by Habib Gajam
I read an article written by Bashir Ibrahim Dabo titled “In Defense of Hadiza Bala Usman”. The write up was a reaction to criticisms from many quotas regarding the inclusion of Hadiza Bala Usman in the Inauguration Committee of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The author went further to justify such inclusion by highlighting some of her remarkable achievements in the Nigerian political atmosphere, prominent of which were her leading role in the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign and her political outing in the 2011 National Assembly Election when she contested for Matazu/Musawa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
In his narrative, Bashir highlighted her emergence after the primary election with “another brilliant and active lady in the sphere of Nigerian public commentary, Hannatu Musawa”. I must acknowledge here, that I have been an ardent reader of Hannatu Musawa’s insightful articles on the wednesday column of Leadership Newspaper. Her facts-based analysis of issues and events portray her as a dynamic and intelligent Lawyer and Journalist. This feat in a male-dominated field has earned her my respect and that of many others who read her column. In fact many young writers look up to her as a mentor and a role model.
Now, I (and many others) feel Bashir’s article was not an attempt to give an account of the intrigues and hullabaloo that culminated into the 2011 CPC primaries in Matazu/Musawa Federal Constituency. Rather, it was a piece in my opinion, written in good faith to justify why Hadiza Bala Usman deserves to be in a committee through her antecedents, and there is nothing wrong with that. Let me deviate a little from the main purpose of this article. It is a matter of public record that the Congress for Progressive Change allegedly had the worse primaries in its first political debut in 2011. Vested interests (if I may borrow SLS’s vocabulary) in many chapters of the party were alleged to have hijacked the process in favor of their preferred candidates to the detriment of the overall interest of the party. It is general belief that This culminated into the massive set backs the party suffered particularly in the North despite its mass appeal, winning only Nasarawa State in the Governorship Election. The rest is history!
In what seem to be a strong warning, Hannatu through her twitter handle @hanneymusawa tackled the writer on why he published an article without getting his facts right. She claimed the information on the article was “totally” and “absolutely” misleading and false, but failed to point how. She also expressly failed to address how the writer interfered with her personal life and her family’s. I expect an experienced writer in her persona to professionally address the situation in a well written article, highlighting Bashir’s “immaturity” and wrong doing as she claimed. To take it to twitter community is unprofessional and uncalled for, in my own opinion.
Bashir’s offense according to Hannatu was mentioning her “name in a manner that was misleading” in his article. With all due respect to Hannatu, there is nothing wrong in mentioning a person’s name in a situation he/she was actively involved in. Regardless of the process and the outcome, it is on record that she contested in that primary. She has also given her account of what transpired in her article ‘Hard View (The Time of My Life)’ dated Tuesday, 27 March 2012.
I understand and share Hannatu’s pain of having to labour hard to campaign and ultimately secure her constituents’ confidence only to be scuttled (as she alleged) by some self-serving elements within the party, typical of Nigerian dirty politics. To stoop so low in addressing such a small issue in the manner she did is petty and disappointing, especially for someone who commands respect from thousands of followers on the social media. Her daughter also took a cue and joined the bashing. Someone had to rise in Bashir’s defence.