I have read so many comments and reactions from stakeholders regarding the disgraceful Calabar episode of Fem Fani – Kayode where he brazenly verbally assaulted the reporter of Daily Trust Newspaper, I can’t agree less to the opinions of many respected voices including that of the NUJ who promptly reacted.
The whole episode is a reflection of our society and how so many journalists and broadcasters are treated by the political class including media owners. What is the difference between FFK and a media owner who refuse to pay his staff for years or the one who is never concern about the staff welfare thus leaving them at the mercy of souls like FFK.
I make bold to say it that there are so many FFK among the political class even among the so called respected voices. Just sharing few, During the 2019 presidential election campaign a so called respected female candidate visited our organization, she had a very brilliant session on radio as usual more of friendly interview after which we arranged a post programme interview to be used on our TV the session was equally good until the anchor asked her to react to the allegations of stealing and misappropriation of funds during her time as a Minister in almost same manner she started ranting and ranting threatening to sue the organization for daring to ask such question, the lady anchor was so calm and composed that she kept repeating her question and insisting she answer. Apparently embarrassed by the microphone and camera still on her she hurriedly left for her car and zoomed off. Papers from her lawyer never arrive till today. The lady’s crime was that she dare ask madam international to respond to corruption allegations levelled against her.
Many journalists and broadcasters have had similar encounter in the course of there job. I remember a former commissioner had called me Mr Man and I had to lecture him on how to address people properly that in the presence of his PS and Directors.
Uncle Femi Ipadeola in his post asked who is more stupid between FFK and the other journalists around who watched without defending not Daily Trust reporter but the profession. This is no doubt our problem as journalists in Nigeria. Systemic depravation by media owners and lack of initiative have rendered many hopeless, we focus more on survival than defending the profession.
A commissioner had to cancel an appearance on our Radio because he felt “I should have seek permission from him like others did” before I use a story. I simply replied him that I can’t remember him being my boss or paying my salary. This singular action earned me and my profession huge respect much that months later the same commissioner felt I was good enough to speak as media representative at an international event put together by American corner and US embassy in Nigeria. I had thought maybe because of my stance being a member of the committee he will oppose my name rather he approved of it. He is no longer a commissioner but we remain friends because it was nothing personal but purely professional. We should know that you do not need to bootlick before doing PR. Building your brand is one of the ways to avoid being push around by these bullies.
This Article is written by Eniola Afolabi, a Broadcast Journalist and Operations Manager of IATV Africa