Why I founded Penpushing, by ex-NUJ zonal secretary

…Penpushing is avenue for credible, authentic news.



NIGERIA: PENPUSHING is a social media platform that is making waves as a source of accessing genuine news both locally and internationally by its members.

The brain behind this initiative on Whatsapp is Prince Dimeji Kayode-Adedeji, a one-time Zonal Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone B.

Dimeji, a renowned journalist of about three decades, often called Penpusher, who has won various awards in journalism, is a graduate of Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos and Ogun State Polytechnic (now Moshood Abiola Polytechnic), Abeokuta, Ogun State where he read Public Administration.

In this interview with GatewayMail, the over 50 years old Prince from the Risawe Ruling House, Ilesa in the South-West of Nigeria, explained that his passion for journalism knew no bound, which led to his creation of the platform as part of his contribution towards positive growth of journalism.

*Dimeji…Founder of Penpushing.

How did you become a journalist?

‎I am a passionate journalist.  Well, one of the things that motivated me to choose journalism as a career was my inbuilt attributes.  During my secondary school days, I cherished writing.

It is in-built in the sense that while I was in secondary school, I developed a unique flair for writing and I can recall that during our free periods, we acted like professionals of different fields of human endeavours.  More often than not, I would stand in front of my peers to pass across information.

Within this period, I also recall that I used part of my pocket money given to me by parents to purchase newspapers regularly.  These are some of the things that placed my foot firmly on the path of journalism.

At a point in time, I started writing open letters to the editors of newspapers for publication in national dailies.  I focused my attention on areas that government failed to pay attention to.  Fortunately for me, some of the letters were used in the defunct Sketch newspaper.  Anytime I read about it, I got motivated to do more.

Tell us about your training in journalism? 

Afterward, I started cutting out my published write-ups.  Later on, I applied to the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos to study journalism.  Prior to my application, I read the advert on the page of a newspaper as I was already conversant with newspapers.  I picked up the form, filled it and clipped photocopies of the cuttings of my published write-ups to the form.  Then, I didn’t know anybody.  In Nigeria, before you can get admission, you must know someone influential in the society to get admitted.

In my case, I didn’t know anybody.  All I did was applying and attached my published materials with the form.  However, days after I had submitted my application, a postmaster walked up to my apartment with a parcel addressed to me.  When I opened it, I discovered that it was an admission letter sent from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).  I was equally impressed as I later realised that those newspaper cuttings served as stepping stones in getting me admitted into NIJ.

I would say journalism is something that is in my blood.  Actually, my admission into NIJ kick started my foray into journalism. When I eat, sleep and breathe, I portray journalism.  In summary, journalism is something that I love with passion. It is a profession that I cherish so much that if I come back to this world, I will still prefer to practise journalism.

Tell us about your working experience as a journalist?

I have spent over two decades and worked as newspaper reporter in a number of print media.  I’ve worked with many newspapers which include Daily Times, Daily Sketch, Monitor, Searchlight, The Republic, National Interest, Third Eye, Next, Post Express, The Union, and Leadership, but presently writes for Premium Times, an online medium.  So far so good, I have no regrets venturing into journalism.

*Dimeji, with his sons and Obasanjo cutting his birthday cake at the party organised for him by the ex-President in Abeokuta.

Can you tell us your contributions to journalism?

No doubt, I have contributed my little quota to journalism and union activities, particularly to the NUJ.  Let me start by saying I have won award as the Best Journalist in Ogun State, and also UNFPA award.  I have served in various capacities of the union and attained executive membership of Central Working Committee (CWC), the highest ruling body of the union.

Well, I have served in various capacities from the chapel to the national level.  I was once an Assistant Secretary of Ogun State Correspondents Chapel.  I also served as the Treasurer of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter.  I was a Zonal Secretary of the NUJ (South-West), which made me a member of the Central Working Committee at a point in time.

Tell us about how Penpushing came into existence?

What influenced the creation of Penpuhsing is the desire to make it serve as avenue to get and read authentic news, contrary to speculations and rumours which has become menace in journalism of today.

Let me start from the point that all journalists are Penpushers.  Due to the love that I have for the profession, I started addressing myself as a Penpusher.  I have been doing this for more than 20 years.  At my residence, it is boldly inscribed there. The sticker, ‘Penpusher’, is also pasted on my cars.  I did these to promote journalism as a profession, because, anywhere I go, I want everybody to know that this person is a journalist/pen pusher because of the passion that I have for the job.  I don’t regret it.

It’s not a profession that I can hide away from. That’s why I made the name Penpusher very popular.  In Nigeria today, I was the person that made the name Penpusher very popular.  Having said that, I woke up on my birthday, July 19, 2016, ruminating extensively over unconfirmed reports, speculations and rumour flying about.  Then, I began to think of contributing my quota to the journalism development and being a journalist by making authentic news available to the people, I decided to set up a social media platform, a Whatsapp group to provide people with confirmed, authentic reports across the globe.

The platform is not only for journalists alone I also involved other professionals because as journalists, we cannot know everything about all the professions in the world.  I looked inward to search for a name for the platform.  Then, the name ‘Pen pusher’ struck my mind.  As a journalist, you are a Penpusher.  The act itself is pen pushing.  You must be involved in Penpushing before you can be called a penpusher.  Then, I named the platform, ‘Pen Pushing’.  The icon equally reflected that the platform was created to promote journalism.

Upon creation of the group, I rolled out the aims and objectives for the establishment of the group, as well as rules and regulations.  I stated clearly that information to be posted on the platform must be credible and have a source.

Can we know some of the members of Penpushing?

