Tonight, we bring you yet another great personality who has risen through the ranks from a humble beginning to becoming an asset to mother Ghana. It is said by Pericles that “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others”
In the wisdom of Plato ”There are three classes of men; lovers of wisdom, lovers of honor, and lovers of gain”. So, join me in this exciting journey as we interact with our guest to find out where he belongs and what his motivations are.
With the help of our moderator, Mr. Haadi Bachang, our guest will take us through the compendium of challenges in his life’s journey thus far and how he finally finds himself with the inky fraternity.
Our guest is the Senior News editor at GBC.He is the host of Moomen Tonight, the first socio-political talk show ever to be named after a staff of GBC.He is also the Producer of TALKING POINT which is GBC’S oldest running TV talk show. He is also a 4 Times GJA award winner
As if these achievements were not enough, he is the first Ghanaian journalists to travel to war torn Syria and Somalia to produce stories on the devastating effects of war.
He is also the Commentator for GBC on all National Programs, such as Independence Day celebration, etc. since 2013.
Our guest was also a Disc Jockey (DJ) at Diamond FM and a former Drive time host at Star FM, both in Tamale.
Indeed, it’s Moomen Tonight on The Readers’ Hub Social Convo session!
Ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome our guest for tonight; Mr. Abdul Hayi Moomen.
Haadi: You’re welcome
Abdul Hayi: Thanks for doing me this honor. I feel blessed to be here among great men and women.
Haadi: We are honoured to interact with you tonight. How is the daughter of your father in-law doing?
Abdul Hayi: Hahaha….. She is trying her best. However, sometimes, I think I am too much for her. I am sure she will not mind me bringing home some assistants for her.
Haadi: Nyaaba, we hear the name Abdul Hayi Moomen almost every day on GTV, who is the personality behind the name?
Abdul Hayi: I was born in Wa in the Upper West Region, grew up in Tamale, then Accra, then back in Tamale. My experiences as a child, having lost my biological father before the age 8, have been varied. I’ve experienced extreme poverty, and some level of luxury. And these experiences have contributed to making me a humble, happy-go-lucky person
Whatever I set out to do, I give off my best even if I find the rest of the team I am working with, unwilling to contribute
Haadi: Great. Kindly take us through your educational journey, and social life, highlighting on the key milestones you accomplished and your sources of inspiration and support.
Abdul Hayi: The result was that I started dodging school because I feared I would be mocked at. I recall that on one occasion the teacher asked me “where is your pencil” and I answered “your pencil is in the home”….. That was even when I had practiced some English words.
I however had the opportunity to attend one of the best schools in Accra when I got to class 3 – the St Martin De Porres School in Dansoman. It was there that the class 3 teacher would set aside a special time for me and would teach me for extra hours without ever asking to be paid. By the time I moved to class 4, I was already topping the class.
I complete JSS in the same school and moved to TI AMASS in Kumasi where I studied English, English Literature and French. Throughout my stay in AMASS, not once did I even come second in any English exam. I was always first in English. That boy who was a laughing stock had become a master of the language.
Having been inspired by my performance at the SSSCE especially, in English and Literature, I had a strong desire to pursue communications studies at the University of Ghana. Unfortunately, the UG at the time did not give the opportunity to undergraduates to study mass communication. As a result, I studied English and Linguistics instead.
During my days at Legon, I fell in love with Radio and would often go to radio universe, sit at the reception and pretend to be reading newspapers all in an attempt to catch someone’s attention who probably would give me an opportunity to become a radio presenter. I’ll tell that story a while later.
After my studies at Legon, I did my national service at the Tamale Girls Senior High school where I taught English and Literature
Thereafter, I moved to the UK to do “anywork”. I came back on a visit in 2009 and a friend of mine had applied for a place at GBC on my behalf. Shortly after, GBC called me. And that’s how I ended up at GBC (That’s another long story)
I studied for an MPhil at the UEW in 2014 and since then I have been doing some part time teaching at GIJ and Islamic University College
Haadi: Why the inky fraternity and what is the motivation?
Abdul Hayi: All my life, all I ever wanted to do was to speak through a microphone. I recall how growing up as a child in the alleyways of Yikori in Jujeidayiri in Wa, I would link two empty milk cans together with a rope and speak to a friend on the other end while pretending it was either a telephone or a microphone. I guess I am living my dream.
Haadi: Hosting one of the widely watched socio-political talk shows Moomen tonight in Ghana,
(a) What do you do uniquely to set you apart from the others?
