By now, most people have just about had enough of the demeaning spat between former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani – Kayode and a journalist with the Daily Trust newspaper. It is straight out of a Shakespearean tragedy. With his state – to- state “project inspection” tour, the former minister had clearly discovered a winning formula and a lucrative sideline; he appears to have blown it now.
The incident says a lot about a disheveled republic. For a start, it indicates a clear lack of transparency in the appropriation of public funds. The reporter actually had a compelling duty to smell something fishy about the funding of the tour and to seek clarification. The responding statement of entitlement by Fani – Kayode states everything about Nigeria’s patron and client political economy.
It is unacceptable that the journalists present did not stage a walkout. This in itself is a testimony of the economic framework in which they work; lacking in job security, hardly any union protection and the absence in the event of a job loss, of even rudimentary social protection let alone unemployment benefits.
In these difficult times, the press must continue to do its job. Otherwise, there is no other reason for its existence. As for Femi Fani – Kayode’s disgraceful conduct, the less said the better. This childish display can in no way resuscitate a dwindling political career, which in itself is a very good punishment.