A trending video showing former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani Kayode lambasting a reporter with Daily Trust Newspaper, Eyo Charles over a simple question leaves much to be desired. The outburst by Chief Fani Kayode is totally unbecoming of a man of his caliber who many believe rode to prominence through the support of the same media he attacked. During a recent press conference in Calabar, the reporter had asked the former minister to reveal those bankrolling his various trips across some PDP states, Calabar, being one of them. And rather than respond to the question in a calm manner befitting his person, he resorted to lambasting the hapless Journalist who could only mutter an apology.
It is not surprising that the issue has received wide condemnation from the Nigerian Union of Journalists, civil society and people of goodwill. Interestingly also, Chief Fani Kayode has also tendered a written apology over the issue.I want to believe that the highly esteemed chief has received a little dose of the media dragnet and would henceforth be more careful when dealing with them. Beyond this, though, is the underlying issue of how members of the pen profession are being treated in this part of the world. Aside from poor remuneration and nonpayment of salary as at when due, it is no secret that Journalists are often subjected to all manner of intimidation and arrest by those in positions of authority in the course of carrying out their official assignments.
Often, those in authority see it as their God-given right to determine what should be written or reported about them, forgetting that the media as the fourth estate of the realm, has the constitutional responsibility of acting as the watchdog of the society. They have a right to ask public office holders and those in public glare to give regular account of their stewardship. It is part of their training and responsibility to ask probing questions and expect answers. If you cannot stand the heat, don’t invite the media for a press conference. You may consider utilizing the tools of public relations as alternatives. I look forward to when media practitioners in this country are given their rightful pride of place as custodians of our heritage and gatekeepers of our democracy