(b) What can you say have been achieved from the program from its inception?
Abdul Hayi: I am not exactly sure if I do anything that is unique. I just give off my best. If giving off my best then turns out to be unique that will excite me a lot. To start with, I work for a government owned media organization, GBC where the culture is unfortunately very negative. Most workers are not passionate about their work.
In fact, just like many other civil and public service organizations, many of the staffs are just salary earners and not passionate workers. To many of these people, work is a noun and not a verb. Work is a place they go to and not something they have to do. So, in order not to be caught up in that kind of culture, I created my own culture and that has set me aside from many of my colleagues.
I report to work earlier than my reporting time and I don’t close until I achieve my set targets. I read widely and make it a point to listen to all other major media outlets in order to be abreast of issues, but also to observe how others were “doing” it and how I could also do it similarly, or maybe, even better. I guess my approach is what caught the attention of Management who first offered me the talking point platform as the host. Reviews show that I lifted the shoe from where it used to be to a higher level where persons who were beginning to lose faith in the state broadcaster were gradually returning. Upon the introduction of the 24-hour news channel which is now called GBC NEWS I was talked with creating a brand for GBC that could one day become like Larry King Live or Ama pour etc.
I have had a few setbacks (another long story). But the show has grown to a point where it is the first and only TV show to have interviewed the sitting president (not as a candidate). It was the first TV show Former president Mahama agreed to speak to after he left office. President Kuffour personally called and asked to speak on the show as well. For me, these are remarkable achievements.
Haadi: Wow! What are the major pitfalls and challenges you faced in life, how did you cross them or were there anytime you couldn’t cross them?
Abdul Hayi: To be very sincere, I do not have the kind of childhood stories that talk about sorrow and deprivation. The only thing I remember is that my dad died when I was still very young. However, I was so well taken care of that I hardly felt his absence. I was never sacked for failing to pay fees. I never lacked anything at school. In fact, I consider myself one of the luckiest orphans in the world. Perhaps the only pitfalls I have ever encountered were those occasions when people looked down on me because of where they thought I came from or because of my religion
I recall my very first day at GBC; it was during the morning shift. The shift leader saw my name on her list and said because of my name that I was fit to be the one to be buying her porridge and koose every morning. Those words still hurt till date. Not that I considered myself too big to buy kooko and koose but that she thought that because of my name and where people with my kind of name came from, that I was only good for buying kooko and koose.
Indeed, she never sent me on any assignment for a whole month. However, before she retired from GBC, roles had reversed and I used to edit her scripts because they had all come to accept that “that pepeni was very good”
I have had many such encounters and such encounters usually affect my self-confidence, self-esteem etc. Another pitfall was when I interviewed a guy who turned out to be a fraudster on my show. The circumstances leading to that interview were such that anyone that level could have become a victim. My boss at the time asked me to stop any production we were planning on that particular day to interview “this achiever”.
My producer at the time swore that he knew the guy personally and that they even used to live in the same neighborhood. He swore that he knew of the guy’s exploits at NASA and so on. He even told me how the guy’s mum had called him and pleaded with him to tell me, the host, not to ask her son any “political questions”.
Thereafter, I goggled to find out more information about the guy. He had cloned website belonging to BBC, CNN and Aljazeera. (Of course, I didn’t know that website was cloned). So, we went on air, with me believing that I was about to interview an achiever whose profile my boss had asked me not to edit. His answers during the show were inconsistent and lacked clarity. Before the show ended, it was clear that he was a hoax. I was ordered to shelve the tape and never to play it back. Four (4) months later, someone stole the tape from GBC, edited 45 minutes out and left 15 minutes during which time, I read the guys supposed profile and appeared to be impressed by him. The person then posted it on social media and for 2 weeks, I was the talk of negative talk in this country.
Haadi: Wow! Who is your career development coach/mentor and how did he/she influence your life?
Abdul Hayi: This is a very difficult question. I have never really had a coach or a mentor. I discovered my love for journalism very early in life. However, during my days at the university of Ghana, I would go to the Balme library and spend hours, not reading my lecture notes, but reading articles that had been written in the Daily Graphic by Sydney Abugri, – Letter to Jomo. I would also read Woes of a Kwatriot by Kwesi Yankah and Sakaman Pala by Merari Alomele.
