Restore Healthinteractive Please


Mohammed Ahmed  


Ishaq Modibo Kawu, Editor, Daily Trust, a Northerner has succeeded in stopping the only Public Health voice from the North by a Northerner and was joined by Mr. Yusuf Adalat to celebrate the achievement (Pls. see Your Letters, Daily Trust 21/3/05: P10).   Mr Yusif Adalat developed a very strong affinity towards the articles that always feature on that page and overtime become a regular critic of what the young Doctor from Kano used to write. Despite that, he had this to say about the young doctor “nevertheless, I respect Magashi for being consistent in his stand on Public Health issues”. He also had this to say about the column “with respect to consistency, therefore, I can only equate Health interactive to Mohammed Haruna’s Wednesday column” in other words he can only equate it to the best. “His column had forced so many decisions to be changed and had the tendency of cajoling what I termed the best advocacy strategy towards implementation of projects. His last article… provided a thought provoking insight and as USUAL proffered some RECOMMENDATIONS” (Emphasis mine). He also said the column is the only Public Health voice from the North and the only column of its kind in Nigeria. So why should Ishaq Modibo Kawu stop a column like that? To who’s benefit?  


Dr Aminu Magashi is the Executive Director of Community Health and Research Initiative, Kano-Nigeria and comments on topical Public Health issues and provides medical advice to teeming readers in his interactive, Healthinteractive column, that appears weekly in Daily Trust every Tuesday. He is also one of the few columnists of   So what made Ishaq Modibo Kawu stop the column? According to Yusif Adalat, Ishaq Modibo Kawu had expressed reservations over Magashi’s continuous use of his column to promote his NGO (an issue Mr Adalat had never raised in his regular criticism) and as such the column had to be suspended. Yet, some staff of the paper argued: if the articles are promoting his NGO, what about the Question and Answer section that provides medical advice? So, what actually made Ishaq Modibo Kawu to stop the column?   In his defense, the Editor, Ishaq Modibo Kawu stated that there was no time a decision was taken to stop Dr Magashi’s column. Dr Magashi chose to stop writing his column. Probably the same strategy was employed by Ishaq Modibo Kawu to drive away columnist like Sam Nda Isia, Dr Tilde and many others, and he can always say, don’t blame me, they chose to stop writing their column. But you cannot fool us; we all know what happens when you stifle expression.


He also said “we felt that it would be helpful if he concentrate on analysis of various ailments, to enrich the knowledge of our readers” Now, if I may ask you, whose feeling is more important? What you feel or what your readers feel? Who cares how you feel? What you felt obviously was the feeling of those referred to by Mr Adalat as “others in the North who were uncomfortable about the young doctor’s intimidating posture.”  You are an Editor not a Health expert and you cannot impose your feelings on experts and your readers. You do not have the right to feel for us. Perhaps your readers feel differently and would like his comments on topical Health issues, which you said you believed he handled very competently well.   It was a decision that caused a lot of pain, not to you Ishaq Modibo Kawu, but to us your readers, to the other staff of the paper, to Mal. Kabiru Yusif who I respect, to all well meaning Northerners and also to investors in Daily Trust who will continue to see their profits being eaten up by LEADERSHIP, all because of Ishaq Modibo Kawu.   But we will patiently wait for posterity to judge.