The Fejiro Oliver That Nigerians Don’t Know
I wish to apologise for the millions of people all over the world who will read this article. Firstly, I am not a journalist or author who can write earth moving words like the man I will be writing about. Secondly, he doesn't even know that I am penning down this and thirdly I want to apologise to Fejiro Oliver for deceiving him to give me the names of his colleagues who are top editors and publishers.
That said, I was shocked to see an article written by one Fortune who resorted to calling Fejiro name simply because he exposed the facts that some of the online mediums and soft sell news sites and papers have been bough over by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in the name of advert. He calls 'Fejiro' a pen name but those of us who knows him know that Fejiro is one of his numerous legal name as well as Pedro.
If there is one youth that deserve celebration daily in Nigeria, Fejiro will readily come out among the first ten. The Fejiro Nigerians don't know is a man that quickly outgrew his age that if you have never seen him, you will imagine him to be in his 40s, haven done what men in such age do. While I do not stand to defend him, I can say that haven known him for some years right from our University days. I was in the faculty of law while he was in the faculty of humanities. My attention was drawn to him when he began to go out with a course mate who was two years ahead of him and I kept wondering what gave him the guts to be friend to such a high profile lady in the university.
I remember many of us mocking him to come and take care of his girlfriend when the lady in question began to undergo some psychological trauma, and Fejiro will leave his lectures to stay with the girl in class, a rare case of care and love in negligence of his own academic. Ever since then, our bond grew till we passed out of the university leaving him behind. His radicalism and activism which he has brought to play in journalism will not surprise many of us, as he has always been like that, challenging corrupt lecturers and even ready to fail their courses as long as the right things are done. That is Fejiro for you, never ready to compromise ethics and standard.
You can imagine the shock many of us would have been when we read that he was involved in a N50 million deal with the Niger State government and people like FCC Jones who were his course mates do not need to hear from him before rising to his defence. Unknown to many, his abduction was for him to be assassinated, a story better told by him. The only crime Fejiro has on him is growing so fast in Journalism that one would think he has practiced for over two decades, whereas he began barely a decade ago.
The Fejiro Nigerians don't know is so responsible that when many were still struggling to enter the university, he left there at 20 years while getting legally married at 25. It may not be a feat, but for a country like Nigeria, it is. Since his entrance into Journalism, I can remember him telling me that he wants to quit and go into acting movies considering the decadence in the media industry and how his unwillingness to bend is causing him to be at loggerheads with his colleagues. When he co-founded the popular Secrets Reporters news site, www.secretsreporter.com, every effort by government and corporate bodies to advertise on the website I can authoritatively say were rejected by him, till he left there for Daily Voice NG.
The Fejiro we don't know is same man who threatened to leave Elombah.com should his standard be compromised, at least he confided in me. Despite Anambra State Government advert running on Elombah, the biggest opposition he had came from same medium through Fejiro who constantly reported against him. Where then did pseudo men like Fortune get their brains from that he could not negotiate Uduaghan's advert for Elombah?
If there is any journalist that is disturbed with calls daily to get advert and stop negative publication against them, Fejiro is one of such. At the risk of sounding corrupt, I had personally told him to make friends with a particular government and bank who were begging to have him on their side for millions of Naira. I promised to broker the deal as a lawyer so that it can be legal, but the Fejiro Nigerians don't know called my bluff and blatantly refused, preferring to stick with the truth and reporting the ills of the government and bank. If he is after money like the Fortunes of the corrupt media, he would be smiling with fortune daily to the bank and driving the latest vehicles, living in mansions while travelling round the world.
For those who are not aware, for the first time in history, Nestle Nigeria limited had a negative story against them on Daily Voice NG which he head. Without privy to that story, I am 50% sure that he must have been called to the negotiating table which he refused. This is a company that has bought almost all the soft sell media. For those who don't know, he briefed me on a letter written by Nestle to take him to court and he promised to expose more of their nefarious activities should the court case come up. Does this look like a corrupt Nigerian? His very popular phrase after the end of each article 'These little things matter…' has become a catch phrase with many social media folks, and yet rather than applaud this young man who has become a mentor to many Nigerians, they want to dim his burning lamp.
Fejiro problem is refusing to be bought over. If Fortune had followed the Niger State saga, he would have known that the news medium that didn't carry it positively on Fejiro's side are irrelevant mediums where his articles appeared on. What other mediums can be better than Elombah, Premium Times, Sahara Reporters, Abusiqu, Paradigm, News Express, News Rescue, Naija Centre, Oderaigbo, Daily trust, Daily Sun, Newsline, Advocate, LadunLaidi, 247ureports, Universal Reporters and many too numerous to mention, who reported the case and stood by him? What does Fejiro need their publicity for when Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders, Media Rights Agency et al who took the case upon themselves to defend him? If he had followed the case, he would have known that Fejiro is heading for the courts to file charges with many of my revered colleagues ready to stand for him pro bono.
Fejiro that Nigerians don't know is publicity shy hence he still prefers to be himself despite becoming a global brand already. If there is one Nigeria who will shape the country in 2015 and Delta State, give it to this young man who began to run while his mates were still breastfeeding. In a short time, he has etched his name in gold not just in the media but a voice in the political sector, no wonder he is being wooed by many political aspirants to join their media team. He has built a name that symbolises credibility and humility.
Haven washed his hands clean, he eats with elders and this envious pain is what the Fortunes of this world cannot bear. The Fejiro Nigerians don't know has shown to us that one can practice journalism without being corrupt and if that is his crime, so be it. For those of us who look up to him as the future of Nigeria, we can only imagine how far he will go and won't be surprised tomorrow if he is called to be a Special Adviser on Media to a government official, and who knows; he may reject it. Fejiro no doubt has enemies among members of the pen fraternity and this undoing of his is what people like fortunes hate to see exposed. Nigerians should celebrate heroes like this who come once in a life time, for it may take centuries for another Fejiro Oliver to arise and open our eyes to the maladies of government and corporate bodies.