‘The energy in Lagos is off the charts’

For Stephanie Busari, moving back to Nigeria from London was a big bold bet predicated upon her passion for telling authentic African stories, and her role as CNN’s Supervising Producer for Africa.

What led you to return home?

The journey has been a very interesting one that has evolved considerably. I am entering my 10th year at CNN and I have held a variety of roles in that time.

The one thing that has remained constant is my passion for telling African stories. It’s one of the reasons I was sent by CNN to come to Nigeria to lead their coverage of the continent from here and to find new, exciting ways of doing so. I remain as ever passionate and committed to telling those stories. I meet too many dynamic and talented people that I want the world to know about.

The journey to getting here has been fulfilling with a lot of hard work and persistence. I am grateful to have a job that I love and a real opportunity to create significant impact.

How have you been able to fit into the crazy hustle and bustle of Lagos?

I’m a city girl so I love hustle and bustle but Lagos is definitely the busiest place I’ve ever lived. It’s just full on and on the go. But I always say there’s something about this place that just grabs you and sucks you in. The energy is off the charts and I think that is what attracts people here. I love living in Lagos but I do need breaks from it at times.

Often the western media tends to be biased in projecting Africa to the world. What positive stories of Africa do you intend to tell via CNN?

I have worked at CNN for the past 10 years and I’m proud to say we have always been committed to telling positive African stories.

In that time, we have had at least four prime time feature shows every week on CNN focusing on African youth and culture, traditions and heritage, business and its entrepreneurs with shows like African Voices, African Start Up, Marketplace Africa, Inside Africa etc. CNN is very committed to telling these stories and more and sending me to Lagos is testament to that commitment.

Of course, we also tell stories that are not so positive, but we are a news network and we report the news as it happens. We must tell the stories we find.

You took a very brave step, moving to Nigeria with your daughter – did you feel any anxiety, and how did you deal with that?

This is an example of doing it afraid for me. I had anxieties more about my daughter than anything else. “Would she cope? would she enjoy it? Would she miss London and her friends too much?” The thing is children are so much more resilient than we give them credit for.

She’s made many new friends and is enjoying learning more about her culture. She even asked me for Yoruba lessons recently, so I’m not worried about her fitting in anymore.

How have you settled into Nigeria – especially Lagos Living? And how do you deal with the challenges? Power, transportation, etc?

I believe I have settled quite well. The work I’m doing here has been so embraced and people have been generally very helpful. I believe that challenges are everywhere, even living in London, I had challenges, albeit different ones. I came to Nigeria determined to make the most of an amazing career opportunity in a place that is home in my heart. You have to roll with the punches.

Source: Guardian Nigeria

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