By Philip Agbese
These are indeed interesting times in Nigeria. I am beginning to believe that it is now an occupation for some individuals and groups to imagine things and pass their imagination to the general public without thinking of the implication of their actions.
The latest in town that got me on the floor rolling is the news making the rounds that the personal assistant to the President, Tunde Sabiu has been appointed an assistant director in the elite National Intelligence Agency (NIA).
This is indeed interesting and I dare say anyone that must have cooked up this story is indeed a legend for coming up with such that is capable of making Nigerians believe that we are still in the year 2020.
I must confess that after reading the news, I asked myself some questions about the challenges of mental health in Nigeria. I am of the considered opinion that some people are undergoing mental health challenges even without their knowledge. I say this because for anyone to have thought it wise that the personal assistant to the president would be employed as an assistant director in one of the country’s most strategic security outfit is a blow below the belt and possibly a sign of hallucination.
Several questions ran through my mind so much so that I wondered how we got it wrong and why some persons would take delight in spreading mischief in the country recklessly. I am not convinced that such a thing would ever happen because, for starters, Tunde Sabiu is not conversant with the operations of the National Intelligence Agency.
I am also aware that the NIA as an agency is tasked with overseeing foreign intelligence and counterintelligence operations. I am also aware that Tunde Sabiu does not have the requisite qualification or expertise to be employed in such an organization and with the position of assistant director.
Let us assume the news is true, what department would he fit in? Is he going to be redeployed from the Office of the President to the National Intelligence Agency? This is just one piece of awful news since the beginning of 2021. If not for anything I have my suspicion that the target is not Tunde Sabiu, but rather President Muhammadu Buhari in the attempt to paint him as despotic leader and promoting nepotism.
This might not be far-fetched in the sense that in recent times there have been scathing attacks on the personality of President Muhammadu Buhari with some insinuating that he is the president for a select few and not the generality of Nigerians. What more can be unpleasant than this.
And now, the polity is awash with news that Tunde Sabiu has gained employment with the National Intelligence Agency out of the blues, and even without merit. I am still in awe of how such a thing would happen in a country such as Nigeria.
When such anomalies are allowed to thrive in Nigeria the consequences might be severe in the sense that lots of misleading information would thrive at the expense of the truth. This is what aroused my concern with the Tunde Sabiu employment news. And to think that a large segment of the population believed the mischief was worrisome.
I think this remains unfair for the young man that is devoted to his job. I am not sure he has any reason to want to be involved in such mischief and I equally do not believe that President Muhammadu Buhari would encourage such under his watch.
This much Tunde Sabiu knows and why he would not undertake to be involved in such an anomaly that would bring disrepute to the administration. At this point, it is expedient that issues are put in proper perspective to douse the tension already created by the obvious fake news.
I will say this again, Tunde Sabiu cannot be employed in the National Intelligence Agency under whatever circumstance because he has no such experience in security issues. Moreover, the NIA is involved in serious business at the international scene and as such there the entrenchment of professionalism.
I am also of the considered view that Tunde Sabiu is the latest victim of the slander campaign of key members of the present administration. President Muhammadu Buhari has had his fair share, and likewise others. But in all of them, that of Tunde Sabiu is the most hilarious because it roundly defeats common sense.
Nigerians must do well to differentiate between truth and falsehood especially in this era of fake news where anything goes, especially in the social media space. This once again reinforces why there should be some form of regulation of contents in the social media space because we must be cognizant of the fact that people react to issues differently.
Having said all, it would be wise for Tunde Sabiu to come out and clear the air at the risk of giving the impression that after all the news is true. I don’t think that would be too much for him to undertake given the fact that his reputation and by extension that of his boss are at stake. And for those spreading falsehood, they need to get some mental health evaluation before things get out of control because saying Tunde Sabiu has gained employment as an assistant director in the National Intelligence Agency is tantamount to saying that the capital of Nigeria is Accra. A word is indeed enough for the wise.
Agbese is a an author and public affairs commentator writing from Abuja.