Missing the scripts of a columnist: A tribute to Mohammed Haruna @67


Abdullahi Yusuf Tela




For many, the most interesting and enjoying part in a newspaper is the weekly column. These columns are written by gurus, experts and professionals from various fields of endeavours. I, personally, the column, it was, that persuade me into reading through the pages of a newspaper. The undaunted ability of some columnists will make you stick to a column like a loyal customer does to a product.


The likes of Mohammed Haruna, Prof. Olatunji Dare, Rueben Abati, Dan Agbese, Ray Ekpu, Yakubu Mohammed, Festus Adebayo, Tunde Fagbenle, Yomi Okunnuga, Mahmud Jega and a host of others are all veterans in the art of column writing.


Now, I have to admit that I am a 'bumper to bumper' fan of Mohammed Haruna. Although, the veteran columnist have gone on a vacation from column writing. Haruna is presently serving as an Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) commissioner representing the North-central zone of the country.


Fortunately, Mohammed Haruna hails from my home state, Niger and a nupe by tribe. I am eulogising him not because am from the same state with him, but Mohammed Haruna is no doubt one of the best columnists in the country. He is a man of strong conviction and possess a high level of humility.


Mohammed Haruna was born in Ibadan, September, 22 1951. He started his primary education in Kano and then moved to his home state Bida, in Niger state for his secondary education. In 1973, he got admission into the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University to study Political Science and finished in 1975 where he was then posted to the old Anambra state for his National Youth Service Corp scheme.


After his service to the motherland, in 1976, the veteran journalist got a job as a reporter in the defunct vibrant New Nigerian newspaper where he had his long time professional career. Haruna because of his resilience, rose from the ranks from a reporter to being the Managing Director in 1985. During his years in the NNN, he had his Masters in Mass communication from another prestigious institution, Harvard University. He retired in 1989.


He has been in column writing since his days in the New Nigeria until in 2016 where he went for an interim leave. Am sure his column readers like me miss him a lot. His style of writing explains who he is, his use of words is so charming, his discussions on issues are very timely. In fact, as a keen reader, following Haruna's weekly scripts will make you get attached to his writings as audiences of a television drama do.


Mohammed Haruna is known for his "People and Politics" column that is published every Wednesdays by Daily Trust and Nation newspapers. His columns are highly educating, enlightening and above all a 'captor' of a readers mind. To prove this, Haruna has once said that, sometimes when he writes, some will tell him 'I like the way you write but I don't agree with you'. This is clear indication of his endowed writing skills.

Furthermore, Haruna, it was, that is known for the continual phrase "Still on". He uses this phrase to indicate the continuation or perhaps when he is repeating a same issue in his column.


Haruna was also known for his stand on the June 12 issue. He is one of the prolific persons that criticised the adoption of June 12 as Nigeria's democracy day. In his popular column " Neither May 29 nor June 12" Haruna agree less on the adoption of both dates as the Democracy day. Unfortunately for him, President Muhammdu Buhari has granted the "June twelvers" victory.


Also, as columnist Haruna can be remembered for his column 'fights' with professor Olatuni Dare over the June 12 saga. Dare knocked at Mohammed Haruna and over his stand on the June 12 and then the readers calmly 'enjoy' the clashes between the two.


As a student, I was fortunate to meet this journalism guru. I and a friend, Kabiru Mailafiya were sent to interview him regarding the state of our institution, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, University Lapai. Admittedly, Haruna has sometime back opposed the establishment of the school.


So, with joy and enthusiasm, I and my friend, Kabiru met him at his Citizen consultancy office in Kaduna and got our ever thirsty interview. The interview was nothing but educative; in such a way that the interviewee is talking and you as the interviewer will fill very comfortable hearing such a person talk. Indeed, I need to mention that because of the love for this man, Kabiru, in his final year project, assessed the contribution of Mohammed Haruna to journalism practice in Nigeria.


Prior to our living, Haruna, a former Press secretary to former head of state Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar said to us "nagode", meaning thank you and gave us 'something' of which we refused. He rreiterated that "kai ni babanku ne fa" meaning i am you father. We just laughed off and left.


Lastly, Haruna closed our interview with "certainly I dont want to be remembered as someone who is arrogant but as someone who left a legacy that some people may want to emulate."

 As today marks your birthday sir, i wish you nothing but sound health and i pray to Allah to fulfill your heart desires. Happy birthday Sir.


Abdullahi Yusuf Tela wrote this piece from Minna, Niger state.

Can be reached on abdultela2@gmail.com