Editor’s Note : Adedayo Oderinu is an indigenous language broadcaster who uses one of his programmes on Rave FM 97.1, KaraKata (buy n sell), to empower young graduates and petty traders with information on Employability, Career and Business Development. He has facilitated for not less than 100 petty traders between N5000 and N10,000 micro grants. With his programme in Yoruba, he has touched lives on the streets in lifting people out poverty and training people to secure decent living. This is an interview with him.
Tell us about yourself.
I am Adedayo Oderinu, a Civil Engineer by formal education and a Broadcaster with specific interests in Human Capital Development, Employability Skills Development, Entrepreneurship and Micro-credit financing. I hail from Agurodo in Ejigbo Local Government of Osun State. I express my interests through broadcasting, writing (I have authored 4 E-Books and 1 print), teaching and advocacies
How did you end up in broadcasting when you studied Engineering in school?
That’s a really long story, but I’ll summarize. It was a mixture of deliberate confusion and providence.You know, I was brought up in a manner that made me greatly value a close-knit family unit. I always never wanted a family where I have to be away for long, then come home once a while and all that. But, I studied Civil Engineering and if I decided to practice it, there was no chance that I will remain within a single city without having to travel here and there. So, that profession did not exactly fit into my family ideals. That was the first issue.The second issue was that I am a content person. I love to write. I love to speak, I love to express myself in what you could decide to call literary ways. Civil Engineering does not follow that direction.The third issue was that I didn’t even want Civil Engineering in the first place. I went into the University to study it because my dad wanted me to go ahead with it. I studied to excel at it because I wanted to get done with it as fast as possible so I could go on with what I wanted to do. So, after the mandatory NYSC, I practiced for less than two years and decided to leave Civil Engineering altogether. Didn’t have a plan, didn’t know what was next, I just knew I had to get out and then decide. So I did.
Now, let us talk about your love for broadcasting. Why did you choose indigenous language broadcasting?
Let’s just say I didn’t choose it, it chose me. I grew up in Ejigbo, under a father who speaks impeccable Yoruba language. When you compare with my older siblings, I think I am the one who inherited his Yoruba speaking ability the most. My mum is also a Yoruba teacher and that rubbed off too. Let me tell you a little about how I met Mr. Bimbola Adewole so you understand how Yoruba broadcasting chose me. My dad met someone at a meeting and this man he met said he knew someone who could help my dad’s son get a job. At the time, my dad had not come to terms with my decision to quit Engineering. So he called me, sent me Bimbola Adewole’s number and asked me to go see him. I met this man and while we conversed, he asked me a defining question; “Dayo, are you really looking for a job? You don’t sound like you are”. I told him I was honestly not looking for a Civil Engineering job but was open to opportunities in the creative industry. He asked me to meet him in Ibadan the following week. We met at Fresh FM where he was to start a show the following week. He asked me, “can you write a Yoruba script?” and I told him I could try. Praise the Lord, I wrote a script he considered good enough and I started interpreting for him.When I left him and started my own radio show, I was running in three languages – English, Yoruba and pidgin – but I favoured English.However, when I wrote a proposal to Rave FM to start a radio programme with them, the Station Manager at the time, Kunle Balogun, told me he wanted my programme to run in Yoruba, not the English I proposed. No problem! I agreed and we started. And here we are now.
Tell us more about what you do on KaraKata. Let us know the impact you have made through the programme.
I’ll try to be as modest as possible. Karakata started in 2016 on Rave 91.7FM Osogbo. We started with giving important Employability and entrepreneurial tips and then added job vacancies and micro grants for petty traders to the mix. By the time we clocked a year, we had processed about 30 jobs in Osogbo. By process, I mean the people who got those jobs learned from the show, applied for vacancies through us, passed through our mock interviews and were eventually presented to employers. In January 2018, we decided to start a physical Employability class. We had to sessions of the class in 2018 before we stopped to focus more on online teaching. Employability 1.0 and 2.0 trained 65 young job seekers, giving them skills that they need to excel in the workplace. A good number of them have gone on to get great jobs. We started petty trader financing in December 2017. So far, we have provided grants ranging from 5,000-10,000 to 135 petty traders across the State. They learned from the programme first and then phoned in live on Karakata, pitched to us and if selected, received the grants. Aside all of that, we have received countless feedback even from roadside vendors on how our tips on the show have helped their little business grow. We have also had people calling to ask us for a compilation of all the tips that we have been sharing. We have made a lot of progress, to the glory of God. Aside these, on an average of 2 times a month, I get invited to speak at youth events, to enlighten young people on our areas of interest – Employability and Entrepreneurship.
How easy do you find it breaking down Employability and entrepreneurship concepts in Yoruba?
Let me quickly mention something. At first, I wasn’t convinced we should do Employability training in Yoruba language, because I believed as I still do, that if you do not understand English, you should not be looking for a white collar job in a country whose Lingua Franca is English. But, I realized that even blue collar jobs require Employability Skills. Then, there are uneducated people who have graduate children. The mother may listen and want to share the tips with the children later. So, Yoruba language proved appropriate.To the question you asked, presenting real life concepts in Yoruba is easy because the information is relatable and can be illustrated with proverbs and short stories. If we were translating theoretical concepts that cannot be illustrated, there could have been difficulties. This is also the reason I also keep learning. I lay hands on several things so I can understand the truth of the tips that I share. So basically, what I do is illustration, not translation and that makes the whole process more digestible for the audience.
Finally where do you see the future of indigenous language programming in Nigeria?
I think indigenous language will survive in the broadcast industry. I only fear that it will not survive in the real form that the great grandfathers handed it to us. Let me share this with you. On more than a hundred occasions, I have had people met me for the first time and insist that there was no way my young face will be the face of the voice they had been hearing on radio. Because of the manner I speak Yoruba, in the local, maybe crude form, people think I can’t be a young person. I honestly don’t blame the people who think in this manner. Most young persons who run programmes in indigenous languages today do so using the bastardized Lagos version of the real languages, especially Yoruba. So, my fear is not whether indigenous language will survive in programming, it will. I just fear that in some years to this time, most programmers would have over-diluted the raw essence of our languages that the ears of the progenitors will twitch in their graves.
How do you feel every time an entrepreneur wins your micro grant and even at the end of every programme?
I feel like a General winning a war. For every micro grants we have given out and every episode that we put out, I feel that we have touched a life that will never remain the same. I believe that before we solve problems of unemployment, we must solve unemployability. I believe that before solve poverty, we will have to make sure we have empowered the petty businesses that form the nucleus of our societies. Each episode, each grant, makes me feel we are doing something right to solve the problems of our society. And if we chose to get urbane, each episode feels like one more step towards the actualization of Goals 1 and 8 of the SDGs.