Following the verbal assault by a former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, on a journalist, Eyo Charles, in Calabar, Cross River State, the publisher of Governors Mandate Newspaper, Earl Osaro Onaiwu, says the former minister should redeem of what little is left of his integrity and apologise to the journalist community.
He also stated that journalists should be protected, celebrated and not abused.
Onaiwu, a former Director General of the PDP Governors Forum, said the vicious attack of the ex-minister on the journalist was unwarranted and signposts a dangerous trend where the elite think the journalist is for picking.
“It is embarrassing to say the least that a former minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will descend into the arena of touts to attack a journalist in the performance of his constitutional guaranteed role of holding officials, in and out of government, accountable is shocking,” Onaiwu said in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.
According to him, the unremorseful of Fani-Kayode speaks to a wider psychological issue which should not be taken lightly.
He noted that for a man who has basked in media limelight to so denigrate a member of the journalism profession shows that he has scant regard for journalism and journalists.
“It is still something of a wonder that the purveyor of the assault is yet to come to terms with how he has brought himself really low before the eyes of responsible members of society shows that he ought to be pitied, rather than condemned.
“At this rate, we should all pray for the former minister because an innocuous question to attract such umbrage tells of something more profound,” the statement said.
The publisher called on society, especially the elite, to appreciate the critical role journalists have played to gain independence and have continued to exhibit for the return and sustenance of democracy in the country.
He expressed the fear that if the media is weakened and psychologically damaged, Nigeria’s democracy would become even more fragile and shallow.