Kperogi: Rise Above Hate


A few days ago, I read an interview on The Punch granted by Dr. Farooq Kperogi [Link in the comment box]. It was a disappointing outing for a person of his moral and intellectual pedestal. I found it surprisingly disingenuous that Kperogi, being a person of reasonable stature, could not detect or understand that he was actually been ‘boxed’ to say what he had said and been ‘primed’ to react the way he did.

The interview was more of an ‘ego-massaging’ [mis]adventure where the audience were reminded of Kperogi’s favour in adding to their list of vocabularies terms like “unfathomably clueless”, “Occupy Nigeria”, and “Obsessive Compulsive Runawayism”. Dear Kperogi, it was a gesture well-received and appreciated.

However, given the uncommon courage and relentless effort he weekly (or is it daily?) exudes in ‘criticising’ Buhari’s regime, I tend to believe that he had it all sorted on how to effectively solve Nigeria’s myriad of problems.

Surprisingly, in the same interview, when asked, “what do you think is the way forward in all this just as some are calling for the resignation of the President?”, Kperogi’s response left me perplexed…

“If Buhari resigns, that would be wonderful. It is obvious by now that he is superintending the most unprepared government in Nigeria’s history. He has absolutely no business being president. The presidency is above his pay-grade. Every day in Nigeria is worse than the previous day, and there is no hope in sight. But should Buhari decide to stay in power in spite of his proven incompetence and cluelessness, we have no option but to wait until his tenure expires. All we can do is to put his feet on the fire and hope that he would get a clue and – or get the right people to help him – do the right thing.”

How Buhari’s resignation means a way forwad for Nigeria’s infrastructural development and economic well-being is a PhD thesis only a person of Kperogi’s brain can undertake. Not surprising that the interview added nothing to our quest for good governance and have left many critical minds wondering whether literacy is overrated or not.

Nowadays, it is hard to regard ‘intellectuals’ as custodians of our time-honoured values and models in developing sublime characters. No thanks to the ‘merchandisation’ of knowledge; what was once a tool for ethical illumination, political ‘conscientisation’ and social mobilisation is now been reduced to writing meaningless epistles addressed only to their writers.

Dear Kperogi, you hate Buhari. That is a fact. But hate isn’t a virtue; it’s a very worrying trait if found with intellectuals. Re-read yourself, Professor: “Given the president’s penchant for ‘runawayism’, it’s hard to tell if his long stays in London were indeed medically warranted or if he was just “absconding” or choosing to “run to” other people’s country because he couldn’t take the heat of governing.”

Haba! Me ya yi zafi haka? You are a professor for heaven’s sake. I have lost count on the number of articles you wrote displaying unparalleled and unenvious height in this regard. Tact is to a scholar as lack of it is to a hate-monger.

Sir, I am not in a position to inform you of your call as an intellectual. Perhaps timeworn to your hefty and hectic brain, may I remind you that your task (as once espoused by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi), as a scholar of international repute, is not one of blending into the opaque consciousness of the tumultuous mob around you, your voice drowned in a cacophony of misdirected protests. Your task is to remind us of who we are and what we ought to be.

The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of a martyr, goes the saying of our noble Prophet (peace be upon him). Knowledge is, therefore, an advantage. It is also a responsibility, a huge one, Mallam Kperogi.

Need I also remind you of a quote from a paper that I am very sure you must have read? It says, and I quote: “… let not [y]our degrees, researches and publications be an excuse to feel haughty amongst your own people”. Always remember that knowledge is at its best when it is universally useful and that the best scholars are those whom the ordinary man fears neither to encounter nor to address.

Finally, I hope Dr. Farooq will rethink his methods, contexts, and of course ‘motives’ for criticism. And, by ‘criticism’, I mean an objective and honest criticism borne out of fairness, goodwill, and justice— a criticism that lacks these, and many other, qualities is, more or less, a hate-inspired vituperation aimed at achieving nothing but what inspired it in the first place: hate. To use John Cena’s onetime slogan, we must “rise above hate”.


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