-By Austen Akhagbeme:
It has become increasingly interesting to understand the hoopla associated with the recent journalistic encounter between Oseni Rufai of Arise TV and his guest, the former Governor of Ekiti State, His excellency, Peter Ayo Fayose.
Just like everything Nigerian, there are always two antagonistic sides to any issue, nay this particular one. While some ran off with the malapropism of Rufai being “unprofessional” in his professional duty as a journalist, others went with the opinion that good journalism includes the ability of a good interviewer to throw a ” jab” that will cause a politician to have a meltdown and uncontrollably let out newsworthy information outside the normal script.
Oseni Rufai is a polymath who refuses to let go of his interviewees or guests when he feels he had them where he wants. In the course of squeezing his guest to get more answers to probing questions, he’s often being taken as unkind, uncouth and unprofessional.
He’s known to speak truth to power yet he’s often dismissed as unnecessarily antagonistic, subjective and intentionally pugilistic. No one seems to look at the emotional resilience of his guests and their premeditated attack on Oseni in form of responses, too.
In this particular case, Ayo Fayose confirmed that he came with a mindset that has been so concerned about Rufai’s ” usual attack on people” and complained about him to his equally cerebral but stinging colleague, Dr Reuben Abati. What happened to Fayose’s emotions? No one seems to be asking even when he went personal with Rufai.
But that is the stuff with which good interviews are made; the ability to draw your guest out from his hibernating cocoon to the listening glee of your public.
Dr Abati did it to Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso when he asked a question that seems to suggest that Kwankwaso could be a descendant of a mystical “Okonkwo and sons”, an Ibo man who was alleged to have founded the present-day Kwankwaso village in Kano state. The politician took it in his stride and was never thrown off- balance like the proponent of ” stomach infrastructure” did.
The fact that Oseni Rufai’s interview continues to be a topic of discussion, especially in many virtual fora, the business of Journalism for the owners of Arise TV benefits as more eyes are drawn to the station for good. Let the young man be. All great Journalists are “rude”. Some others do have them.
- Austen Akhagbeme is a Columnist with Blank NEWS Online