I must confess, I’ve been a big fan of Arise TV for a very long time before the ‘EndSARS’ protest saga that pushed up the rating of the Nduka Obaigbena owned station to many, in Nigeria and beyond.
The brilliant way they captured the sad episode that’s still reverberating across the length and breath of the country succeeded in making many converts captivated and glued to it, that in no time, it became the television of the people, thereby displacing Channels TV that had been dominant for many years.
As a journalist who has love for different shades of news, I always anticipated the very rich and quite informative live interviews of the then not popular television station with those I can admittedly refer to as VIPs in the society.
Almost every day, you were bound to see a news maker, business person or politician that would be worthy on that majorly news channel. At a point, I took up the role of an unsolicited advert agent for the station by telling friends and some journalists to check out that channel, informing them how exceptional its content was.
The quality of people the channel was attracting daily then, did not come to me as a surprise because, it is not possible to have the enormous influence of almighty Thisday Publisher, Nduka Obaigbena who is reputed to have high and mighty as friends in the country that include decision makers and heads of top businesses and not get the needed person(s) for the live chats.
Also, one of the well known anchors of the now famous The Morning Show programme, Dr Reuben Abati, commands some level of respect too amongst both his colleagues and many others and coupled with the fact that he just left ex President Goodluck Jonathan’s government as his mouthpiece, it should be easy to attract prominent people.
There was no way I watched any of the interviews then and not be able to get a news item from it.
No matter what anyone feels, Reuben Abati to me, is still very passable as a thorough bred professional who will coat his preference in colours, sometimes with humour, by not letting it show when asking necessary questions.
Many at times, even if he wanted to be mischievous, the man who became a champion in print media before crossing to the electronic media will hide under either what is trending (not the segment) or what people are saying, to ask his questions which I think personally though, still resides on the lane of professionalism.
But, can I say this about Rufai Oseni? The answer will be in the negative; at least for now.
Rufai sees himself as a faultless being who is always on a mission to detect the myriad of faults in others without putting a light on his own disposition and countenance which he always betrays glaringly on air.
He appears cocky and arrogant most times and takes up the all knowing apparel that he has to force his opinion down the throat of whoever he passes judgement on as not being on his side.
Anyone who has been following Arise TV will readily agree with me that Rufai Oseni is living in a frenzy of his new found fame that he could talk down on anyone which he displayed on a major road not too long ago that is totally against the ethics of the profession.
No one is doubting his intelligence or his ability to deliver on his job. But, the fact that he believes he has become the brightest star on the tube has given him a garb of superciliousness that is second to none.
I will never dare to question him on the need to ask controversial questions, but the way he puts in his opinion and emotion defeat whatever good he is trying to do.
Not too long ago, I wrote an article titled ‘What’s the right question to ask as a journalist’ when Femi Fani Kayode tongue lashed a journalist for daring to ask him what he felt was an insultive question.
In the write up, I painted several ways a journalist can ask questions that do not necessarily need to go well with the interviewee.
In the said write up, I concluded that a journalist need not massage the ego of people to get questions across.
At least I’ve spent years in journalism and I have over period watched many on the tube to know how things ought to be done.
Brilliant minds like John Momoh, Cyril Stober, Ladi Akeredolu Ale, Deji Badmus, Seun Okinbaloye and others have all exhibited the traits of core professionals in bringing up superb interviews.
Rufai many times feels like our policemen who have the erroneous belief that they are superior to others who are not in the uniform. This attitude is what is displayed daily by Rufai who pushes his thoughts and beliefs on people because he feels he is knowledgeable enough, even when the guest raises an objection.
The last time I checked, it is meant to be an interview and not a cross examination in court where he wants to nail a defendant by trying to put holes in their submissions.
Rufai is a brilliant mind who also has a good sense of history, but, he should mellow down and realise he is a journalist who shouldn’t show bias by betraying his emotions on air.
He could be different from the others; he could stand out but he should try to copy other superb journalists who stick to the rules even when provoked on air.
Abo oro lan so fo mo luabi…
*This is still Kunle Rasheed reporting live from my inner mind
Rasheed is a Lagos- based journalist