Tell! Community, Unilorin: Please, introduce yourself?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: (laughs) This is tough God. I am Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji, a creative writer, journalist, and advocate. I teach systems leadership, and love community development.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Many people know and refer you as Princely X/Princely, what is the origin?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: This is a one story I’m not sure I’ve told enough. Because I often circumvent it. Princely was a funny pick. My nickname used to be Williams, and it got to a point where my father was worried that I might just abandon my name altogether. I liked Williams because some of the greatest writers I knew were Williams. So, when I had to let go of Williams, I wanted something Williams-like. Something regal. I looked inwards and thought oh, I am Adedeji. Why not use Ade Prince? And I knew immediately that it was a bad idea.
I thought, there are so many Princes without Palace. Instead of joining that league why not see yourself as the adjective instead of the noun? I got complimented a lot for being decent, reserved and behaving like I had royal blood or something like that. Teenage me then thought, Princely it was.
It was not until 2 years later that I added the X. A different story entirely too.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: From the things we know about you, we know you to be a man who does many things. How do you manage your time to ensure that high-level of productivity?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: Planning. I take time to plan out each day and to plan out steps for executing each activity. It’s almost impossible for me to be separated from sticky notes and note apps. I get easily confused anyway, so keeping lists of activities and how to go about them using notes is how I’ve been able to go about activities efficiently. Time management is the part I’ve struggled with. But I know I’m doing fine.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Tell us about your educational background
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: I studied Law at the University of Ilorin, basically. But I have certifications from the National Training Academy, Egypt on African Presidential Leadership Program; Leadership, Sustainability and Ethics at Earth Charter International, amongst others.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Can we know about your major publications?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: From this year or from all time?
Tell! Community, Unilorin : All time. Probably your biggest and/or favourites
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: Okay, my favourite was my first publication as a Fellow at African Liberty. It was translated and republished by some French institutions. It was also reviewed by a Johns Hopkins professor. I’ve had others. But this year, the publication I’m most happy about is my Whitewashed Heads of State series; chronicling the times of different Nigerian military rulers.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: What inspired your recent Medium Publications (Nigeria Whitewashed Heads of State), and what do you aim to achieve by writing the series?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: I am very particular about Nigeria. “I love my country, it’s the leadership I hate”; and it hurts so bad to see so many recycled bullies living in the Nigerian system, consequences free, because we do not have an academic system that priorities history as a fabric of our education system. I know it is impossible to reach every Nigerian, but I believe in ripple effect a lot. One lamp can always torch an extra lamp which can all ripple into lighting a whole city. So, I set out to torch as many lamps as I could with the facts of our post-colonial history. Although very tasking, it has been fulfilling.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Why did you choose not to go to Law School, and is there a plan to go later?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: I just felt I didn’t need the pressure of going to Law school immediately. Although, even if I had not made the decision I might not have been qualified to go immediately with my set, because of our population to NLS slot availability proportion.
But NLS isn’t something I’m considering at the moment. Maybe someday in the future when I get bored, I might consider it.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: What do you consider as your greatest achievement as a student of Unilorin?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: Contributing immensely to journalism and literary development in the University was my biggest personal flex. Add it to community development and leadership and my biceps are balanced
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Was there anything you wanted to achieve as a student of Unilorin but you couldn’t?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: I wanted to find the love of my life… maybe. Just kidding. I had a list of things I wanted to do in Unilorin. I burned the list when I graduated. I did almost everything. And the ones I didn’t, it was because they were outdated or unnecessary
Tell! Community, Unilorin : When did you make your first earning (as a writer), and how?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: I was in 300L. It was December 2016. I wrote a series titled ‘Where Irons Grind’ and sold it one episode at a time. At the end of the series, I sold the complete story for some time. Then after some months (almost a year), I made it free. Then started working on my first compilation of short stories: Broken Arrows. Broken Arrows came out in 2017, and it was sold too. I think from there I just started freelancing and earning money from writing.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Do you have a role model? Who is?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: My role model is me five years from whenever I get asked the question
Tell! Community, Unilorin: In your own opinion, what’s your greatest life achievement so far?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: This kind question na trap sha. Being alive could be the achievement. Making XXXXXX amount of money is an achievement. But then, if there’s a project I have worked on, that I am most proud of in recent times, then it is the Boot Camp X Leadership Academy. As an undergraduate though, it was starting LSS Press, and working to ensure information gets decentralised through departmental and faculty press bodies in University of Ilorin.
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Any plan to enter mainstream politics?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: Is this a trap? Am I being recorded? Am I being baited? There are many ways to ‘entering politics’ though. And humans are inherently political animals. Maybe in the future, I may embrace my political animal side, but today, I am a journalist, sworn to the truth
Tell! Community, Unilorin: What is your ultimate life goal?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: To relax and be taken ciaruf (laughs). I’ll discuss it when I achieve it
Tell! Community, Unilorin: Any advice for Unilorin Writers and Journalists?
Akinyemi, Muhammed Adedeji: Go all out. Life is not binary. There are no known pathways. Study the greats. But don’t limit yourself. Do. Do. Do. And don’t get tired of doing. Be humble enough to learn and be proud enough to take credit for your work.