-Misleading news on Bauchi first lady’s gesture


Journalism is the act of gathering, verifying and reporting accurate and objective account of events by media organisations with the sole aim of satisfying the curiousity and inquisitiveness of their audience. The job is reckoned to be roundly fulfilling, if practiced with professional decorum. Ideally, those who are obliged to embark upon the activity of spreading information are journalists who have obtained relevant and requisite qualification in media related courses, at least National Diploma in Mass Communication, thereby maintaining professionalism, ensuring credibility and objectivity and, by extension, bridging the gap of communication, especially between the government and the governed.
Unfortunately, however, the advent of some unauthorised online media outfits and social media platforms in recent time is increasingly making virtually everyone to practice the job from the comfort of their room. This, therefore, has given rise to malicious, mischievous and misleading information.

With respect to the aforementioned, in recent days, the First Lady of Bauchi State, Hajiya (Dr) Aisha Bala Muhammad, was at Futuk community of Alkaleri local government area to extend her hands of gesture to rural women by empowering them acquire skill and start small scale businesses, so that self-reliance can be actulised even at the grassroots level.

Despite this well-intentioned move by  the first lady to positively touch the lives of rural women, her humanitarian efforts provocked controversial debates, following some pictures that went viral in which she appeared, distributing bags of sachet water, coupled with some online media outlets and social media users that gave people wrong impression that it was the water alone that was distributed, whereas other items such as spaghetti making machine, bags of flour powder, among others, were also distributed and 250 youths and women were trained in various economic skills and some money was disbursed to enable them start the businesses in earnest. And it’s important to note that the items donated by the first lady under the umbrella of her Almuhibba Foundation were in favourable response of the exact request of the beneficiaries.

One would ask, why neglect all other juicy details of the event, deliberately underreporting other self empowerment tools donated, while sensationalising bags of sachet water? The answer to this question must prove beyong reasonable doubt that, the report going viral is lopsided, therefore, baseless and preposterous, mischievously designed to put the first lady’s reputation and foundation to disgrace.

Additionally, since the gesture was coming under Almuhibba Foundation which Aisha Bala Muhammad founded, one would be left floundering to know that the foundation has been in existence for over a decade, that’s long before her husband, Sen. Bala Muhammad, came on board as the governor of Bauchi state. And ever since the foundation came into being, it has been relentlessly rendering “support for the general well being of the less privileged in the society, especially women, children and the youth, addressing their problems and needs.The envision is providing such support by empowerment through provision of basic primary health care, inclusive education, support for less privileged (especially out-of- school children) and community development programmes.” The question to ask is, why these unauthorised and social media reporters did not give a damn to dig deep and let the people know the antecedents of the foundation? This spells how subjective critics they are.

The generosity of humanitarian efforts of Aisha Bala Muhammad to give her time and be in the midst of rural women alone is worthy of commendation and a testament to her great concern about the plight of the poor and the needy. And for her to be in attendance at the event, mingling freely with the crowd of rural women, one must humbly submit it’s nothing but the intensity and the enormity of her love and care for them.

It’s unwise to be subjecting to politics, concrete projects and programmes and indulging in destructive criticisms out of hatred and acrimony with the intention of painting one another black, on ground of political differences.
It’s pertinent, on the other hand, to imbibe the habit of burying political distinction and party affiliation, when it comes to developmental programmes in the best interest and for the betterment of all citizens from across the political spectrum. But this is not to discourage constructive criticism as it improves performance while destructive hinders attention. It’s important to understand that kindness is worth reciprocity by at least giving credit to whom deserves.

Sulaiman Maijama’a,Faculty of Communication, Bayero University,Kano

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