By Kunle Rasheed
Before now, I had vowed never to write anything on Arise News channel co-anchor Rufai Oseni again; not because the ink of my idea pen got dried about his controversial conduct on air, but simply because some caged minded individuals are beginning to see it as if I have something personal against him. Their conclusion is obviously because of some of the things I’ve written in the past on the need to correct his excesses.
To those who see my contributions as a form of attack, I have privately asked myself countless times, what is the need for me to ‘attack’ Rufai unjustifiably in the first place? I do not belong to any affiliation that may peg me to the side of a biased concerned. He has not offended me in any way, and I’m certain that there can’t be any other reason for us not to be friends, even if it’s virtual.
Many times, I’ve appeared on live television to discuss contemporary issues, but, that has not changed the fact that I solely belong to the print side of journalism while the former radio presenter’s corner is strictly electronic. So, l see no reason at all that may give rise to any bad blood between my humble self and “Sir Ruffy.”
Nevertheless, as a professional who has put in well over two decades of my life into the career of journalism, I don’t think it’s out of place for me to add my voice to any raging controversial issue that affects my field that is generally known as the noble profession.
I have read several write ups and countless comments where people commend Rufai Oseni for doing a yeoman’s job on that now very famous The Morning Show on the Nduka Obaigbena-owned station. They applaud him daily for ‘shooting’ his guests with what they term as “highly piercing questions” which to them is different from the lot we have around.
Some even say if anyone doesn’t want to be rattled, the person should never dare to honour an invitation to appear on the Arise morning show because ‘Emperor Omoode Pick Peters Rufai Oseni’ is loaded with ota (bullet) laced questions that could sink the person in no time.
Many a time, when I see such comments, I laugh out loud because many do not understand the ethics of that profession especially broadcast journalism.
It took me a visit to Nigeria Press Council Abuja to know many things that I took for granted in my early days as trainee journalist. This , I am hundred percent certain is alien to our star boy.
What makes Rufai’s behaviour on air more annoying is the fact that those who should know also joined in chorusing the song ‘go on soun, ko s’ewu’ (keep going, there is no problem). They cheer on inanities from Ruffy.
Ive heard not a few who should ordinarily condemn Ruffy boy, saying ethics do not matter just because he is giving them premature ejaculation. These people urging him on, will not say such about other professions like medicine, law, and some others just like the media.
It is true that the profession has turned to t’aaja, t’eran (all comers affair), but those who could still preach sanity through their conduct should continue until the gatecrashers are checkmated.
For those who care to know, I have repeatedly stated uncountable times that it is not out of place for journalists to dig deeper than deep to bring out quality questions that will stand miles away from patronising the interviewee; I have even written about it that it is not proper to pamper guests with patronising questions.
However, what I do not subscribe to concerning our dear rave of the moment star, Ruffy, is that he keeps exposing himself as a biased journalist who takes side in performing his duties.
Those who have eyes can see through his mind because his countenance gives him out easily even before he makes a comment.
Ruffy’s way is likened to a referee in the round leather game who jumps up when his preferred team scores a goal and expresses sobriety when the team is losing.
The world shouldn’t end just because Rufai’s preferred failed to clinch the trophy, it is so painful to him that he wouldn’t know when he goes overboard when issues concern APC, Tinubu or anything around them.
Have I ever doubted his intelligence? No! Infact, in every write up I’ve authored on him, I have never failed to point out this attribute of his and I’ve also sounded it severally that I love his sense of history. Even in comment sections of those I know that wrote about the latest controversy, I kept hammering on his intelligence so much that two top journalist called to tell me I shouldn’t ever say “Ruffy” is intelligent again. To these journalists, I was giving intelligence another meaning because to them, if he is really intelligent, he wouldn’t allow his emotions and sentiments to becloud his brain while on the job. One even asked, “what sense of history?” “A guy that’s always on Google to quickly grab information that he dishes out cannot be praised to high heavens like you are(I am) doing.”
