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Of Desert Herald And Its Fictions About Shekarau: Nigerian Politics

20 August 2010

By Saka Raji Audu


"It is one of the saddest realities of life that one has more people who are interested or pre-occupied to pull one down to their levels than those who are interested or dedicated to pull one up to their heights." – Tam David West


One naughty issue troubling the media industry in Nigeria today is the unchecked infiltration of quacks and those who have no business in the industry except for monetary benefits. This is unfortunately, with high level of consequence, affecting the image and integrity of responsible journalism in the media industry of the country. Since 2006 when a Yobe born man with clerical background, Tukur Mamu gate crashed his way into the media industry with his Desert Herald kind of newspaper and began to damage the media profession with impunity, he has always been coming out with fictitious stories that lack iota of truth except deception, malice and extortion, mainly due to ignorance of some of his gullible readers.


In the past, the Yobe State Government had cause to complain bitterly to the reading public to be wary of the recalcitrant but busy body nature of her son who dishes out fiction about people and society from his Kaduna enclaves. Tukur Mamu, a clerical assistant turned publisher has been variously arrested and cramped into detention by the law enforcement agents for framing up people, issues and publishing same for the consumption of unsuspecting general public. First, he was arrested and detained after series of genuine complaints by the concerned people in respect of his quack and bull story of the assassination of the late revered cleric, Sheikh Mahmoud Ja'afar of blessed memory.


Mamu, the publisher cum Editor in Chief of the Desert Herald was also arrested and detained by the presidency about his unconfirmed report he published against the former First Lady, Hajia Turai Yar'adua. Thereafter, his Yobe State Government also ordered his arrest and detention on ground of frame up and malicious publication. He was however let the hook of these detentions after the intervention of some people, some of whom are his sponsors. It is clear that Mamu has been using his mushroom newspaper to witch hunt, malign and threaten government officers and political shots that refuse to cooperate with him for the sustenance of his gutter newspaper. His policy is "give me or you are disgraced." In 2009, there was an alleged demand of N2M from the Kano State Government by the notorious publisher, which he did not get. This became public knowledge after Mamu fell out with his erstwhile best friend, Sulaiman Uba Gaya, former aide to Governor Shekarau, who Mamu described as "traitor" during the days of their scuffles.   


In fact, there was no fiction that Tukur Mamu has not manufactured and published to tarnish the image of the government and people of Bauchi, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Borno, Kano and host of others, just to alms twist them to get undue patronage. The readers of Mamu's junk would have noticed in recent time the consistent publication in the Desert Herald the list people that allegedly made financial commitment to Mamu's newspaper from Zamfara State Government and constantly reminded them to redeem their pledges. A careful, decent and responsible publisher would have adopted decent and responsible way to get his pledges redeemed. But Mamu and his medium lack this basic tenet. Their main philosophy is to rubbish and blackmail people to get what they want, perhaps, due to their greed, avarice and desperation.


On 17th July, 2010, the Desert Herald organized an event in Kaduna tagged "The Desert Herald Awards for Excellence 2010."During the ceremony, some Nigerians were honoured. Ironically, Governor Mahmud Shinkafi, his wife, Hajiya Aisha Mahmuda Shinkafi and that of her Bauchi State counterpart, Hajiya Abiodun Yuguda were among the 'final nominees' of the Desert Herald kind of Award for Excellence. Consequently, the well publicised occasion also indicated that Alhaji Ibrahim Geidam, the Governor of Yobe State would serve as Chairman of the occasion. The issue here is that considering the media hype the Desert Herald has variously lampooned on the Chief executives of Yobe, Bauchi and Zamfara, it baffled the public that the newspaper included these states as recipients of its awards and honours. It is either that something had gone under the table or Mamu's newspaper was publishing from his two sides of its mouth. What then is the moral justification for its publisher to criticise and pull them down? Is this not what it is referred to as "double standards?"


Indeed, the People's Governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau of Kano State has been one of the unfortunate targets of Tukur Mamu's blackmail and malicious publications. The reason is not far fetched. The governor has refused to bow and kowtow to Mamu's treacherous campaigns of calumny. It should be recalled here that in 2006, when Shekarau declared to run for a second term as governor of Kano State, Desert Herald mischievously published an unverified allegation of house acquisitions and ownership of foreign bank accounts by the governor at the back page of the paper. In April 2009, Mamu's Desert Herald also adopted malicious and fictitious story about the assassination of the late Kano cleric.


 After a long tormented journey, it was eventually revealed by the police that the said publication was carefully hatched by the publishers to cause mischief as Shekarau has nothing to do with the allegation. Unknown to Mamu and his cliques, when God has endorsed a man, no man born of woman can do any thing. Shekarau's rising political profile continued to blossom and he has now spent more than seven of the eight years required in the office. Is this not enough to teach Tukur Mamu a big sense? In any case, a dog doomed to miss road does not listen to the whistle of its owner.