These were the people who inspired me from afar. When I started working at GBC, it was the Late Johnny Aryeetey, Editor in chief, who once called me to his office and said to me “if you want to go far in this profession, do not seek for the approval of people. Just do what you believe to be right and do it well.” It was he, who, against all odds and the drab GBC culture of “training” people to read and speak in a certain way before they are allowed to go on air, sent me to read the major news when I hadn’t even been at the TV division of GBC for up to 2 weeks. He believed in me and coached me until he passed away earlier this year
Haadi: Sir, what is your advice to anyone who will want to go into the Journalism Profession?
Abdul Hayi: For anyone who wants to go into journalism, my first words are always, “are you looking to make money or are you looking to make an impact?” if you want to make money, go into business, or probably become a banker or one of those other prestigious professions that really pay well. Journalism doesn’t pay (in money terms). I am yet to come across any journalist who became rich by engaging only in “pure” journalism. Have passion, be dedicated, do not focus on money making, and focus instead, on building a good reputation and I assure you that even though you may not become rich, you will also never lack.
Haadi: Marvelous! What impact does the Covid-19 pandemic has on the Journalism profession as regards going from one place to the other in reporting covid-19 cases?
Abdul Hayi: One of the first responses to the fight against Covid-19 was for various governments across the world to lockdown their countries. When countries went under lockdown, and almost everyone else stayed at home, they all looked up to journalists to provide them with information concerning the virus.
Indeed, perhaps, for the first time, many people began to reject stories they read or heard on social media until they heard it from a “traditional” journalist. Covid-19 exposed the importance of journalists to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, here in Ghana, journalists were not considered as Frontline workers even though they were as equally on the Frontline just as those who fell within the government’s definition of Frontline workers. As a result, journalists were unnecessarily exposed to the virus.
I recall how on the first night of the lockdown in Accra, I went round slum areas in Accra to find out how homeless people were going to be locked down. I had people rushing on me and seizing my camera deep into the night. These persons touched me (touching other people was highly prohibited at the time) and spoke directly into my face with droplets and all flying like nobody’s business. I could have contracted the virus, but does anyone care?
Haadi: Aww. While waiting on Mr. Moomen to produce the news at 10 before rejoining us, Readers are reminded to DM their questions to me for our guest to respond appropriately. On a lighter note, our guest is married with 4 children..
…… And has room for 3 other wives……
And is currently keeping 2 side chicks…..
……and available to be grabbed by single ladies….
He also loves to receive MoMo alerts…
………..Nyaba, I hope I have spoken your mind?
Abdul Hayi: You did so excellently and eloquently
Haadi: Nyaba, how are you managing family life with the journalism profession? Do you have enough time to serve career interest without constricting or sacrificing a considerable part of the amount of time that is optimal for your family life since the journalism career is very demanding?
Abdul Hayi: Indeed, journalism is very demanding. I usually leave home at 8 in the morning and return after 11pm. I hardly see enough of my children especially during weekdays. I however ensure that at least once a week, I dedicate a whole day to the family. I sometimes fear that if I focus too much on my job, my children might not know me. If I slack at my job, given the difficult environment at GBC, my carrier might go down. What I have tried to do, albeit with a huge dose of difficulty, is to find a fine balance between family and career. I know that ultimately, one day, I will leave the career, but family is forever
QUESTIONS TIME WITH OUR RERADERS FROM (THE READRS’ HUB)
Mr. Ganiyu: There is a widespread perception that the state broadcaster isn’t delivering up to date educative and entertainment programmes making the viewing public choosing other private broadcasters as their preferred choices. In your candid opinion, is this perception the case and if so what do you think has resulted to that and how can it have changed?
Abdul Hayi: That perception is true to a very large extent. The truth, as I mentioned earlier is that the state broadcaster was established as a “civil service” entity 85 years ago. 8 and half decades on, a lot have changed but the policies governing GBC haven’t changed. As a result, we are using 1935 ideas to compete with 2020 ideas.
That simply can’t work. There must be a policy change. Secondly, recruitment to the state broadcaster, just like many civil service agencies, has not really been based on competence. It has largely been on family recommendations, government officials’ protocol list etc. Many of those who get into the space and become competent are seen as threats and efforts made to uproot them. “is the work for your father?” Is a question that any hardworking staff is likely to have been asked at the state broadcaster. Ultimately, what that mean is that you have a lot of square pegs in round holes.
Persons who do not fit to be in management and other decision-making positions automatically become managers and decisions makers because “it is their time”. Once you have been there for long (it doesn’t matter your competence) you will become a manager. THAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM. Such managers find every intelligent subordinate as a threat and not an asset that can be harnessed.
