June 8th, 2010
There is a growing
consensus nationally and internationally that Nigeria is
mired in corruption and caught within the web of corruption.
And many steps are being taking to tackle this great stain
on the nation.
Yes, there is no day that passes were by a gigantic report
of corruption by a Nigerian leader is not being published,
broadcasted, opined upon and/or about to be investigated by
the rightful investigative bodies.
However, the whole leadership is not ruled by the spirit and
act of corruption, and there are some who are thinking of
what is best for the nation, and are making attempts to
settle for something positive for the country.
This certainly appeared to be the case of two able leaders,
Senator Mohammed Abba-Aji , the Special Adviser to President
Jonathan on National Assembly matters, and Dr. Cairo
Ojougboh, the Special Assistant to the President on the
But a particular aspect of their forward thinking, and
actions on behalf of the national good of the country was
shared in an awful manner on the basis of an unreliable
petition, as we now know. What followed this isolated and
single source petition, almost resulted into a ‘mayday’ or a
period of instant distress, political disaster or unusual
distressful protect across the halls of power in the nation.
The Economic and Financial Crimes commission ( EFCC) on a
flimsy tale reportedly sprang into action, and the Senate,
also wasted time, as tension and uneasiness reportedly rose
on the floor of the Senate over this matter; all instigated
and complicated by flighty and baseless media reports and
increased media frenzy.
All these misunderstandings reportedly came about on the
account of an unauthorized petition of fraudulent acts
against the President’s Aides, sent by one Mr. Aminu Gusau,
a University of Kansas (UK) Instructor of Hausa and Business
Mr. Gusau is reported as an organizer of some training for
the Africanna Leadership Institute, a unit of the African
/African American African Studies Department, at the
University of Kansas. By the way, it is a great Africentric
program, known for its research and work on the African
experience in Africa and in the Diaspora. Actually the
program is being chaired by an African theatre, film and
culture expert, Dr. Peter Ukpokodu.
As part of the ongoing saga, Mr Gusau, in an April 22, 2010
correspondence reportedly accused Senator Abba-Aji and Dr.
Ojougboh of defrauding the University of $80, 000 (minus
$20,000 which was already paid) over a leadership training
for some selected legislators and staff in January, 2010 at
Mr Gusau, in addition to sending his scorching and boiling
written indictment to the nation’s Chief Prosecutor, Mrs.
Fadira Waziri on the alleged breach of contract and
fraudulent act, a firestorm reportedly spread across to the
National Assembly, to the United States Embassy, the Office
of the President and the streets.
The sensational reports from the various quarters of the
print and internet media further aggravated the false
financial claims by Mr. Gusau. It would have been helpful to
the public if the May, 2010 media reports had a side by side
information both from Mr. Gusau’s personal letter and also
from official statements or comments from the University as
they are bound by public information Act to reveal public
communications such as this one.
Even without going deep into the matter, as to revealing the
name of Mr. Gusau or any other person involved, the
University could have educated the media on who has the
authority to speak for the entire school on political and
financial matters like this one. Instead various arms of the
Nigerian oriented media went into a state of one-way
excitement and thrill with captivating headlines like
“Jonathan’s aides defrauded us of $80,000—US varsity” , and
catchy words like “Furore,” “defrauded”, “Botched”, “Scam”
All these prejudiced, skewed, and narrow minded advances to
journalistic practice could have been limited, as within a
few seconds the media would have instantly got almost the
full story from this public University before openly
reporting on the matter.
As we now know from the Presidential Aide(s), all the
supposed attendees could not travel to the United States of
America for the training as a result of the travel
difficulties created by the almost fatal bomb attack by Umar
AbdulMutallab, a Nigerian student.
As recently as June 3rd, 2010, an official communication
from the University of Kansas proved Mr. Gusau’s petition to
be false and it is now out for the whole world to view.
In a press release, Jack Martin, Deputy Director, Office of
University Communications, stated, the school “is seeking to
correct false claims that have recently appeared in the
media regarding the University and two aides to the
President of Nigeria, Mohammed Abba-Aji and Cairo Ojougboh.”
In the same communiqué, Dr. Danny Anderson, the University’s
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor stated publicly “We
sincerely regret if the unauthorized actions of this
individual have in any way tarnished the reputation of these
For an institutional community or entity in Kansas to carry
out this type of acknowledgement towards a Black Leadership
like in this case, is a big deal!
As history tells us, terms like “Bleeding Kansas”, and
“What’s is the matter with Kansas?” once colored the history
of Kansas, in the town of Lawrence especially, where
violence occurred between pro-slavery and anti-slavery
outside groups over whether to spread slavery into Kansas,
which the newly formed state fought against, the town of
Lawrence especially—home of the University. With the federal
law on this matter not quite satisfactory to many states,
the ensued violence beginning in May, 1854 would serve as a
prelude to the American civil war. Therefore, Kansas the
maternal home of President Barack Obama has again proved its
resistance to phony representations and news.
Now that all these issues are out especially with the
upright and professional leadership shown by Senator Abba-Aji
and Dr. Ojougboh there appears to be some indication of the
arrival of a new leadership conduct under the era of the
Jonathan presidency. And no matter how the media might view
the overall person of these Presidential Aides respectively,
what is unfortunate is that some in the media acted
inhumanely, gawkily, incompetently, inefficiently, and
poorly. As such what is needed now is institutional
cleansing of many in the Nigerian media by treating them
with sensitivity training.
The handling and coverage of stories could be improved by
treating some media personnel with updated lessons in
ethics. To ensure sensitivity to the lives and integrity of
persons written about, training in control management skills
could help the Journalist work on stories better, no matter
how exciting is the story.
From now on let the public perception of Nigerian-oriented
media nationally and internationally be that of
assertiveness, professionalism and fitness.
John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D, DABPS, FACFE, is a practicing
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist and the Interim Associate
Dean of Behavioral Science, North Campus, Coconut Creek,