By Binta Spikin
The story going round, especially in social media circles on Jafar Jafar and an alleged ‘hounding” by some unknown men is really baffling, more so because it borders on sentiment. Specifically it implies without explicitly saying so that Jafar is an innocent journalist, who in the course of discharging his duty stepped on powerful toes who are now bent on destroying him. Even though this is far from the truth, the social media is awash with all manners of accolades. Some went as far as relating his actions with godliness, that all he did was a religious obligation that will be rewarded in the hereafter. This actually is what necessitated this writing.
For us to actually understand the scenario, we need to revisit what transpired and how it became sensational. I hope to present a fair account of my understanding of the issues.
Jafar Jafar is journalist and publisher of Daily Nigerian, an online newspaper that specializes in especially whistle blowing. This means he publishes what most newspaper outlets don’t have the gut to publish, and all for God and country, as he is not serving anyone’s interest, or so he states.
As a media person, he obtained some contentious video clips that were recorded when the Governor of Kano State was allegedly receiving kick back from contractors. I assumed Jafar did not cross check the information, rather he released those videos online. This dented and battered the image of Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje. Just how much damage this caused, words cannot express. Therefore when the Governer sought legal redress, it is understandable. In fact, it is the only logical thing to do. As the case went on, Jafar could not prove his case in a court of law. It is noteworthy that it is a civil case that is still on going in Kano.
However, just this week, the matter is brought up for public discuss, especially on the social media. It started with lamentations and writings that indicate Jafar is in hiding because some people are after his life. By this statement people jumped the gun and concluded that Kano State Government in part or Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje specifically is after Jafar’s life. More so because they connected this “hide-and-seek” stance with a statement the Governor made during a BBC Hausa Service programme “ A Fada A Cika” where he was asked on the dollar issue and he made it known that it was fabricated and politically motivated, adding that he will take every legal means possible to bring to book those behind it.
I think there is nothing wrong with what Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the Governor of Kano State said. In fact, in all fairness, it is the right thing to do. In fact, it should be noted that Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is a person, a husband, a father, an in law, a friend, a confident and several other things before he is a politician.
These should have been considered before publishing the alleged videos. He is at least entitled to fair hearing, especially in this technological era, where everything is possible. In addition, his life is linked to several other people’s, who were/are affected by everything that concerns him. What made it more intriguing is the fact that most of the contractors who were named in the dollar video denied knowledge of paying any kick back to the Governor. So those of us who believe it is politically motivated have our reasons to believe so.
Therefore, I asked around and found out that the case is now revisited and is now a criminal case, and all that is required is that Jafar Jafar should come forward and prove his claim.
Looking at the weight of his allegations, I think he should do so. It is the responsible thing to do. He should understand that now it is a race for honor. If he wins this case, he would be a Hero and an honorable man. He would bring more honor to the profession and I think he owes that to every journalist and the profession itself. Hence for Jafar, it is a race for honor, and I hope he sees it as that.
For Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, it is also a race for honor too because what he has at stake is everything. Those videos had really dented his image and everything he’d worked for, his entire life time achievements. So it is also right that he pursues this, at least to clear his name and make his family and loved ones proud. Thus, he has a duty to make a go for it- it is a race of honor.
On this note, I say may the truth prevail. I hope Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje wins this race- for he has much more at stake. In fact, the issue should not have been brought this far- because, all of us are human, a specie that even our Creator honors for He said in the Holy Quran : “Wa laqad karramna bani Adam…. ila akhiri ayat- meaning He, The Exalted has given mankind dignity. Thus, we have no business desecrating that sanctity, that honor. Not for politics or fame or money or any other thing.
May we all be rightly guided.
Binta is SSA Research and Documentation, Government House, Kano