Secondly, as Ghanaians we have failed to support the state broadcaster like the way the British support the BBC or the Canadians or Australians or even South Africans support their state broadcasters. We have not invested in the state broadcaster. Rubbish in, rubbish out!
Dr. S. A. Asasu: Good evening, Mr. Bachang. Your esteemed guest’s story so far is truly breathtaking, to say the least. I’m particularly touched by the part where he mentioned the derogatory stereotypical remarks by a senior colleague when he started working at the GBC.
I’m just wondering how he handled that situation and the couple more such unfortunate circumstances he’s encountered in the course of his journey. Thank you.
Abdul Hayi: Doc, inasmuch as those words usually put me down, they also inspire me to work even harder to prove those persons carrying those stereotypes around wrong. Wherever I was initially disrespected, I always end up being above the perpetrators of disrespect. So, at GBC I am the first and only person to have ever had a show named after him.
Oswald Dachaga: What does he do with his spare moments if he has any? Any hobby?
Abdul Hayi: I go onto the website you created so graciously for me to write to Nyaaba. God bless you bro. You are a true brother.
Batamya: Hello Haadi and our cherished Readers.
At the time he interviewed the fraudster in 2014; I wasn’t within shores and only learned of it now. I have done a quick watch of the interview and wanted to pass some piece of commendation to Moomen.
“Moomen, I think you should not again recount that interview as one of disappointment. I view it differently and so you should. It was actually your excellent journalistic art that exposed the fraudster he was. That for me stands out. A dumb journalist would have asked dumb questions which would not have revealed all the revelations made about the fraudster and for me your excellent line of questioning and curiosity of his inconsistencies stood out.”
Haadi: Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Abdul Hayi: In the next 5 years, I believe that I would have paid my dues to the state broadcaster and moved on to a network with an international reach. I have already started teaching at the university level. A PhD has been whispering some songs in my ears for a while now.
Haadi: Wow! The Readers’ hub wishes you well and may God be with you always. Which book has been influential in your life that you will recommend for hub members to read?
Abdul Hayi: I have read many books but the one that stands out is undeniably, Things Fall Apart. If you ask me for numbers 2 and 3, I will ask you to read “The Beautiful Ones are Not yet born” and “Julius Caesar”.
Haadi: As a member of the readers’ hub, what do you make of this page and what do you suggest we do or needs to be done to keep the page running better?
Abdul Hayi: The caliber of persons on this page alone positively intimidates me. I admire the intellectually stimulating weekly engagements. I suggest that given the fact that people are usually very busy, that you could limit the interactions to a maximum of 2 hours.
Haadi: Noted with gratitude! We may not be able to take more questions from readers as Nyaba will have to go and see the daughter of his father in-law.
Abdul Hayi: Exactly!
Haadi: Before your concluding remarks, Nyaba, dogs have joined the tall list of imported items into the country. Who do you blame and what do we do to ensure the safety of local dogs?
Abdul Hayi: I blame Manasseh and his ilk. I suggest that we take all the dogs away from Bolga and bring them to Wa.
Haadi: Kindly give us your concluding remarks, Sir
Abdul Hayi: I am extremely humbled by the attention you have all given to me this evening. I pray that this page and the very respectable people who make up the page become the pivot around which the development we all hope for, devoid of partisan politics, will be achieved, that through this page some young persons who hitherto would have given up, would be encouraged to wake up, shake off the dust and live up and live life! Thanks so very much
Haadi: Thanks so much, Mr. Moomen. We are grateful for making time out of your busy schedule to interact with us
Abdul Hayi: Thank you too. God bless us all
Haadi: Our brother, friend and senior Colleague has reflected the words of words of Epicurus that says “Be moderate in order to taste the joys of life in abundance”.
We have drunk from his spring of wisdom and fully satisfied that there are critical take home lessons.
Our dear Chinua Achibe has made us understood that “those who had their palm kennel cracked for them by a benevolent spirit should not forget to be humble” to which Mr. Abdul Hayi Moomen has affirmed.
So, all should join me in expressing our heartfelt gratitude to our guest and we shall knock on his door when duty calls.
My name is Haadi Bachang and I was your moderator for tonight on Moomen tonight with the Readers’ Hub. Thank you all for your attention. Until I come your way with another edition next week, you all have a sound sleep.
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing .A.M.A.Kamal.
! THE END!