Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Dream Simply Refused To Die By Samuel Olatunji

               Some of the magazine publications             Samuel Olatunji with Kate Henshaw years ago

In 2007, I looked around and wondered why there was no campus publication with a national presence, a newspaper that students across campuses from Lagos to Lafia, Ekiti to Enugu, Lagos to Zamfara could call their own - A newspaper that can aggregate everything about campuses and things students love to read outside of campuses and present it in a classical tabloid style at a price they could afford.

I decided to publish one but there was no money. I came up with business plans and met a couple of ‘big people’ journalism gave me access to. None could help with the take-off fund I needed to breathe life into the project. I fasted, prayed and read all there was about business yet no one gave me the capital.
                                                                  Samuel Olatunji now

One midnight, I decided to start with my N30, 000 salary from Daily Independent newspaper. It was the night my entire life turned around. I employed two people the following day; one, on a salary of N10, 000 and the other, on a salary of N5, 000. We published and got adverts from Governor Babatunde Fashola and Mr. Jimi Agbaje; who were contesting then. Mrs. Quincy Ayodele, Mr. Dehinde Harrison of Ebony Casket and late Uncle Tunji of MIC (may God bless his soul) all gave me adverts to support the cause. We published the maiden edition and the paper sold out; all 5, 000 copies finished in less than two weeks – I could see my dream taking shape.

Sun Newspaper invited me and offered me employment, and I abandoned the dream that gave me my first million to concentrate on giving my best to the paper. After five years at The Sun newspaper, the dream kept nudging at my heart,  I decided to go back to resuscitate the dream. Now, we didn’t need to start looking for capital; a publicity firm, Bigsam Media I founded while at ‘The Sun’ could finance the project, yet other issues beyond money crept up.  From name-change, registration, staffing, juggling Bigsam Media’s jobs with structure to distribute a national paper and battling with newspaper circulation agents came up. We eventually registered the title iCampus Newspaper over a year ago and did a preview edition that caught on like wild fire.

After a lot of falling and rising, today I am glad to announce that iCampus Newspaper and its online version; has become number one campus publication again. The paper version circulates across 23 states on different campuses and the website has become the number one students’ news site in Nigeria. The dream is surely taking shape. The site is getting more hits, the papers are selling faster than your regular paper on newsstands and the beautiful thing about it is that students are selling it for us while they also make money smiling to the bank. iCampus is making students rich!
Another arm of the project that excites me is the new appointments in the paper. We now have a new team running the project without my day-to-day interference. We will make a public announcement on this next week.
As we begin plans to start a youth TV programme that will resonates with the youths, I want to say thank you for making our dream come true, supporting the project and sending in constructive criticism. We are not near where we plan to be but surely we are not where we used to be. Let’s toast to the feat of being number one for now.

Samuel Olatunji
Twitter: @icampusng
Facebook: iCampus Newspaper

Phone: 08172001912