Wednesday 28 August 2013

Aniekeme Finbarr: I’m not in any relationship + How a fan forcefully invited me over to her hotel for sex

Since he left Bush House Nigeria, many have wanted to know the main reason why he did so and he decided not to grant interviews to that effect. But after much pressure, Aniekeme Finbarr dubbed the Prime Minister of the Airwaves finally sat with me (IFREKE NSEOWO)  for his first press interview after his exit from the “House the Lord Himself Buildeth”. It is a no holds-barred interview. This interview was first published on Community Pulse newspaper of last Sunday. Excerpts:

Up close and personal
Aniekeme Finbarr is an average young man in the streets of Akwa Ibom State. He is not a celebrity, he is not a public figure; he is just a simple radio presenter. But for record purposes and for those who would love to know and appreciate him, he spent almost all his life growing up in Akwa Ibom State, attending various institutions, notably reading Law for 5 years in the University of Uyo  before being completely taken away for his own passion and following what he actually loves which is broadcasting and presentation. So that is just the much ado about Aniekeme Finbarr. He is born into a family of 5. Dad is a surveyor, mom is a retired school teacher and both are alive and doing very well.
Growing up
Growing up was strict and is still very strict because I’m still under parental guidance and controlling. As far as one’s parents are alive you expect some reasonable measure of control. Growing up was fun. Growing up under a very staunch, strict, Catholic Christian background, and doing all the things one ought to have done, I used to serve at masses, for catholics who understand what it means to be an altar boy. I used to serve at masses, so I grew up with an intention to become a reverend father. I really used to admire a lot of catholic priests because of their discipline, because of their intellect, because of the way they used to carry themselves about and because of that I had to attend Queen of Apostle Seminary in Afahaobong in Abak where for six years of secondary education I went through very strict catholic discipline. I think that has actually affected my entire life and that has actually shaped me in a very peculiar way. 

First day on air
It was a very terrible experience. Terrible but good and refreshing because I needed to get started. It was on a Wednesday morning sometime in July 2009. There was an opening to present sports on Bush House, that’s after Iniobong Monday left and the sports segment was very dull, quite boring so I decided to take the bull by the horn since I was generally close to the company. I joined Idy James on that Wednesday morning, I never really had any prior knowledge of sports, I never really followed sports that well to be able to present it. But I took it on, I rabbled, rammed and roamed  but I finally survived. It took about 7 minutes. Though I survived but it was terrible. There were lots of mistakes, lots of names not properly pronounced, but even in that some people said I did well but I knew they were not saying the truth.
Why did you leave Bush House in controversial circumstances?
Controversial circumstances? I just heard that from you now. I don’t know but we get to read very many things in the media. It is not true that I left under controversial circumstances. I left Bush House Nigeria with a handshake because we needed to move on.  There was need for greater challenges in broadcasting. There was need to do real time broadcasting, that is to get to do other things that perhaps Bush House Nigeria could not afford at that material time. That is getting to read news, getting to present programs, getting to be the regular on-air personality in a radio station. That was part of the motivation that actually pushed me to leave Bush House Nigeria at that material, so I don’t think it was much controversy because there actually wasn’t any; any other thing that was in circulation in the media was just subject to a lot of factors. I don’t really think there was much controversy.
So what you are saying is that you were not sacked from Bush House?
 I’m not in a position to say whether I was sacked or not. It wasn’t possible I sacked myself but nothing to that effect absolutely.
How is your relationship with Michael Bush, the owner of Bush House?
It is very cordial. But that doesn’t mean that we agree to every thing in public space. We are two different individuals but our personal relationship is still very cordial. We have since done a lot of things together, he had been on my radio show in Abuja a time or two, everything has been good. There is absolutely no need to say our relationship is not cordial. He is the man that discovered me out of nothing and gave me his platform and opportunity to express myself, I have no other option than to maintain a cordial relationship.
You were captured by Love FM, Abuja. How is it going?
Love FM, Abuja is one of the best places to be in broadcasting. The ideal private radio station in the FCT and it’s decently run. The superb administration is wonderful and above all they give you the leeway and opportunity to express yourself in the way you would love to. I kick-started with sports and then after I delved in to every other aspects and I got fully regularized as a full staffer. It has just been going on very well, excellent working conditions. I don’t want to talk about the pay (laughs).
Your stay in Uyo has surpassed one month and this has raised a lot of eyebrows. Some people are saying that you have been sacked by Love FM because according to them a normal leave granted a staff of a radio station is not always this long
Sometimes it is different to clear the air on every matter because the public is just always very interested in everything about you. They read meanings in to your moves, where you sleep, the way you walk, the way you smile, when you frown, and every other thing. I think work has been going on very fine. That is the beauty of working in an ideal private environment where the working conditions are good. For the early part of the year, I’ve been working and the management recognizes the fact that I need to equally be closer to home. Even as I speak now I’m still working because I still have to file in stories to the station, I still have to call in on different programs. So it is not like a complete break and the station appreciates it that when I’m off Abuja I’m still giving them information that is not in circulation over there. So there is nothing to worry about, it is not every speculation that I’ll be moving around to clear the air. I’m over, fully, still on the payroll of Love FM. This is August and towards ending, perhaps I need to share my next salary to convince people that I’m still there.

