Kperogi’s messiah complex by Dapo Okubanjo

Farooq Kperogi

Kperogi’s messiah complex by Dapo Okubanjo

Any keen observer of the Nigerian media space (social and traditional) would have no problem recognising the name Farooq Kperogi as a result of his regular acerbic write ups.

He also comes across as someone who has informants (or sources as he puts it) everywhere with the authoritative way he writes about things that ordinary Nigerians may not necessarily know.

The fact that he plays up his US residency and his professional credentials as a trained journalist and University lecturer has also helped in building a profile especially in the social media space.

So he comfortably dishes out write ups and articles with a messianic attitude to an audience that he has built over the years from the large army of malcontents he has bred with salacious tales he attributes to ‘sources’.

For someone who knows his audience well, he has no problem picking on issues that will drive traffic to his articles and which is why it was easy for him to pick on his latest victim who happens to be a seasoned, practicing media man cum PR expert Yushau Shuaibu in a not-too subtle attack on the minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr Ali Isa Pantami.

At the height of the recent controversy over Dr Pantami’s alleged links to extremist groups, Kperogi wrote a piece that was neither here nor there and which earned him a reprimand from the toxic followership he had built in recent times so it was no surprise that he tried to ‘retrace’ his footsteps by questioning the validity of Dr Pantami’s appointment as a Professor of Cyber Security by the Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO).

But in the process,he also picked on a gentleman who has built a reputation in the media that is poles apart from what Kperogi is known for.

While Shuaib’s PRNigeria is cited on a regular basis as an authority and a reliable source by the traditional media especially in its core area of competence, which is security matters, Kperogi,for his part, is better known for fake news and has in fact been used as a case study on fake news by the International Centre for Investigative Report ICIR.

Dr. Kperogi’s name appeared twice in the Centre’s fact checking report on the 2019 election, for sharing unverified, fake videos as evidence of rigging by INEC but instead of showing remorse, the all-knowing media expert described it as “….a tendentious, poorly written, inaccurate screed”.

So in essence,here is a man who postures as an expert in new media in an American University but is actually an unrepentant expert on disseminating fake news through the digital media.

For the avoidance of doubt, a public affairs commentator, Dr Adamu Tilde once did an analysis of some of Farooq Kperogi’s social media posts and concluded that he “is a purveyor and enabler of fake news, no amount of revisionism and whitewashing can change this fact”

He also proceeded to showcase what he thinks are seven professorial lies told by Kperogi on Facebook and Twitter which are reproduced below:

1. September 2016, Dr. Kperogi had it from an impeccable source that the Aso Villa Clinic 2017 budget was more than the combined budget of all the 16 Teaching Hospitals in Nigeria. When his attention was drawn to the factual error of his statement, it earned Garba Shehu the tag of an illiterate spokesman. The sad thing is Garba Shehu was Kperogi’s teacher during his undergrad. Dr. Salisu Shehu, I vividly recalled, tried to make him see reason why it was inappropriate to talk that way to his teacher…well, he was also tagged a glorified quota-system professor.

2. Dr. Kperogi concocted a well-spiced lie that President Buhari spent 6million pounds to treat ear infection in London. It was a barefaced lie. Dr. Mustapha and Dr. Ibrahim Gumel tried in vain to make him recant his position or confirmed it (beyond reasonable doubt) as the case may be, he did neither of the two, despite Garba Shehu’s clarification.

3. Dr. Kperogi had it also from an authoritative sauce, sorry, source, that the botched Nigeria Air Logo was designed at the cost of 183 million Naira. He cited a none-existing firm in Bahrain as one of the ‘Transaction Advisers’ as his source. When his attention was drawn to the inaccuracy of the information, and the fact that the said firm was not even among the listed and certified ‘Transaction Advisers’, Dr. Kperogi adopted a deaf and dumb posture. He neither apologised nor recant his position, despite impeccable evidences brought to his attention.

4. In his self-appointed position as the Chief Executive Officer of holding President Buhari’s administration to its feet (a worthy course I must admit), he shared a Kannywood movie scene where one actor, wearing Nigeria’s Army camouflage uniform, were shown crying over the death of his colleague, as Nigeria’s Army fighting Boko Haram in the Northeast. Again, when he was accused of peddling false information, his defense was: he was busy and could not run a reverse search of the picture on Google. So much for due diligence by a journalism professor.

5. Few months after President Buhari was declared winner of the 2019 general elections, Dr. Kperogi wrote a WhatsApp message and sent it to himself. In the said message, he concocted a lie only a person of his moral and intellectual standing can believe. He said and I quote: a friend in the security sector expressed concern over your safety as a result of possibility of a plot by the Buhari regime/cabal to assassinate you in the state. Curiously enough, as a US citizen/resident, Dr. Kperogi didn’t report that threat to the FBI.

6. At the heat of the 2019 elections, Dr. Kperogi yet again concocted another fat lie to heat the polity. He was so certain of his lie. He declared with all sense of certitude that President Buhari has FINALLY murdered Col. Sambo Dasuki. Again, when he was accused of sharing fake news he mentioned a Whatsapp audio as his source.

7. In its investigative report, fact-checking social media influencers who shared fake news during Nigerian general elections, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, Dr. Kperogi’s name appeared twice, sharing unverified, fake videos as an authoritative evidence of rigging by INEC during the 2019 elections. Against all overwhelming pieces of evidence, Dr. Kperogi instead of being remorseful and apologise for sharing fake videos, tagged the report as “….a tendentious, poorly written, inaccurate screed”, having “crying factual poverty and malicious ignorance”. Incredible! If Dr. Kperogi isn’t a purveyor of fake news I don’t know who is.

Now that is one aspect of Kperogi’s public face,the other one is his impatience with anyone who is not prepared to fawn all over him on social media.

It is a known fact on Twitter that he has a penchant for blocking anyone who dares question his position on issues (This writer has also been blocked on Twitter for once daring to question the almighty Kperogi). So here is a man who built a reputation on criticising people but is averse to criticism.

This attitude which he also displayed in his reaction to being called out when he erred, in the examples cited by Dr Tilde borders on delusion of grandeur or in other words a messiah complex.

So it is expected that he would be slighted that Malam Shuaib would dare to do a riposte to his diatribe on PRNigeria.

Dapo Okubanjo writes from Abuja

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