Prof Gambari, Mudslingers And The Limit Of Calumny, By Gidado Ibrahim

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The press, according to Venerable Mahatma Ghandi, is a tremendous power in nation building but when negatively deployed, it can become an instrument of destruction. This behooves a huge responsibility on writers and journalists on the responsible use of the pen.

Sadly, many writers and journalists have continued to run fowl of this time-tested lifeline handed down by Venerable Ghandi by deploying the power of the pen against their fatherland and in the process drag a global reputation built through dint of hard work, persistence, character, with the help of divinity in the mud.

The shenanigan becomes a pain in the ass when malicious falsehood, outright lies and brazen mischief is spewed by those who should ordinarily deserve respect.

This is the new low some people have taken in the deployment of the pen. In his regular column, “Note from Atlanta,” Prof Farooq Kperogi relied on tissue of lies and falsehood being peddled by the renegade “People’s Gazette,” as the basis for his analysis.

Make no mistake; Kperoqi is not a pushover in the art of crafting ideas in writing. What is worrisome however is how a person like him swallowed allegations of such magnitude without first applying due diligence in authenticating the veracity of the issue at stake before delving into it.

The manner in which he latched onto the story signifies the deep-seated bitterness burning in him against Nigeria and its government officials. Whose business is it anyway? Who cares about Kperoqi and his People Gazette machinations, if not that gullible Nigerians must not be misled?

If not for people of indelible bitterness like Kperoqi and People Gazette, who would imagine that a man of towering global pedigree like Prof Ibrahim Gambari, chief of staff to the president, is incompetent or too old to discharge his official duties to the extent of delegating same to his son, even when it is clear that his son, Bolaji, holds no governmental position? Come to think of it, Americans have just elected a 78-year-old Joseph Biden as president. Prof Gambari who the enemies of Nigeria are dragging in the mud is 76, while the 45th president of the US, Donald Trump who just vacated office is 74. Where is the question of not being able to discharge official functions on grounds of age coming from if not for mischief?

The ill-fated People’s Gazette report and the one-legged Kperoqi analysis that followed were just brazen attempts at giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. If not, how can any sane mind claim that the chief of staff, whose primary duty is to organise staff in the president’s office and schedule his routine, would descend to such a low level? At what point did the president’s chief of staff become the Communications Minister or the Director-general of Nigerian Communications Commission to suspend or order the blocking of People’s Gazette website?

Seriously, one certainly expects more from a man of Kperoqi’s standing. In his desperation to validate the People’s Gazette report so as to suit his purpose, he threw caution, ethics and dignity to the winds and descended so low to the extent of openly praising the People’s Gazette news blog and how it has astronomically risen.

“The news site is reminiscent of the advocatorial, muckraking editorial temperaments of the New York-based Sahara Reporters in its earliest incarnation. Peoples Gazette has published PDFs of the illicit financial transactions of Nigeria’s morally decadent political elites and has broken several exclusive.” With the foregoing, what level of objectivity does one expect from Kperoqi? It also goes to raise the suspicion that, in the first place, he had a hand in the report.

Going down memory lane, it appears it has become part of our unfortunate heritage in Nigeria to vilify anyone who occupies the office of chief of staff to the president. Before Prof Gambari’s appointment, it was the former Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, who was the object of intense criticisms. Today, it is the turn of Prof Gambari to suffer character assassination, mudslinging and the pull-him-down syndrome. If I may ask, what is the offence of that office that everyone who occupies it must be a subject of castigation?

As much as desperation can expose men, Kperoqi went ahead to allude to a source People’s Gazette claims pleaded anonymity. With what parameter did Kperoqi validate the story before believing it since the source pleaded not to be mentioned? You can only play these tricks to the marines. We know how it works – the gimmick of taking advantage of the privilege not to disclose a source to orchestrate smear campaigns.

From a distance, Kperoqi with his gimmicks appears to possess some level of intelligence but one would be utterly wrong to think so judging by the issue at stake! It cast a spell in the eyes of even the ordinary man that Kperoqi bought into the charade of the People’s Gazette that they were approached for a pre-publication censorship and when they refused, the chief of staff’s men offered money. To do what? To kill non-existing stories? Are we saying Prof Gambari, who has served as minister and has spent almost all his work life at global level in the United Nations does not know that pre-publication censorship is a ruse under democratic governance? This comics from the staple of Kperoqi and People’s Gazette is not funny but should all the same be discarded into the dustbin of history because the country is facing enormous challenges of nationhood that requires Prof Gambari’s global personae and template to fix.

There is certainly no time for distractions from enemies of Nigeria who will never see anything good about the country. What is clear is that Kperoqi and People’s Gazette are in a haste to justify the position of some international criminal groups bent on bringing Nigeria to its knees. It is obvious from the quack intelligence posed by the article in question there are attempts to pitch the government of President Muhammadu Buhari against Nigerians. Nigerians will not believe in this divisive tendencies targeted at distracting the Buhari administration whose policies are yielding positive results.

– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).

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