July 27, 2007
2 mins read

Last week, Daily Trust carried Alhaji Idi Farouk’s rejoinder to the piece I wrote on Chief Tony Anenih three weeks ago, which I titled TONY ANENIH AND ALL THAT POLITICS.  Even before reading the piece, Alhaji Idi Farouk told me that he was very angry with me that I wrote the piece at all, so his rejoinder was constructed within his anger and disappointment. He claimed that “for the record, we did not as claimed in the write-up discuss former Vice President Atiku Abubakar or related issues.”What Alhaji Idi Farouk did not state here, but which he insinuated with this statement, was that I cooked up the narration in respect of what Chief Tony Anenih said about the former vice president, stripped of subterfuge, Alhaji Idi Farouk said I lied. Although he went on to confess that “THE ONLY POINT I RECALL (emphasis mine) was the actual amount allocated to the Ministry of Works under Chief Anenih’s watch”. But that was a clear case of selective amnesia on the part of the distinguished man.

Alhaji Idi Farouk had hoped that the visit with chief Anenih “would afford… the opportunity to exchange views in an informal setting”. That was precisely what it did, but the difference for me was that I kept my journalistic instincts about me and stayed very alert throughout the visit because it was very special. That was why I took of all aspects of the visit, even the most minute, including what Chief Tony Anenih said about Atiku Abubakar. I want to reiterate that I stand by the narration completely. This includes the time we spent at Chief Tony Anenih’s residence on the night, I timed our stay there and apparently, Alhaji Idi Farouk did not!

He might not know it, but by casting a slur on my account, he was calling to question my integrity as a journalist and therefore rendering to naught my professional experience of the past thirty years, it might also be of interest to state that I made many telephone calls to Alhaji Idi Farouk on the day that I wrote the piece to inform him of my intention to write especially because I realized just how important his relationship with Chief Tony Anenih was to him. I also did not write about the encounter before now but deliberately kept a significant distance between January 2006 when we met (Alhaji Idi recollected that the meeting took place “ early this year “, but the recollection is not correct), and July 2007 when events in Nigerian politics brought Chief Anenih back to the eye of the storm.

He also talked about my “high energy interventions” whose “true polemic value is sometimes fatally undermined by (my) caustic language”. He is entitled to his judgment. I come from a polemical tradition whose roots lie within the Marxist material method; I analyze with the passions of a materialist political scientist and sociologist. What he termed “caustic language” has actually been at the heart of my effort to consistently deconstruct the political process in our country and the personalities involved within it. Unfortunately, in the instance, I have been obliged to deconstruct two individuals that Alhaji Idi Farouk holds very dear, as he puts it, “ It has been (his) special privilege to be politically and socially associated” with them over the years. These are Chief Tony Anenih and former President Olusegun Obasanjo. I do not have such a “special privilege”, but as a Nigerian commentator, journalist, social scientist, and citizen, their actions and inactions have impacted on my life and that is where I have related with them from. It is true that Alhaji Idi Farouk” is a friend of mine, and we have come a long way in this relationship”. That will not change, because as I have said in another setting, he is one of the most loyal friends one can ever have. He has an unusual ability to cultivate and retain friendships, and I believe that if other people in authority can be as accommodating as him, the business of governance will be much easier in our country.

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