The above subjective piece, by Farooq Kperogi, appeared in the “Daily Trust Saturday” of 15 July 2017. For the umpteenth time, Dr Kperogi demonstrates that he is a lazy, irresponsible and reckless scholar. In addition he is a charlatan.
Tension over the Biafra affair has reached fever-pitch in Nigeria. Efforts are in top gear to douse the tension. Our sagacious Acting President in tandem with all stakeholders especially the Northern Governors Forum are working assiduously to calm frayed nerves. But, nincompoops like Dr Kperogi are adding oxygen to the fire with half-truths regarding President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB).
Farooq Kperogi is an educated illiterate that is why he does not know that the Biafran brouhaha predates PMB. The agitators have a number of issues which they summarize in one word: marginalisation. A senior citizen told me that alleged marginalisation of the Igbos has been advanced by prominent Igbos since the 1980s. In fact the word ‘marginalisation’ was popularised by a second republic presidential adviser of Igbo extraction since the late 1980s. This erudite Nigerian later led the Senate in the fourth republic. It demonstrates poor research and lazy scholarship by Kperogi to put the blame of agitation for Biafra on PMB.
The nebulous claim of alleged marginalisation of the Igbos hovers around on a number of factors like having five states in the south-east and seven states in the north-west of Nigeria. Meanwhile, the north-west geo-political zone is several times bigger than the south-east. Even Sokoto State alone is about the size of all the five states of the south-east combined. Besides, what about comparing the population of the two zones? Another factor is the struggle to have an Igbo president. For crying out loud PMB is not the stumbling block to Igbos having a president in Nigeria. After all in 2015 PMB did not contest against an Igbo candidate. Appointments at the federal level (read sharing of the national cake)is another bone of contention. Kperogi is so thick-headed not to notice that even states that contributed massively to PMB‘s victory in 2015 got junior ministers. These are Borno, Kaduna, Sokoto, and Yobe. I am not aware people from these states are complaining. Meanwhile, most states from the south-east got senior ministers courtesy of Buhari’s statesmanship. This leadership quality of Buhari is reinforced by appointing the head of service of the federation and a service chief from a south-south state that did not vote for him. Cynics like Kperogi turned a blind eye to all these noble actions by President Buhari.
Farooq Kperogi should know that as far as “marginalisation” is concerned all the six zones in the country have one or two grievances. Thus, it is not only the Igbos that feel marginalised.
In paragraph 14 of the piece, Kperogi criticised PMB for advising corpers to admonish their brethren to forget Biafra. The exhortation by PMB to the young Nigerians was an acme of statesmanship. Truth is bitter and it must be told categorically no matter whose ox is gored. History will vindicate PMB – or “the just” – to quote the great Zik of Africa. Again, this shows that Kperogi is a worthless scholar for quoting Mr President out of context and for asserting that our imperfections should be swept under the carpet.
To buttress the fact that Kperogi is a disgrace to PhD holders he compared apples with oranges in the same paragraph 14. For Dr Kperogi’s information all well-meaning Muslims from the Sultan of Sokoto down to Youth Corpers and primary school pupils condemn terrorism: the obnoxious act is diametrically opposed to the ideals of Islam.
However, as regards the current Biafran agitation by Nnamdi Kanu no prominent Igbo son, until recently, came out to condemn him. He was spewing vitriolic, virulent and vicious language against Nigeria (which he calls a zoo), PMB, Hausas, Fulanis and northerners. How dare you Dr Kperogi blame PMB! This is unfair, uncalled for and misguided.
