By Mohammed Dahiru Lawal
When on the 29th June, 2020 Yushau Shuaib released his article on on “Persistent Insecurity: Monguno, Buratai and Inter-Agency Dilemma” I had a sudden intuition that instead of the concerned persons to address such a gracious piece written in good faith on its merit, ego will get in the way of logic and discernment while the need to get back at him in a smearing manner will be prioritized over the requirement to adjust appropriately.
So, by stoking the hornet’s nest – of course as they perceive it – Yushau Shuaib may have inadvertently succeeded instead in buttering the bread of some hack writers as they have suddenly gotten a job to do.
Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise when a creepy article authored by one shadowy Richard Murphy titled “Buhari Not Dasuki, What Yushau Shuaib Should Know Now,” surfaced on several online media.
The article worked desperately hard at tarnishing the professional credential of the man Yushau Shuaib, his precedents and patriotism, albeit fruitlessly in an attempt to defend the retention of the military service chiefs.
Since it is likely that Yushau would not dignify such careless joke with a response, it is incumbent upon people like us to not only condemn in totality such misguided and malicious attack on our father, mentor and benefactor but to also put out facts for the records.
First, a simple Google search of the name ‘Richard Murphy’ shows that the only such name known to digital footprint is a British Chartered Accountant who is a Tax Justice Campaigner and Professor of International Political Economy at the University of London.
In other words, the so-called Calabar based “security expert” going by the name “Richard Murphy” is a non-entity. As if his lack of identity is not enough, the sum total of his write up smacks of a desperate lexical conjurer who is either doing the biddings of the piper or is desperately looking for patronage himself.
He tried as much as he could to drag President Muhammadu Buhari’s name into the matter and even attempted to portray Shuaib as an enemy of the administration but he failed woefully.
A critical look at the article that may have informed this unwarranted attack will reveal how the same Yushau Shuaib in the first two paragraphs of his “Monguno vs Buratai” was even commending President Buhari for having foresight in appointing people from Borno State to champion the war on terrorism, but they failed.
Or is it a lie that Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Zamfara, Sokoto, Lokoja – Abuja road and, of course, Borno and other Northern States are currently volatile and have been the space of gruesome exploits in the past few months so much that the Commander-in-Chief had to Publicly rebuke his men? By the writer’s logic, Abuja is the only yardstick for a standard security performance appraisal.
“This line of thought alone not only exposed him as an emergency hack writer working hard to outsmart his own misunderstandings and grasp of what constitutes facts versus fiction in a matter he was both the judge and the jury but also an apparently shoddy person working desperately hard at defending the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
Even at that, he missed it. Besides, all Yushau Shuaib is interested in and has continuously been clamouring for in his writings, is efficiency and effectiveness through synergy and inter-agency cooperation from the men helming the security architecture of this great country.
Nothing beyond their charge of responsibility as he is neither interested in Buratai’s downfall nor has he ever sought for any personal favour from him. A man that has numerously offered his professional services to the Nigerian Army without collecting a dime for patronage sure doesn’t need to defend himself against such petty line of contention.
In particular, if Buratai and his goons will come to terms with gratitude, they will appreciate Yushau Shuaib’s PRNigeria for singlehandedly protecting the COAS over his $1.5m Dubai Assets scandal-free of charge (See or click on the Nation of June 29, 2016 and Daily Trust of June 28, 2016 among others).
On the other hand, Buratai cannot defend himself this much seeing as he was fumbling for a response in a 2017 BBC Hard Talk interview with host Stephen John Sackur when posed with the Dubai Assets question even as he has the aforementioned data to make reference to.
In the writer’s wildest fantasy, IMPR is on its knees when it has as a matter of fact not only expanded its branch office but has continued to offer services to many organisations in the public and private sectors, some of which have gone on to win numerous awards as a result of the company’s effort. Just recently, the Nigerian Airforce (NAF), Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) were announced among finalists of the Golden World Awards in Public Relations for the Year 2020.
The announcement was made through email messages to the finalists by Janice Hills, the Member Services Manager of the International Public Relations Association (IPRA) with its headquarters in London.
The three finalists from Nigeria had previously won different categories of the African PR Awards 2020 which was scheduled to hold during the Conference of African Public Relations Association (APRA) in Tanzania in May 2020 but was suspended due to the COVID-19.
The PR campaigns of the Nigerian organisations were undertaken in partnership with the multi-award-winning PR agency, IMPR which the same firm ‘Mr. Murphy’ thinks nobody is patronizing.
It is true that Mr. Shuaib worked as a Media Consultant for the office of the National Security Adviser, NSA under Col. Sambu Dasuki and served the Forum of Spokespersons of Security and Response Agencies, FOSSRA, during the Goodluck Jonathan Administration.
His stint in the office of the NSA is in the public domain and even chronicled in a widely acclaimed Book, “An Encounter with the Spymaster” which he graciously authored.
I do not believe he has any iota of regret for this undertaking that not only afforded him the opportunity to serve his country but also earned him global accolades such as the African Excellence Award for best PR Platform, the SABRE Award for Public Affairs from African Public Relations Association (APRA), the Golden World Award (GWA) in Crisis Management from International Public Relations Association (IPRA) among other recognitions most of which the likes of ‘Mr. Murphy’ can only yearn to possess if they continue to accept hatchet jobs for peanuts in order to live a cloudy life by hiding their real identity.
That ‘Mr. Murphy’ trivialized this great feat by understanding it as a “mere press release” venture shows that, for a fellow whose highest level of intelligence is identity masking, professional job descriptions like that of FOSSRA are too complicated for him to process.
He went as far as thinking that FOSSRA is no longer in existence as a result of the ushering in of the Buhari administration. Unfortunately for him, FOSSRA is very much alive even though some people want such laudable initiative to die. As a matter of fact, FOSSRA held its usual meeting this year with all the stakeholders of about 20 agencies in attendance and still consults IMPR.
It is within the right of ‘Mr. Murphy’ to sympathize with whoever’s boot he chooses to lick but I encourage him to be brave enough to have an identity and stop dragging the name of the President of the Federal Republic into his fanaticism. He should also endeavour to get his facts straight otherwise such small-minded act of spiteful nature may cost him more than his paycheck for doing such a dirty job.
As I am writing this piece, there is a pending court case against a certain Terrance Kuanum who was sued for defaming the character of the accomplished and globally acclaimed PR maverick of Yushau Shuaib’s calibre.
I pity him if he cannot substantiate his claims in court – which definitely he wouldn’t be able to, – I do not want to pity “Richard Murphy” in the same fashion. So, get a life, build personal capacity with known identity otherwise, in a thousand lifetimes, “Richard Murphy” will never be able to achieve what Yushau Shuaib has achieved professionally within three decades of practice!
Finally, my two pence for ‘Mr. Murphy’ is that when you are being paid to jump into a poop pit, check the depth-first to be sure it’s not your grave because you may not only end up being buried in a mess, you may be in it forever!
Mohammed Dahiru Lawal, a Consummate Writer and Development Journalist writes from Kano.
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