WHAT IS THE WORTH OF SAM NDA-ISAIAH AND HIS WRITINGS?
'Is anybody still reading Sam Nda-Isaiah?' was originally conceived as the title of this piece, but I decided to change it to 'What is the worth of Sam Nda-Isaiah and his writings?' because it occurred to me that some innocent members of the public who read any printed material that comes their way may have been devouring and digesting his gobbledygook, taking it for the gospel truth.
Whose gobbledygook? Of course Nda-Isaiah's! It is about him that I am writing.
To be sure, Nda-isaiah is Chairman of LEADERSHIP Newspapers and one of the newspaper's back page columnists.
I am also writing about Sam Nda-Isaiah, the politician and presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
But what manner of presidential aspirant is he? Time will certainly tell.
It is on both scores-as writer and politician-that I have decided in this piece to evaluate the Kakaki Nupe.
As a writer, he has made a bad habit of making wild claims in his Monday column in the LEADERSHIP.
Many government functionaries and influential Nigerians have been the butts of his reckless journalism.
Yobe Sate Government, in February 2013, took a full page advertorial in some newspapers, in which it accused him of blackmail, to expose the shenanigans of Nda-Isaiah.
But, recently, he made an attempt to rationalise his reckless journalism practice, which the Chairman, PDP Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, pointed out in his recent letter to him.
Nevertheless, instead of addressing the germane issues that the Iyasele of Esanland raised, Nda-Isaiah, in his back page reply of January 27, 2014, chose to employ what, in philosophy, is called argumentum ad hominem, meaning 'argument against the man' rather than the issue.
Deliberately, he decided to focus his response on attacking the high reputation of Anenih rather that addressing the issue that the elderly man raised.
In his letter, Anenih had highlighted the provocative conclusion of Nda-Isaiah's piece titled: 'Is Mr President Aware That $10.
8b Is Still Missing?' to wit: 'It is quite befuddling how anyone will want Jonathan to continue as president beyond 2015, as a few jesters are currently doing.
Anyone, no matter who that person is, who wants President Jonathan to govern Nigeria beyond 2015, is an enemy of the Nigerian State.
' The implication is that if I have sympathy for Jonathan and I want him to seek re-election, I am an enemy of the state.
The same thing applies to Anenih, who is an unrepentant supporter of Jonathan and his second term bid.
While I am not holding brief for Anenih, this must have been one of the farthest points Nda-Isaiah went, for the elder statesman to consider that wise counsel should be availed him, especially within the context of the $10.
8 billion crude sale proceeds, which Nda-Isaiah said was missing, NOT misappropriated, in his original piece of January 13, 2014 on the issue.
But Nda-Isaiah went out of control in his response to Anenih's letter, hurling both direct and indirect invectives and innuendos at him.
Poor Nda-Isaiah! He may have declined to understand that attacking the writer of a statement is a very weak strategy of diversion that prevents the reader from giving attention where it is due-to the issue under discussion.
He refused to consider his audience before embarking on that exercise.
To be sure, many well-meaning Nigerians who had over and again been his victims of 'yellow journalism' know him too well.
Anybody who is in doubt should ask the governor of Yobe state, Ibrahim Geidam, Minister of FCT, Bala Mohammed and his predecessors in office, Senator Danjuma Goje, and those who have worked with him in LEADERSHIP.
They all have one bitter tale or the other to tell about Nda-Isaiah's quest for questionable wealth - all in the guise of public service or advocacy journalism.
His Monday column, the one in question, is hollow.
It lacks verifiable evidence.
All his claims in the write-up were not supported by any fact.
In order to tag his innocent victim, President Goodluck Jonathan, as heading a corrupt government, he chose to manufacture unimaginable, mind-boggling amounts, which he claimed had been stolen from the nation's coffers-to give vent to his hidden intention-to incite the public against the President.
Let us even concede to him that he provided problematic evidence in the write-up and made wobbly logical connections between and among the parts of his argument, he ought to know that these are not enough to win the support of a free-thinking audience.
In fact, many mass communication authorities had argued that achievement in convincing an audience is, almost, always inseparable from the writer's credibility or the audience's belief in the writer's trustworthiness.
Aristotle, the Greek philosopher who wrote a treatise on argument that had influenced his study and practice for more than 2,000 years, considered credibility-what he called ethos- the most important element in the writer's ability to persuade his audience to accept his claim.
Aristotle named intelligence, character and goodwill as the attributes that produce credibility.
In his usual feeble manner, Nda-Isaiah might describe these qualities somewhat differently today, but the criteria for judging a writer's credibility according to those who should know, remain fundamentally the same.
First, the writer must convince the audience that he is well-informed; that he is up-to-date, as much as it is possible, about the subject.
Second, he must persuade the audience that he is not only truthful in the presentation of his evidence but also morally upright and reliable.
Third, he must show that, as a writer with good intentions, he has considered the interest and needs of others as well as his own.
Does Nda-Isaiah have these qualities? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the air.
For those who have not read Anenih's letter, the summary of the issues he raised was that in a context of adversarial hostility, for which Nda-Isaiah has now been noted, it is extremely difficult to practise journalism with a certain degree of impartiality.
Check it out: Nda-Isaiah and his like have continued to act deliberately- driven by inspirations that could not, sometime, be openly acknowledged.
But one thing is clear: the lack of objectivity in their compromised narratives is deliberate.
Yes, media and journalists select and present the news in a graded arrangement, according to their viewpoints, values or socio-political and economic interests; they define what processes and situations are worth covering or disregarding, and how to present the news in either case.
But Nda-Isaiah, in the last few years, had elevated this notion in journalism to media rascality.
Day after day, information in his LEADERSHIP newspapers is largely skewed against those at the receiving end of his attacks.
And, because of his selfish economic and political interests he is progressively becoming incapable of recognizing legitimate merits in his perceived opponents taking a productive approach.
Anenih's advice, in his letter to him, which he has refused to accept, is that in the perilous situation in which he (Nda-Isaiah) has found himself, he should always put national interest first in whatever he does, rather than pander to misinformation, deception and blackmail of the president and the Federal Government.
Certainly, it was a sincere advice from a father to a son; and, Nda-Isaiah claimed in his reply that he is an adopted son of the Iyasele of Esanland.
Should he therefore not take his advice? But whether or not Nda-Isaiah takes the advice, the truth he would soon know, now that he has indicated interest in partisan politics, is that the game of political power is different from running a newspaper and writing a weekly column, two fortes, which he has now abused, bastardized and made worthless.
I wish him good luck as he joins the presidential fray from a largely disadvantaged position! Written By Matthew Adejoh [email protected]