By Ati Terkula
Just yesterday Former minister, Femi Fani Kayode popularly known as FFK was the trending issue on social media, a tool he has taken to loving and gotten mastery of its manipulation to his (many times) skewed advantage.
In this fateful instance is a viral video which was even posted bragadaciosly by him and other social media actors wherein the egocentric, self-indulgent, had verbally abused a humble journalist for no other crime than performing his duties as a professional.
The clip I was fortunate to watch showed FFK in a fit of anger emanating from a question by a journalist who repeatedly in a cowed tone begged for forgiveness for carrying out his duty, brag that “ I am not a poor man, I have never been and will never be…” because the poor reporter “who is poor, has been poor and will always be poor”, asked him who was bankrolling his nationwide tour- a basic interview question not minding the context.
The basic job of a journalist in an interview is to unsettle the interviewee in a manner that he is irked enough to say the things he has hidden from public view. A good journalist is not limited to a straight line of questions or is he required only a certain kind of question whether related or not to the subject at hand. This the Daily Trust reporter achieved.
FFK has always been celebrated in the media as a trouble-shooter even when his virtubulation are childish and unbecoming of a public figure as he parades himself; he has severally been allowed undeserving accomodation for his adolescent tantrums and show of shameless residual youthful exhuberance, he of all people should have been able to reciprocate such unwarranted gesture by atleast pretending to be civil enough through answering the question or proving he is really a man of profession that works with words and wit (I believe that is what a real lawyer does), parried the question in tact and style and not resolved to brutish verbal attacks and bragadoccio.
However it is also unfortunate that going through comments on his timeline and other media platform, I am suprised that many have taken to the usual halleluyah, hosanna chant, to hail this irresponsible outburst instead of calling to order such impudence from a man who should naturally express some public reservations especially for a rich one who has decided to embark on a “self-sponsored” trip round the nation on a self-styled nation saving mission.
Even as this public outing may not be the worst from FFK (not forgetting his below the belt exchanges with Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu wherein he took unwarranted, irresponsible and denigrading swipes on the entire Ibo race), it continues to add to the question of his suitability as an elder statesman and the nigerian perception of the journalist in Nigeria.
The journalist is lip sung to be mighty and powerul tool for nation building and agenda seting; the fourth estate of the realm; the maker and destroyer of persons and nations. The journalist and his profession is described in flowery language fit for kings, unfortunately they are in the real sense like the lizard who lives in water and believes himself a crocodile- they are nothing but the dust of the land to be tramped upon by any tom, dick and harry.
The typical nigerian journalist is either grossly underpaid or not paid at all; subjected to inhuman treatment by his employers and often times ignored by his colleagues/ professional body. He is a friend to the high and mighty in times of such powerful person’s need and want but a bother or common “press boy” when he is in need. The journalist is a brave, corageous and vibrant reporter when the person in question is unabashed by criticism or praised but a cheecky,uncouth brat when the same person is on the recieving end.
He to become only a brown-envelop chaser and a Public Relations person nay a town crier without for the high and mighty whose tongue should be cut out for daring to speak his brains out (when he is believed to be already unable to think on his own).
It is my earnest desire that this outburst should bring to fore the plight of a typical ‘professional’ Nigerian journalist amidst his hazards faced daily viz-a-viz society’s rating of the profession; it should be a call to arms fo all journalists to adhere to the ethics of the profession and rise fromthe abbys of serving as PR persons instead of gatekeepers.
Not mindig what ever properly cooked grammar the ‘rich’ Femi Fani Kayode may have concocted in his apology or his claimed longstanding relationship (albeit parasitic and exploitative), it does not wipe away the fact that that corageous reporter has allowed FFK to yet again prove his real self.
Ati Terkula is a poor journalist from Benue State, he can be replied via firstname.lastname@example.org