Abba Mahmood And The Limits Of Ignorance

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Writing under the heading: “Urine Cannot Clean Feaces” on Thursday 9th July 2015, a piece which was published on the back page of the Leadership Newspaper, one Abba Mahmood, who is at best a ghost writer, pretended to have commented on the leadership crisis plaguing the National Assembly. I say this because the only thing people see of him on the page is a silhouette instead of a passport size photograph of his image as a person. By hiding his true identity, he has disqualified himself as a person whose work can be of any reckon. To have deliberately shielded himself from public scrutiny and writing under a pen name speaks volumes. He cannot be trusted. He has no image to protect. The public cannot hold him to account. He takes pleasure in hiding to do damage. If he is worth his onions, let him sign his column with his real name and photo so the people can judge. Right now he is a villain hiding to pillory his subjects.

I am an anti-corruption crusader, activist and a political commentator. I fight for the progress of my country. I hate corruption. I often take on both the high and mighty in society whenever I find that they or those they superintend have caught the corruption bug which manifest in indiscipline, wastage, illegality and outright diversion of budgetary allocations. I have always voiced my opinions freely and I grant that every Nigerian has inalienable right to freedom of speech and expression. However, I always strive to get my facts right before venturing to put pen on paper. Readers will agree with me that most of my advertorials and newspaper commentaries are never complete without buttressing them with facts and figures. I know everybody cannot be like me the same way I cannot be like everybody. As a writer, I admire other writers and I read their works because as they say,’’ iron sharpeneth iron so a man the countenance of his friend.’’

I often read Abba Mahmood’s column’s in the Leadership Newspaper where I am also privileged to maintain one. I admire Mahmood for his doggedness and hard work because as a columnist, I know it is not easy to meet up production deadlines on a weekly basis. Just when you think you are through, the Editor will call to remind you that your next piece is being awaited. For a columnist, the entire year is like one long week.

This is why I differ with Mahmood over his last Thursday’s piece titled ‘Urine Cannot Clean Feaces.” I dare say that the work was totally out of character with some of the incisive work he is known for. I dare say that the work in question does not only drip hatred, wrong assumptions, misrepresentation but outright distortion of facts to achieve a predetermined end. I must point out that my reading is that Mahmood, whoever he is, overly allows sentiments and hearsay vitiate his reasoning. He never sticks to facts but often descends into the arena of partisanship which I must say are uncharted waters as far as he is concerned. He may be able to write but that does not make him an expert in political and social affairs of the society. Were he a politician cum writer, he would have known that a political contest is like war and as they say, in war as in love, fair is foul and foul is fair.

I found it funny that he decided to pick out the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki for most underserved excoriation over events that led to Saraki’s election as the first among equals in the 8th Senate. Would Mahmood had written that stinker if Saraki had not won the election? Is he having a personal axe to grind with Saraki or have just chosen to fight other people’s war? He betrayed his motivation, which is ignoble at best, by querying Saraki’s candidature over frivolous and unproven allegations. This is why I believe that his piece came late. Where was Mahmood when the contest had not been consummated? Where was this writer when 34 All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators appended their signature to a document to display their commitment support for Saraki’s quest to become the Senate President? Where was Mahmood when a straw poll scheduled to be held during the retreat organised for elected APC for its newly-elected lawmakers at Ibeto Hotel in Abuja was hurriedly put off at the last minute following the ill-fated alliance between Senator Ahmad Lawan and Senator George Akume under the auspices of the Senate Unity Forum? Did Mahmood not see when the Like Mind Senators openly showed their solidarity for Saraki under the full glare of both national and international television cameras at the Ibeto Hotel?

How can you tell a man not to contest an election because some nebulous allegations of corruption have been made by his political opponents against his person? When have allegations become a guilty verdict?

I have never met Mahmood. However, those who know him say he is not only quirky and queer but a writer for hire. Others claim he is biased, sadistic and utterly hateful. I don’t know how correct these aspersions are. But I have a problem with his saying that Saraki ought to have purged himself of corruption allegations before seeking to lead the Senate. I still can’t fathom how he wanted this done. So, if opponents who find it difficult to match Saraki’s political stature and winning streak accuse him of being corrupt, he should quit the stage for them? That would be most uncharitable.

