Kadaria Ahmed is not an unknown quantity in the media fraternity. Here is how Wikipedia profiles her:
- Kadaria Ahmed is a Nigerian journalist, media entrepreneur, and television host. She started her career at the BBC in London and has worked in print, radio, television, online and social media platforms.
- Ahmed has an MA in Television from Goldsmiths, University of London, and a Bachelor’s from Bayero University Kano. She is also a Chevening Scholar.
- She started her career at the BBC where she was a senior producer working on award-winning programs, Focus on Africa and Network Africa. In that capacity, she helped shape the news agenda for those leading programs and reported from many parts of the world including South Africa, Eritrea and the United Nations.
- Back in Nigeria, Ahmed served as the editor of Next (Nigeria), an award-winning publication. There, she supervised a newsroom of approximately 120 people and about 30 stringers and drove the editorial agenda for the organisation. The newspaper stopped publishing its print edition in September 2011.
- In 2011, she moderated Nigeria’s presidential election debate on live television.
- In 2014, she co-created, produced and presented Straight Talk, an interview programme designed to probe and confront Nigeria’s decision makers on matters of relevance. The syndicated show grew to an audience of over 4 million viewers globally. Some of her notable interview subjects include Ibrahim Babangida, Tonye Princewill, Babatunde Fashola, Rotimi Amaechi, Ali Baba, Oby Ezekwesili, among many others.
- In 2017, she launched a new show called The Core on Channels TV. In July 2017, she interviewed Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) who made news by declaring it’s “Biafra or death”.
- In the build up to the February 2019 general elections, she moderated the town hall meetings for presidential candidates and their deputies, specifically that of President Muhammadu Buhari and his vice, Professor Yemi Osibanjo.
- Ahmed is currently a member of the judging panel of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and sits on the Board of Trustees of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism and the Promasidor Quill awards. She is also a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors and the Nigerian Institute of Directors.
An audio and text message released by Kadaria Ahmed, ostensibly out of concern for the state of the nation, Nigeria; a nation that not a few have described as tethering on the fringe of a volcanic precipice, is currently trending on social media.
She begins the message tagged My message to the Nigerian media ‘with a heavy heart’ about ‘Nigeria and a sense of impending doom’, and goes on to pose some ominous questions:
- What exactly will we gain if Nigeria descends into war?
- How does it advance us, if our fellow citizens turn on each other and begin large scale ethnic killings, against each other?
- Let me even assume that a few of us don’t believe in Nigeria anymore and want to see it broken into its constituent parts. How does enabling ethnic strife help achieve this objective in a way that guarantees the outcome you want?
Without mincing words, Kadaria makes it clear, ab initio, that the Nigerian media she is addressing wants Nigeria to “descend into war” by “enabling ethnic strife.”
“For sometime now”, she says, “many of us have thrown away the book on ethical reporting, propelled by emotion, we have betrayed every moral consideration that assigns our noble profession a role so significant we are seen as the last hope of the common man, so much so our jobs are constitutionally protected.”
Kadaria then proceeds to liken the role the Nigerian media is playing to a similar role played by the Rwandan media which plunged that country into a genocidal war that claimed close to a million lives in three months.
In an evangelical tone, she laments, “Instead of us to lead calm and rational discuss on the existential challenges we face with a view to promoting actionable solutions, we have succumbed to hysteria and the next exciting click bait headline.”
What appears to be the most painful thing to Ms Ahmed is the “focus on ethnic profiling despite the repeated warnings about where this leads.”
To her credit, she intones in the 14th paragraph of her 26-paragraph epistle that “the focus on those in charge, especially President Muhammadu Buhari, should be relentless and loud and insistent.”
She ends her message with: “In the end, we all die, but while we live, we write our legacy. It is not too late to make it one that saved our country from the brink.”
Kadaria’s message could easily pass for an impassioned plea from a concerned Nigerian. But it raises some ethical questions that cannot be overlooked by sincere Nigerians, especially those of the Fourth Estate of the Realm – though that estate has been shrinking into a Face-Me-I-Face-You in recent times:
- Has Kadaria Ahmed ever heard of the CAUSE and EFFECT theory in Philosophy, otherwise known as the concept of causality or determinism? Causality is defined as “a genetic connection of phenomena through which one thing (the cause) under certain conditions gives rise to, causes something else (the effect)”. Majek Fashek breaks this down nicely in his evergreen reggae hit Send Down the Rain when he says, “You cannot expect to sow cassava to reap cocoyam; you cannot expect to sow rice to reap cassava.”
- Where was Kadaria when the government told us that indeed Fulani herdsmen or herders were responsible for the mayhem in Benue, but they were not Nigerian Fulani?
- What happened to Kadaria’s renowned sense of rational and logical thinking? Doesn’t criminal profiling mean that there are a number or sets or groups of people doing the same (usually EVIL) thing, but only one set is being accused of the evil? Many Nigerians in the Diaspora are commonly profiled as fraudsters and drug pushers despite the fact that those crimes have been in those countries before these Nigerians were born. Are there other ethnic nationalities marching through people’s farms with their cows and killing the farm owners if they protest?