When you went to Abuja newly how were you able to cope?  
Life was absolutely strange. Getting to meet other people from other parts of the country, a new lease of life. Everything is different, the high cost of living in Abuja is absolutely crazy. From housing, to clothing, to feeding, everything is times ten to what is obtainable in other parts of the country. The initial difficulty was just there but I knew other Nigerians have survived there and I braced up.
How did you get the name Prime Minister of the Airwaves?
I just thought about it. I thought of very many names and I got stucked with the Prime Minister and I rabbled with a few other titles but Prime Minister was very cool. Then after I thought, Prime Minister of what? I said it has to be the whole airwaves from television to radio. I was looking at myself as one who is the greatest in the game because it is a tradition in radio broadcasting that you must have a sort of a nick name, a sort of alias so I just thought the Prime Minister of the Airwaves was ideal. With that name I could cover politics, sports, news, lifestyle, everything.
As a law graduate who has been taken away by broadcasting, do you have any intention of going in to full law practice in the future?
Broadcasting is a burning passion. Broadcasting is a very jealous wife that does not like you to share her with any other wife. There is absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to every other thing. Everything will take shape in due course but for now the focus is on broadcasting and bagging a few badges in the field. I know fully well that in the next 15 to 20 years it will not be possible for me to pursue broadcasting with the same zeal, passion, enthusiasm like I’m doing in the moment, and from there every other thing that I’m interested in life will just take its full shape. The ideal thing to say now is that broadcasting is on the front burners, I’m pursuing it with all zealousness that we can. Law, music, and the other things will take its full course in due course.
So when are you attending law school?
That will be very soon. I can assure that very soon I’ll do that.
Why do you choose to be controversial?
We live in a society where mediocrity reigns supreme and people do not say things that are right courageously, and sometimes at no cost. Sometimes people just censor themselves, they feel unnecessarily frightened to air out their opinion and help society. So I feel with the spirit of broadcasting behind me I owe the society a duty, sometimes to tell the truth, sometimes to say things the way they are so that society can be properly shaped for us all. I’m not a controversial person, I do not stir controversy, I do not say things that are not true, I do not insult people, I just say facts that I need to say. If some persons regard that as controversy, so be it.
How do you handle female fans?
I handle female fans the same way I handle the male folks. Now in Nigeria we even have gays, so I handle both genders alike. There is nothing out of the ordinary in handling them. It is about being friendly with people, sometimes it implies smiling to everyone who greets you because you don’t know who exactly knows you, who sees the face as familiar. You’ll just have to be friendly with everybody who comes your way because if you are not, you’ll actually be painting the wrong picture that you’re a snub or arrogant. That’s just how to handle people, just interact with them, anyone who is not in the mood you get away gradually. I don’t think there is much difficulty in handling the female folks. There have been few instances of harassments but it’s normal, it comes with the job too but I’ve just managed it together. 
What is the weirdest thing a fan has ever done to you?
She was harassing me. I delivered an emcee job recently and I got accosted by a female folk who almost violently demanded for my phone number and gave me a certain hotel room number and said we should see in few hours. I didn’t oblige but I was too frightened. It came too good so I was too frightened. 
Ever since the hard copy of this interview came out, many has been asking Finbarr what happened to Ekaette Enoch (pictured above with him)

Are you in a relationship?
No. I’m not in any relationship. I’m taking advantage of this young age to do better things maybe later on I’ll consider that. So for now, I’m single and not sure about searching.
But there is a certain Ekaette Enoch that so many blogs have romantically linked to you
I have many female friends and I don’t know why you have decided to highlight a particular person. Sometimes I pity some of these my friends who come close to me and in the process get unnecessary due attention of their private lives. All I beg is that you allow them some room for privacy. As I said earlier I just have a couple of female friends. I do not know what the blogs are writing and who they are picking out but all I can say is that I have a couple of friends and I’m friendly with everyone. 
Finbarr was bestman to close pal, JohnPaul Ukpong. When is he getting married?

