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Ojinika Obiekwe: Behind The Stories – 12 Years and Counting | Watch Sights & Sounds of Senegal

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Ojinika Obiekwe‘s vivacious spirit is evident when she gets in front of the camera. This hardworking and professional journalist, has worked for the past 12 years wearing multiple hats just to get the job needs to be done.  At BellaNaija, while we seek to entertain and educate, we also hope to inspire our readers and show them that there are people who keep striving  to make a difference in their chosen careers. In this vein, we spoke with Oji and shared her story with you.{Click here if you missed it}.

As she looks back on her journey so far, she has chosen to share 12 memorable stories from her career. As she recalls her growth path and the lessons she has learned, she hopes to reach as many people as she forges ahead to an even brighter future.

Read the first piece below.

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A wise man once told me that “life brings tears, smiles and memories – the tears dry, the smiles fade but the memories last forever.” I’m sure you know this wise man I speak of…the whole world knows him as Google. So “Google” gave me that quote which is appropriate for the past decade and more that I’ve spent at WPIX-TV. I couldn’t have spent that much time here and not have memories; I have a lot: good, bad and ugly ones. I really haven’t had any ugly ones but it just makes me sound cooler to add ‘ugly’ to the mix.

Moving along to why I’m here yapping away like the crazy person that I am.
I get asked the same question over and over again, Ojinika, why are you so awesome? No, I’m kidding. Seriously, people always ask me how long I’ve been working here at the station and I always joke and respond “12 Years A Slave”. (And for the sensitive people who would potentially get offended by that, read the last sentence, it says “joke” – meaning it’s a JOKE. Thank you for not complaining).

The past 12 years have felt like a lot of things…slavery included, but I’ve definitely gotten so much from the experience and for that I’ll forever be grateful. Looking back helps me truly realize how far I’ve come, how much I’ve grown and how lucky and loved I am to have the wonderful people who have helped me along this journey and still do to this day.

So I’ll begin this look back with my first report EVER. I think this even means a lot more because it was shot at home; and by home, I mean Africa. In 2007, I was awarded a fellowship by the National Association of Black Journalists to Senegal with other reporters. At the time it really was surreal, but things got pretty real when I got back to the States and had to deal with a whole lot of drama over this piece airing.

First of all, I was freaking out; I had hours of footage and interviews and I had to narrow it down to about 3 minutes. Can you say pressure?
You have to remember, this was my first piece, it was MINE, not something I was writing for someone else, or producing for someone, it would say my name: OJINIKA OBIEKWE and I knew I had to come correct. It would be my first report. And for me, It was one of those make it or break it moments.

I truly believe that saying that people are put in our paths for a reason and some are blessings, others a lesson.
I did learn a huge lesson about my blessings.
My friend, a writer/producer here Kristin calmed me down…helped me with an outline and the script. So that was done and it would be smooth sailing. Or so I thought.
I was assigned an editor, and as we’re editing, I got called out of the edit bay, “someone” had complained that I wasn’t in the union so I shouldn’t be going on the air. That didn’t really bug me because the news director at the time had approved it to air on the weekend. But then, that “someone” (it was more than one person- but I don’t want to give it away) just made it a bigger deal, which meant it couldn’t air that weekend.

At some point, I thought it would never air, and I remember telling myself that what will be, will be, so I didn’t stress much.
Long story short, the drama finally died down and I got assigned an amazing editor, Holly, who completely changed the flow of the piece.
The news director saw it and said it should air on the morning show and better yet, she said I should be on set as well with the anchor for a Q & A.

The night before, I went from store to store looking for a “conservative outfit” because the morning show producer, my friend Marcia, who is now the show’s Senior Producer did not want me to look “too sexy” on the air…It was not a fun experience. My body is kinda difficult to shop for so it was a very tiring night.
At the end of the day, it all worked out.

And to this day, I believe that things always work out in the end, as they should.
All that drama was for a reason; this was a taste of what was ahead in this journey….friends would become frenemies, complete strangers would become family, there would be ups, downs and everything in between.

I quickly came to realize that what’s yours is yours…it doesn’t matter how many people try to take it away, or the lengths they go to prevent it from happening, at the end of the day, it’s still going to be yours so there’s really no point in stressing.
I did stress sometimes, way back when, but not a lot…we’re all allowed to let the nonsense get to us every once in a while because we’re human.
This human: ME, rarely lets things get to me. Not worth it.
I practiced a lot; as in, I taught myself not to stress.

This Senegal piece is a constant reminder that what will be, will be.
And trust me, the fact that I was able to pull it off, last this long in this crazy business and even have the chance to share these memories with you – is proof that anyone, anywhere can do anything – I mean whatever the heck it is they want to do, no matter what.
Really, impossible will cease to exist as long as you’re willing to work for it and more importantly, be patient.

What you want may not come when you want it, but trust that it will when the time is right.
So again, be patient and positive.
Anyways, here’s my first piece; Hope you enjoy it, there’s more where that came from. And by more, I mean more reports and yup, more behind the scenes drama…loads of it. *wink, wink*

Watch the feature here:

With a career in television that has spanned more than a decade, Ojinika Obiekwe is a Nigerian-born Emmy award-winning journalist who has interviewed people from all walks of life - from A-list celebrities to politicians to the newsmakers of our time. A chance encounter brought her to New York’s WPIX-TV/Channel 11 as an intern. Now as a producer/correspondent for PIX11 Morning News, Ojinika not only writes and produces for the news program but also steps in front of the camera to interview some of Hollywood's biggest names which include the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Aniston and many more.

4 Comments

  1. nneogo

    September 18, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    go girl! you are just getting started.

  2. Chicanita

    September 18, 2014 at 6:54 pm

    Great work Ojinika, very insightful piece. Well done

  3. ella

    September 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    Holy Rosary Collage Enugu, we’re always on point. 042 , congratulations Ojinika proud of you.

  4. Afan

    September 19, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    BN Thank you for showcasing this lady yet again. I am such a huge fan of hers. She is such a strong example of what it looks like to go for the gusto. Ojinika, kudos and thank you for inspiring tons of Naija women everywhere.

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