The internet went agog yesterday as various reactions trailed the outburst of the former minister of Aviation, Femi FaniKayode who during a media chat with journalist lost his cool while answering questions from the journalist presents.
The journalist identified as Eyo0Charles asked the former minister of Aviation that who is bankrolling you. The question was asked in reaction to the tour of Femi FaniKayode which has seen him visited six Nigerian states where he has been monitoring some of the federal government projects.
As shown in the video of the interview, Femi was shown to have responded angrily at the reporter, in his words,” Do you know who you are talking to? What type of insulting question is that? Who can give me money for anything? Who do you think that you are talking to? Go and report yourself to your publisher. I could see from your face before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. Who do you think you are talking to? Bankroll who? You think I am one of those ones you… from who, when, how? You have a small mind, very small mind.”
While Nigerians have taken to the social media pages and other media outlets to state their opinion regarding the issue with many not obviously impressed with the utterances of the former minister of aviation, for a man who is on a tour visiting some Nigerian states in a bid to check some of the governments projects in his bid to demand accountability from them, his reaction to the simple question asked him is an outright disengagement from what he is truly fighting for which is accountability from the government.
Femi FaniKayode however took to his twitter page to apologize for his actions, an apology which Nigerians have faulted as he only apologized for using the word stupid on the journalist instead of apologizing for the totality of his actions. For a man like Femi FaniKayode who is not only a politician but one who can be considered an elder state man in Nigeria, a more exemplary character and behavioral pattern is expected from him.
This incident is a mirror reflecting the state of our society, the pathetic ills of social stratification which has divided the Nigerian community in which the rich and privileged looks down and makes a mere meal of those below them. It mirrors and reflects the ills of a society whose leadership structure is built on a structure where leaders think that they cannot be held accountable or questioned by people they think are higher than them. It brings to remembrance the famous slogan has been used in the book animal farm by George Orwell in which the animals adopted the slang, “all animals are equal” but along the line this was changed to, “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others”.
We live in a society where lecturers in various Nigerian Tertiary institutions treat students with disdain and contempt, a society where bosses at work attaches no respect in dealing with their subordinates at work. The case of Femi Fani-Kayode is just one among a thousands more cases in Nigeria.
This is also a clarion call to the media sector to give more facelift to their personnel, the way you dress is the way you will be addressed they often say. Politicians or other figures will definitely find it hard to disrespect the media men when they are well dressed with impressive physical attributes. This is not to posit that the said reporter involved in this scenario is not well dressed. However we cannot deny the fact that the media industry needs a major facelift and revamp which will go a long way in creating respect of the media men from the public and not merely see them as casual workers who are hunting for stories on empty stomach around.
Adding to this, media personnel must ensure that it embrace and engages members of the public using the approved modus operandi of engagements in their field of work. The row with Femi FaniKayode would have been avoided if the reporter had used a statement which is less capable of drawing a negative response or been misinterpreted. Instead of, “Who is bankrolling you?” the statement, “how are you bankrolling your trips” could have been better and less provocative.
By Marcus Amudipe