We have people from various professions as members, including some former governors and military administrators of Ogun State.  They include Chief Olusegun Osoba, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State Governor), and Commodore Kayode Olofinmoyin.

The platform also has ministers, ambassadors, special assistants on media to President Muhammadu Buhari, medical doctors, lawyers, nurses, pharmacists, engineers, politicians and clerics.

Others are Managing Director of Krestal Laurel, Engr. Dideolu Falobi, Olooye Lekan Alabi, Ambassador Folake Marcus-Bello, Barrister Benjamin Ogunmodede, Prof. Tope Popoola, erudite broadcaster Olusesan Ekisola, Chief ‘Femi Shodunke, Publisher of GatewayMail, ex-Unilag Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Oye Ibidapo-Obe, Prof. Idowu Sobowale, Senator Gbenga Obadara, Alhaja Salimot Badru (former Deputy Governor), Prince Segun Adesegun (former Deputy Governor), ex-Commissioner Doyin Ogunbiyi, former Mines and Steel Minister, Sarafa Ishola, governorship hopeful Mr. Gboyega Isiaka, Otunba Rotimi Paseda, and Lanre Majekodunmi.

Also on the platform are Founder, Victory Life Bible Church, Apostle Lawrence Achudume, Pastor Olusesi Obateye, Ify Omowale (National President, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists) and Mrs. Baliqis Oladimeji (Deputy President, NAWOJ).

Others are Eddy Aina (former Director, National Broadcasting Corporation), Prof Yemisi Obilade (Vice-Chancellor, Tai Solarin University of Education), Dupe Osikolu (Publisher), Deaconess Funke Fadugba (former Chairman, NUJ, Lagos State Council), Chief (Mrs.) Iyabo Apampa, Mrs. Yetunde Kujore (retired Permanent Secretary), Demola Badejo (former Chairman, NUJ, Ogun State Council), Leman Usman Shuiab (National Secretary, NUJ), Mr. Folu Olamiti, and Mr. Lanre Ogundipe (former President, NUJ).

Also we have Dele Odule (veteran movie actor), Bolaji Amusan (Mr. Latin), Yinka Odumakin and Dr. Joe Odumakin, Kabiyesi Towulade of Akinale, Oba Olufemi Ogunleye and Prince Idowu Kayode-Adedeji.

We equally have seasoned journalists, Dr. Sulaiman Osho, ex-Ogun Information and Orientation Commissioner, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Seye Kehinde, Publisher of City People magazine, Dipo Kehinde, and other publishers as members too.  On the platform, we have some medical doctors too.

We have participants from different continents including Asia, Africa, Europe and North America: USA and Canada.  I am not the only person that posts stories on the platform, other participants do that as well, but the rule is that it must be credible with source.

What are the achievements of the platform?

Through the platform participants have the opportunity of knowing what is going on globally as it occurs.  We have over 250 participants on the platform as at today and I still have requests from people who want to join the platform.

Basically, I ensure that I monitor the platform well to guide against abuse.  It is a platform that everybody wants to join. You get breaking news through the platform.  Jokingly, one of the participants gave me the title, Mopol administrator due to persistent scrutinizing of activities on the platform.

On achievements recorded within the last six months of operations, the platform has been serving some electronic media to get breaking news for their news package, and they have picked a number of members as guests for their stations’ various programmes, while the platform has also connected number of people for good.

The major breakthrough was the discovery of 29-year-old Nigerian, Toyosi Craig, a genius engineer who has been making waves in South Africa and the world.

Through the platform, people have been able to know one and other and connect for good.

The platform is like a family affair.  Six months after, nobody has ever lamented or regretted being a member of that group.  We were able to discover Toyosi Craig, a young talented engineer in his 20s.  Unfortunately, he wasn’t reckoned with here in Nigeria.  Now, he is doing well in South Africa.  Through the platform, he had the opportunity to relate with the elders on the platform.  His issue was discussed here and that led to his breakthrough.  He was a guest of former President Olusegun Obasanjo courtesy of Penpushing platform.  These are some of our achievements.

What is the next level you envisage the platform to be?

*Dimeji (left) with Osoba in a talk at a public function.

There will be a public lecture when it attain one year by July, thereafter there would always be an annual lecture.

By one year, Penpushing will be celebrated in a big way by God’s grace.  There will be a public lecture in commemoration of its one year anniversary.  Afterward, it will be an annual event.  The event will allow participants to relate and rub minds together for our society to progress further.  We will continue to update people with genuine news from all corners of the world.

As an experienced person, what is your advice to upcoming journalists?

They should detach their minds of going into the profession to turn into a millionaire through crooked means, rather they should exhibit passion for them to excel.

‎They must detach their mindset from venturing into journalism to make money. The first step to follow is to have the passion.  Apart from journalism, venturing into other professions also require passion.

If you don’t have that passion, don’t bother venturing into journalism.  Don’t regard journalism as an avenue to make just money without actually doing things right.  Journalism is a profession that will enable you to be influential and get connected to the society.

Your sources must know you to be straight forward and strict in discharging your duties.  This will confer respect on you.  If you are passionate about the profession, you will be successful.  I appreciate the fact that I am the first journalist that former President Olusegun Obasanjo hosted on my birthday.  That was a feat that has added value to my life.  It’s not all about money.

This was as a result of my stern nature in doing my job.  Also, persons interested in journalism must know that news stories are not herculean task to get if you have nose for news.  You will do well at this if you are committed and focus more on investigative journalism.  Youths should take a cue from this.  It is important for you to desist from blackmail journalism. You will be honoured if you adhere to these pieces of advice.”

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