Farooq Kperogi: I didn’t belong to a BMC-like group Under Obasanjo

by Farooq Kperogi

I usually ignore cheap, easily falsifiable smears against me by BMC minions. But I’ve chosen to suspend my social media paternity leave (LOL!) to respond to an inane allegation against me by the operating head of the Buhari Media Center. (Recall that they had denied the existence of the group. We’re getting somewhere!) The man said I belonged to a similar group during Obasanjo’s administration. Lie. What I was a member of was initially called the Presidential Research and Communications Unit before it was renamed Presidential Communications Unit. And it was located right in the State House.

It was not a secret, shadowy propaganda unit like the Buhari Media Center is. It’s on my CV, my public profile on the Internet, and I made references to it in several of my columns. The unit was the brainchild of former Super Permanent Secretary Ahmed Joda. Read my May 16, 2015, article titled, “6 Reasons Why Incoming Buhari Government Fills Me With Hope,” which I republished 2 weeks ago in my Saturday column under the title “The Hopes I Had in Buhari’s Government,” for my recounting of how I was recruited.

We were initially just 7 or 8 people. We occasionally attended Federal Executive Council meetings as observers, wrote the president’s speeches, and handled his international public communication. We had a website whose URL was www.nigeriafirst.org (which no longer exists) where we wrote think pieces about Nigeria for international consumption. We were different from, and in fact never related with, the president’s domestic media team.

Although Ahmed Joda was the chairman of the PRCU and presided over our meetings, the unit’s day-to-day head was a famous UK-based Nigerian journalist called Adobe Obe. It was later headed by the late Dr Stanley Macebuh and renamed Presidential Communications Unit. Read my March 24, 2010 article titled, “Nigerian Editors Killing Macebuh Twice with Bad Grammar” for a brief recounting of my experience working with Macebuh at the PCU. In my October 7, 2006 column titled “Fani-Kayode: Ministerial Rascality Taken Too Far!” which many Buhari minions love and share wildly now, I also made references to meeting Fani-Kayode during some of our meetings at the PCU.

I lost interest in the unit when its mission was being thwarted. I resigned. At the time I resigned, the unit was headed by an amiable gentleman by the name of Mr Emmanuel Arinze who was appointed after Macebuh had been fired by Obasanjo.

BMC is different. It’s a clandestine, sinister, out-and-out propaganda and mind-management unit with thousands of fake social media/web commenting handles smearing and demonising the president’s critics and creating intentionally false social media memes and narratives to deflect attention from the government’s incompetence and cruelty against ordinary Nigerians. Mind you, at the time I worked at the PRCU (and later PCU) between 2002 and 2004, there was no social media, and most websites didn’t even have comments section.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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