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Why I Don't Take Life Too Seriously – Online Publisher, OLUMIDE IYANDA

Olumide Iyanda is one journalist who has carved a niche for himself in the profession. He is the former Editor of Saturday Independent. He is a great personality and fun to be with. He has a robust sense of humour. Not many would know that he has already turned 50. Of course, he doesn’t look it.

Mighty, as he is fondly called, by his close circle of friends is the Founder/Chief Executive Officer, Mighty Media Plus Network Limited. He is also the Publishers of QED.ng. He started journalism way back at the now-defunct Tempo Magazine. He has since gone to establish himself as an Entertainment reporter, Political reporter and now a Publisher.

Last week, Brands Editor, DAMILARE SALAMI 08155134152 had a chat with him, during which he opened up on his life at 50. Below are excerpts from the interview.


To start with, how do you feel being 50?

Well, I feel like I have always felt. I’m healthy. I’m happy. I’m grateful for life.

Looking back at the last 50 years, what would you say life has taught you?

Well, very simple. I have learnt that I do not own the world and I get as much as I put into anything I do. I have also learnt that I can always be as good as I rate myself.

What was growing up like for you?

Well, it was tough. I lost my mum before I turned 7 but I had a wonderful dad who played the role of a father and mother at the same time but unfortunately, he died in 2010. My father was a very wonderful man. He was pretty young himself when my mum died and it was tough in the beginning but with time, he got used to it. There were days when things were tough and there were also days when things were fine. I grew up in an atmosphere of love. I had siblings that were wonderful, my sisters and brothers, my life was God. As I said, there were tough moments but I like to look at the positive side to appreciate the family that I came from and the wonderful childhood that I had.

How would you describe your personality, the Olumide Iyanda that many don’t know?

Well, I’m a very open book. In fact, the truth of the matter is that people can actually tell you about me more than I can tell you about myself. I am carefree. I try to be as honest as I can be with anybody, I’m open. If you want to say is there any particular information about me that people don’t know, I’m not sure you will find one because almost every information about me is there in the open.

Looking into the future, what would you say lies ahead?

To do more of what I’ve always done. To affect those around me positively, I like to call myself a teacher, I’m a journalist but if you check my bio, I also put it there that I’m a teacher. I want to teach others as much as I’ve been taught because I got here by the virtue of all the support and all the things that I’ve learnt from a lot of wonderful people. I am a product of an environment that taught me a lot of things and I would also like to teach others the things I’ve learnt about life, and even more…

Sir, very quickly, why did you take up journalism?

Ok, people have always thought that I was going to be a lawyer and I really wanted to be a lawyer. My secondary schoolmates still call me baby lawyer till today because of the Yoruba character in the soap opera, Village Headmaster. My dad also was working in the medical field then, and my mum also wanted me to become a doctor but you see, I couldn’t pass mathematics to save my life but I like to tell stories. So when I was in secondary school, I was a member of the press club and it’s interesting how I became a journalist. I went to the university and studied history actually but while I was on campus, I was writing for a campus magazine and I became popular. I became the editor of that magazine and back then at the University of Ibadan. It was the biggest, it was called Echoes. I hope they can still bring it back. So, I started writing and became this popular journalist on campus and when I was done with the university, it became natural for people to tell me to go and become a journalist… I met Mr Babafemi Ojudu, he was the managing editor of the Tempo magazine. We spoke for about 15 minutes and he was convinced that I would make a fantastic journalist and I started. And so, the rest they say is history.

Looking at your journey from the Tempo to qed.com that you now publish online today, what would you say shaped your career?

Let me start by saying that I’m a failed musician because I can’t sing to save my life and I can’t play any musical instrument. But I grew up with my dad had introduced me to music at a very young age. I learnt everything I know about music from my dad, I took a lot of interest in music and love it so much but I can’t sing or write music. By the time I left the university, I had almost all of Fela’s music. People knew me because I was also a part-time DJ on campus. So, when I met Mr Ojudu, he wanted an entertainment reporter and he employed me because of my perceived knowledge of music. I would say that the biggest fraud I ever did in life was making Mr Ojudu employ me as an entertainment reporter because I like music. Music actually shaped my career in the early days. After I left Tempo, I went to Punch to write entertainment and of course, it’s a bigger platform and I won a few of their awards. And of course, I also think that we changed the face of Saturday Punch back then. Those who knew me at Saturday Punch would tell you about some of the things I did. So, entertainment, music and the art shaped my career. However, I have since then gone to become wider. I became the editor of Saturday Independent and as an editor, you will have to widen your scope. I reported politics, business, and others. At Tempo, I was doing politics and business, but at Punch, I only did entertainment. I am a different kind of journalist. I used to tell people that I have a personality of a businessman but I have the mentality of an entertainer.

What’s the difference between journalism when you started and where it is now and how do you think the business can be better?

Journalism is more dynamic now. We now have greater tools to work with. I say to people who are practicing journalism that the possibilities they have now are endless. It was endless in my time too but the technology now makes it a lot easier, especially for people who want to work a little extra. In my time there was no GSM and when you go to conduct an interview for someone and you are not even sure that you will meet them. To get information, you have to go to the Daily Times library, Punch Library or even TheNews library and you are not even sure that you are going to get the information because someone might have taken the reference away. Today, you have information at your fingertips. You have access to people, you follow them on social media and what have you. Journalism has become a lot easier today but the people practicing it are not as thorough as those in the past. Those who do well now are those who are thorough and take advantage of the opportunities available. The difference now is that you have greater access to information and you can get your work done at a fingertip unlike in my time.

Is there a way being an Iyanda has influenced your career?

Well, as I said, I started with my dad; my dad is the late Gabriel Iyanda, he set me on the path of music and taught me a lot of things growing up. Even my mum, I knew for just six and half years before she died. I still have a lot of recollections about some of the things she taught me and of course, my sister, Funmi Iyanda. Interestingly, when I left the university, I wanted to take a break from writing, it was Funmi that actually pushed me to go and meet Mr Ojudu. So, there is no way I can cut this off from my family. And my older sister, Mama Nothing Spoil,” a lot of people don’t know that she is my blood sister. I actually come from a family of creative people. There are also a lot of people that you don’t know in the background. You know Mama Nothing Spoil, you know Funmi Iyanda but there are other people too.

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