These admonitions will still not make me admit their position or change my belief because I’ve seen Ruffy attend discourse and I’ve seen him speak at several fora without clutching a prepared speech.
However, the fact that some see him as the best thing to happen to broadcast journalism despite starboy Ruffy’s glaring coloured comments/reviews and interviews, has pushed me to the research room to go back to his interview clips to know precisely the manner of quality questions he asks that’s different from what the likes of ‘regular journalists’ ask.
I have taken time to watch many of such interviews but i’ll just break down two of some of the controversial ones he has been involved in recently.
Let’s start with the very last one, the incident between him and Lawyer and member of the recently dissolved All Progressive Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, Jesutega Onokpasa. As soon as Jesutega answered beautiful Ayo Mairo-Ese, reechoing the fact that the supreme court has affirmed the presidency of Asiwaju and the need for Nigerians to be patient with the president because he is not the cause of the nation’s problems, not forgetting the issue about subsidy. Star boy Ruffy was visibly angry that the first thing he did was to try make Jesutega swear as if the interviewee was in a court room. Infact, he reminded the man that he should have the love of his country at heart first by saying “Mr onakpasa my name is rufai oseni, patriotism means supporting your country at all times and supporting the government only when they deserve it…” He then blurted it out that “I put it to you that you are a liar” (misrepresenting facts on subsidy). Jesutega wanted to correct him that the unchangeable fact still remains that Tinubu did not remove subsidy but the man before him. Rufai as a journalist who has a duty to inform, should also be informed. Tinubu did state that there was no provision for Subsidy in the budget he was inheriting, hence his famous quote that “subsidy is gone”. This was what Jesutega wanted to correct but Rufai snapped at him shutting him down and asking about the Naira’s depreciation and why the economy was running downhill.
Jesutega, on his part must have had something in mind for Rufai that he was so infuriated that he also misbehaved. No one in his right senses will support bad deed, but, Rufai stating it out that the man was a liar on national television is enough to get anyone’s anger button on.
Rufai did not help matters that he kept on saying answer the question as if the question was specially brought to him from Jupiter.
Now, like Alice in wonderland, I wonder what is so special about these questions star boy asked that any rookie journalist cant ask ; even better questions than that.
On Ex governor Fayose, Rufai should know that what is on social media couldn’t just amount to fact and as such he should thread softly.
Even if there was a voice recorder and the court has not pronounced anyone guilty, Rufai has no right to state it as if he is the Judge.
Again, just like Jesutega, Rufai started with an insult saying all what Fayose said in response to the earlier asked question from his colleague, is continuity of illegality in the country. He went on to recall an alleged secret recording by an army Captian where Fayose was ‘heard’ hatching out election fraud in Nigeria in 2014.
Even, if he has that ‘fact’, he should have asked in a way as if he is not the one alleging by saying there is a gossip in town about the leaked recording. I want to believe Ayo Fayose would have given him a perfect response but instead he became the judge who had all the needed evidence to nail the offender. This attitude shouldn’t be encouraged at all.
When, Sarah Sosan was the Deputy Governor of Lagos, I had the privilege of interviewing her at her private office inside Marwa Gardens Alausa with a colleague Funmi Olowosegun.
Just like Ruffy, I had some ‘facts’ about her marital issue on how she became Sosan’s wife by being a teacher employed by the wife of Sosan to teach her kids.
Despite living around her neighbourhood and knowing for certain what went down, I dare not ask directly as if I knew, I just said there is this rumour in town that such and such happened to her. She answered pleasantly but later called me aside not to include it in the interview.
That’s how to be safe when asking such questions.
Rufai Oseni can do better if only he’ll purge himself of the hate that has enveloped him before , during and after the elections to know that it is only the court that can pronounce anyone guilty not Rufai Oseni, not Arise Television.
Mo so yi mo duro na
This is still Kunle Rasheed reporting live from his inner mind