Its another inspirational interview on Temmy Balogun’s Blog
If you are interested in doing more than just chatting, ‘like-ing’,commenting and tweeting with the smart phone you have in your hand, then you will want to read this interview.
Today, we have on our Hot Seat, a very hard working young man. When it comes to publishing breaking news on campuses nationwide (Nigeria), i can tell you this Guy is on top of his game. I am talking about none other than Mr Chisom Ezeh Gaius He is a Writer, Editor and CEO of THE BUG CAMPUS MAGAZINE.
Do well to relax and enjoy the ride. You will be inspired. You will learn a lot.
Tell us about Chisom Ezeh – family, ethnicity, education…
I am an Igbo from Igbo-Ukwu, Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State. The first child of Mr and Mrs O.C Gaius Ezeudegbunam family, blessed with 3 boys and two girls. Though I was born in my home state, Anambra, I moved over to Abuja at the age of 8 after my mother got employed there. I completed my primary education and moved over to Federal Government Boys’ College Garki where I got my secondary education.
After I left “Apo Boys” as it is fondly called, i found it difficult to get into tertiary school because i had a D7 in Physics which was necessary for Electrical Electronic Engineering which I applied for then I finally decided to gamble Economics in Madonna University and I liked it. However I didn’t stay long there before I moved to Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka to study the same course.By God’s grace I graduated in 2013 with a Second Class Upper.
Due to the ASUU strike of 2013 my NYSC was delayed with almost a year. I just completed my service this July.
Many of your peers are in paid employment but you chose entrepreneurship what informed this decision?
Well I prefer to work for myself because,no one will interview me for it. No one will fire me at will. I don’t have to wake up when I don’t feel like. When I eventually leave this world, I will leave an inheritance, name and legacy for family and friends. And in addition, think of it: the unemployment situation may not get any better; Nigeria has more young than old. When in few years Nigeria becomes the third most populous nation in the world, existing industry leaders will enjoy a large market whereas there will be so much demand for job that job insecurity, unemployment and underemployment will most likely
Tell us a brief history about your print medium
My print medium started in 2010 in Economics department of Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka. It was born out of the need for a reliable source of information on campus and a voice for the students as the SUG was already drowned at the time.
I started by seeking approval from the university by registering under the Students’ Affairs
At a point I was so frustrated that tears left my eyes. I was sacrificing a lot to try to build an organization that will help young people but due to the fear they had for media, I was made to suffer. I remember the sub-Dean of Students’ Affairs telling me to stop wasting my time and read to make a Second Class Upper
What are the challenges you have encountered so far and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge for me has been balancing work and social life; I sleep on work, and wake up working. I most times forget people I care about. Another challenge is credit. Nigeria’s media industry is synonymous with credit. It is that bad because our judiciary system don’t encourage debtors to pay. If for instance you are dealing with a new client and out of trust and pressure you accept credit, and eventually he doesn’t pay it’s as good as history because the police will tell you it’s not a criminal case but a civil one which can only be handled in court and you know what our courts are like.
Many are in writing business,how have you carved a niche for yourself?
Well, when I started The Bug I knew I was going to excel not because I was a superb writer but because I had superb information and ideas that we knew how best to put together. Success in business is not about talent in the technique of production but all about skill in fusing potentials to create a business advantage. I write, but I’m not a “writer”, however our niche is centered around undergraduates who we are very passionate about because they hold the future of the world.
Tell us how you work to gather interesting and in-depth contents in your magazine
All we do is allocate the pages available on our magazine to various interests areas that affect young people. There are enough pressing issues that the media have long ignored simply because they are not as commercial as the others.
Entertainment for instance has been over explored, so bad that the media will report things as irrelevant as an artist taking a Selfie were his private part was highlighted at the detriment of information like the alleged intimidation of the SUG in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, or that Lagos State University is all over the place – after a protest by students just before elections and a strike by their chapter of ASUU, the university still deem it fit to postpone indefinitely an exam that ideally should have been done and dusted since February.
