- Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –By Austen AKHAGBEME:
Chief Femi Fani-Kayode is widely known for one conspicuously obvious reason. And that is far from his accidental appointment as the Nation’s Aviation minister or his biological ties with the famous Fani Power of the first Republic who happened to be his Dad.
Despite the fact that the above helped, in no small measure, in formatting his present persona, FFK became popular from his constant vitriolic darts of public criticism, chant, disagreement with the status quo and timeous vociferous bile of dissent with popular govermental opinion.
He got some right and missed so many targets, too. For so many people, FFK passed for nothing but an ethnic jingoist who have lost out in the power game at the centre. At some point, he was the only self appointed unofficial voice of the opposition PDP, especially when the embattled Olisa Metuh lost his voice and was fighting for his dear life.
But the recent event, that saw him shouting down and emotionally asaulting Eyo Charles, the Daily Trust journalist for asking a seemingly innocuous question in his professional line of duty, threw him up as a bully par excellence, waiting to be unveiled.
Fani-Kayode is not new to criticism. He loves and cherish controversy, dissent and likes to fan the ever yawning embers of tribal fault lines and discontent.
What FFK did to Eyo Charles is simply metaphorical of the basic oppression the average journalist, nay Nigerian, face in the hands of our overbearing elites and task masters.
Fani-Kayode couldn’t hide his pretentious populist grandstanding. He was flippant and pedestrian when he asked the popular Nigerian elite intimidating question: “Do you know who I am”?
Much as I would like to say that the FFK outburst was misplaced and uncalled for, I would like him to tender an unreserved apology to the umbrella body of the NUJ in general and Mr Eyo Charles in particular.
Like a hunter who dislikes being hunted, FFK’s vociferous outburst and misplaced denigration of Eyo Charles in the presence of his bewildered colleagues is an assault on our collective conscience and what journalism stands for — the societal watchdog.
The fact that the erstwhile young, dashing, outspoken former minister is gradually growing into an untamable monster is a cause for concern for advocates of youth leadership in Nigeria. His tongue has been caustic, no doubt. But FFK will be doing himself a disservice if he allowed it so. Let him come down from his high horse. Let him swallow the humble pie and apologise.
Until and unless he does that, he will have no moral justification to fire any salvo at any given opportunity as his custom is.
–Austen AKHAGBEME is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online