By Danjuma Musa
The Daily Trust newspaper, knew from the outset that the purpose of its article “How El-Rufai “Secretly” Withdrew Son From Public School”, published on 3rd July, 2021 was a calculated and deliberate mischief. It didn’t bother to disguise that the overall intention, was not to inform its readers, who look up to it for an unbiased and informed analyses on the reform of the educational sector, a key policy of the Nasir El-Rufai administration. Even its belated attempt at getting an official response, was not because Daily Trust in all sincerity wanted to get to the truth; rather it wanted to be seen to have fulfilled all righteousness,to avoid charges of a hatchet job, which it cannot now escape from.
Had the Daily Trust delayed the publication of the junk article, especially as there was absolutely no immediacy to it, nor was it an exclusive that other newspapers could have beaten it to, the article, could have tremendously benefited from the government perspectives. The only snag, is that, it would have denied Daily Trust the opportunity to score mischief, which I suspect motivated the article in the first place .
The tragedy of the article, is that it failed the task of objectivity, as it came off as an obvious attempt at impugning the hard earned integrity of Governor Nasir El-Rufai . It’s also laced with a rehash of mai waina joint tales. Though it spectacularly failed, it nevertheless raises worrying questions about the capacity of some Nigerian journalists, reason why people treat many reports with utter disbelief. Definitely, these reporters can not handle more complicated issues, like the urban renewal projects and the public service renewal and revitalization programme, except off course from the same shallow perspective.
The opening paragraph of the article “Governor Nasir El-Rufai has secretly withdrawn his son, Abubakar Al-Sadiq from Kaduna Capital School after what many observers described as “political and media stunt” to give the impression that he is like any commoner”, is a confirmation of inherent and deliberate mischief. It’s ironical that the temporary withdrawal of the young boy,from a supposedly elitist school would now become an issue. When in 2019 he announced the decision to enroll his son in that same school, it was welcomed with derision, because Capital school, in every sense is an elitist school.
Kaduna Capital School was established to provide quality primary education for the children of top-ranking northern government officials. Its famous pupils include the National Security Adviser, Major General Munguno, the present Emir of Zazzau, among many others. So, it cannot be a commoners school.
Contrary to the misleading and mischievous conclusions of Daily Trust, El-Rufai’s decision to enroll his son in Capital school wasn’t a “political and media stunt”, rather it was a well thought through and conscious decision. In enrolling his son El- Rufai, wasn’t only making an eloquent statement about his confidence in the reform of the sector, but also a conscious decision to expose his children to what other children are facing. Being a product of public school himself, El-Rufai is under no illusions that with commitment, employment of quality teachers, provision of conducive learning environment and other necessary investments, that public schools can compete with the private schools.
While mischief has been established as the reason why Daily Trust, refused to make any concrete effort to confirm why the young boy was temporarily withdrawn,it also failed, for its lack of professionalism and fixation on mischief, to break the news that the young boy’s sister had, in fact , joined him at Capital school. Could the Governor of kaduna state,have engaged in the “betrayal of public trust and confidence” by enrolling two of his children in Capital school. Is that deceptive, surreptitious, propagandist,words that impugn and malign the character of El-Rufai?
Meanwhile, the BBC has roundly put to lie , the fabricated tales by moonlight of Daily Trust and its reporters. The real damage to the reputation of Daily Trust, is not just its false claim that El-Rufai had “secretly withdrawn” the son, but its unequivocal assertion that the governor had secretly “enrolled him in an undisclosed school, leaving residents’ tongues wagging over his action”. A good editor would insist that the reporters find out the new school. That would have changed the story and absolve it of the mischief charge. Thanks to the BBC interview, Nigerians now know that the Governor has two children and not one child in the school. And that while the security threat has temporarily stopped them from attending school physically, they remain pupils of the Capital School and writing their examinations in the said school.
Another salacious tale in the disjointed article by Daily Trust, which shouldn’t have been published, going by the journalism maxim, is that “It is not clear why the governor made a U-turn as some commentators said it could be due to the widespread abduction by kidnappers in public schools especially in Kaduna and neighbouring states, or pressure from family, or lack or doubts on the capacity of the government school to groom his son as what obtains in private schools”. In one breath it concluded the reason why the young boy was supposedly withdrawn and in several breaths speculated on several other reasons. The editor, Mohammed I. Yaba and Abbas Jimoh, have done incalculable damage to the hard earned reputation of Daily Trust, with this pedestrian report,which can never be cured it of its several deficiencies.