When are you getting married?
Not very soon. There are still a lot of things we’ll love to do and achieve. Marriage is not a competition, marriage is not putting up an occasion. Even now I have the capacity to put up an occasion but I’m not looking at that. I’m looking at marriage as a serious thing. I’m not rushing in to it, I’m taking my time.
Akwa Ibom State now has a private radio station but many are complaining that there are few indigenous on-air personalities in the station. What is your take?
For the past few weeks that I’ve been around I’ve listened to Planet FM and I can say that this is broadcasting at its very best. You can feel modern broadcasting, you can see the quality of the broadcasters, you can see their flair, the quality they’ve brought in and the exceptional entertainment which the modern day broadcasting is all about. You see the swag shown by the presenters and you know that this is good. But I’ve been slightly bothered by the Akwa Ibom names I’ve heard on the station, they are very little or non and that has been my only worry because I believe Akwa Ibom is the biggest industry as far as broadcasters are concerned. We have churned out so many world class broadcasters from this state and this being the first private radio station we ought to be fully represented. But it is someone’s business and he has decided to run it the way he has done. Planet FM is an excellent radio station but I’m also disturbed that we don’t have too many voices from here on the station.
Is this good for the state?
Absolutely very good. For one we have a station that is not owned by government, that means there will be a greater capacity for them to be independent, for them to do it the way it ought to be. Government stations will always protect the interest of government. Nobody is ever gonna change that. That is how it is designed to be. A private radio station can go the extra step to help the people and provide them with information that the government stations may not be able to provide and of course with much more airtime to entertain people and bring a lot of style and flair in to the game generally.
Would you leave Love FM to Planet FM if they approach you with an enticing offer?
At the moment, the idea of coming back home is very enticing but a bird at hand they say is better than one million in the bush. But it will be a very nice opportunity because in a private radio station you’ll be sure that you’ll be able to express yourself the way you want to but it’s safe to say I’ve not been approached yet and there are no offers yet. We must consider the ups and downs; we must consider what has been brought to the table financially because first you have to see how you will be able to pick your bills.
What is your biggest dream as a broadcaster?
My biggest dream is to impact the society. The essence of you broadcasting is that you hold the airwaves in trust for the people, so you have the duty to feed them with the right information, to put them in the know. My biggest dream is to impact people and have as many friends and followers as possible and teach them sound ideologies and philosophies. 

