The outburst of Femi Fani-Kayode, erstwhile minister of aviation in Nigeria, has generated heated argument across the cyber space, among media practitioners and members of the public. For the past 24 hours, FFK has been the major subject of discuss across media platforms. The video went viral on Tuesday, August 25, 2020. Fani-Kayode fondly called FFK, was seen dishing out disgusting and abusive words on a journalist with Daily Trust Newspapers. The journalist was said to have asked a question, though taken as an assertion by FFK on who was bankrolling his tour of projects executed by governors in states where he visited.
The question threw him off balance but rather than answer and maybe tell some lies or whatever, he went loose, calling the journalist many unprintable names, describing him as being stupid for daring to question who was bankrolling his tour of state governors projects. The journalist stood cool and after the vituperation of FFK, the reporter sat down and FFK said he was not willing to answer more questions and left the event.
Some facts must be made clear. We, as journalists, have encountered different groups of people with different temperaments. But the fact remains that there is no question a journalist should not ask as far as it does not infringe on the person’s right to private life. No question is stupid. In fact, a public figure has no private life. If he needs private life, he should leave the public space for others to occupy. Having become a public figure, you have sold your privacy to the public.
We have attended media conferences, briefings and all kinds of questions have been asked. We have asked governors different questions even away from the issue discussed at the press conference. In Delta state, during press conferences, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has been asked hard questions, more damning than the question the reporter asked FFK in Cross River state. But Okowa has never lost his cool. He would rather find a way of answering the question than losing his cool which would form another story of its own.
President Muhammadu Buhari has received series of bashing from Nigerians but the president has never lost his cool. If President Buhari will react to every accusation against him by Nigerians, Nigeria will burn and people would be killed with reckless abandon. But not so with the president. Check almost all media space, Buhari has received much bashing than anybody in Nigeria but the president will never lose his temperament.
But it is on record that FFK is one of the most abusive persons in this nation. From 2015 till date, Fani-Kayode has abused Buhari countless number of times. He has abused Professor Yemi Osinbajo a number of times. He has abused highly respected men of God without number. He has abused Pastor William Kumuyi, the General Superintendent of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. He has abused many other prominent Nigerians, more highly placed than him in this country. In all these, nobody replied him nor accused him of whatever. People read his statements and continue with their lives.
He has used many unprintable names against Buhari, undermining the fact that whether APC or PDP, Buhari is the president of Nigeria and Osibanjo, a Yoruba man like him is Nigeria’s vice president. That cannot be taken away from them. Again, the unprintable words he used against Pastor Kumuyi, an international holiness preacher, were quite disgusting but nobody fought him or attacked him because he has right to his opinion. But a mere question of “who is bankrolling your tour of states” made him to forget that he has much to lose than the Daily Trust reporter who is yet to have public recognition. He forgot that he has integrity to keep and protect as a public figure in Nigeria. It was a big flop for FFK. I have been one of those who respected him because of his outspokenness but this action has me withdraw my regard for FKK. He lost it. And it may take time to restore it back to him. He must prove that he is a repentant man.
No public figure behaves the way he behaved. As a public figure, you should be ready to chest all attacks any time they come. But this wasn’t even an attack but a supposed question. It would have given him opportunity to disabuse people’s mind who may be thinking otherwise about his tour of projects executed by governors.
However, one may be forced to ask “on what ground is he inspecting projects of governors? Is he Nigeria’s president? Is he PDP national chairman? IS he a national executive of the PDP? Who authorised him to inspect governors’ project? What is he driving act with the inspection of governors’ projects? We he be bold enough to tell Nigerians that out of all the states he visited, no governor gave him a dime? Will he be bold enough to tell Nigerians that he paid the bill for all the transport that took him round all the project sites he visited in all the states?
He told the reporter that he does not receive from people but he gives. Is he telling us that he supported the governors of the states he visited financially to improve their projects then come out to organise press conference singing praises of the governors for free? And after that he leaves for wherever he comes from in Nigeria? That would be great. He said he does not collect from people but he gives. IS he telling us that he paid the bills of his hotel room in all the states he visited for the project inspection? FFK should answer all these questions for us. This will help us know that he is a man of integrity and deserve to be respected by Nigerians.
If President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo had attacked him the way he attacked that reporter, would he be enjoying Nigeria today? Even though he may say he is not enjoying Nigeria as he is expected to say, would he have the luxury of travelling from state to state unhindered? These are issues we must consider as FFK trends on all social media platforms in Nigeria. It would have been better he trended for good but alas not for good. He has lost a percentage of his personality and it may take some precious time to recover it back again.