In another vein, I said you Dr Kperogi are a charlatan. Yes, you are! You tried without success to delve into psychology to prove some points. You should stick to your profession which is mass communication. Otherwise you will keep on exposing your intellectual bankruptcy. And, sooner than later, your Uncle Sam employers would realise that you lack substance and sack you as a faculty member in their ivory tower. For instance, an imbecile of a college professor like you kept on asserting that it was a Songhai scholar, Abd-al-Sadi in 1655, that coined the word “Yariba” for the current name Yoruba (of the south-west Nigeria). Yet, as a professor you relied only on one source. You threw all the guidelines of research methodology; you did not do a rigorous analysis. You ignorantly missed some basic facts. Hausaland is closer to Yorubaland than the home of the other scholar you mentioned who lived hundreds of kilometers from the home of the Yorubas. You did not contact experts on Hausa language who are abundant in Bayero University where you got your first degree. Hausas have traded, inter-married and had a host of other social, political and economic interactions with the people called Yariba (now Yoruba) for decades before 1665. Works by the pre-eminent historian, Dr Bala Usman and others, have shown that there were commonalities among almost all the present six geo-political zones for centuries. Yet, the Hausas never had a name for their esteemed neighbours! This cannot be possible by any stretch of imagination. You are lousy scholar Farooq. You stupidly argued that the Hausas borrowed the word from elsewhere through Sultan Bello only in 1812 (your column in ‘’Daily Trust’’ 1 July 2012).
What must have happened was that the people of Mali and Songhai empires had earlier and closer contact with great Arab writers like Al Maghili, Mahmud Kati, Ibn Batuta, Leo Africanus and their precursors. Therefore, they had imbibed the art of chronicling events as a result of earlier, closer and more frequent association with these great Arab historians. The literacy level in Hausaland, in Arabic language, which was one of the universal languages of intellectual discourse, was not that high in the mid-seventeenth century. So, Dr Kperogi carry out more research and please jettison your cock-eyed theory that it was not the Hausas that coined the word Yariba (now Yoruba). It is disappointing that as a teacher of communication you do not know some of the basics of etymology.
My humble advice to you Dr Kperogi is to pursue research in these unexplored areas and push the frontiers of knowledge. Even at this, you should collaborate with the relevant experts: historians, anthropologists, sociologists, geographers and economists. There are scores of them in your great alma mater – Bayero University Kano.
Farooq Kperogi you nauseate a lot of people with what the Hausas call “karamin sani kukumi ne” (little knowledge is dangerous). You know so little but you try to show that you know a lot. Learn from the great philosopher Socrates who always said: “I don’t know”. Well, history and posterity know better – Socrates was highly knowledgeable. Not you Kperogi are an incurable and haughty ignoramus.
As an African child, avoid insulting elders like Alh Lai Mohammed and PMB. One day you too will grow old. As for PMB, at the last summit of African Heads of Government in Addis Ababa he was given kudos for his various policies. His wife, Aisha Buhari, was given the singular honour of reading to the whole world the communiqué of the resolutions of the First Ladies. And, most tellingly, even Baba Buhari’s staunchest critics acknowledge that he is not corrupt.
Unfortunately, narrow-minded columnists like you do not see all these – that Africa has enormous respect for our dear President Buhari. These are issues you should dwell on not the infantile, shallow and woolly-headed articles you write. On a positive note your column in ‘’ Daily Trust on Sunday’’, Politics of Grammar, is educative. Toe that line and become a universally acclaimed professor. For example, a Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, was awarded a French literary award for one of her works (‘Daily Trust on Sunday’, 16 July 2017). She is focused as writer and does not blindly stray into an unknown terrain and turf unlike you Kperogi. So, borrow a leaf from Chimamanda Adichie. Avoid delving into troubled waters of social criticism without knowing your onions. Worse still, you employ crude, intemperate and unmagisterial language against our elders and leaders. Quintessential columnists in the stable of ‘Daily Trust’ like Dr Jibrin Ibrahim, Ibrahim Dooba, Gambo Dori, Al Ghazzali, Tunde Asaju, Wole Olawoye, Eugine Enahoro, Jideofor Adibe and Sonala Olumhense are effective as social critics without being abrasive and crude like you Farook Kperogi. Thus, I humbly advise you to drink from the mature and measured style of your aforementioned colleagues.
On a final note, please try and avoid this Biafran issue so as not to aggravate tension in Nigeria. There are a thousand and one topics you could address. We want peace, stability, economic development, employment, industrialisation, efficient infrastructure in our fatherland. All-peace loving Hausas, Igbos, Fulanis, Yorubas, Baribas, Batonus, Nupes, Efiks, Ibibios, Ijaws, Yalas, Tivs, Eguns, Kanuris and the over 250 ethnic groups want one Nigeria. And, on a serious note, irresponsible, crude and bellicose columnists like Dr Farooq Kperogi should be censored by “Daily Trust”. Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Khalifa Musa Muhammad