Political beliefs
I draw my political beliefs from some of the founding fathers, some of the leading lights in politics, some of the core ideologists, one of them being Karl Marx i.e Marxism. I believe in the people, I believe that power should stem from the people, I believe in an egalitarian society. My belief about politics and people is that it should be for the greater good of all the people and it should be actually decided by the people. I’m calling for a system that people get what they deserve but when it comes to the politics of Nigeria, I think the people of Nigeria only get what they deserve because when you look at the political culture, a situation whereby all the citizens are milking politicians dry and expect that the politicians can never be corrupt; we cannot eat our cakes and have it. A politician wakes up every morning to see a mammoth crowd of people in front of his door even before he has breakfast and he has to settle them. And the basis now to determine who a good politician is a man who is generous. From whose generosity? Where does the generosity stem from? These are some of the nagging issues we must flush out. For me as a man everyone is a politician, everyone is a political animal and I believe that government should be about the people, the welfare and the good of the people.
How would you describe the political situation in Akwa Ibom?
The political situation in Akwa Ibom is just vintage, sometimes divided among ethnic lines, sometimes divided among political lines, sometimes just based on personal interest. Everyone who speaks you must trace where he comes from, whose camp he is in, who he is supporting , who he got money from last night, and all of that. All these factors are actually coming. It is a complex issue. Sometimes you don’t just get to believe very many people because everyone is talking just based on personal interest which is just what politics should be about, your stomach before others.
Who do you think will be Akpabio’s successor?
Akwa Ibom people who are interested in the growth and development of Akwa Ibom must say we are all interested in who becomes the next governor because politics has brought so much political awareness and the number of people who are interested in politics has increased astronomically. We now know that the right person may not be at the right place for things to happen. The administration of Chief Godswill Akpabio has actually laid the template, so Akwa Ibom people expect someone who will be able to perform as the present governor has done, and even so surpass his performances in future. This is what will be in the minds of the people as they set out to vote. My vote is inconsequential when mixed up with votes of other 4.2 million people we have in the state. So all I wish to say is that my people are very intelligent people, very cerebral people, people who know what they need and what they deserve and they will just go for the best and only the bestman can emerge as the governor.
Your former boss, Michael Bush is an ardent supporter of Umana Okon Umana to succeed Akpabio as governor come 2015. Are you toeing the same line?
In the wisdom of INEC, they chose that votes must be kept secret, that is why Nigeria adopted the secret ballot approach to it and to some reasonable extent, it is not every person that will come out and say this is the man I support, this is the man I’m not going to support. We are two years away from the general election and as people come, we begin to assess them. Even if I say I’m supporting Mr. A now, do I know who will come out by next tomorrow, in 2 weeks time or in a month’s time? Perhaps I may change mind and people will feel I’m not being consistent. I think that is the angle we must look at it. We just watch the candidates as they come and begin to review them, begin to see what they are coming up with, how they are able to update their manifesto. Our governor must have the intellectual capacity, must have the ability to understand the workings of government, must be able to assemble what his commissioners put before him and assess them. He must not be a governor that will accept any thing put before him hook, line and sinker.  Akwa Ibom is a small state in the comity of states, so our governor must be able to talk on behalf of the state before larger states in Nigeria. He must be strong, bold, courageous, he must be a loving governor, he must have compassion for the weak, he must be a gender friendly governor like the present one. There are a lot of things we’ll be looking at, very many things. We’ll also be looking at where he comes from, his life, his upbringing, how he has been helping people because the present governor has set a standard in being benevolent. For me, I chose to keep it quiet because I like my things to slightly be off public glare and much publicity. There are believes I have and it is that of equal society and government being bereft of corruption and we move forward.
You have been putting up posts on your facebook timeline that you support zoning. Are you having a change of mind?
I don’t remember saying anything about zoning. I remember reeling out historical facts and telling people where the governorship ought to come from. This is public knowledge, this is not what Aniekeme Finbarr has come up with. We know where the previous governors have come from. What I’m saying is that at the moment we need to look inwards and look at the people who have the right character and see where they come from. There are a lot of factors that will be looked at when we want to determine who the next governor should be. We must look at all these factors equally and everything is involved. It is not a one factor thing. You cannot bring a carpenter from Eket Local Government and you expect him to be the governor. You can’t bring a bricklayer from Uyo or expect an ogogoro seller from Oro to become the governor of Akwa Ibom State. There are certain pre-requisite characteristics that a governor must necessarily have. Akwa Ibom as a state deserves the best leader. They are things you consciously put on social networks to know what the people feel and think about a particular thing. It is not a personal opinion. We put things on social network just to feel the pulse of the people and highlight what we want to get from people and people come out in their bare and raw selves. As someone who is in broadcasting I don’t think it is good for me to take sides. All we do is to help the people and aid them to know what they really deserve.
Political ambitions in the near future
I don’t have intentions to contest for any political position. At least not in 20 years time; not in a very long while. Everybody must not be in to politics. I’ve read great stories of great men who have done excellently well without tax payers’ money. If you calculate the real salaries of politicians in Nigeria you’ll begin to wonder how really rich they should be in the right sense. Everybody shouldn’t be in politics. I believe in professionalism, I believe in people excelling in different fields of endeavours. If by popular demand people call you to come and contest, then you are, not for the purpose of enriching yourself, but after you might have established yourself. Barrack Obama was a professor, an established lawyer and a university teacher before he went into politics. President Jonathan was a university lecturer, he had his daily meals, so you cannot say he ventured into politics to take care of himself. I wouldn’t love to be interested in politics but I’m interested in pursuing broadcasting and becoming the best broadcaster in the world and reaching out to a large number of people I can reach and impact on their lives.
Do you foresee Goodluck Jonathan remaining Nigeria’s president beyond 2015?
Goodluck Jonathan is one of the most attacked presidents in the world and sometimes you look at him and you do not jealous his job but then as Nigeria’s president who has the constitutional rights to run again he would love to take the risk, he would love to throw his hat in to the ring and run again but how he is going to do so is what all of us are watching and waiting for. Some of us feel he is one of Nigeria’s best presidents because he acts in a democratic style, he is not autocratic, he follows due process, he follows the rule of law and he is one man who has genuine interest for Nigerians. He is one of the most educated Nigerian presidents we’ve had so far. There are many things working for him, many odds are also against him and he is battling to fight them. Some of them being security challenges in the country and he’s been doing everything possible to put a stop to it. You cannot fault him on any particular issue and say he has not shown clear intentions to improve, including the power sector which is one of the areas that has not improved in a long while. So I feel he can do better if given the enabling environment to perform but the odds are heavily against him and we are waiting for the big drama.

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