Dear readers please ensure that Dr Farooq Kperogi and Muhammad Labbo (Chairman Buhari Media Support Group) read this rejoinder. Thank you.
RE: PROPAGANDOCRACY AND THE BUHARI MEDIA CENTRE
The above-mentioned piece, by Farooq Kperogi, appeared in Daily Trust of Saturday 4 March 2017. It was, among other things, a rejoinder to Muhammad Labbo’s article in the opinion column of Daily Trust on 2 March 2017. In paragraph 17 his 20-paragraph rejoinder, Dr Farooq Kperogi advised Muhammad Labbo to take ‘elementary lessons in grammar and logic’. I will dwell much on this in due course.
I have followed Kperogi’s writings in the last few months and he seems to derive pleasure in insulting people, especially President Muhammadu Buhari’s (PMB) supporters who do not share his views. A lot of people are appalled by the despicable language Dr Kperogi uses many a time. The conclusion my friends and I draw is that Kperogi is a disgrace to scholarship.
By all standards, Dr Kperogi knows his onions as an expert on English grammar. As an acclaimed scholar, Dr Kperogi should know that life is not restricted to “grammar and logic” – there are zillions of variables, factors and issues that influence man’s social, political, economic, cultural, legal and environmental activities. Reducing everything to “grammar and logic” by Dr Kperogi poignantly demonstrates that he is an educated illiterate – despite the fact that he is a PhD and teaches in an American University.
In the same issue of Daily Trust that Dr Kperogi threw tantrums at Muhammad Labbo and our dear PMB another Nigerian, much younger than him (Kperogi), was being celebrated. The novelist Chimamanda Adichie has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Letters (Daily Trust 4 March 2017 page 38). She has etched her name in the annals of America’s great writers. Kperogi should learn from Adichie and other greats in the literary world – Rabindranath Tagore, Jean-Paul Sartre, Abubakar Imam, Abubakar Gimba, Achebe, Soyinka, Senghor, et al – and enter the hall of fame in scholarship. Otherwise, I gleefully predict, that at the end of your career, you would be banished – in sha Allah – to the labyrinth of ignominy.
You, Dr Kperogi may be too thick-headed to join the club of the great icons. But, you can contribute to scholarship in many ways without insulting PMB and other leaders you do not agree with. Let me assure you that your “Politics of Grammar” column is good. You could continue along that line and Allah (SWT) knows how many great heights you can attain beginning with your seminal work on “glocal” English. Dr Kperogi, my humble advice to you is: do not stray into areas like logic which obviously you are an ignoramus. There is no logic you can refer to from Socrates, Aristotle, etc to the present day to deny the achievements of PMB especially in the fight against corruption. Therefore, stop chasing shadows with your sesquipedalian grammar and dispassionately look at other social issues PMB is addressing.
PMB, if I may let you know, has a pedigree throughout his public service career in the Nigerian Army. A few examples will suffice: he was one of the junior officers the then Lt Col Yakubu Gowon trusted and therefore deployed in Lagos in January 1966 to bust the lopsided, ethnically biased bloody mutiny led by Major Ifeajuna in Lagos (and Major Nzeogwu in Kaduna). Buhari fought gallantly during the Nigerian Civil War (See Obasanjo’s “My Command”). Buhari served diligently as a military governor, minister (then known as federal commissioner) of petroleum and General Officer Commanding (GOC) 3 Division of the Nigerian Army in Jos. Let it be known to a narrow-minded teacher of journalism like you that as GOC in Jos in 1983 Buhari decisively ended the menace of Chadian ragtag soldiers who were harassing Nigerian civilians along the shores of Lake Chad.
Furthermore, let armchair critics like Dr Farooq “Fraud” Kperogi who cannot see beyond the four walls of a university classroom know that Buhari handled the funds from the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) where he exhibited probity, transparency and accountability. A lot of infrastructural projects were executed throughout the length and breadth of Nigeria; drugs and facilities were supplied to hospitals; books and other equipment were supplied to schools (primary to tertiary). It is on record that up to now there are PTF books in libraries in schools in the country. These few examples have few parallels in history of leadership in Africa. Buhari’s sobriquet should be “Farooq” – one who distinguishes right from wrong. The appellation should not be for a nincompoop like you. Let me add that you are antithetical to the beautiful name Farooq.
Yes, I dare say that Dr Farooq Kperogi you are myopic. Your attitude towards contemporary leadership issues in Nigeria is the nadir of scholarship. The zenith of an intellectual, Dr Kperogi , is to accept that “I do not know” – also known as Socratic logic. It is a disgrace to you as a scholar for us, much younger people than you, to teach you Socratic approach to learning.
Dr Kperogi, you have the mistaken impression that it was people like you that worked for PMB’s epic victory in 2015: this is a monumental lie and a delusion. Buhari had built a solid reputation in public service from the mid-60s to the mid-80s as outlined above. Most of the voters in Nigeria and most parts of Africa and even advanced countries are not swayed by campaign slogans which you are obsessed with ad nauseam. In essence, the success of Buhari at the 2015 polls was more on his integrity than sloganeering. After all, how many voters read newspaper columns – even in advanced countries. Even if they do, it is not columns like yours that stand logic on its head. Yet, with a volcanic voice, my dear US college professor, you claim to profess logic.
I know Dr Kperogi you have a tendency for insulting people who disagree with you. I am a young, patriotic Nigerian and I am ready for whatever barbs from you. You can sneer at my grammar in English but I do not give a hoot. After all, how many Japanese engineers can construct three correct sentences in English? Yet they are highly advanced technologically. Life is not all about English grammar Dr Kperogi. As Hausa will say “girmanka ya fadi Faruku” (Farooq, your status has fallen).
As for Muhammad Labbo, older people have told us that he is a journalist too and a quintessential reporter on the Nigerian Television Authority. As an academic, you need to be humble and consult people like him to learn the ropes of electronic journalism and possibly add value to your students in America. Not for you an arm-chair critic to criticize everybody that disagrees with you; discuss issues like logic which you do not know; and arrogantly pontificating as if you are the only grammarian. Sadly, you lack logic and you do not even know what is wrong and what is right. Learn from other Daily Trust columnists like Bala Muhammad, Mohammed Haruna (now an electoral umpire), Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, Adamu Adamu (now Minister of Education) and Jideofor Adibe who do not insult anybody in their columns. Some readers, once in a while, disagree with them. But it does not reduce their status as great icons in the fourth estate of the realm.
My last word for you Dr Kperogi is: be sensible, logical, accurate, objective and learn to criticize constructively.
Khalifa Musa Muhammad (Malam Wiz)
A Concerned Citizen.