retirement and it is not supposed to be so.
3. Gender discrimination is also a problem cause it is believed only males can do the hard part of the job. i really worked hard so as not to be found wanting in any area,
I became the best at my job so I won’t say I was really affected by it because I was never found lacking.
4. Can you share some of your biggest achievements as a journalist in the industry?
Answer:- There are quite a lot but the one that is most dearest to my heart are my awards. I am the first female winner of the most coveted Wole Soyinka award for investigative journalism in the tv category, I won the Nigeria media merit award, I have won the Nigeria health reporter award and lots of others. I have been on exchange programs, I am a member of the international centre of reporting in Washington dc. I have covered some very daring assignment to the point that I was seeked by all to cover stories for them. I am the only one who was allowed to enter into kirikiri maximum prison to interview cliford Orji, I disguised as a sister to him so as to get to see him, so I made my name not by relaxing but by going out to do certain things that brought me this achievement.
5. Apart from being a journalist do you also do other business or if you have opportunity can you leave journalism for another industry?
Answer:- Yes apart from journalism I do other businesses, I am a master of ceremony so I do MC very well, I produce, I shoot documentaries, I am a voice-over artist, I write, sing, play the guitar and keyboard and I am an actor. I am not sure I can leave journalism for another industry because even though am not into mainstream journalism now I still do things that make stay in touch with it.
6. You set up a foundation after you lost your son to Leukaemia, please tell us the idea behind this and what has been the impact of the foundation?
Answer:- The name of the foundation is timileyin hope foundation in honour of my late son memory. Basically what we do is to rehabilitate young mothers, girls who got pregnant at the age of 12 above, by putting them in school and we have discovered that most of these girls are exceptionally brilliant and they end up doing very well in school, it is very heart-warming to see these young children succeed.
7. Congratulations, you turned 50 years old recently please can you share with us things you have learnt in the last 50 years of your existence in life and career.
Answer:- It wasn’t easy, I give God all the glory because a lot has happened over the past 50 years.
– I have learned that no matter how hard things may seem, things will still be alright at last. Nothing bad last forever because, in the end, good things will surely come. There is always this light at the end of the tunnel. Joy comes in the morning.
– Number 2, the virtues of patience and silence are incomparable, just do the right things and things will work out. Patience solves a lot of things. I don’t fight for things, I work hard to get things done.
– Number 3, is Spirituality, I am a Christians, I am a firmed believer in Jesus as a son of God. I have found out that without God nothing works. You can’t go far without God’s factor.
– Also I have learnt that in any area of a person’s life, the truth always prevail. It doesn’t matter if everything around you seems against you, it doesn’t matter because in the end the truth always prevail.
– Another lesson is the benefits of silence and time. Keeping calm in the face of turbulence and with time you shall prevail. Let time take care of things for you. An example of this is when I got my recent appointment some people went on social media to campaign against me that I must resign, I remembered that time I was not feeling well, I was treating malaria then, people began to call me not to worry about them that they are fighting for me. I kept quiet and went about my normal daily activities but I speak at the right time because my principal was being dragged into the mud.
– Another is that of contentment. Being content with what you have and not being greedy saves you from a lot of unnecessary trouble because it makes what is best for you come to you.
– Also another is friendship. I am blessed with good friends in my life. Friendship is the equity of life. make sure to cultivate, manage, grow your friendships with people because no man is an island on his own and at some point in our lives we fall back to our friends.
– Another lesson is that of humour and laughter. always learn to take life simple, learn to laugh, learn to look and take everything from the lighter side. Laughter makes you happy and happiness is good for the body. keeps you young, healthier and much more free. There is always something to laugh about in every situation.
– Another lesson is that there is nothing you do in this life that goes unrewarded. It is the law of life, be it good or bad. you will surely reap what you sow. so always make sure to be good to everyone in life.
8. You are so passionate about God and the things of God, are you a pastor in the making?
Answer:- Yes I am passionate about God and a firm believer in the faith but no I am not a pastor in the making
9. Now you are now into politics, S.A to Deputy Senate President, do you have a plan of contesting for a bigger position in the future?
Answer:- Well I always felt I will be a politician but as for a bigger position, I will say let’s see how it goes.
10 . Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Well in the next five years I see myself in politics want to own a radio station and also opening a training institute for the younger generation of journalism, teaching them the right way in which journalism should be practised.
11- What will be your advice to the young person who want to go into journalism?
Answer:- My advice for the younger generation is that journalism is not for the layback, the lazy. journalism is hard work, it is serious business. make sure to learn the ropes with all humility and obedience.
Make sure to have a role model, a mentor in which you can learn from and look up to.
Be passionate about your job, build yourself as the very best that you will be sort after by everyone. Make sure to defer to superior authorities at all times. Always make sure to be up to date with news and happenings around the world and be dedicated.