These issues are crucial because you can’t garbage-out what you never “garbaged in”, someday when these neglected issues start to tell on today’s youth when they take over leadership, we will all suffer the effects. So essentially what The Bug tries to do is to bridge the gap between campus and the world; we want to make campus issues as interesting as entertainment, sports, and politics, so that students will be encouraged to read as well as the influential members of the society. I remember a day we sent copies of The Bug 10 to Port-Harcourt and Owerri.
The driver of the courier while we were negotiating with the management of the transport company decided to take a look at our magazine. He read the first three lines of our feature on Nigeria’s amalgamation and immediately purchased a copy and his friends followed suit because they never knew the true story. Eventually he will read one or two things about Nigeria’s campuses and only then is our job done.
You’ve been in this business for five years,what keeps you going?
The passion keeps me going. Every venture has it’s sweet and sour side, one must have passion to survive in a career path. There are people that jump into business because they see others doing it and are successful, that is wrong
What’s your definition of Originality, do you feel you adopt it in you magazine contents? how is that done?
Being original is pivotal of whatever I do. It’s doing whatever you do in a way that stands you out of the lot. When you pick up Forbes magazine, without the cover page, one can still tell it’s Forbes – same thing for Time and Cosmopolitan. Already, from a distant you can tell The Bug magazine because of it’s size, and our content is equally like no other.
How many editions have you released so far?
We just finished the 12th edition ,which would be out in two weeks.
The Bug Magazine 12th Edition Cover Page
Do you feel your magazine have had positive impact so far?
Yes, The Bug magazine has been impactful. It is not possible to read The Bug and not find something that will add to you. Our job is not to sell beautiful designs, not just to inform and entertain, but mainly to transform. I get calls from the length and breadth of the country, acknowledging the impact of the publication. And aside the impact of content, I have inspired a lot of people to chase their dream. I hardly talk to people about the need to do so because I believe that if a person has the passion enough to survive, I won’t need to persuade them. But some get inspired by my efforts. Back in school my set in the university was the most enterprising, I was the first to come to limelight and about a year after, we were everywhere.
Some told me that I was a major factor in their foray to entrepreneurship and I am delighted. Same thing for my friends, my siblings; it’s just not possible to be close to me and not think of being independent. I even encourage people that work for me to start a business even when it doesn’t favour my business interest. Presently the Bug Magazine has covered over 50 universities and polytechnic campuses.
What is your strategy for becoming best selling author?
Well I don’t know the strategy to becoming a successful author because I’m yet to write a book. But to be a successful publisher one has a lot to understand. It is not in anyway easy because unlike online media and broadcasting, you must make the plans of your many advertisers, graphics designer, photographer, writers, and others, meet.
There are times when at the dying minute you lose an advertiser because of his personal problem and you know you can’t print a blank page. The financial burden is also high, sometimes it seems you work for the print-press. But succeeding starts with having a grasp of journalism so you know write-ups to approve, edit, reject – if you are equally the chief editor like myself. You must know your market and publish only for people you understand till you grow your brand. Work on your circulation; if you don’t perfect the distribution model of your magazine, it will not last.
Where do you see your brand in another 5 years?
The next five years will definitely be international. Currently we are under pressure to move into Ghana because some Nigerian students there have seen the magazine and like it. We must also have been able to help deliver Nigerian students from the shackles keeping them in captivity
I don’t have a mentor but the likes of Donald Trump, John D Rockeffeler, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Peter Obi, and Aliko Dangote, inspire me.
Inspire youths in one sentence…
“If you know you can’t be the best at what you do, you have no business being there”.
Many thanks for sharing with us, Chisom.
You are welcome. Thanks so much.
Denrele Edun with The Bug Magazine
You can reach Chisom Ezeh via his Phone number: 08027662076, Twitter @dbugboss and Instagram @dbugboss. So, go on and connect with him.
Now, it is your turn. What are your plans towards achieving your dreams? What did you learn from what Chisom Ezeh shared?