I read a gibberish piece put down by one Abimbola Adunni Adelakun with the above caption, which appeared in the Punch newspaper edition of Thursday, June 23, 2022. The article is one in series by the author on personalities it appears she differ with politically. A number of her write ups point to the fact that the columnist is a ‘serial character assassin’ and a sadist, who doesn’t see anything good in others.
I have been an ardent reader of Punch newspapers and has been so for many years. I am not a huge fan of the writer, but I still believe that going by the nature of her write ups, this scandalous behavior is unbecoming of a trained professional in communication and language arts and a contributor in a reputable national daily.
Adelakun may have her reason for making malicious and unjustifiable harming of a person’s good reputation her hallmark, which I believe is not condoned by our noble profession and which the medium she uses overlooks. Even if it is politics the writer is playing, differences in political leanings doesn’t mean we should be unreasonably damaging the standing of our opponents. I don’t think one can make name with that.
Just to cite typical examples, the writer is a staunchest adversary of Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress (APC) flagbearer in the 2023 presidential election and former Lagos state governor. In fact, she has written dozens of articles criticizing him, his politics and some of his associates, wherever they come from. Some of these articles include: “Tinubu’s Presidency: Affliction must not rise again”, “El-Rufa’i knows how to retire Tinubu,” “Two desperados running against Nigeria,” “Lagos belongs to Tinubu,” “Dear Senator Tinubu, Buhari has thrashed us all,” “God-fatherism: Clipping Tinubu’s wings.
Given the present circumstances and the timing of the release of the article, one is not a bit surprised that the write up was done with a clandestine motive; rubbishing Ganduje.
As a columnist, using the pages of Punch newspapers to ridicule personalities, the writer wanted to rubbish the standing of the Kano governor in the eyes of the world. Ganduje is a political heavyweight in the Nigeria project. He is successfully governing the most populous and influential state in the federation and the centre of Nigeria’s radical politics.
If I should respond to the writer, the controversial and yet to verified video clip she was referring to, which also is a subject of legal battle, was ostensibly used to scuttle his second term bid. Ganduje weathered the storm. He is now a two-term governor completing his second last term in office.
Ganduje is well read. He has NCE, B.Sc, M.Sc, MPA and PhD degrees to his credit from the prestigious Bayero University, Kano; Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan. The versatility demonstrated in the pursuit of these certificates, considering that it is not an easy task to obtain a degree in Nigeria, shows his doggedness and testifies to his mettle.
As a journalist, the writer needs to make a research if at all she is serious about finding out who are the performing governors in Nigeria. Ganduje’s record of achievements during his first term in office and the second term he is completing now are available for anyone who cares to find out.
The unprecedented infrastructure development which is fast pushing Kano to becoming a Mega City, the free and compulsory basic and secondary education policy, the reform in the health sector that saw the establishment of world class health facilities that included the Cancer Treatment Centre, the agriculture revolution that is making Kano one of the largest rice processing states, the economic development witnessed that makes Kano an investment hub, are some of his achievements in the last seven years.
I do not think it is wrong if an organization chose Ganduje for presentation of an award. Many credible organizations, both government and Non-Governmental have honoured him at different times.
In 2014, President Goodluck Jonathan awarded him with the National Honour Award of OFR.
Ganduje also received the Fastest Growing Economy Award fro BusinessDay newspaper; Vanguard Man of the year Award; Most Outstanding Governor Award in the areas of Health and Education from Telegraph newspaper; Most Teacher-Friendly Governor Award etc. As a journalist, the writer should find out if their is any inducement for such recognition.
Using different pejorative words, the writer faulted one of the leading national dailies, The Sun for awarding Ganduje with the most Friendly Governor Award just because of lingering legal tussle that resulted from attempt to ridicule him by an online publication.
It is not a hidden fact that Ganduje has been friendly with the media. He has never influence any decision to harass, intimidate or prevented any working journalist from carrying out his duties. To date, Kano has the freest environment for the expression of opinion in the media.
