Igbere TV Withdraws Fani-Kayode’s Award Nomination Over Attack On Journalist

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Management of Igbere TV has withdrawn the nomination of Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister of Aviation, for the 2020 edition of the Leadership Excellence Awards.

According to the popular online medium, the decision was informed by Kayode’s unwarranted verbal attack against Mr. Eyo Charles, a journalist with Daily Trust Newspapers.

We had reported how Kayode verbally attacked the journalist who only sought to hold him accountable for his recent actions by asking him if his tours to the South were being sponsored.

Fani-Kayode, who flew into a rage almost immediately described the Daily Trust reporter as “very stupid”, a sad development that has been roundly condemned by all.

“I am saying this on live TV. What type of stupid question is that? Bankrolling who? Do you know who you are talking to? I will not take any questions from this man,” he said.

He also allegedly threatened to report the journalist to his boss, Daily Trust publisher, before storming out of the hall in anger, and was accused of demanding the journalist’s sack afterwards.

Barely 24 hours after the incident, two more trending videos surfaced on the internet where the former minister was also seen abusing, insulting and denigrating other journalists.

Fani-Kayode was nominated in the “Social Media Personality of the Year” category by Nigerians at the ongoing nominations exercise. The Awards ceremony is billed to hold in December with over 1 million audience nationwide.

Others nominated in the same category alongside Fani-Kayode include Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, Big Brother Naija’s host; Toke Makinwa, Radio personality; and Senators Dino Melaye and Shehu Sani.

But in a statement on Thursday issued by Mr. Emeh James Anyalekwa, executive director of Igbere TV, in Abuja, he said the Awards cannot identify with a ‘press oppressor’ hence the decision to withdraw Kayode’s nomination.

Anyalekwa said the decision was unanimously taken on Thursday(today) during an emergency meeting of the Leadership Excellence Awards Organising Committee.

He argued that the Award promotes outstanding leaders and personalities whose impacts have been felt in Nigeria’s political, social and economic spheres – and that Kayode’s action makes him ineligible for the honours.

“By denigrating a journalist who was merely doing his job, Fani-Kayode has exposed himself as an an enemy of the press who will not want his activities closely scrutinised by the media,” Anyalekwa said.

“While it is instructive to remind Kayode that it is the Constitutional right of journalists to monitor and keep a check on people and institutions in power, we wish to maintain that the Leadership Excellence Awards is for stable persons.

“Fani Kayode is very conversant with the watchdog role of the media. It is hypocritical for him to advocate for free press but attempt to intimidate a journalist holding him accountable to a set of ideals.

“His reaction was totally dishonourable and reprehensible and we cannot afford to have him desecrate our respected platform so we are compelled to disnominate him.

“It is therefore based on the foregoing that we hereby withdraw the nomination of Femi Fani-Kayode in the “Media Personality of the Year” category for the Igbere TV Leadership Excellence Awards, 2020 edition.”

The annual Leadership Excellence Awards is pioneered by Igbere TV News Agency, a registered online media organisation based in Nigeria with offices spread across Umuahia, Uyo and Abuja.

The 2019 edition which held 28th November at the Sheraton Hotels, Abuja saw distinguished captains of industry, public figures, leaders, and politicians including distinguished Senators and executive Governors cling on to the various Award categories.

Some of the prominent awardees included President Muhammadu Buhari, United States-based Nigerian billionaire medical doctor, Dr. Godwin Maduka; former President Goodluck Jonathan, former House of Reps Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; minister Rotimi Amaech, Senator Rochas Okorcha, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu, among others.