My first travel outside Nigeria was to the South East Asia, specifically to Brunei Darussalam. But I transited briefly in Dubai before getting to Malaysia where I obtained the visa to enter Brunei.
That was in 2007 when I was admitted to the Universiti Brunei Darussalam on account of a Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Scholarship to pursue graduate study in public policy.
Since then, I have gone to the region on more than four occasions for media related trainings, conferences or workshops. These travels afforded me contacts and friendship with professional colleagues from that region. One of them is Nabeel Tirmazi, a programme Manager with the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development (AIBD).
The Kuala Lumpur Malaysia-based AIBD is an institution I consider an alternate university in my media career grooming especially since 2008 when I first participated in AIBD flagship programme, Asia Media Summit in Kuala Lumpur.
Recently, I got chatting with Nabeel. I told him my fascination with Asia is that it combines the realities of African development and opportunities of Western advancement.
“That makes Asia a bridge between the West and rest of us in Africa”, I added.
Nabeel agreed with me as he chipped in that, “for me the fascination lies in African culture which is still unexplored by Asians”, adding, “So definitely it’s need of the time”.
Our conversation was around half past six in the morning here in Nigeria, because Malaysia is plus eight hours GMT. I told him, “It must be past Zuhur there now and it’s just less than an hour ago I observed Subuh here”. He complimented with a ‘Yes’ and this opened an opportunity dimension to our conversation.
“That makes it easy for me to be cross continental”, I said, thinking aloud. “Can you imagine working distantly for an Asian media from Nigeria? This is the opportunity of communication. What this suggests is I can earn three incomes”, as I observed that in US or Canada, they were still early in bed at that time.
Nabeel wanted more explanation on my thesis as he asked, “earning more come?” I explained, “just thinking of possibilities of communication technologies. Empowering!”
Let’s assume this interaction is with an Asian editor who is producing his publication right now, and I’m just rising in Nigeria preparing for my normal or official engagement. Later in the day, just as I’m winding up work here in Nigeria I’m engaging with a Canadian or American media”.
“Allah is indeed great. He opens the doors of his mercies to all who are willing to seek Him. It’s really amazing to me. Now, look at the time difference between Asia and the Americas. This gives opportunities for mankind to benefit from each second that ticks in time.
It’s better appreciated if an unemployed or retired Nigerian at home gets a distance engagement in the Far East or West. Without leaving the soils or shores of his land.”
In concurrence, an enthused Nabeel remarked, “that is the future” to which I replied, “Interestingly that future is now for someone like me who has tasted a bit of Asia with graduate study in Brunei and occasional visits to Malaysia, Indonesia and India during which trips I passed through Ethiopia, Qatar , UAE and Singapore, even if not beyond the airport vicinity”.
We ended our conversation on a fulfilling note as I dressed up for my morning trek that has become my daily routine under the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown in Lagos. Then it was two o clock in the afternoon in Kuala Lumpur whereas it was 7.00 am Nigeria.
Amazing world of opportunities.
––Abdulwarees Solanke, Assistant Director,
Strategic Planning & Corporate Development, Voice of Nigeria