Despite his academic qualifications, sterling leadership qualities and record of achievements in office, Ganduje has never solicited for any award from any university within and outside Nigeria. Ganduje never claimed an American tertiary institution, the East Carolina University, appointed him a “visiting full professor of e-governance and international affairs.” It was a misunderstanding between the management of the university on the decision to make the appointment.
He is an alumni of the Univesrsity of Ibadan and was honoured with the Most Distinguished Alumni Award. He always identify with the university’s activities, rendering support where possible. Just like his colleague, Governor Ifeanyi Aurthur Okowa of Delta state, who built an auditorium, former Managing Director/ Chief Executive Officer First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan; as well as Chairman Air Peace, Barr. Allen Onyema, who constructed an imposing guest house at the university.
Ganduje also launched a N250 million fund for the construction of a lecture theatre, where his friends and associates from both public and private sector made donations. What is the fault there if Ganduje gives back to his alma mater? What does he stand to get from it?
For the writer, it is also a fault for Ganduje to express his opinion on issues of national importance. He was the guest speaker at the Alumni Lecture Series during which he made a presentation in which he attributed Nigeria’s problems to the legacies of colonialism. Even though she was not in doubt about that, but Ganduje is not supposed to say it. Sheer hatred.
She was also bitter that the Lagos State University conferred him with an honorary doctorate Degree. Ganduje is already a Ph.D holder. Awarding him with an honourary degree means nothing to him.
Ganduje was conferred with the traditional title of Agu Na Eche Mba of Igbo land by the South East Council of Traditional Rulers.
The council opined that Ganduje has done a lot to ethnic nationalities in Kano. In fact, it was a way of saying thank you for the protection of Igbos during the quit notice given to them by a northern group. Ganduje had to summon a meeting at the Government House, Kano which doused the attention.
He has also embarked on many development projects more than any administration since the creation of Kano in the Sabon Gari area, where majorly ethnic nationalities are residing.
He (and his wife) was awarded a chieftaincy title of Aare Fiwajoye in Ibadan by His Imperial Majesty, the Olubadan, Oba (Dr.) Senator Mohood Olalekan Ishola (Alli Okunmade II). The wife, Prof. Hafsat Ganduje has been managing a social support and humanitarian organisation established by her husband- the Ganduje Foundation, which offers healthcare services that included free eye treatment and medical outreach, support for the girl-child education, establishment of schools, among others.
The Olubadan I know is a principled and man of integrity who cannot confer traditional title on anyone for money or any form of inducement. During the Second Republic, he belonged to the radical camp as member of the opposition People’s Redemption Party (PRP) when the centre was ruled by the defunct National Party of Nigeria (NPN).
The Islamic religious title of Alauddeen Yorubawa was conferred on Ganduje by His Eminence Sheikh Abdulganiyy (Agbolomokekere), the Chief Imam of Ibadanlan; a very wealthy and principled Islamic scholar the writer damned.
As a native of the ancient city of Ibadan, the writer has no respect for the institution by calling the decision to confer the titles as ‘treachery’ and even address the Ibadan traditional council members as ‘Yahoo Elders,’ all in her attempt to discredit monarchs.
Ganduje is friend of Oyo state. Apart from the fact that he is an alumni of the University of Ibadan, he is a detribalised Nigeria. A Fulani man from the core northern state of Kano, he gave out the hands of his daughter in marriage to a native of Ibadan.
During the crisis that erupted at Sasa Market in Ibadan, Ganduje’s intervention helped in quelling it and preventing a backlash. He opened the gate for the Northern Governors’ Forum and other donors to give out when he sent a powerful delegation to ancient city to support the victims.
It is very important for the management of Punch newspapers to note that the writer is not only partisan but also unprofessional. Her actions amount to affecting the good reputation the newspaper took years to build.
She is using the mighty power of the pen to rubbish whoever she hate based on his or her political leanings and without giving him or her the right to reply.
And If it is true that the writer is on the payroll of some forces as it is being alleged, then it is very unfortunate for our noble profession, the platform she is using and indeed the society in general.
Garba is the Commissioner for Information, Kano state.