It was August 5, 2010 at the International Conference Centre in Abuja; Malam (Dr) Shekarau launched his official declaration of aspiration to seek presidential nomination from his party, ANPP for the forthcoming 2011 presidential poll. Perhaps, contrary to expectation of the opposition, the august occasion was highly successful as the International Conference Centre; Abuja was filled to capacity with men of timbre and caliber. The public declaration of Shekarau's presidential aspiration, which was televised live on radio and television nation wide sent opposition jittering and became nervous. Still, Shekarau's type of J.F Kennedy speech dearly touched both the mind of the people that were present at the august occasion and those that watched the big event at home.


It now becomes clear that Shekarau's 2011 success train is on the way to Aso Rock and if the much talked about credible election is going to be any thing to go by in 2011 poll, then, we have seen and heard from our next President of Nigeria and the opposition knows pretty well that Malam (Dr) Ibrahim Shekarau is on a mission assured. The next plan by his adversaries was how they could assemble bumps on his way so that he could 'fall.'   The first shot came from one misguided columnist with the Daily Sun, Mr. Uche Ezechukwu who was perhaps contracted by the opposition to castigate, using religious bigotry to author some nasty things against Shekarau's presidency. That was Monday. Ezechukwu has since got a feedback of his own diatribe against the man of the people. Then, it came to the turn of Tukur Mamu. On Tuesday, August 10, 2010, his Desert Herald came out with subterfuge and fiction. This time around, it seems that Mamu and his newspaper have exhausted their lies against Shekarau because for long we have not red them. Now that they have come back again, the only option for them was to assemble some characters to create dramatic scenes.


The play has two live characters (Amina and Fatsima acting as 'Mother' and 'sister' of Shekarau respectively) and a dead man (Mohammed Sani, alias Tanko acting as 'Shekarau') with Tukur Mamu and a PDP sympathiser, Jafar Sani Bello Gama as script writers and narrators with additional manipulations from a jester, Bala M. Makosa. The main focus of the drama is to deliberately create false impression that Shekarau is the 'Tanko' that supposedly died in 1962 at Jos, having left his 'home state' Bauchi in that year. Curiously, in 2003, Amina and Fatsima saw Shekarau's campaign poster and suddenly realized that he was their son and brother that allegedly died 41 years ago, especially now that he is the Governor of a prominent commercial state as Kano. Having tried to reach Shekarau for assistance and failed, they suddenly got to know Desert Herald and no other medium, to tell their fake experience to the public. At the end of the fiction, the script writers who double as narrators were not able to coordinate the various scenes for proper comprehension of the readers because their work is pure invention.


Since it is a cook and bull story, it lacks focus and originality. The pattern of event and its narration were very clumsy, suspicious and mischievous. You know that when a fool talks, he thinks a fool listens. The questions which the writers and characters in the play would find difficult to answer are these. First, how can some one who 'died' in Plateau state in 1962 resurrected in Kano in 2003 bearing in mind that as Muslims, resurrection will only take place on the Day of Judgment (Yauma takiyamma). Two, the family picture produced by the actress Fatsima, included only her mother and late father, why was Tanko (Shekarau) not in the photograph? Was he not part of the family and when was the picture taken and what is its relevance in the drama? Three, Fatsima said, "It was in 2003 that we are told that my brother is still alive and is the governor of Kano State." Who told them? The writers of the play should ask their inner conscience. Four, why is it that all the characters but Mohammed Sani, alias Tanko bear one name such as "Abubakar, Amina, Fatsima, Danladi and Rufai?" These, to the readers, are not enough names for description. For instance, one cannot just say Tukur without earlier introduction of his other name, Mamu.  


Five, When Fatsima allegedly went to emir's palace and Hisbah office, who did she meet and talk to? Six, who are the insiders that Desert Herald interviewed and are skeptical about claim that one Dahiru Shekarau is a blood brother? Are the insiders also members of the alleged family of the actress and who they are? Why did the Desert Herald refuse to interview the alleged business man in Abuja, Danlami who is mentioned in the fiction as one of the three surviving family members of Amina and Fatsima? Why was the dead Tanko, now 'alive' not interviewed by the writers? Above all, the readers saw how the narrators cum writers took side in the drama. How could they be judges in their own case? These are what make the story to be false, fake, fiction and worthless. It has no consequence on whatever God has already destined Shekarau to be and now that Tukur Mamu and his fellow travelers have woefully failed again in their latest attempt to rubbish a man of God, when will they come out with another fiction on Shekarau?


Saka Raji Audu writes from Kano and can be reached on his email, sakaraj@yahoo.com




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