The Oasis Reporters
July 26, 2018
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El Rufai’s aide Alhaji Saidu Adamu wanted to be human by admitting faults for nobody is perfect. He apologized to journalists over the frosty relationship with the media and they thought they were hearing The master’s voice through the lips of his aide.
Then the shocker:
In a statement issued Tuesday, the Senior Special Assistant to the governor on media and Publicity, Samuel Aruwan said Adamu has no mandate to speak for the governor.
“Alhaji Saidu Adamu is not the spokesperson of Malam Nasir El-Rufai and has never been. He has no mandate to speak for the governor or the government. His decision to address journalists is purely a personal adventure, and whatever he said to them amounts to his personal opinion and cannot be ascribed to the governor.
Adamu who is the governor’s Counsellor on Communication had penultimate week apologized to the media over what he termed mistakes between the El-Rufai government and the relationship with the media.
“Samuel Aruwan is the official designate to speak for the governor and the government of Malam Nasir El-Rufai. His appointment to this role was announced even before the governor took the oath of office in May 2015. As acknowledgement for the dedicated discharge of his duty as spokesperson, Malam Nasir El-Rufai duly promoted Aruwan to Senior Special Assistant in 2017, and no change has been made to the government’s carefully structured communication set-up since 2015. It is only statements from the official spokesperson that can be attributed to the governor, except in circumstances where designated senior officials have been mandated to represent the governor at events, and the speeches they will read at such places will have been suitably vetted and approved.
“The government’s media team observes a disciplined process of authorization and vetting in relation to official government statements. Malam El-Rufai will not brook individuals trying to pass off their personal opinions as his. He is well-known for the frank expression of his views, and, as a leader, does not do proxies in taking responsibility for his actions, or those of the government he heads. On several platforms, especially his live radio chats, he has taken responsibility for the actions of his government, giving credit to officials when success comes, and taking the flak for low moments. As the man on whose table the buck stops, he has never abdicated nor delegated the duty of accountability.
“It is important to reiterate that the government has nothing to apologise to journalists for. Under the leadership of Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the Kaduna State Government fully respects and upholds press freedom. The government pursues an open and transparent policy. The government maintains valuable partnerships with several credible media platforms. And it has never deformed its state-owned broadcaster into a propaganda outfit. Neither has it obliged that coterie of individuals who try to use journalism for purposes of extortion and blackmail.
“No journalist has faced any consequence for criticizing Malam Nasir El-Rufai because criticism and abuse are part of the package for a leader. And in matters involving attacks on his reputation, Malam El-Rufai is pursuing civil proceedings in the courts. But three journalists are facing criminal prosecution for false and inciting reports, calculated to ignite disorder along the ethno-religious fault lines in the state. For instance, Jacob Onjewu Dickson admitted to the police that he uses a few pseudonyms as bylines for stories inciting religious and ethnic passions. Another journalist even participated in discussions about acquiring weapons, and he did not report this conspiracy to the appropriate authorities or expose it in an investigative story in his newspaper. Early in 2017, Luka Binniyat wrote a false story about the killing of five students, and proceeded to create an identity, including a name, course of study and hometown for one of the purported victims. He is on trial, as is his non-journalist source.
“The Kaduna State Government cannot confer immunity on journalists who write false reports or attempt to incite religious and ethnic violence in the state. The NUJ may choose to confer awards on persons undergoing trial for fabricating stories, but the Kaduna State Government has no such luxury. There is no apology for curing people of the illusion that press freedom implies license to blackmail or incite religious and ethnic violence.
“Malam Nasir El-Rufai is aware that reconciliation efforts with aggrieved party members are being undertaken by the new state executive of the APC, led by Air Commodore Emmanuel Jekada. While supportive of this party effort, the government is clear that there will be no reconciliation with traitors and enemies of the people in the political class. And it will not allow anyone to get away with any incitement of ethno-religious crisis in the state even if they try to use journalism as cover” he said.
Obviously, the salvos will continue to fly, from the governor, and from the Press for it doesn’t look like they would be friends again, very soon. Though in Nigeria, never say die, for your worst enemy could be your best friend. But meanwhile, watch what you say. Kaduna means ‘Crocodile River’, so watch how you swim.