Why Fani-Kayode Assaulted Me — Daily Trust Reporter Reveals

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Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode last week verbally assaulted a Daily Trust journalist in Calabar for asking him a question.

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A video of the assault has gone viral. Our correspondent, who was on the receiving end of FFK’s vitriol, details the events leading to the assault and what transpired after the cameras stopped rolling.

Femi Fani-Kayode, a former minister and former spokesman to former  President Oluseegun Obasanjo, recently lost his cool when he rounded up his visit to Cross River State where he spent about a week.

To climax the visit, he had asked Alhaji Rasheed Olanrewaju of the AIT to invite some media houses so that he could relay the report of his extensive guided tour of Governor Ben Ayade’s projects, mostly in the southern part of the state. The invitation was extended to Daily Trust newspaper, a frontline national newspaper I have worked for since early 2011.

It was an opportunity to hear more from the former minister on claims he made that if the PDP denied Gov Ben Ayade control of all party structures in the state, himself, Ayade and a good number of politicians would leave the party. It would be interesting to read and see his body language over his newfound romance with Ayade, I thought.

The press briefing was fixed for Thursday, August 20 by 10.30 am at Ayade’s private hotel situated adjacent to his palatial house in the State Housing Estate, Calabar.

The hotel was believed to have been moribund before now. But having been refurbished, distinguished persons and government guests are routed there instead of to the massive, well-furnished state-government-owned Lakeside Hotel at Tinapa Business Resort or other presidential lodges in Calabar.

The government house press crew including Channels TV, NTA, the state-owned Cross River Broadcasting Corporation, AIT led by Mr Christian Ita, the chief press secretary, Imani Odey (special adviser to Ayade on electronic media) and Rasheed Olanrewaju, correspondent of AIT (chairman of Government House Press Crew) were all present.

As were journalists from some national papers such as Mr Gill Nsa-Abasi of The Nation, Aniekan Aniekan of Oracle Today, David Odey of The Punch, Richard Ndoma of Leadership, George Odok of NAN, Ikechukwu Uche of Vanguard, etc. Fani-Kayode came with his own media team and security details, including police officers, some of whom he shouted at, even in front of journalists, carried his baggage.

The former minister spent over one hour speaking highly of Gov Ayade, extolling his academic and political qualities and how his acumen, sagacity, intelligence and versatility have largely been ignored even with a plethora of projects he has initiated in the state.

FFK said he was in Cross River to see his friend, Ayade, whom he has been attracted to due to his extraordinary achievements with about the poorest federal allocation.

He said soon after the COVID-19 lockdown was lifted, he visited Zamfara, Anambra and five other states to meet with the governors, to appraise the extent of their projects.

He said although a PDP man, his visits have been across party lines.

For instance, in Anambra State, he could see that his host, Gov Willie Obiano, an APGA governor, was constructing the biggest airport in the country.

But when he shared the secret with Ayade, Ayade told him he had already acquired nearly a quarter of Obudu LGA, where he hails from, for an international cargo airport.

On completion, it would be the biggest in the country.

According to FFK, he agreed with them over what he saw in both states, having himself built the Port Harcourt airport when he was aviation minister.

He also spoke about how Bakassi was unjustly ceded to Cameroon when he was in Obasanjo’s government, and how the Supreme Court nailed the plight of Cross River by ceding the 76 oil wells in the state to Akwa Ibom, thereby making the latter the richest state in the country.

He pleaded that the federal government should revisit both thorny issues, and also create a special status for Cross River.

Time for questions Christian Ita moderated. But Olanrewaju interjected and sought permission from the ex-minister that questions be limited to what FFK has said.

Culled from Daily Trust

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