Wednesday, 9 March 2016


Abimbola is one of the most intelligent columnists I have come across. She has consistently written on Thursday Back page of the Punch Newspapers. Back pages are always reserved for ace writers.

Writing columns is not a very easy thing to do; having myself tried writing columns for some newspapers. It requires dedication and passion for what you are doing. You write under every condition; happy, sad, sick, well, disposed to, not disposed to etc. Your consistency is what will keep your readers happy and makes them love you the more. You can see from her write ups that she addresses contemporary issues as they come and therefore has to write all the time.

She is also a popular person on facebook who has managed to get all her readers thinking and commenting on contemporary issues. I consider her  sound and so does my husband.

Her write ups always remind me of how a preacher can take a bible story I have read severally and give it a slant that i never averted my mind to. Her columns have come without fail and are balanced too. She has no sacred cows. I wish the government or people in authority will bother to read her write ups and implement a lot of her ideas. I decided to interview her to find out how and when her journey to writing columns began.
Her interview

Your full names and any nicknames?
Abimbola Adunni Adelakun aka Adunnibabe
How long have you been a columnist with Punch Newspapers?
Since 2008.
How did writing columns start?
I started by writing inside pages on October 1st 2008. After I published Under the Brown Rusted Roofs, my boss took an interest in my writing. He asked me to start with an inside op-ed page and I could write on anything I fancied. It was very scary then putting your opinion forward because I was young and practically inexperienced! If I could turn it down, I would have immediately. Well, I was not given the option so I had to do it. I started at it without a lot of confidence but it got better. I found my voice and I am still working on making it better and stronger. Sometime in 2010, my editor decided I was due for an upgrade and so he moved me to the back page. It’s been more than three years now and I can say that I have enjoyed the experience tremendously.

I was in Abuja Literary Society when you presented your book, what has been the reception been? Are more works on the way?
The reception of that book was fantastic! There was little to prepare me for what was coming anyway but it changed my life in very remarkable ways. One, I made a lot of friends and fans who just love that book. Two, I had an unforgettable experience with critics. It was so much fun. Yes, there are more works on the way. My biggest frustration has been the time factor. I spend a lot of time studying and writing academic essays these days. It is tough to think creatively when you have to read and write for your professors every week. However, I have been working on a draft of a novel for three years now. The story has been re-written like three times and it is still not quite ready. You know, I am many things right now that I was not when I wrote that book. I am a columnist and a PhD student for instance and I am conscious that anything I produce must be of far higher standard than my maiden work. That is why I refuse to be rushed by anyone or anything. I am not in a hurry and I am not trying to prove anything to anyone. My readers send me messages all the time asking “when?” and I just tell them to be patient. It’s going to be worth the wait for them, I believe. 

Frankly, I am not sure about how important talent discovery is in the whole scheme of things. I believe one should strive to do what one loves and absolutely enjoys. For me, most of the things I invest my energy in are the things that I love. I love to read, write, have intelligent conversations, learn and unlearn new things, travel, meet people, help people and equally importantly, just play! You know, just take a few moments to be mischievous and laugh at yourself and the mess you make. All the things that I reach for, work hard at, are to enable me achieve these things. If that is what “talent discovery” is all about, then I am awesomely lucky.

Low moments are when I am under-read or misunderstood. I get a lot of email feedback and sometimes when you read readers’ response, you wonder if some people read the same piece you wrote. No, I am not against people disagreeing with me but I get deflated when people react to what they have closed their heart to and therefore misunderstand. Sometimes, that attitude turns out to be an invaluable feedback because it makes me reflective on whether I didn’t articulate a point very well or no. It’s all very useful anyway because every mail I get means that somebody took their time to respond to my ideas. You cannot place a price on that.
 As a columnist, my high moment comes when my readers understand me and even elevate the argument. As a writer, I feel good when I get fan mails from people who read my book and they tell me that they laughed out really loud when they read it. Or when older people tell me it reminds them of their growing up years. Or generally when people can take away something from my book. On days like that I feel enriched and blessed. I go back to my computer and attack the new book with vigor. 
 Hmmmmm! I think this is a little bit early to say. If you ask me during my 80th birthday –if I live that long- you know, it might be easier to view my entire life as one broad canvas and make a sensible assessment. Now, the way I characterize my life is one huge mosaic with the colorful pieces still being fitted into a whole. I do not have the whole picture so I cannot take the sum total and declare myself “fulfilled.” However, if you are asking me if I have a sense of satisfaction, I will say both yes and no. Yes, because I love my life. If I die today, I would probably have no regrets. No, because like Apostle Paul, I am continually striving to be better. I forget the things that are behind and I press towards the bigger goals, and of course the more profitable rewards ahead. My life is one unending striving towards that sort of transcendence Any word of advice for upcoming writers?
I get a lot of mail from people who want me to teach them how to write. I always ask what they are reading at the moment. That, for me, is the first thing an upcoming writer should note. It is important to read, read and read more. There is no way you can be a good writer without reading extensively. 

Another thing is to take a leap of faith and just write. People tell me they are afraid of being wrong or facing criticisms from more discerning readers. I tell them to just write. Of course, have an informed opinion but don’t let the fear of criticisms keep you from self-expression. If you want to live a criticism-free life, don’t write, and don’t be president. Both expose your flanks and flaws. If you however don’t mind criticisms, then start writing and get better

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