Date Published: 06/09/11
Anyim's appointment a good sign by Ken Ugbechie
An utterly vexatious article with the caption – Anyim’s appointment not a good sign – was published in the Thursday, June 2, 2011 edition of Next newspaper. To give the said article a wider reach, the author posted it to Saharareporters.com, a popular online news portal. The article, hollow and rancid, was authored by one Musikilu Mojeed, the Enterprise Editor of the newspaper. The author had laboriously argued that the appointment of Senator Anyim Pius Anyim as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, was not in the interest of the Igbo nation and the Nigerian union. He alluded to a November 15, 2002 petition of fraudulent enrichment against Anyim and authored by Senator Arthur Nzeribe.
Mojeed quoted copiously from the petition to justify his devious narrative. In his jaundiced article, Mojeed, a journalist, supposedly, relied on a petition to declare Anyim guilty as charged. This is poor journalism and coming from an editor makes it all the more pathetic. In law, a petition is a written application containing allegations for a writ or for legal action to be taken, starting of course with an investigation of the listed allegations. But Mojeed curiously elevated a petition to the status of judgement and ipso facto pronounced Anyim unfit for the job.
It is obvious that Mojeed does not have a full grasp of the subject matter before delving into it. He failed to do the simple basics of journalism: research and investigate. Otherwise, the author would have known that the said petition was the subject of a libel suit which Anyim instituted against Nzeribe. Anyim personally made appearances in court, senators were brought in to testify in the case. The media lavishly feasted on it. At the end, Nzeribe lost as he could not as much as adduce a shred of evidence to prove his totally fallacious allegations. The High Court in Abuja asked Nzeribe to pay Anyim N55million in damages. Nzeribe reneged preferring to head to the Appeal Court in 2005. Here, again, judgment was delivered in 2008. Nzeribe lost on the ground that the allegations were false and mere fabrications whereupon he was ordered to pay a lower amount to Anyim in damages. The place of the law is in the court of the law. Only a court of competent jurisdiction can adjudge a man guilty of an offence, not a petition. This case was celebrated in the media while it lasted. It is therefore a matter in the public domain. This is why I find it strange that a journalist worthy of his badge would premise his argument on a mere petition.
Suppose I petition the anti-graft agency that a certain Musikilu Mojeed has corruptly enriched himself, has several offshore accounts, a ranch of choice automobiles and palatial houses all over the country without any evidence to buttress my allegations, does the mere fact of a petition make Mojeed guilty of the charges? It doesn’t in any way until I am able to prove the charges in a court of law.
Yet, the same Mojeed has jettisoned a court judgement and has elected, weirdly, to rely on a spurious petition from, of all people, a Senator Arthur Nzeribe who was suspended ad infinitum from the 4 th Senate for conduct unbecoming of a parliamentarian. Mojeed should learn not to mislead readers with his disingenuous brand of journalism that elevates political scoundrels and skunks at the expense of men of noble virtues. I ask, where was Mojeed when Anyim stood in the way of fascists who wanted to derail democracy in his days as president of the Senate and chairman of the National Assembly, where was Mojeed when Anyim spoke truth to power in defence of democracy? Where were you when Obasanjo maliciously investigated Anyim (till date the most investigated Senate president) but found nothing?
This is the truth: Anyim is the best man for the job. His pedigree of integrity, transparency and innovative administrative skill lends him to the job. President Jonathan got it right. He made the right choice in Anyim. The stream of congratulatory messages pouring out of the South East attests to the popularity of the choice. Mojeed wants to cry more than the bereaved. He should save his tears. Ndigbo nominated Anyim. The president accepted their nomination in the interest of the nation. Why then would a wayfarer lose sleep over the fortune or otherwise of another man? This type of journalism is “repugnant and repulsive”, to quote Mojeed ipsissima verba.
- Ugbechie, a journalist, writes from Lagos