Bayo Omoboriowo, the Nigerian photojournalist, has recalled his humble beginnings and how he became the official photographer for former President Muhammadu Buhari.


In a recent interview with Teju Babyface Deep Dive Podcast, the 36-year-old documentary photographer narrated his struggles while growing up.

Omoboriowo said years ago, he hawked “pure water” around Mushin, Lagos to make ends meet after school.

The photographer said the numerous challenges never discouraged him from working hard to become who he is today.


“I knew everything about being down there. I hawked ice water in primary school in Ojuwoye market. Funny enough I attended a school a lot of rich kids were attending because my father worked at the University of Lagos so I was attending the staff school at a discounted fee,” he said.

“So when I go to the hawk, I hide my face from the rich kids to avoid them seeing me hawk after school.

“I used to work on the rail track from Mushin to Yaba. It was a real deal and the future looked impossible but like I said it’s a movie created by God, he had already written the script. How I moved from that person to who I am today is a different story”.


Speaking about his profession, Omoboriowo continued: “Photography for me found its canvass from the beginning which was when I was at the University of Lagos. I borrowed cameras to take pictures from people who own them but was shy to take pictures in front of a crowd and that was how I used people’s cameras to experiment”.

“So when I went for NYSC I became passionate about photography and took it seriously. In camp, everybody wanted my pictures to the point that the photographers in camp said I was ruining their business. I did not go to any photography school nor learnt from anyone,” he said.

“And that was how everyone started paying attention to me so I take pictures and sell to corpers. Then I went to print pictures at a photography lab and the lab owner said he liked me and he started teaching me and I took it more seriously. Now when people say NYSC is funny, I say no because it’s NYSC that shaped who I am today, that’s my foundation.”

Omoboriowo said he decided to pursue political photography because of the “gap” he noticed.


He added that Buhari demanded his service after seeing his passion during his campaign for president.

“Seeing the way political photographers documented politicians compared to New York Times, Guardian UK made my heart tick for political photography. So I said no there is a gap here so I bought all the gadgets needed, started reading then I started going for political rallies including Fayemi’s campaign and Odun election,” he added.

“One day I saw the APC convention and I went to the convention to photograph. When I entered I saw people running after a man, I was wondering who he was then I was told he was General Buhari because I didn’t know but I took his pictures.

“At the end of of December, I was called if I was interested in photographing General Buhari’s campaign. They said they had checked all the photographers and they saw what I have done in the political scene so I’m the one they want.


“Becoming the official photographer to the president was not automatic because I followed him throughout the campaign. Later I heard that he was always saying who is that boy always climbing trailers, running around? The boy who risks everything to get the moment so he kept asking about me.”

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