Brekete ‘Blues’, Kadpoly & Discordant Tunes

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By Balogun Murtala Mohammed.

_Toleration is often indifference in disguise -Frederick Buechner_

For all stakeholders of Kaduna Polytechnic who have followed recent developments online, our collective tolerance has gone beyond suggesting our indifference in a matter that obviously affects us, as much or even more than it affects the persons directly concerned.
As a proud Alumni of the Department of Mass Communication, and someone with the privilege of following the case of the exams leakage from beginning, I owe the obligation of putting the issue in its context, to challenge those concerned to arrest this unguarded onslaught on the Institution and the department in particular and to hopefully guide the public who may now be poorly informed and inclined to a wrong perception.

*The issue*
Even without a sense of history of the case; between December 2023 and January 2024 alone, three major incidents have given pointers to the Exam leakage case in Mass Communication Department, Kaduna Polytechnic, nearly long forgotten after it happened over a year ago.

1. Students expelled over their being complicit in the leakage of exam questions took the matter to a global audience and court of public opinion, claiming that justice was not well served.

2. The push to full disclosure resulting from this, initiated a final outcome of the Police findings after several months of investigation. The highlights of the Police report was presented by the Rector and deliberated openly at a duly constituted Academic Board. The same Board deliberated on the appeal entered by the expelled students and overwhelmingly upheld their expulsion. The students are insisting in their claim, among others (without evidence or proof) that certain key actors of the leakage who were their classmates were not punished.

3. The final Report of the Police Investigation affirmed the roles of the students and indicted two persons who have been staff of the Exam office for over four years. Credible sources say, they have both been duly served Queries and have made appearances before the Senior Staff Disciplinary Committee, of which a final outcome/verdict is being awaited.
According to those in the know, the Report detailed HOW the leakage was carried out, with substantive evidence generated. It can be verified.

Before the case was handed over to Police in March 2023, the Institution’s authority received two independent submissions from both the PTD and the Management Committee set up specially to separately investigate the matter. Their outcomes are also substantial pointers that offer insights to the incident. They are verifiable and actionable to every extent, including room for litigation for aggrieved persons, as all parties involved are alive.

*The Challenge*
The credibility and integrity of these processes and their outcomes is being ridiculed, with potential harm for the Institution and persons targeted for orchestrated damage to their reputations, through what can be identified as a “backend server” driven by Brekete, but not necessarily initiated by it. There was no way the persons responsible for this mess would go down easily without mudding and bringing down the roof on us all.

For a Police report that categorically stated that, *the indicted persons are not only responsible for the particular incident of leakage in question, but for all previous leakages in the department*; it was not going to be a tea party for all actors and for the institution. It will come with a hard price. This is an open contest (or war) between truth and falsehood. No room for sentiments.

There have been references to open statements of veiled threat to pull everyone and everything down, if the outcome of the case takes a particular dimension. Understandably, due to the magnitude, there are a number of interested parties in the case and this may exert pressure on the Management.
Kaduna Polytechnic is however greater than anyone or group of persons. Consequently, it should remain bold in not sparing anyone for any infraction identified with this case, as with others, in whatever magnitude.

It is all too clear, why the focus of Brekete is not on the end of the matter which has already and effectively been determined. It is clear why Brekete has continued to avail the disgruntled expelled students the platform to rehash the same falsehoods propagated at the beginning of the Investigation, which were never proven up to the end across all layers- PTD, Management Investigation Committee, DSS/Police.

It is all too clear, how Brekete and its promoters ignored the basic canons of fair hearing and verification/balance, on a contentious matter which actual position can be ascertained from a visit to Kaduna Polytechnic or the Kaduna State Commissioner of Police, if not both.

It is all too clear, why some specific names are being called out, dragged and openly maligned by the students without substantial evidence but the same expelled students now doing the call-out are silent in calling out their actual source of the leakage or in affirming the final confirmation of same by the Investigative agencies. I thought we should all be happy that the Police have produced the academic staff responsible for the leakage and Brekete along with the students should have devoted same energy to mention this openly and categorically, rather than attending to hearsays and conjectures, chasing shadows. Why are we being dragged back to sensationalize issues that have been determined and of no substance to the criminality of the leakage, and for what purpose?

Summarily, it is all too clear, how an underhand is instigating the “leadership” of the expelled students and scripting narratives for them, to sway public opinion against the credibility of the already determined outcome and return us all to a needless dramatization and unnecessary dilemma, ahead of a final verdict on the actual culprits exposed by the investigation.

Summarily also, it is all too clear where the prejudice of the promoter of the station lies. The deliberate serialization of the narratives of the expelled students and deliberate refusal to formally approach the Institution or the Police and present official positions on the matter. The deliberate escalation of same, after (and in prejudice to) an earlier assurance by the Minister of Information to verify the issues through the Minister of Education. The well established choice of words by the promoter in reference to the Institution’s reputation, concurrent generalization of deep seated bias over same and clear diversion away from the matter in context, so long as as the narrations reinforce these prejudices, in many instances on the programme.

Even if the objective is civic or advocacy journalism, this approach is far from civil and negates all globally known canons of decent, responsible journalism.

*Way forward*
The Institution has a responsibility to arrest this unguarded onslaught by presenting a position before Brekete, stating the facts of the case and its current status. It is not necessary for the school to have a representation in appearance at Brekete. It is also a better immediate option than urgent contemplation of legal action (which should also not be ruled out).

The school should avail the public a full disclosure on the case and affirm the culpability of those culpable and exoneration of those exonerated, categorically, since there is a report by investigators to that effect. This will put an end to any speculation of an attempt to cover up part(s) of the case. The school has to do this with urgency in the interest of its over six decades’ legacy, reputation and its hundreds of thousands of alumni, current students, future ones, employees and other universe of its stakeholders.

As critical stakeholders who have more at stake/to lose, the silence of the active Alumni community on this issue is appalling. The Alumni are supposed to be forerunners in cultivating alternative, evidence-based narratives and in disaggregation of the building up of what is gradually becoming a collateral damage on this matter.

Brekete Radio/TV is not a court of legal jurisdiction and has no competence/basis of upholding any claim, however (il)logical, appealing or enchanting such is to its listeners and viewers. It is also a legal entity which can account for it’s deliberate innuendoes and speculations, if/when demanded.

A higher level of accountability should therefore be demanded and availed by everyone concerned. The expelled students who maintained culpable silence for over nine months but are now uncontrollably ‘vommitting’ may also prepare to account for their claims in court, including seeking redress where affirmed, as full adults recognised by law. Some of them and their instigator(s) collectively in a hole from the verdict upon them, are shamelessly still digging with ignominy. The school or its Alumni cannot be proud of their conduct.

This clear attempt to rubbish the institution and the department (and its thousands of highly distinguished graduates and many dedicated staff with proven integrity) in particular is unacceptable. Please, Kadpoly Management and Brekete should name the person(s) responsible for the leakage as summarily indicted, and put an end to this mess once and for all. Persons not satisfied should go to a competent court, instead of this diversionary, malicious media trial.


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