The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State council, on Monday, ordered its members to boycott a press conference allegedly called by a former minister of aviation, Femi Kani-Kayode.
The union gave this directive on Monday in Ibadan, the state capital.
Mr Fani-Kayode was recently seen in a viral video, while addressing a press conference, verbally assaulting a journalist in Calabar, Cross Rivers State.
Mr Fani-Kayode, who said he was in Calabar to inspect some projects built by the state government, called Charles Eyo, the Daily Trust correspondent in Cross Rivers, “stupid”.
The former minister has, however, apologised to the journalist, the NUJ, Daily Trust and any affected parties. In an apology letter sent to the national president of the NUJ, the former minister said he regretted his actions, and promised to have a better relationship with the union.
“I wish to convey my regrets to the reporter for my response to him and I also wish to express my regrets to the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and members of the Nigerian media, whom I hold in high esteem,” he wrote in the letter.
“I believe that my reaction was disproportionate and unduly harsh even though I felt deeply provoked by the fact that the reporter asserted that I was being bankrolled by somebody for something that I was funding entirely on my own.I do hope that our relationship will continue as it has always been,” he continued.
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the former minister had arrived in Ibadan on Sunday to continue his tour and organised a press conference for Monday.
However, the Oyo State chapter of the union ordered its members to boycott the press conference.
The NUJ state chairperson, Ademola Babalola, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES, added that he gave the directive in view of Mr Fani-Kayode’s action.
“It was about two hours ago that we learnt that FFK in his usual junketing across the nation allegedly landed in Ibadan last night. We heard that he has invited some of our colleagues to a press conference.
“As I am talking to you now, we have not gotten any circular, any contrary position from the NUJ in Abuja to henceforth forgive him or attend any of his programme forthwith.
“As a journalist, I expect a kind of sober reflection on the part of FFK. I had expected that he would pay a visit to the NUJ president, Chris Iziguso and possibly the management of Daily Trust Newspaper to atone for his many ‘sins’ against the journalists in the country. So, for now Oyo NUJ position is still very clear that we are boycotting this press conference today in Ibadan.”
Mr Babalola added that the former minister remains blacklisted by the journalists’ union, until otherwise stated by the national secretariat of the union.
“For now, NUJ has not sent a circular down to various state councils in Nigeria to tell us the update; though we read on social media and newspapers that he has sent an apology letter.
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Mr Babalola, also wondered why the former minister is on a tour, visiting projects across the nation.
“He had in the letter said he disappointed himself, friends and family over his attack on Eyo Charles. The reason for FFK’s ongoing tour is still strange to all. This is what our colleague, Charles, was trying to unravel in Cross River, when FFK attacked him.
“We wonder why he is travelling all about when he is not the PDP national chairman or assigned such duty by the PDP.”
The head of the journalists union in the state, however, left the door open for some sort of reconciliation with Fani-Kayode
“As a human being, to err is human but to forgive is divine. I agree but he should at least be more circumspect and allow the heat to go down.”