By Bala Ibrahim.
In Nigeria, the shortest side-track or scheme to stardom is to take an appointment with the Government. No matter how private, quiet or inconsequential one is, the minute he or she picks up an appointment with the Government, particularly political appointment, he or she has become a prey for the press, who may turn him or her into a punching bag, out of whom a harm must be made. Yes, be a political appointee in Nigeria and get ready to be turned into a patsy by the members of the pen profession, the primary constituency of yours truly.
According to the ambition and convention of democracy, and in line with the concept of social stratification, members of the press are referred to as “the fourth realm of the estate”. By definition, they are so categorized because of their socioeconomic importance, or the social statue of being the watchdog of all the classes in the society, regardless of factors like position, wealth, income, race, education or occupation. The clergy is category one, the first estate. The nobility is category two, the second estate. The commoners are category three, the third estate. And my colleagues are called the category four, or the fourth estate, because of their capacity of advocacy, and the implicit ability to analyse issues, especially political issues. But how far do we fulfil this objective, objectively?
Since the 19th of June 2023, when he was announced as the National Security Adviser, NSA, after shortly serving as the Special Adviser on Security to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Mallam Nuhu Ribado, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, AIG, and the pioneer chairman of the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been in the news for all manner of news. Some good, some bad and some ugly. This article is not intending to do any spin doctoring on the excellent attributes of the man, Mallam Nuhu Ribado, but a conscious effort to correct the misconduct of some mischief makers, who seem determined to poison the mind of the public, about an officer that ordinarily should be celebrated as the best gift to the nation in the Tinubu administration.
Like President Tinubu, whose journey to the Presidency encountered limitless amount of ridicule and nit-picking, including the callous attacks on his health, the attention of the naysayers is now on Nuhu Ribado, through the reinvention of a non existent story, saying he once accused former President Muhammadu Buhari, and the former Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, of being the chief sponsors of bandits in northern Nigeria. All of a sudden, the story, which had long been denied by him and all the parties mentioned, is beginning to rear its ugly head in select social media circles. This is nothing but blue journalism, which relies mostly on social media platforms to publish and promote fake news.
In debunking the fake news through a statement issued then by him, Mallam Nuhu said, and I quote, “ I have never, at any time, wrote or said those words being attributed to me. I have no knowledge contained in the disjointed propaganda message in circulation and I urge the public to disregard it. I ignored what was clear inanity and cheap blackmail, as I thought no right-thinking person will fall for such mischief. Purveyors of fake news, more so, one that is clearly a threat to national security, should not be allowed to thrive”. Mallam Nuhu was quick to call on the security agents to investigate and possibly effect the arrest of those behind such fabrications.
Today, Mallam Nuhu Ribado is in charge of National Security, and for reasons that may not be unconnected with mischief, some of us in the fourth realm of the estate, have permitted themselves to be used in the dissemination of what is not only falsehood but clearly a cock and bull story.
Former President Muhammadu Buhari may be accused of many things, but the crime of betraying his country through the compromise of national security is far fetched. Former Governor Mallam Nasir El Rufai may also be accused of many things, but the crime of betraying his country through the compromise of national security is unconvincing. To equally say the accusations are coming from the mouth of Mallam Nuhu Ribado, an accomplished and polished police officer, is not only implausible, but faultlessly fallacious.
And that makes Mallam Nuhu Ribado, the fall guy for the fallacy and falsehood of the fourth realm of the estate.