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I went from newspaper sales rep to reporter and now varsity don – Prof Ayuba

Professor Bello Ayuba was once a sales representative with the New Nigeria Newspaper in Bauchi. He later become a reporter with Today’s newspaper and subsequently…

Professor Bello Ayuba was once a sales representative with the New Nigeria Newspaper in Bauchi. He later become a reporter with Today’s newspaper and subsequently switched to academics as a lecturer at the University of Abuja where he has become a professor.

Recently, the University of Abuja don visited his former colleagues in Bauchi and had an interactive session with them. He shared his experiences to encourage and inspire friends and former colleagues, as well as younger journalists.

Professor Bello Ayuba – a professor of Business Administration, is currently the Principal Private Secretary to the Kaduna State governor Uba Sani. He had his primary and secondary school education in Zaria and went to Bauchi in 1984, where he started his career as a sales representative with the New Nigeria Newspaper.

Ayuba disclosed that apart from working for the New Nigeria Newspaper, he was in charge of the sales of national dailies, newspaper and magazines in the whole North East subregion.

“While serving as sales representative, I knew that I wouldn’t want to end up as a sales rep even though I was making money. As a sales representative, I get commission from any newspaper sold out by the vendor. I have either two or three kobo commission whether it is Punch, Vanguard, New Nigeria, Democrat or Reporter in the whole North East. I was making money but I had to prepare myself for the challenges ahead.

“If you are here today, you may not likely be here tomorrow. Things keep changing; you can see the dynamic nature of the environment, how everything is changing.”

Ayuba revealed that, “While working as a distributor of all the national newspapers and magazines, I was understudying my mentors – members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm. I was also understudying my mentor in the office – the then State Editor of New Nigeria Newspaper. I was learning from his write-ups and that was how I developed the skills of writing, and when the opportunity presented itself, I quickly grabbed it.

“I started writing as a reporter for Today’s Newspaper in 1988. After some years reporting for the newspaper, I was appointed the Bureau Chief, in charge of the entire North East subregion. While doing that, I was furthering my education as well as writing and going back to school. I felt it was appropriate for me to continue to further my studies, so immediately after my IJMB programme, I proceeded to the University of Maiduguri where I had my first degree.

“After my first degree, I was posted to Ogun State for my NYSC and immediately after my service, I decided to go into journalism.”

Ayuba said, “What I was trying to explain here is that I started journalism as a secondary school leaver; I was practicing journalism and at the same time furthering my education. Immediately after my first degree, I went back again for my second degree at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria where I obtained my Masters in Business Administration.

“While doing my masters, I was elected as chairman of Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) in Bauchi.”

Ayuba said, “At a certain stage, I felt I should move to another challenge of life so I left journalism for the academia in 2000. I joined the services of the University of Abuja where I started as an Assistant Lecturer and after three years, I was promoted to the rank of Lecturer 2. I was granted accelerated promotion to the rank of Lecturer 1 and then to a Senior Lecturer. While there, I felt it was equally good for me to further again, so I came back for my PhD programme at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU) Bauchi where I bagged my PhD in Management.”

Ayuba explained, “I am not informing you about all these to blow my trumpet; No, I’m only trying to inspire you because I have seen younger ones. I want to show you that you can start from the scratch and at the end of the day, achieve your goals, lofty ideas and objectives. It is just a matter of determination.

“You have to set your own goals – it is either you want to be useful to yourself and to the society or you want to be a failure.”

Ayuba said, “Look at what the social media is doing to journalism these days; you’re here packaging your stories and before you even send it to your head office, the story is all over social media. So, if you look at how things are changing, if you cannot get yourself prepared adequately, one day you will become a laughing stock. This is the reason why I said I must meet up with the challenges and I started chasing them one after the other, step by step.”

Prof Ayuba noted that “Lots of opportunities are waiting for you as journalists and you want to strive hard to exploit them. You will be getting the right push from the necessary quarters. I know why I am saying necessary quarters. Media people are very influential because you can make or mar and due to your influence, you have people at the top who would always be there for you, depending on the manner you present yourself. So, my friends did you understand the motivation and inspiration?”

Meanwhile, some of his former colleagues when he was a reporter in Bauchi say they are not surprised with Professor Ayuba’s achievement.

Usman Abbas Shehu – a friend and former colleague of Professor Ayuba, said Ayuba is someone who is always determined and wants to achieve his goal. He doesn’t want to associate himself with failure, “I remember he once told me that he wanted to become a lecturer and also further his education. Luckily, he got employed as a lecturer at the University of Abuja. If others will be professor, why not him and he has achieved that. So, these are the kind of goals you should set for yourselves and through determination you can achieve them.”

Shehu said there is a big lesson for practicing journalists to garner from the life of Professor Ayuba, especially his determination to excel, because despite all the financial hurdles to take care of himself with little income, he went to the university for his first degree and still came back to continue as a journalist.

Shehu explained, “Another lesson is that in spite of practicing as a journalist, he pursued his masters degree and it became a rider for him to be a lecturer. He still continued his academic pursuit and today, he is a professor. These are lessons for the younger generation of journalists to emulate. Journalists should diversify their knowledge and set a goal that they want to achieve.”

A former reporter at the defunct Democrat Newspaper and colleague of Professor Ayuba, Malam Mohammed Kawu, said “I got to know Bello Ayuba way back in 1988 when I came to Bauchi to report for the Democrat Newspaper, I remember Ayuba took about five to six years reporting and all of a sudden, he applied to the University of Maiduguri for his first degree.”

Kawu said, “During our days as reporters, Ayuba was very creative, always busy doing one thing or the other to benefit himself and his colleagues. While he was reporting, Ayuba developed skills in writing because he was a good writer, writing good stories and good features despite his level of education then. Ayuba was always eager to learn from fellow colleagues and elders around when he was a reporter. It wasn’t a surprise that he joined the academic circle.”

Kawu added that practicing journalists can emulate a lot of things from Professor Ayuba particularly his crave for learning, listening to others and investigating issues for the benefit of the public.

Another colleague of Professor Ayuba, Austine Tsernzughu, said, “I can only describe Ayuba as someone who is determined, committed and focused to achieve what he wants to achieve in life and he has done that because he started as a newspaper sales rep with less academic qualifications. He did not lose hope, but rather went to school.”

Tsernzughu explained, “Professor Ayuba is worth emulating because if the younger generation of journalists want to go far in their career and generally in life, they have to set targets. They should stoop to conquer that target through determination and focus.

“During our days, he was very friendly, nice, jovial and a good mixer. He was also very respectful,” Tsernzughu added.


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