Isa Tijani: Of the truth, the NIA, Mushafa Shehu, and me


My initial reaction when somebody called my attention to Mustapha Shehu’s write up which appeared in some media, including the Daily Trust was to to call him and verify whether he was being impersonated or he truly wrote what I read. My other mind told me to ignore him, but emerging trends have made it necessary for me to reply and tell the actual truth in consonance with the dictates of my religion and my conscience.

In trying to respond, my initial challenge is where to even start from. I could not imagine that although I know Mustapha Shehu as a brother, and hardly know Ambassador Muhammed Dauda, the embattled former Acting Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, NIA, I could not fathom why Mustapha could condescend so low as to bring to public knowledge what he discussed in confidence with another fellow: if at all there was any such discussion.

I know that it was morally wrong, just as I am made to understand that it also breaches the ethics of journalism: the profession Mustapha claims to know about so well and preaches the sacrosanctity of its ethics. At the risk of falling into the same traps by disclosing what transpired between Mustapha Shehu and me over the NIA issue, I was also tempted to expose the contents of the phone recordings and clips of the exchange of sms between us, but on a second thought, I felt the need for caution and restraint.

This reaction would not have been necessary if Mustapha Shehu had had the modesty to publish the truth about his role in the crisis, instead of mortgaging his conscience for the pittance he may have gotten from his paymasters to rubbish his own brother. I had wished he were as pure and truthful as he appeared in his well scripted analogy, because the Mustapha Shehu I know, who had tried to win me over to support his new found cause in defending the new Director General of the NIA, is a fraud.

If somebody had given him the script to append his name and circulate for a price, I make bold to state that, such a person was most uncharitable to Mustapha, and to those of us whose names he mentioned in his piece, even as no price could be said to be justifiable for such a dirty job. His seeming remorse following the widespread condemnation of his action, and the emergent exposures of what may have actually transpired before he wrote that stinker are clear indications that he may have shot himself in the leg.

As much as I would love to keep the evidences of collusion and conspiracy in Mustapha Shehu’s actions, I hasten to state that I will throw caution to the winds and expose all the details of my own encounter with him, if the fight gets dirtier than it is now, and if he fails to make amends. I will not want to be as unkind to him as he has been to others, but he deserves getting back his pay in the same coins, in the fullness of time.

As I said earlier, I am from the same place as Ambassador Dauda and Mustapha Shehu, but whereas I have known Shehu since childhood his childhood, I cannot claim to have ever known or met Ambassador Dauda, until the organization I am leading, “National Patriot’s Forum”, developed interest in the injustices prevailing against him. We have had cause to intervene in past cases of injustices, including the cases of the NHIS, SEC, EFCC, AMCON, to mention but a few, without ever meeting or knowing the parties involved. The NIA issue was not different.

Mustapha Shehu, it was who approached me on the need to appreciate the plight of and Abubakar Rufai Ahmed, the new NIA helmsman, and the need to defend him or withdraw from the fight against him. He equaly made an offer to not only link me up with the new DG, but to also facilitate my entry into the mainstream defenders of Government for certain benefits. I was thus surprised that the pot had suddenly turned around to call the kettle black.

I recall one night when Mustapha Shehu dropped me off in my hotel, I had cause to caution him that, his unquenchable penchance for material gains from his job could put his spirituality in jeopardy, and in this case, his betrayal of Dauda, whose house I am made to understand is adjacent to that of Mustapha Shehu may boomerang.

The alias, Boogie Mustache, which was given to Mustapha Shehu, was not unconnected with his often intriguing adventures since childhood, a habit from which I thought he had repented. His diatribes against Dauda, which were ostensibly sponsored however convinced me of the need to be careful with him as before.

My posers for Mustapha, which if honestly answered could give further insight into his dirty scheming, include amongst others: Whether he obtained the consent of Ambassador Dauada to reveal what transpired between them, and whether such revelation was in overriding public interest, as demanded by journalism ethics? At what point did Mustapha Shehu met and got so close to Abubakar Rufai Ahmed, the new NIA DG, and in what capacity did he meet the DG? If he was visiting him as the investigative journalist he claims to be, did he also take into account the principle of confidentiality in investigations, and the need to protect his sources of information, in accordance with the dictates of the profession he claims to love so much?
Even if he was visiting as a journalist, was there any time in the 32-year history of the NIA that the Director General granted press interview and the contents of such an interview became public knowledge through media publication? Did he obtain the new DG’s permission to go public with that aspect of the so called investigation, and even if he did, was it permissible for the DG to be publicly quoted, and if yes was it in consonance with security operational code?

Having been identified with Ambassador Dauda, what was Mustapha Shehu’s motives of betraying him, after making monetary requests which were declined? If it is in the pursuit of the truth and justice, is it morally right to betray somebody in order to satisfy your own quest? As for me. I have been an activist as Mustapha Shehu knows, and I declined his offer to join in his own negative crusade because the quest for justice cannot be materially induced nor hypocritically pursued.

Mustapha Shehu’s actions in recent times are capable of provoking one into making full disclosures of some of his antics which I am aware of, but I will restrict myself to merely describing the scenario he attempts to paint as a mere façade. He has been exposed by others who may not have known half of what I know about Mustapha Shehu, to the effect that, he is merely playing the ostrich in the NIA debacle.

I decided to tow the path of truth and decorum, because I know that we shall all one-day account for our actions before the Almighty. We have remained consistent in the National Patriots’ Forum in our arguments that the removal of Ambassador Muhammed Dauda, the appointment of Rufai Ahmed and the purported dismissal of Dauada, are scripts that negate the law, common sense and cannot stand the test of time. As for Mustapha Shehu, only when he tells the truth, the only truth about what really transpired, shall he be free, otherwise, guilt will continue to hang on his neck.

Comrade Isa Tijani, a veteran labour leader writes from Kano


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