Home sweet home, that is what people say when they are making reference to their place of birth or better put, the place they hail from and the statement cannot be farther from the truth no matter how one looks at it. As one who hails from Borno State, my place of pride on this earth, a place I cannot exchange for any other, no matter the challenge and taking everything into consideration, remains the place I would wish to be buried when I eventually pass on to the great beyond. But it is an irony that this place I cherish to high heavens is the same place I am being accused of trying to pull down through an alleged blackmail concocted by someone who, in all sense of the word, can never love the State as much as I do, let alone loving it better than I do. As a journalist with over three decades of experience, this is the first time I am being accused of blackmail by someone who I believe has found it difficult differentiating between aspersion, criticism, blackmail and factuality simply because of desperation to keep his job. An advertorial was placed in Daily Trust and published as an opinion in Leadership newspapers of Friday, 30th October, 2015 under the caption “3 journalists blackmail Kashim over N50million advert for new Magazine’’ and the pictures of AMOS DUNIA, SIMON REEF and my humble self were published along with the write-up by Isa Gusau, Spokesman for the Borno State Government. The three of us are Directors of FOREFRONT and of the five joint owners of the Magazine, I happen to be the only person from Borno State, who must be culpable, but how wrong they were and would always be. From every indication and without an iota of doubt, Isa Gusau is a specialist in standing the truth on its head and this is clearly manifested by the myriad of lies published in the fabricated write-up. There is therefore the need to set the records straight believing right thinking members of the public deserve to know the truth. My joy stems from the fact that based on phone calls, personal visits to the Directors of Forefront, Nigerians, particularly Borno people, know the truth and are aware of the genesis of Gusau’s fabrications. I refer our esteem readers to the September and October 2015 (vol 1 No. 12 & 13) editions of our Magazine in which certain alleged corrupt dealings of the Borno State government were exposed. For the purpose of this article, I shall restrict myself only to the allegations made by Gusau on my person and I state as follows. I started practicing journalism in 1983 and I have never been accused of blackmail even when things were so difficult for me until now that the Almighty creator has blessed me with material satisfaction and contentment. (I challenge anyone with a contrary view to prove me wrong); Gusau said I visited him in his Office to discuss advert; yes we discussed advert not in his office but over the phone at his instance not mine. He asked that we make submission which I did as published in this edition; I was in Maiduguri in August, 2015 when Amos Dunia called me over the published stories and I pleaded with him to drop it but he insisted that the information available are too weighty to be ignored in public interest and all he wanted from me was to reach out to my state government for response to enable the magazine have a balance. He thereafter emailed me some questions to be answered by either the Governor or his spokesman. I reached out to the Governor as Gusau was not available but two days later, the Governor lost his Deputy and I returned to Abuja. The same set of Questions were later sent to Gusau through his email address which he sent through text message to Simon Reef but instead of responding, Gusau resorted to threats and insults as published in this edition; There was never any N5million monthly job given to me by Late Zubairu Maina as alleged. What I had was N1.5million annual retainership renewed by Kashim when he took over from Zubairu with the present Shehu of Borno as the then Permanent Secretary of the Borno State ministry for local governments contrary to the claims by Gusau and I challenge him to provide any contrary proof. I could not therefore begrudge Kashim on same as claimed by Gusau; I have access to and I want to say at the risk of sounding immodest that I am close to Governor Kashim and can ask for and get anything from him. So, why would I ever want to blackmail my own Governor? I became Chairman of Borno State NUJ in 1993 when Gusau had not started his journalism career, he is therefore not in a position to comment on a matter he knows nothing about except based on hearsay; Gusau spoke with me on phone for 72 minutes after our September edition where he made so many threats including blackmail and this I will tender as evidence with proof at the appropriate time; It is regrettable that the same Gusau that was declared a persona non-grata in Borno when he blackmailed Kashim’s predecessor, former Governor Ali Modu Sheriff is today accusing others of blackmail. I was privileged to manage the crises created by his blackmail in 2008 or thereabout and I resolved the crisis without calling him names knowing that he was just cutting his teeth in journalism then. Today, I have become a victim of his blackmail all in an effort to keep his job. Can Gusau tell the public the story of his offer of N15 million to the same Magazine he refers to as new and how he was bluntly told we are not doing the story for money and we only needed his response to the questions. It is my CANDID VIEW that Borno surely deserves better Spokesman than the likes of Gusau in this challenging times even as I know that I cannot question the wisdom of his principal in retaining him to be creating enemies for the state no matter their personal secret relationship. The unfortunate reality is that the more Gusau tries to keep his job, the worse it will get for my brother, Governor Kashim, who will continue to find himself in deep troubled waters. I pray my tears will dry up so that I will not continue to weep for my beloved state. Sometimes, we have to die a little on the inside, in order to rise again as stronger and wiser beings, this is my take on Gusau’s hallucination because a real man will be honest no matter how painful the truth is, as cowards only hide behind lies and deceits.

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