I don’t want to join issues with Mahmood. I don’t also want to stand in for Saraki. But I want to ask if winning an open contest is tantamount to a criminal act. I also want to ask if a man should disqualify himself or be declared unfit for a certain position based on unproven and politically motivated allegations. The last time I checked, Saraki was not a law enforcement officer whose duty it is to apprehend and try suspected criminals. He is not also a court of law to sit in judgement over allegations being heaped on him by his traducers.

I strongly hold that Mahmood progressed in error as a result of limited knowledge about the person of Saraki and the operations of the Upper Legislative chambers, suffice to let Mahmood know that Saraki is not the person his political opponents would want Nigerians to believe he is. For the avoidance of doubt and the education of Mahmood, I reproduce below a story in the May 20, 2015 edition of the PUNCH Newspapers written by Ade Adesomoju and entitled: “Fraud case: Court stops police from inviting Saraki” :-

“A Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday cleared a former Kwara State Governor, Bukola Saraki, of any wrongdoing in a bank loan being investigated by the Police Special Fraud Unit since 2012. Delivering judgment in a fundamental human rights enforcement suit filed by Saraki, Justice Ahmed Mohammed, ordered the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, from further inviting or arresting the former governor over the alleged bank loan. The court hinged its order granted on Wednesday on a legal opinion by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke, that the allegations of wrongdoing against the former governor were baseless. The legal opinion of the Justice Minister was a response to the report submitted to him by the Inspector General of Police on Police findings in a complaint by Joy Petroleum Limited. Justice Mohammed also barred the agents of the IGP especially the operatives in the Special Fraud Unit from harassing, intimidating and breaching the fundamental rights of the former governor and his aides. The court held that any attempt to commence any further interrogation of Saraki over an issue already declared closed by the Minister of Justice would amount to a breach of his fundamental rights. Justice Mohammed said it would be unfair for Saraki to be subjected to further interrogation by police having been cleared of any wrongdoing by the AGF in the report police submitted to the minister for legal advice. The Judge said the court had no choice than to give effect to the legal opinion of the Minister of Justice that the complaints against Saraki were baseless, unfounded and not supported with any shred of documentary evidence since he has no link with Joy Petroleum Limited, the complainant”. Nobody to my knowledge has challenged this verdict!

I don’t want to respond to other false alarm raised by Mahmood because what is happening at the National Assembly is a teething problem confronting the leadership of the APC which President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Executive Committee (NEC) have risen to ensure that it is amicably settled. However, suffice to say that the Senate President is empowered by law to choose his aides. More so, he cannot be accused of changing the rules of the Senate to favour him because he had never been entrusted with that assignment during his time in the 7th Senate. Allegations of forgery have been commenced by the police and I advise Mahmood to wait for the police to make public its report. Again, Saraki cannot be held responsible for APC Senators-elect that refused to turn up at the Senate Chambers on the day of inauguration. If Mahmood wants to be taken seriously, let him shed his garment of anonymity so that Nigerians can know who said what. It is dangerous to write fallacious articles under the cover of anonymity. Let me remind Mahmood that the contest is over. Winners have been declared. And Saraki has left no one in doubt that he is not only well prepared but more than capable to lead the 8th Senate to support the fruition of the change agenda being championed by President Muhammadu Buhari with appropriate legislations. It is high time too for Mahmood to come out of his closet because according to Rachel Van Dyken, “Everyone wears masks. They come in all different shapes and sizes. The only problem with trying one on is that it fits. How easily we fall into the trap that we don’t have to be who we really are. How easily we convince ourselves that we need to cover up what we were born to be. It’s a tragedy that fear keeps us from our destiny. It’s hell when the person you were created to be is covered up by some cheap imposter.

Culled from http://leadership.ng/columns/446764/abba-mahmood-and-the-limits-of-ignorance

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