Onyi Sunday: Telling stories of extraordinary Nigerians
When Award winning freelance journalist, Onyi Sunday, conceptualised League of Extraordinary Nigerians, she did not envision it would win her not one but two Nigeria Media Merit Awards for Radio production of the year and George Bako Prize for Radio Broadcaster of the Year.
They were Onyi Sunday’s second and third NMMAs in one night, making it a total of 3 awards in the electronic media category.
Tired of the norm in the media which continues to feature politicians, moneybags, influencers and the rest, Onyx set out to change the narrative. According to her, Nigeria and its people were spiralling into a dark hole of hopelessness in humanity.
From what she described as episodes of failed governments to a lack of true mentors, she observed that the “get rich by all means” mentality had become the order of the day and the media was complicit in this agenda.
As a TV presenter, features producer and reporter under paid employment, Onyi met individuals from all works of life, especially people whose Extraordinary deeds that often got lost on the mission to fill headlines with the usual.
“I met people and heard of others who are doing things that will make any sane person stop and question their purpose on earth,” she said.
When she approached 99.3 Nigeria Info FM with the idea in 2019, the station did not hesitate to partner with her on a series which set out to tell the story of ordinary Nigerians doing the extraordinary for humanity in spite of their own predicament.
In 23 months, thus multi- talented journalist featured the Likes of Patrick Mbamarah, a school proprietor in Ajegunle who collects plastic bottles as school fees from parents who are too poor to afford a 5000 Naira school fee for their wards. The story of Ironbar Etim-Bassey; the abandoned Olympian who is homeless but recognised as a top humanitarian in Ajah.
She has also featured Dr Bisi Adeniyi, a US trained doctor who set up a clinic in Minna to cater to the poor and a foster mother to 11 children including a boy born blind from birth but now sees with both owing to surgery .
She also travelled to Kwara to see for herself and told the story of Samuel Omaka, a Corps member who completed 5 projects in 5 months without spending a dime. Samuel stopped a fulani community from drinking from the same pit as their cows by facilitating the construction of a borehole in their community. Tunde Onakoya, a chess master who teaches chess in slums and has raised international champions was also featured alongside madam Georgette Yehouenou, a 63 year old disciplined traffic warden in Lagos have also been featured on the League of Extraordinary Nigerians.
As the Pandemic hit and owing to lack of sponsorship, she could not travel to continue telling these stories.
“I approached organisations for sponsorship and they turned me down. I wasn’t surprised though. It is not reality TV, entertainment and does not feature nudity. It’s our world today, it is the norm,” she said.
Onyi doesn’t stop at just telling the story of the heroes, she highlights their predicament and by so doing advocates for assistance to ease the heroes predicament.
“All assistance I’ve ever gotten for our extraordinary Nigerians have always been from my listeners. People who are touched by the stories I tell”
The 25 minute show is almost 2 years on 99.3 Nigeria Info with no sponsorship so it understandable why the multiple win at the Nigeria Media merit award is such a huge deal.
Onyi plans to continue the show which is also on YouTube as long as a platform exists.
Onyi has worked as a Reporter/Producer and News Anchor Channels TV, Silverbird, CNBC Africa and as business editor at News central. She has also hosted a Pidgin Breakfast show for a year on Wazobia Max TV and pioneered “LOST TO THE HEADLINES” on 99.3 Nigeria Info.
She is a voice over artist and added actress recently to her portfolio.