As Desert herald battles Kano Pensioners By Saka Raji Audu

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According to a popular truism, the child who says his mother will not sleep; he too will also not sleep. This aptly applies to the so called Publisher and Editor –in-Chief of a notorious junk weekly newspaper based in Kaduna under the name of desert herald. Tukur Mamu has been applying blackmail, deception and threat as sources of his livelihood. He does not need any form of introduction because we have known him through his various antics, unbecoming of a responsible journalist.

Another local gnome says that if one has a big head, such head is not just meant for carrying iron and stone. For the fact that the publisher of the above mentioned mushroom paper has got enough money through whatever means, he should have diverted such uncommon resources to run charity homes for the upkeep of the less privileged so that God, in His infinite mercy, will bless him. This is not the case. Instead, he has chosen to waste such resources in threatening and blackmailing people of honour and integrity through the journalism profession he knows nothing about.

Not quite long ago, the National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Comrade Mohammed Garba issued serious warning to the Publisher of the desert herald to desist from robbing Peter to pay Paul. This was in reaction to the series of complaints the NUJ received from the general public and the stakeholders about the type of journalism the desert herald publisher is practicing. The national Chairman was particularly irked by the purported advertisement carried in the paper on behalf of the NUJ national secretariat to 'congratulate' the Publisher on his so called American Congress award, which the NUJ said it was not privy to. Up till now, the publisher is yet to summon courage and apologise for that dubious and fraudulent act.

It is of public knowledge that before the coming of Shekarau in 2003 as Governor of Kano State, the Pensioners were not receiving their pension as at when due. The pensioners had backlog of arrears unpaid. As a result of this, some of them lost their lives. When Governor Shekarau came into government, he saw the need to settle these arrears, knowing full well the selfless contributions of these pensioners when in service. He has kept this tempo in spite of the crowded state budget. This therefore informed why the pensioners had to relentlessly fight with contribution, to the enthronement of the governor for his second term.

As a matter of fact, the State Pensioners are one of the backbones of the many successes recorded by Shekarau administration. The Pensioners have taken Shekarau's government as their saviour because of its human face in solving their long time problem of non-settlement of their pensions and gratuity by the previous governments. Since Shekarau became the governor of Kano State in the past six years, there has been cordial relationship between his government and the Pensioners.

It is therefore very amusing for Tukur Mamu to once again display his penchant characteristic of character assassination, falsification and malicious publication in his current edition of his junk, hallucinating that in the week ahead, he has an in-sighting story to tell about what he describes as "Gov. Shekarau battles Kano Pensioners", asking his readers to keep a date with what he knows it's a tale of lies and concoction. This he wishes to do in order to create ill-feelings against the people's governor. The not clever publisher did not as usual investigate this issue before trying to incite the pensioners against their closest friend. Unfortunately, before his gullible readers get to know the true picture of his fiction, he would have extorted their hard earned money for his junk cover price. This is the kind of survival strategy Mamu's paper adopts.

About two weeks ago, the same Mamu's paper carried sensational promo that it has an insightful story on how Shekarau was going to sack many of his aides as a result of its fictitious publications on one of Shekarau's aides, Uba Sulaiman Gaya (his once virile and profitable friend). We however discovered that most of the governor's aides were promoted and others, including Sulaiman Gaya were retained and even new aides were appointed against the insinuation of Mamu's paper. The desert herald never kept its promise of telling its readers how many of Shekarau's aides were sacked because it is a mere speculation and fiction that never was.

The desert herald had also insinuated that Shekarau would scuttle the Travan Pfizer case against the victims because of his 'presidential ambition.' Today, it is of public knowledge that Governor Shekarau has settled the Pfizer dispute in favour of the victims. Since the arrest, detention and subsequent release of the desert herald publisher cum editor-in-chief by the Nigerian Police Force Headquarters in connection with his role in the infamous fictitious publications about the assassination of the late Scholar, Sheikh Mahmoud Ja'afar Adam, Tukur Mamu has been a wounded lion that hardly a week passes without formulating stories against the government and people of Kano State, just to have his own pound of flesh. Mamu has been very prayerful to see any opposition article against Shekarau and his government sent to him, not minding the grammatical inadequacies of such piece; he will willingly and gracious publish it unedited, thereby endi up exposing his perfidy and incompetence.

Indeed, Governor Shekarau is not the only victim in this act of shrewdness and blackmail for survival at all costs by an accounts clerk-turn-publisher. He has been extending similar concoction of blackmail to some selected Governors of the Northern states like Kaduna, Yobe, Bauchi, Zamfara, Kebbi, Borno, Jigawa and Taraba, just to deceive his readers for a peanut cover price and perhaps inject fear in the governors for any likely patronage. As far as Tukur Mamu is concerned, he is doing a 'good' job by formulating issues to discredit people and government in his moribund newspaper because he is simply enjoying it forgetting that every good thing has its bad side.

Consequently, the Mamu's newspaper had also in its last week edition came up with another subterfuge, insinuating that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi's life is on line. Mamu claimed that the bank debtors were after the life of the CBN Governor just because he wants his paper to sell at all costs. Interestingly, the reading public has come to understand this "wayo-wayo" way of doing newspaper business and therefore has choice to do away with such thing. Still, no deeds will go unrewarded either here or hereafter. All is a matter of time and there is no question of being in hurry.

After all, we have seen what is happening to bank debtors in Nigeria today. When some of the debtors were busy cooling themselves with people's savings without repayment, it hardly occurred to them that what they were doing is not good. But today, they are in trouble paying back for their past deeds, after many years of their misdemeanors. Proven evidence in Mamu's ignorance of journalism and comparative knowledge is the fact that he does not know the difference between the Nigerian legion and the Pensioners and who is responsible for each of the two. Mamu should therefore be educated that it is only the Federal Government that is responsible for the payment of the force retirees and not the state. This is perhaps an exposition for him to appropriately build up his lies. He should be advised to update himself in the journalism profession through the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, close to him in Jos.

Therefore, no one should bother much about the various fictitious publications of Tukur Mamu through his junk medium. We should urge him to continue doing his worst while admonishing his victims of blackmail to always try and do their best, as no man born of a woman shall escape reward of his deeds, sooner or later. The powerful publisher and Editor-in-Chief should go ahead with his known way of selling deceits and falsehood. The public is already used to his modus-operandi.

Saka Raji Audu sent this comment from Kano and he can be reached on his email: [email protected]

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