Before I Bid Lautech Farewell: Tribute To My Ardent Readers

By Oluwatomilola Tomi

Today, April 22, 2016, the “State of Our Nation” and “Campus Candour” weekly columns will become history. Through these columns, I’ve enlightened, educated, informed and entertained the university community and made a step further in analyzing both campus and national issues and offered useful suggestions of possible solutions to challenges being faced. No doubt, minds have been shaped, decisions have been made and lives have been saved.

I started the “State of Our Nation” in 2012 on Facebook before being featured in the Torch newspaper, Lautalk tabloid and Chronicles magazine, and several online newspapers and blogs. “Campus Candour” joined in September 2013.

The joy of a writer is to have readers; and engaging readers a plus. It is thus imperative to appreciate my readers, my collective fans. I’ll be ungrateful if I don’t thank my readers whom I many times punished with very long epistles. Readers, I thank you! Even though sometimes we differed in opinion and we had to disagree to agree. Notwithstanding, you’ve been amazing.

Some of you have for years been hearing the name “TomiNigeria”- yeah, it rings bell, but don’t know how he looks like; tall or short, light or dark in complexion, ugly or handsome. I’ve never (and might never) physically meet some of you, but you made the columns interesting for me. With you, it has been interesting and interactive years. With your immeasurable supports, I was nominated for several awards, and I won several awards too, among which ‘Most Active Campus Journalist/Best Campus Writer’ at the Outstanding Students’ Choice Awards of Recognition (2014) is.

Even though I’ve lived a quiet life, very quiet one, to the best of my understanding, I never knew I was a celebrity until you mobbed me at the sight of “TomiNigeria” inscribed on the back of the shirt I wore while moving round, as a peace ambassador and reporter, observing the inconclusive Students’ Union election held on May 28, 2015. On that faithful day, I met some of you. You registered your displeasure for me not to have written about some issues. It took me a lot of pleading and persuasion to make you understand the reasons that prompted my decision not to write. There is dignity in silence and at times, it is golden. There are many things better left unsaid. It surely doesn’t go down well with you but you respected my decision.

We had photo sections. I struck some cool poses. It crossed my mind to enroll with a modeling agency, only that my height and lack of six-packs would rob me off the runway. “I’ve been longing to meet you”, “I’ve been following your write-ups close to three years now, they’re fantastic”, “I’m one of your biggest fans; I’m honoured meeting you at last”, “I’ll forever cherish this photographs”, “I’m privileged”. Those were the cool soundtracks you sang into my ears. As if I was dreaming, I was dazed! I was honoured beyond the figment of my imagination. I was wowed! And thanks to Olatunde Nifemi who did the photographer’s job.

There were times I received text messages, calls from you, intimating me about the plans of some groups of people who see my write-ups as eye-opener for students, a threat to keeping their colonies. You called to give me information about happenings in and around campus; even off campus in as much a Ladokite is involved. At every corner, I granted you interviews, to know my stance on generating issues. You turned me to the University Mouthpiece even though there is someone employed and being paid for all that.

You flooded my facebook inbox with commendations. You dropped messages on bbm, whatsapp to commend my efforts, and when I tried reaching out to know you, to know you, you ignored. Anyway, I appreciate those calls and messages. It showed how you cared about my wellbeing. Several times you commended me for speaking truth to power. You encouraged me to do more, and fight on the side of the handicapped.

There were times you rubbished my articles. “You’ve written rubbish”, “you just wasted my time reading this shit”, “nonsense write-up, nonsense writer”, “don’t you have better things to do with your life than to just write?”, and lots more in such line.

Understandably, we can’t always share same opinion on same issues. You disagreed with my viewpoints and made yours known to me. You pointed out where I was wrong and stated why. Many times I ended up publishing three to four articles in a week- replying to your rejoinders.

You took my jabs in good faith. I know I came hard on you sometimes, though I tried to present my points politely and with courtesy. Thanks for not taking offence in them, thanks for understanding. All the way, you’ve been my drive; you’ve been the reason behind the weekly epistles.

You’ve been the passion igniting the fire in me. You’ve been the columns holding these columns. Surely, I’ll miss you all. The logical arguments, the calls and messages; your ever engaging rejoinders. I’ll miss everything! It’s been wonderful years with you; you’ve been amazing. I love you….I love you all!

Now you want to send me forth. You want to throw parties, in this not-friendly Buhari economy. Parties will end, and money will be spent; then our eyes will clear and we’ll be faced with harsh realities. Your prayers are all I need. Just wish me well. Send me forth with prayers. Wish me well in all my endeavours. Wish me an excellent and happy future. Say me a prayer!