By Ernest Attah

I have watched in absolute disbelief the series of coordinated attacks on the personality of the Honourable minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development. At some point, I got confused and wondered what her sins were and whether it was worth the scathing attacks on her person.
First and foremost, I must add that we are a country in need of help with the way and manner we have elected to destroy people and institutions whenever we are pursuant of our selfish desires, not minding whose ox is gored.
This is mainly responsible for the rot in the system because everybody wants a share of the national cake. Should you dare to stand out of the crowd by doing the right thing, you can be assured that your head would be used for sacrifice to the demons that have held this country down for so long.
I empathized with President Muhammadu Buhari when during the interaction with journalists after the Sallah prayers, he stated that there had been a betrayal of trust in some of the agencies that have come under public scrutiny of late. I could not but agree with him because trust is indeed a burden.
For these individuals that have betrayed the public trust, the society sees nothing wrong with their actions. But those that have elected to maintain that trust in service to the country, are indeed viewed as the villains that must be crucified at all cost. This is the starkness of reality before our own very eyes.
I have longed asked the question of who is afraid of Sadiya Farouq since I noticed the orchestrated attacks on her personality right from the lockdown period where she led her ministry to ensure the proper distribution of palliatives as well as the conditional cash transfers to vulnerable groups in the country.
I began to smell the rat from that period. I suspected that she ensured a transparent process and monies and food items didn’t end up in private pockets as it is the norm and for daring to do things right she must be crucified at all cost.
The recent one is by one Emmanuel Onwuibiko of the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) where he made all manner of allegations against Hajia Sadiya Farouq. I was worried not because of the half-truths, but with the fact that the majority of us have been blinded by filthy lucre that we elected to sell our souls to the demon.
The Emmanuel Onwuiboko treatise was very despicable even though he cleverly tried to veil his intent from the word go. He tried to come from the angel of a concerned Nigeria whose work at HURIWA revolves around the interest of the people. While in truth, it is evident that he has recently been conscripted into the bandwagon of those that have been detailed to demonize Hajia Sadiya Farouq.
The series of coordinated attack is coming from a high place because of the financial implication of sustaining such a campaign week in and week out. I know what it takes to maintain such campaign of calumny in Nigeria today with the likes of Emmanuel Onwuiboko involved. I challenge him to prove me wrong as history is replete with tales of how the same HURIWA under Emmanuel Onwuibuiko has been the darling of agents of cheap blackmail.
I would guess that her towering credentials and impeccable track record has become a source of worry to some highly placed Nigerians, especially those who benefited from the old regime in the management of social intervention for citizens. These individuals might be livid that it is no longer business as usual, and as such, they must get their pound of flesh from the woman that has proved a hard nut to crack.
I think that the government should design a strategy where it would protect some of its star performers against the hawks that have fed fat from the system. If this is not done, I can bet that some of those that are passionate about service to the country might either get overwhelmed or join the bandwagon and open the treasury pot for hawks and vultures to feed fat while the rest of the citizens suffer in abject poverty.
If not for anything, the campaign against Hajia Sadiya Farouq has made her resolute in the discharge of her duties. I say this because the attacks have not deterred her. She remains active and carryout out her duties with such finesse to the chagrin of those that have vowed to pull her down by all means necessary.
As strange as this might sound, I also have a feeling that there might be some insider conspirators in the campaign to discredit the minister. I say this because of how things work within the civil service circle. It’s either they do not like the transparent way she has handled the affairs of the ministry or somebody or group somewhere has eyes in the social intervention funds and the only way they can access it is either to blackmail the minster into submission or get her out of the way outrightly. This is the order of the day, and it’s the new normal because those with the interest of the country are few and the likes of Hajia Sadiya Farouq are also few in this country.
Back to Emmanuel Onwubiko and his marauding gang. He must retrace his steps at the risk of him bagging the title of strategic blackmail consultant. I say this because thinking that Nigerians cannot distinguish between the presentation of facts and character assassination would be the height of foolery.
Yes, I know his argument rests in the fact that he can ask questions which ordinarily should elicit a response. But a situation where you have drawn your conclusion before asking the question makes you the judge in your case. This is what Emmanuel Onwubiko has attempted to do by misleading the public through his HURIWA platform that begins and ends with him.
I must add that sadly, a large chunk of the members of the unsuspecting general public might believe his half-truths about Hajia Sadiya Farouq. But again, that is the price you pay when you elect to stand upright in service to the country. The scavengers would come for you with their fangs and not until they draw blood, they won’t let go.
I can only but empathize with the Hajia Sadiya Farouq as she receives the bashing of her life for daring to be different. My candid advice to her is to stay strong and focused. However, the day she buckles and plays ball with these individuals and groups that would be the beginning of the end of a once glorious chapter in service to the country.
On a final note, throwing stones at the minister is uncalled for and unacceptable. Even the pull-Down syndrome, in this case, has been taken too far hence the need for caution. If there is evidence to back up claims, the rational thing to do is to present to the relevant agencies of government and not this vicious campaign of calumny. Those afraid of Sadiya Farouq must be afraid of her.

Attah writes for TheNigerian News, London.


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