OPINION: The ding-dong between the dingbat and the dumbass, By Bala Ibrahim
Pursuant to my article of yesterday, Tuesday/20/04/21, captioned, Ganduje: Gradually going gaga?, which touched on the perceived excesses of the governor of Kano state, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, a rejoinder was published by one Mahmud Sani Adam, a fellow journalist, as claimed.
Many have called or mailed to advise against responding, or joining issues with the respondent, but the rebel in me thinks otherwise, particularly because the respondent is a claimed colleague, with whom I should share the collective responsibility of greasing the process of permiting the freedom of people to publish and consume information.
Though I don’t know him personally, but from the way he writes, I want to believe he is a living being, and not one of those manufactured in the factory of the spin doctor. More so, as a colleague, he deserves the respect of rightful recognition.
Secondly, I don’t want this issue to be downplayed or restricted to one or two reactions. We should flock the matter well enough, through rich and objective observations. No one should view opposing views as personal antagonism. The wider and more diverse the discourse, the better the benefits that would strengthen our democracy.
As journalists, we have a duty to lay the facts bare, and let the reader, listener or viewer to do the judgement. Every responsible journalist is aware of the need for him to respect the truth, regardless of whatever may be the consequences to him, because of the right of the public to know the truth.
It is equally the duty of the journalist to report the facts of which he knows the origin, not to suppress essential information, nor alter texts and documents for selfish reasons. In the discharge of this endeavour, the journalist should therefore expect some criticisms, or even threats, and Jafaar Jafaar cannot be an exception.
I had a dying desire to work with the Triumph newspapers in Kano, for the simple reason of their motto: “Tell the truth and be damned”. Adam’s position is an opinion, and so is mine. No one has any superiority over the right of the reader, to arrive at a derived decision or come to his or her calculated conclusions, especially where there is an accusation of bias. Doing that would be another gaffe, that can not cleanse the goof of the goon, whose case we want to sell to the public.
The primary reason of responding to Adam is not on the basis of our perceived opposing positions, but on the moral basis of our duties as members of the fourth estate of the realms, and Ganduje’s solemn oath of office, wherein he called upon God to witness to the truth of what he says and what he sincerely intends to do.
Journalists on investigative journalism are expected to hold public office holders to account, by providing the truth about people in government, who attempt to keep their illegal activities secret. The purpose is to expose such actions so that those involved would be named and shamed.
But in doing that, the journalist must be guided by ethics and morals: the twin themes that are common to most codes of media houses or journalistic standards. Accuracy is the standard for factual reporting, while the harmful effects of slander and libel are kept on the frontline of caution.
I don’t see Adams position as being confrontational. Everyone has a style of writing in journalism, and I relate well with those who chose to go combative, using such attack style to expose perceived wrongdoings. Only the narrow minded would criticize the style as being aggressive, antagonistic or even cynical.
I found a particular paragraph in the Adams rejoinder interesting, where he accused me of taking side by stating a case, but was equally quick to state a case, viz: ” …there’s nothing wrong for Governor Ganduje as a father to pardon the young man.” A friend, with similar professional training responded thus, “Talking of taking side, it couldn’t have been more lucid than this.”
That is the beauty of open debate. It makes room for a ding-dong, that could make the reader or listener to differentiate between the dingbat and the dumbass. Between Adam and I, one must be a dingbat, a dumbass or even both.
If Adams suggestion of Ganduje giving pardon is anything to go buy, let that come after the courts have established the facts of the matter. Let the matter be treated without harassment, but human niceties and all the deserved democratic civilities permitted in law.
As a journalist, Jaafar must have had trainings on the hazards of journalism and how to survive in hostile or unfriendly environments. But am sure he thinks, and he is right to think so, that with the coming of democracy, the practice should be more people and environmentally friendly.
Finally, in correcting Adam’s impression about my failure to come to the rescue of some colleagues during my stint with IGP Ibrahim Idris, I wish to inform him that, that failure was the consequence of his failure to castigate me in the open.
Had he answered to the calling of the job, by exposing my weakness then as an image maker of the chief of police, colleagues and the public would have reprimanded me. And the police would have learnt, how not to wrongly police.
Ibrahim is a freelance journalist