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Adamawa, The Periscope, Isa And The Rest Of Us

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“When “news stories” are broken, do we not expect a certain amount of fact-checking or source-checking? One has to ask if this falls under the guise of sloppy reporting or deception as a source of spin. We seem to accept a certain amount of deception and we seem to be helpless to doing anything about it, as illustrated so clearly by where we are right now in this moment in our history”.

– Sheryl Crow, May,  2011

As a student of Communications in one of the tertiary institutions in Adamawa State,  I have followed the Isa’s kidney transplant saga in the media from the start. I read about the patient’s kidney breaking story, The Periscope’s story about the dying Isa in Kano by his mother,  the follow-up story about his AKTH treatment in the media and the latest rejoinder by The Periscope on one Nana Asmau Gwadabe and her train.

I am initially reticent to write about the ongoing journal hit between the government and The Periscope on Isa’s kidney issue, but then I will want to be on the side of history of those who will one day say, ‘we told you so’.

I will also like to clearly state here that I am not on any side. I am just a big fan of good, credible and reliable journalism and it baffles me that instead of using their medium to do whats good for the public and the nation, most news outlets today are just for ‘cheap politicking’ at the peril of truth and fairness. It’s heartbreaking!

I was initially disgusted at the Adamawa State government after I read a story on the website of The Periscope about the dying state of Isa at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital in Kano from the patient’s mother. I was restless for the rest of the day.

I had ease by dawn when I read a follow-up story on some media websites by Isa’s mother saying her son is getting good and progressive medical treatment in Kano,  and a kidney transplant is underway as soon as possible. Further refuting the story of a dying Isa.

And after watching a video stream on a website of Isa’s uncle by the patient’s bedside saying, there was no such interview about a dying Isa or a failed trip to India. I felt relieved and crazily disturbed. Relieved that Isa is in good hands in Kano and crazily disturbed for the following reasons.

It beats my comprehensive reasoning why The Periscope, a news medium claiming to serve the public will do a story on a kidney patient like Isa without even visiting him in Kano. The distance from Yola to Kano is just 634km,  that’s not too much of a trip to cover considering the stakes involved. The very little The Periscope’s reporter will have done is put up a phone call. Why make up a story without talking to the subject?

The Periscope did a story, and some reporters went to Kano to follow it up as evident in their pictures, voicenotes and videos from the hospital, only to come up with a story discrediting what was written by The Periscope and instead of apologising to us for totally misleading us,  the platform came up with another blunder of journalistic stand.

The rebuking rejoinder I read Saturday morning on The Periscope almost gave me high BP. Why on earth will a news medium that claimed to love the people of Adamawa, toy with the emotions of the same people. Deceit!

Instead of The Periscope to tell us why they did a story on Isa, claiming to talk to his mother when they were never in Kano as delineated by the videos of Isa’s family. Rather than explain why The Periscope choose to play politics with the life of one of our own. The outlet launched a personality attack on one Nana Gwadabe and Saleex Harbingiwa,  both of whom I don’t know and have never met. I am a stickler for just, fair and credible journalism.

Three components of advanced media work which are all lacking in The Periscope’s handling of the Isa’s kidney transplant issue. Instead of the intended ridicule on the said Nana Gwadabe all their rejoinder did was give her so much credit and honour. I will tell you how and why.

It is a sad potrayal of The Periscope’s ignorance to state that ‘a kidney transplant could hardly take place in AKTH’. It may interest anyone who cares to find out to know that the rate of success for kidney transplants in AKTH is almost a 100%. The facts are there for the checking.

The Periscope’s rejoinder said Nana Gwadabe is claiming to be a journalist and lacks a platform, but a quick hit of her name on Google says otherwise. She is a journalist with Concern Magazine in Kano,  Concern Magazine is a sister body of Concern Multimedia and Consultancy Services Ltd. With over 100 articles and special works to her name, I read most recently her signed and edited projects includes; The Socio-Econonomic impact of Women Empowerment under Kwankwaso Administration, Lamido: Making the Jigawa Dream a reality, Kwankwaso: The Architect of Modern Kano State, Emir Sanusi II: Making of a revolutionary King and Can they fight the treasury looters?  to mention but a few. I further learnt that she is a bonafide member of the Nigeria Guild of Editors and actively so.  She was inducted during the ANEC conference, Katsina in 2014.

The Periscope’s rejoinder claimed Nana Gwadabe visited the patient only three times since arrival, even if that’s true (which I doubt considering the false information in The Periscope’s first story). We ought to thank her for that. Our news medium couldn’t visit Kano for once and did a misleading story claiming to love the people of Adamawa State. And here is woman who has visited thrice.

The Periscope’s rejoinder also stated that Nana gave food to the patient and his family three times – the day they arrived Kano, on sallah day and Friday night. Unless The Periscope is saying Adamawa state government gave Gwadabe money to feed the family, but if she did give them food out of sheer goodwill then we should thank her for feeding our own not condemn her the way they did.

The Periscope’s rejoinder also demanded an explanation on how to access the N5m donation by governor Bindow from Nana Gwadabe. The first port of call for any investigative reporter on the release of a governor’s donation will have been the governor’s aides, commissioners or so,  not a faraway Nana Gwadabe who is trying to help you own people. The last time I checked, the government house is still in Yola.

The Periscope’s rejoinder further claimed Isa and his relative had no contact with the hospital authority on kidney transplant and I just finished watching a video of Isa’s uncle by his bed side, and I just read a story online on Isa’s mother,  both of them saying medical investigations are on and a date for the surgery will be fixed by Monday.

It is apparent that The Periscope is using this Isa’s kidney transplant issue to play politics and sorts,  which is quite disheartening considering the fact that a young man’s life is at stake here. Heartbreaking to say the least.

Like I earlier stated,  I don’t know Nana Gwadabe from Adam and I don’t even want to know her,  but it’s actually sad when an indigenous news outlet is used to make mockery of modern journalism to the detriment of an indigene’s life. I can’t stay quite and watch that happens.

The Periscope should know that Governor Bindow is not infallible, there are a few public issues they can take him on with,  but please they should leave politics out of this issue. If they truly want a successful kidney transplant for Isa, they will stop this mischief now.

Please stop, for Isa, for Adamawa and for posterity.

Buba can be reached on hanybuba2012@yahoo.com

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