A former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, has said he has no apology for insulting a journalist who asked him a question at a news conference in Calabar, Cross River State.
Fani-Kayode, who was the spokesman of the Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council for the 2019 elections, said this in a statement on Tuesday.
He said in response to the out-pour of criticism that had trailed his outburst to the question by the journalist from Daily Trust newspaper: “During my tour of the South and after a long and successful press conference in Calabar, Cross Rivers state, a journalist put up his hand for the last question and said: ‘Well we do not know who is bankrolling you.’
“This is not a question but an assertion and an insult.
“And if this insulting ASSERTION were made before Trump or OBJ I know how they would have reacted.
“Below is my response and I have no apology to offer for it.
“The young man apologized to me during the press conference and sent his apologies to me after the conference. I have accepted his apologies in good faith and moved on.
“I have always had respect for journalists and I always will. Those of them that know me or have worked with or for me over the last 30 years can attest to that.
“However there is a distinction between asking a question and offering a gratuitous insult .
“This is all the more so when it is clear that the assertion was sponsored and engineered by my political enemies who wanted to use the young man to insult and embarrass me and question my integrity. Well they got more than they bargained for.
“I repeat this was not a question but an assertion and an insult and I will not accept that from any man born of woman. Thank you.”
Responding in an addendum to a story by Daily Trust on the incident, Fani-Kayode said: “Permit me to add the following to my earlier statement. I have taken note of the report by Daily Trust on the incident. The content is false. I didn’t send any of my security men to threaten their reporter.
“I only reprimanded him for a premeditated plan to embarrass me and he apologised thereafter. That was all.
“This is not a battle between me and the esteemed Nigerian journalists who respect the ethics of the noble profession.
“I have always been and will always be a friend to journalists and a champion of freedom of speech. What I will not accept are brazen insults from an individual in the name of journalism.
“The assertion or assumption that I am being bankrolled by anyone is deeply insulting.
“Finally to the NUJ I say you have got me completely wrong. It would have been better if you had heard my own side of the story and established who was behind this whole incident and attempt to embarrass me, who paid for it and how much they paid before going to press. Nevertheless I still hold you in high esteem.”