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Op-Ed: Before You Crucify FFK, Here Are Three Things You Should Know By Seun Akinnawonu


Former minster of Aviation and chieftain of the People’s Democratic Party, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode has obviously stirred an hornet nest and he is currently being stung by a pack of bees.

Nobody drags journalist in Nigeria and get away with it. Practitioners of the profession might be among the poorest and lowest categories of people in the society but they have what it takes to either make or mar.

With their power of pen, several mighty men have been brought down from their Olympia height to the lowest rank without necessarily having to shed a drop of sweat.

Read more: Daily Trust Defends Eyo Charles, Says Fani-Kayode’s Outburst A Setback To Press Freedom

You don’t have to respect a journalist for whom they are but daring the power of their pen is at your own peril. This is exactly what the former minister had just done with one of the members of the fourth estate of the realm.

FFK is currently running on the fast lane to perdition through the deadly power of pen that is mightier than whatever sword that might have been in his possession.

FFK had dressed down one Eyo Charles, a reporter with Daily Trust at a press briefing in Calabar for asking him to disclose who bankrolled his Tour project across the state.

The video which had since gone viral in the last 24 hours have become a major discourse on social media with many Nigerians bashing and blaming the former minister for being short tempered and mannerless.

However, as much as FFK should be totally condemned and denigrated for being too abusive, abrasive and aggressive, there are certain qualities that must be looked into about the reporter that do not really align with best practices.

1. Professionalism

If the truth must be said, no one can argue the fact that Mr. Charles Eyo demonstrated a high level of unprofessionalism in the presentation of his question.

He was only lucky to have been dealing with the like of FFK who is short tempered and quickly betrayed his emotional weakness which consequently draws public sympathies for the reporter.

If he had dealt with a more mature and emotionally fit politician, it would have been a different horrible story for him. He would have been subjected to a more psychological trauma by such a fellow through a polite insult as an answer to the question rather than a direct attack like FFK.

And by this, there would have been no one to come to his aide since it was not a direct verbal attack that is capable of triggering public outrage. Issues like this are bound to confront Journalists in the course of their engagement. Hence, the reason for professionalism.

2. Pedestrian

In all sincerity, the reporter was too pedestrian with his question. No reasonable journalist asks such a question and get away with it. There are ways of constructing a stupid question of that nature in a way that will make it produce an expected result.

A critical look at the question shows that it really sounds stupid in all facets of presentation. Here is the question: “sir you did not tell us who is bankrolling you.” This is the height of unprofessionalism by a member of the pen profession.

Apparently, the guy had wanted to know or pick his story lead from the financial angle but he really missed the question. He goofed big time. Such a question has the tendency to insult the sensibility of a right thinking individual.

What happens to this smart and skillful presentation: “sir, there are speculations in the public that this project is being sponsored by a person or a group of person to achieve a particular objective, can you please clear the air on this and set the record straight?”

This to a large extent would have been more acceptable by the likes of FFK without bringing out sword from his shealth. It is all about intelligence, skill and presentation.

3. Confidence

After the bubble was bursted, the guy became jiltery and again, threw professionalism to the dustbin. He was apologizing for asking the question. This further tore him into pieces and gave him out as someone who doesn’t really know what he is doing.

As a journalist, you must always be bold to defend your statement. Journalists are trained to be confident, bold and always ready to stamp their feet at any stormy situation.

According to the reporter, he had been with Daily Trust since 2011. In other word, he had been practising the trade for over 9 years. If after practising for close to a decade, he still lacks the basic attributes of a good reporter, there is really a call for concern.

He lacks the confidence to stand for what he believes in and he was tossed around by wave of the sea. FFK merely tried to access him and he found out that the reporter does not really have the required stamina to shoulder his confrontation. Then, he cashed on the privilege.

If FFK had tried that nonsense with a better standing journalist, he would have started finding a way to smuggle himself out of the country by now.

Journalists are not coward. They know their onions and can never be made to chicken out in the face of tiny fly like Femi Fani-Kayode who is generally known as a dog that can only bark but cannot bite.

FFK is just being lucky to have run into the hand of a low self-esteem and confidence-lacking reporter like Eyo Charles of Daily Trust. But this does not mean he has escaped the wrath of the pen.

His assault on one is an assault on all. But until then, Daily Trust reporter should be taken to the in-house cleaner before heaping the entire blame on FFK for calling him stupid.

Akinnawonu writes in from Lagos.


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