The above article was written by Sule Yau Sule, the spokesman of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, might seem like a defense against my unlawful detention on 26th February 2021 in Kano, but soon after the first paragraph, it morphed into an attack on me while I was still in detention.
Though the writer superficially intended to “defend” me against the injustice meted against me for justifiably and conscientiously expressing my opinion on the current drift of the country toward a cul-de-sac in apparent deviation from the vision of the ruling party to take the country away from the abyss in 2015, Sule Ya’u Sule ended up castigating me for simply exercising my constitutional rights of freedom of speech as enshrined in the constitution.
The article also bordered around ethics and professionalism of the work of a spokesperson as highlighted by the learned writer. If he had stopped there, one would have taken it objectively and picked all the lessons therein, which truly, are valid and worthy of being noted. Unfortunately, the writer digressed far away from the subject matter and delved into politics, bringing to the forefront a grudge he has been nurturing against me for over a decade, because we were on opposing sides politically with his principal when we were in the defunct ANPP.
To set the record straight, I joined APP back in December 2000 and a couple of years later, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau equally joined partisan politics and contested for the governorship election in 2003.
When I joined politics, Alhaji Al-Amin Ibrahim Little was the leader of the party in the state, but when he lost the party to Shekarau and decamped to PRP, I remained in APP and went on to serve as the returning officer for Shekarau’s election, which he eventually won largely due to Buhari’s huge influence.
But soon after that, Shekarau drew the line against us, Buhari’s supporters in the state, which birthed our rivalry with the Shekarau camp. My political mentor then was Hon. Balarabe Wakili was instrumental in Shekarau becoming a member of the APP at that time. This was the genesis of our crises in Kano APP which led to our exit from the party in 2011 to form CPC.
I was in my mid-30s during the 2011 general elections and, of course, I went all out in my attacks on Shekarau which I later regretted and posted on my Facebook page, apologising for such behaviour; a post which is still there on my page if he wishes to look it up.
I do remember Sule Ya’u Sule’s call one evening, a few days before I made the apology, and in that call, he gave me some sound advice on the choice of words whenever I was criticising Shekarau, a point I took to heart, and unlike what he has stated in his recent article, I have never attacked Shekarau again after that phone call till date.
Now back to the part of the article in which he has talked about ethics and whatnot. I am a person that takes corrections to heart and I have picked all his points like a student in his class. But you see, the funny part about life is that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
Let me refresh Sule Ya’u Sule’s memory about how when he was the spokesperson of the then Governor of Kano State, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, he fabricated a letter allegedly from the EFCC claiming that Shekarau had been cleared of all charges, which turned out to be a big lie, thereby causing a huge embarrassment to his principal to the extent that he was suspended for six months only to be reinstated after several pleas and interventions.
As stated by Sule in his article, “A spokesperson’s best tools are decorum, decency, belief and passion.” So I ask Sule, is embarrassing your principal also among the tools of a spokesperson? May I also ask what punishment did he receive from NIPR at that time? If he did not receive any, perhaps he should include it in his note to the professional body in order to come up with a suitable punishment against others that will try to emulate him and ridicule their principals with fake clearance letters.
Let me also take this opportunity to set the record straight on the issue of my comments that resulted in my unlawful detention. I neither planned it nor did I have the intention of provoking such reactions. It was a spontaneous reaction on my part triggered by a number of the recent rise of insecurity in the country, particularly in the North.
I have personally suffered two major security issues in the last four months; the murder of my younger sister’s husband in Bauchi in front of my sister and her kids and the kidnapping of my sister’s husband’s younger brother in his house in Kaduna. Five million naira had to be paid as ransom to secure his release and in the process of raising the money, armed robbers carted away N1 million of the amount.
I was certainly not thinking about ethics when I reacted to the devastating news of the abduction of the over 300 Zamfara girls. I believe anyone with a tiny bit of conscience will certainly be moved by the abduction.
Perhaps Sule is too preoccupied with enforcing PR ethics of a spokesperson that he has lost all his conscience to the extent that he cannot see that I am human, which comes first, before any ethics or even a temporary position that I will not occupy for life.
On a final note, though Sule is a PhD holder in Mass Communications and a professional by all standards in the field, both in terms of qualifications and experience, when it comes to human relations, I believe he is merely a kindergarten pupil. If he truly regards me as a brother as he had claimed in the article, he would not have written such a politicised opinion at a moment when I was still in unlawful detention and my family and friends were equally terrified as to what might happen to me.
Irrespective of whether I was out of line or not, that is certainly not the action of someone you consider a brother. I remember when I was first appointed as the Director-General, Media in 2016, the first thing I did was to pay a visit to my predecessors to seek their blessings and guidance, namely: Baba Halilu Dantiye, late Umar Saidu Tudun Wada and Sule Ya’u Sule. Sule promised to provide me with all the support I needed to execute my work, but little did I know that he was holding a decade-long grudge against me. Indeed with friends like Sule, who needs enemies?
Salihu Tanko Yakasai (Dawisu) was a former Special Adviser on Media to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano state.