Razaque's Side

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Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo is a journalist living in Sweden. Razaque, as he is more commonly known, grew up aspiring to be a journalist and his passion for the profession manifested very early in his life. In 1976, before he was even a teenager, he was appointed the assistant editor of a school journal The Adamawa Advocate. This followed his determination to raise the level of spoken grammar of General Murtala Muhammed College Yola by pioneering, with a group of others, the Speak English Club.

This passion continued into his university days where as President of English Language Students’ Association of the University of Maiduguri, where he graduated in 1986, he ran a wall magazine. After graduation, he started work as the pioneer Administrative Officer of the Gongola State Mass Transit system, Sunshine Express. However, the civil service and its perks could not replace his passion for journalism and he eventually left to take a very lowly paid job as a reporter with the Daily Times of Nigeria. Shuttling between studies and work, Razaque served the Timesweek magazine, a publication in the DTN stable in Lagos and Kaduna. Razaque also served the DTN in Sokoto as a State Correspondent. A dedicated unionist, Razaque served as Chairman of the Correspondent’s Chapel and later Secretary of the State NUJ before moving over to the DTN in Abuja.

While in Abuja with the Times, his incisive stories that rocked the Directorate of Pilgrims in Abuja in 1997, led to his sack through a “thank you for resigning” letter. Three days later, Thisday signed him on in Abuja. Razaque was moved to Lagos to head the very vibrant Thisday political desk a few months after joining the paper but as Thisday committed more resources in Abuja, Razaque was redeployed there as its State House Bureau Chief to cover the despotic Abacha regime.

Uncomfortable with his stickler for ethics reputation, the junta’s henchmen at the Aso Rock Villa led by Hamza Al-Mustapha denied Razaque accreditation to carry out his legitimate reportorial duties, demanding that he signed an in- and out- register every time he entered the Villa. Nevertheless, this did not deter Razaque from reporting the beat, and maintaining his weekly Inside Aso Rock column on Sundays.

In 1998, he left Thisday to join another journalist in establishing a metropolitan paper, The Abuja Newsmail. The venture did not last long before the junta began to take an interest in it, following the paper’s scoops on the deals surrounding Abiola’s property in Abuja. In May of that year, Razaque left the country for Sweden where he has been living since.

In 1999, he joined Look at Sweden a business-oriented magazine published in Gothenburg and worked there for a couple of years before moving over to Radio West. Razaque has attended many journalism institutions including the Institute for further education of Journalists FOJO in Kalmar and attended many courses locally and internationally some of them organised by the World Bank or the British Council. Razaque has continued to search for new vistas in the journalism profession and is now examining the application of journalism ethics in an emerging democracy, a competence he one day hopes to transfer to the Nigerian media.

A widely travelled journalist Abdulrazaque Bello-Barkindo is married and now works with technical publications and translations from Swedish to English in the automobile industry in Sweden.

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