Interview: Kanyinsola Oloruninsola


 Campus Journalism at the University of Ibadan would not be complete without the mention of names like Kanyinsola Oloruninsola. 

Kanyinsola is a fresh graduate of philosophy from the University of Ibadan. An award winning essayist, journalist, poet & member of the beard gang. 


In this interview, he shares his experiences at the university & the things he hopes to achieve now that he is a graduate.


Tell interviewers:The name Kanyinsola Olorunnisola is one which is making waves not only in Journalism, but in writing competitions, written art & literature. Who is this man with the amazing reputation?

Kanyinsola: He is a mule who tries his best to stay in charge of his creative energies. He writes in virtually every major genre. And most importantly, he is a philosopher by study and practice.

Tell interviewers: Tell us about your early life & background

Kanyinsola: I was born in the twilight of the twentieth century, a few months after my grandfather’s death. Hence, the middle name, “Babatunde”. My father was a career journalist and PR guru. My mother is a high-ranking health practitioner and businesswoman. I grew up in a house which was a bit political in its emphasis on culture and identity.
A great influence of course was Ore Afolayan, a one-time Editor-in-Chief of the Union of Campus Journalists, who was also my roommate in 100 level. He taught me many things. I Iearned from the best.

Tell interviewers: When & how did your journey in Campus journalism start?

Kayinsola: 2014. It began by instinct, really. I was running the press club in my secondary school, almost solely. So, when I got to the University of Ibadan, I wasted no time inquiring about forms and application processes. I went straight to the Editor-in-Chief in my department’s press organisation and asked for the forms, before they had even called for applications!

A great influence of course was Ore Afolayan, a one-time Editor-in-Chief of the Union of Campus Journalists, who was also my roommate in 100 level. He taught me many things. I Iearned from the best.

Tell interviewers: Your writing prowess is one which is highly admired by all & sundry. How did you get so good?!

Kanyinsola: The question feels like asking Peter Dinklage how he got so tall. Sounds like a trick question! Haha. But really, I am nowhere near what I would call satisfactory. But the level I have reached is only thanks to religiously-consistent writing and reading my influences. The influences are numerous and broad of course. They include James Baldwin, George Orwell, Nelson Mandela, Chimamanda Adichie, Obafemi Awolowo, Rene Deacartes, King Ben Okri and many other incredible writers.

Tell interviewers: What were the major challenges you faced as a campus journalist in the University of Ibadan?

Kanyinsola: Time. It has always been that elusive fact of reality which you have to keep running after. I had my own projects, academics and of course personal life which needed attention. I had to make time for it.

I am very ambitious, almost to the point of becoming a vice. So I always want to give my best to everything. I struggled to make time to execute everything I wanted to. But I had adjusted perfectly by the time I reached my third year.

Tell interviewers: How much would you say your journalism has influenced life & activities of students & management alike at the university of Ibadan

Kanyinsola: It would be a little arrogant to say I changed lives or legislations. But there have been instances when something I wrote directly influenced those in power to take action. My political writings are a bit aggressive and equally mocking, so those on the receiving end are often jarred to take action. My journalism had greater effects as my profile grew and I gained access to spaces which furnished my mind with information and insight.

I can’t measure it exactly but I can say that I have got text messages from student leaders and members of the management asking me to defend my aggressive articles. I guess I did my share of ruffling feathers, huh?

Tell interviewers: Aside journalist, what other activities did you engage in in school

Kanyinsola: Besides journalism, I was a member of many event planning committees. I joined an NGO promoting gender equality through literature. I was a member of the Literary and Debating Society. I was involved in the conduction of elections. I also held about four jobs during my studentship. Two as a reporter at Nigerian Tribune and The Page. One as the Content Editor at CGV and one as a blogger at Brittle Paper. There are others but I’d rather not get into them.

Tell interviewers: We’ve read your book, the one you coauthored with Kunle Adebajo. We even have review of it on our website. What was the motive & drive behind “the Road Before the 4th Estate”?

Kanyinsola: Ah yes. I read that lovely and kind review. I conceived of the book as a way to help the coming generations get initiated into campus journalism. When I came in, I had few mentors and made embarrassing mistakes along the way. The book is a way to fix that. With the book, upcoming campus journalists will get to know all they need to know to begin their journey into campus journalism. I pitched the idea to Kúnlé Adébàjò and he loved it. As he came on board, the project became more massive. We expanded it, brainstormed ideas and a few sacrifices later, “The Road Before the Fourth Estate” was born.


Tell interviewers: What is/are your favourite foods?

Kanyinsola: Amala lafun and gbegiri, though it has been a while since I have had access to it. That’s one of the tragedies of the world, you know.

Tell interviewers: Based on your many exploits in Journalism on Campus, do you consider a career in mainstream journalism?

Kanyinsola: Of course. It is one of the options I’m consider in but my skills and interest also go beyond journalism. So I do have it on my list, yes, but it is not number one.

Tell interviewers: What were the most exciting & most disappointment moments of your life as a student of UI?

Kanyinsola: The most exciting would be the day I gave an unprepared presentation about a complex philosophical concept in class and the lecturer was so impressed he showered me with overwhelming praise. I still smile when I think about that. For a professor revered so much to have been so impressed. It was unreal.
As for disappointments, the winner would be the day a relationship ended, one I had managed for years and had hopes for. I like longterm affairs but when they end up short, it can be painfully disappointing.

Tell interviewers: Now that you’re a graduate of the premier university in Nigeria, what’s next?

Kanyinsola: I am working to expand the SPRINNG Literary Movement, an organisation I founded two years ago. I am also launching a site called Nation of Mad Men in a few days. It is a webspace dedicated to social justice, human rights and equality. For the duration of my NYSC, I plan to brush up my skills in copywriting, blogging, social media management and other things.

Tell interviewers: Can you tell us more about the SPRINNG literary movement?

Kanyinsola: SLM is an initiative that stemmed from a mission to contribute to the development and celebration of young Nigerian writers. We have worked on a few projects already including a mentoring program with such literary heavyweights as Dami Ajayi. I work with the rambunctious Oyindamola Shoola, who directly coordinates our affairs.

Tell interviewers: An anthology is currently being compiled called the MONUS anthology. MONUS being an acronym for Memoirs Of Nigerian University Students. The Anthology hopes to capture & preserve stories about true-life campus experiences of Nigerian University students & alumni. Would you be interested in submitting an entry?

Kanyinsola: I saw the call for submissions once, thought it interesting. It is a brilliant idea to document memories. However, I am not sure I have enough time to write something on it anytime soon. Too many factors work against that probability.


Tell interviewers: Any final remarks for the youths & campus journalists that would like to be like you?

Kanyinsola: Don’t. There are diverse ways of being a great campus journalist. Just be consistent in the execution of your duties and always be confident of your own opinions. As for youths in general, Nigeria is in a rot and for us to change things, we need to start thinking differently. Embrace unorthodoxy in your approach to issues because in the end, change only comes when we change our orientation.


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