- What was Kadaria’s sermon when Miyetti Allah owned up that Fulani herdsmen were responsible for the killings in Benue? Was Miyetti Allah profiling the Fulani then?
- What does she call Governor Bala Mohammed’s admission that Fulani herdsmen are carrying AK-47 around to defend themselves – an illegality before the law?
- Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, one of the worst-hit states by the herdsmen menace, has asked his Bauchi state counterpart, Bala, to tell Nigerians the section of the Nigerian constitution that permits herdsmen to carry AK-47 around. Can Kadaria help Senator Governor Bala Mohammed with this homework?
- Governor Ortom also reminded Nigerians of what his colleague, Mohammed, once said on national television that a Fulani man is a global citizen and therefore does not need a visa to come to Nigeria and that the forests belong to herdsmen. Was Kadaria in Nigeria when Bala said that?
- Is Kadaria saying it’s okay for the Fulani herdsmen to take the law into their hands and it becomes profiling when they are described by their deeds?
- Kadaria interviewed Nnamdi Kanu on the activities of the now proscribed IPOB. Did she have reason to ask him why IPOB members were killing, kidnapping, raping and plundering communities across the country?
- Has Kadaria made any attempt to interview Shekau?
- Did I read in her epistle that “There will be killings in the thousands, limbs will be chopped off with machettes (sic), women and girls will be raped, food will be scarce, fear will reign”? Is there any of these not already happening in Nigeria? Are we not seeing daily in the media who are mostly behind it? What are they broadcasting as news in Kadaria’s station?
I think it is not only an insult, but also calculated mischief for Kadaria to be accusing the media of stoking hate because the activities of the real hate mongers are being reported as they happen.
It is difficult (for me) to understand why a ‘well-schooled’ award-winning professional, a member of the judging panel of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and Board of Trustees of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, would come to the conclusion that the media is involved in the ethnic profiling of the Fulani without tendering empirical evidence – not even findings from the most basic of research tools – the vox-pop – that producers send interns to conduct on critical issues!
Wikipedia profiled Kadaria Ahmed according to her antecedents and accomplishments. It is not all Fulani people that are being profiled as insurgents and bandits. Those that are being profiled are the ones with obvious criminal tendencies. Chinua Achebe of blessed memory said, “When oil touches one finger, it (inevitably) soils the others”. There is an equivalent saying where I come from: It takes one man to eat dog for the whole community to be profiled as dog eaters. It is what it is.
Her message looks very much like the voice of Esau and the text of Kadaria.
This is what you get when people refuse to listen to music. If Kadaria had been listening to Bob Marley, she would have heard before now that:
Until the philosophy which holds one race superior
And another inferior
Is finally and permanently
Discredited and abandoned
Everywhere is war
Me say war
That until there’s no longer first class and second class citizens of any nation
Until the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes
Me say war
That until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all
Without regard to race
Dis a war
That until that day, dream of lasting peace, world citizenship
Rule of international morality
Will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued, but never attained
Now everywhere is war
War in the East
War in the West
War up North
War down South
This was what happened in Rwanda; not this attempt to turn history upside down.
Somebody should please tell Kadaria Ahmed to listen to Bob Marley’s WAR and NATURAL MYSTIC before she pens her next INSULT!
Meanwhile, there are a few things Ms Ahmed could do if she is truly interested in a lasting solution to this shameful challenge. Indeed, it is beyond shameful for Nigeria to be agonising over whether or not to move cattle around the country when the spacecraft of the UAE, a gathering of desert tribes a few decades ago, is moving around the red planet, Mars, in search of solutions to global problems.
- Kadaria could deploy her media experience and resources to plead with criminal herdsmen to abandon their evil ways that are denigrating the pedigree of millions of decent and law abiding Fulani in Nigeria. She could establish a Fulfulde Service in her station to facilitate that if one is not already existing.
- She may establish a Kadaria Ahmed Foundation For Almajiris (KAFFA) to mobilise funds for the education and rehabilitation of countless almajiris that form the corps of bandit militia.
- Kadaria could help to educate Northern governors that encourage Fulani herders to wander from the North to the South, while their own children are tucked up in Ivy League schools abroad, on modern, more profitable and conflict-free ways of cattle rearing.
- She should also listen more to reggae music, which is largely full of philosophical lyrics.
It is not too late for Kadaria Ahmed to change course and focus on ‘actionable solutions’ rather than media profiling. She should also direct more of her intellect and enegy toward calling out those that are shirking their prime responsibility of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians. She may not be aware of this, but the Bible says:
- Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” Ecclesiastes 8:11(KJV).
Like many of us, Ms Ahmed is a member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. I believe the NGE has a responsibility to draw her attention to the jaundiced bent of her current posturing.
From Random Thoughts: A Collection of Essays and Poems
By Tony Ekata
You may also read: The ‘Fulani Herdsmen’ debacle and the rest of us
(Published in April 2016)