When I read a piece written on November 2014 by one Olufemi Davies who is not known in journalism or even near the blogging sphere; I had wanted to reply him, but chose to serve him the dish in the New Year. His piece titled ‘New Media and Kangaroo Journalists’ is definitely not worth replying if he had not mentioned my hard earned name in it.
He wrote and I quote “It is therefore not surprising, that a blogger of no repute, who has had face offs with the Niger State Government over issues of editorial blackmail, could not differentiate between an advert on a news site and a PR package. While one is a clear cut Above The Line transaction, the other is essentially a public relations function.
So, when such a blogger goes to town, impugning on the integrity of seasoned journalists and insinuating an act of wrongdoing on their part, simply because their news sites were given adverts, which was appropriately placed and visible, the same advert the said blogger lobbied for but did not get, then you know such a person needed to have his head examined.”
One begins to wonder if Femi knows about the man he writes about or he was drinking his usual Orijin beer and gotten drunk when he penned down such. But then, we cannot blame him because I exposed how he and other irrelevant media sites with exceptions of credible ones like Premium Times NG, News Express, Pointblank, Daily Post, Huhu Online and few others were bought over by my State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan just to stop negative reports on the State. He should know that my style of Journalism is such that even my immediate constituency, the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) is not spared the rod when they engage in corrupt practices. Were he a member, I would have directed him to the Delta State Council NUJ to narrate their ordeals in the media through my pen when they began to live corrupt lives; or to help him, he can use his friend, Google. This is a profession where I fight dirty just to see the masses satisfied and taking him on is no big deal.
Femi in his unschooled thinking and has no single training in Journalism wants to school writers like me on what make a PR and advert, when it is obvious that for money he can sell his entire lineage. He should have asked around the media industry on before picking his old generation laptop to type the words he did. Pray, can Femi tell us what he has contributed to journalism that will even make a governor to look his way if not for people like Dotun who had mercy on him to include his name so he can feed his family?
Can he point out what makes him a seasoned Journalist where real pen pushers are gathered that will make him stand out? Can he point to one single investigative report that he has carried out in his few years of joining the pen world? Can he point out one bloggers summit that he has attended or will he be mentioned among Nigeria top hundred bloggers if the list is compiled? Simply none! Femi should pick up his phone and mention his name to relevant personalities in Nigeria, identify his media and see if the person will not bang the phone on him, haven not heard about him in the media circle. And yet he wakes up from the wrong side of his bed to write on a Journalist who has refused to be bought over just as he has he has been bought with 15 shekels of silver.
I will not remind Femi that any attack from him on my person is an attack on Nigerians whom I represent and if he doubts it; he can come out on the social media and let’s see if he would survive the heat, so much that his fraudulent media career will be crippled. I am not Femi who corporate bodies call and he jumps at any offer given to him, but one will gives the hardest conditions that cannot be met, a standard in the industry and he can ask around. I cannot be like him who begs to have a governor audience and if he doubts it, he should come to Delta State and even Niger State where I clashed with the governor; let’s walk to the government house and see who the governors will direct that the doors be thrown open for.
Femi and his types should be ashamed that while we fight for a corrupt free democracy, he and his cohorts are eating from the corrupt politicians and corporate bodies who use the people’s money to enjoy the good things of life. Oh yes, Femi should come and let’s walk the streets of Lagos and let’s see who Nigerians will identify with. I dare him to walk with me to any top corporate headquarters and see who the MD/CEO will gladly welcome. Where he has failed, aspiring young Nigerians like us have succeeded and this is said with all modesty. For Femi, journalism which he played little part in bastardising is for the highest negotiator and where it not for the internet age, there will be no media house ready to take him even as an understudy reporter, but today he can sit behind a laptop and conjure up stories from his kitchen and sell to the unsuspecting public.
He must be truly surprised that we get exclusive documents and reports with ease which he can never get because sources will not be ready to stake down their lives for him, knowing he will sell them out to security agencies. Rather than say he envies the work I do and wants to be schooled in the art of professional journalism, he joins the bandwagon of mama put journalists which fetches meal at the moment but never stand the test of time, which I have sunk myself into and reaping the rewards. As always, I am still ready to show him the way if he will be humble enough to learn.
Today I can gladly walk into my governor’s office and discuss with him as a father to a son and will feel at home, and still walk away with millions but not Femi who cannot stand close to him, since he was bought over from a distance. He should bury his head in shame that people like us still exist to sanitise the industry that he jumped into without the proper training. Beyond being a Journalist, I have humbly found my feet in the blogging world/new media with the right connections to national and international media who seek my opinion on political issues happening in Nigeria, but this cannot be said of Femi whose sole aim of owning a website is to copy and paste stories that true journalists reports.
And do we blame him? No! I blame my governor who out of his kindness felt that people like him should not be allowed to starve, but I can assure Femi and Co that as God liveth; the Delta State advert they have on their sites may mark the last they will ever have, except they come to terms with reality that adverts are not meant to promote a politician or corporate bodies but just a way of getting revenue to pay staffs, even though he/they have none.
Between Femi and me, let our conscience and the public be the judge who has stood on the path of progressive Journalism.
These little things matter…
Fejiro Oliver, Editorial Board Chairman of Secrets Reporters, Media Consultant and Human Rights Activist is also the Co-Convener of Coalition of Human Rights Defender (CHORD) and can be reached on +2348022050733, +2348160067613 (SMS ONLY) or firstname.lastname@example.org. Engage him on twitter on @fejirooliver86