By Bala IBRAHIM
IN his song, Forever loving Jah, Bob Marley said, only a fool lean upon his own misunderstanding. Oh yeah!
It’s no longer news, that Femi Fani Kayode, a former spokesperson to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and former minister of the Federal Republic, had verbally assaulted a journalist last week, for simply asking him a question. He didn’t stop there, he asked his security detail to interrogate the journalist, on the reasons for his effrontery to challenge him in the public.
At a press briefing in Calabar on Thursday, August 20, 2020, the former minister, who had been on a “Good Governance Tour” of the south-south region, was politely asked by Eyo Charles of the Daily Trust, who was bankrolling his ‘Good Governance Tour?
Instead of responding with the same politeness, Femi flared up in fury. “I could see from your face, before you got here, how stupid you are. Don’t ever talk to me like that. What type of stupid question is that? Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to?
Femi Fani Kayode went on and on firing invectives at the journalist, with threats to get him sanctioned by his employers.
I waited till today, hoping what I saw was a dream, but alas, it was confirmed by the Daily Trust and condemned by the NUJ.
Again, this morning, the former minister admitted his guilt, by expressing regrets and saying, he shouldn’t have spoken in that derogatory manner.
In a statement, he sent to the press, which reads: “I met with my advisors till late last night and I wish to say the following, I hereby withdraw the word ‘stupid’ which I used in my encounter with a journalist in Calabar. I have many friends in the media who I offended by losing my cool and using such words. I hereby express my regrets for doing so. I hope that this will assuage the pain and anger of anyone that was hurt or offended by this ugly episode. I have now put this matter behind me and moved on”.
Move on? Sorry Femi, you can’t move on with such baggage of rascality hanging on your head.
Like the Pulse said in their opinion on the issue, Fani-Kayode didn’t just lose his mind, he never had one.
Undoubtedly Fani not just lacked the mind, but lacked the conscience, creed and compunction, to guarantee the moral sense of knowing what is wrong and doing what is right.
In his childish way of showing the chauvinist in him, Femi Fani Kayode once boasted of having an affair with Bianca Ojukwu, the widow of late Odumegwu Ojukwu.
I once had an encounter with him, when he was the media aide of President Obasanjo, and I was the Abuja editor of the BBC. We requested for an interview with him and he obliged but maintained that the interview must hold in his place. He told me to meet him at a Guesthouse in one of the military barracks behind the Villa, on the way to Asokoro. I think that was where he was staying.
I was there on time. The issue at hand was the burning feud between Atiku and Obasanjo at that time, and we needed to hear from him before Mallam Garba Shehu, the then spokesperson of Atiku Abubakar.
In the presence of his girlfriend, with whom I met him, he brought out something from his pocket and sniffed, in a manner reminiscent to what we watch in the movies, by those engaged in drugs.
Without any reason or provocation from anyone, he started the conversation by verbally attacking Atiku Abubakar, the Vice President of Nigeria then, calling him unprintable names. He then looked at me in the eye and said, go ahead, you can ask any question.
With such a scenario, my first question of course was, Are you into drugs? He reacted with an anger that reminded me of the infamous military response to late Abiola, the instinct of a mad dog.
He barked, yelled and nearly got physical with me, but I kept the microphone opened, and maintained an unruffled posture. The girlfriend calmed him down and asked me to leave the chalet. I did, while he was raging with temper tantrums.
On getting to the office, I insisted we should use the story, but my colleagues overpowered me, saying, it would worsen the sour situation between the President and the Vice President and heat up the national politics unnecessarily. I surrendered to their argument, despite my position of being the editor.
Even the very Obasanjo, for whom he held brief, once said Fani-Kayode is nothing but a suck-up, if you want him to sing for you, just hand him some food.
So the question still subsists, who is bankrolling your tour Femi? We all know you can’t answer it, because of the absence of values.
There is a saying in the Latin language, ‘Nemo dat quod non habet’ which means, ‘you cannot give what you do not have’.
Bala Ibrahim, a Media Advisor writes from Abuja