The hint is that Intervention humbled Prof Jibrin Ibrahim by publishing a birthday piece on him titled ‘From History as Iconoclast’ to ‘History as Unthinkable’: Prof Jibrin Ibrahim as Resolution?’ In this line of business, there is almost nothing that people will not complain about. And this response is only necessary in other not to appear to take reservations from sensitive quarters for granted.
Otherwise, no writer has any control over what he or she or they have written the moment the stuff is off their hands. It is readers who dialogue with texts and decide for themselves what it means as far as they are concerned.
The birthday piece on Prof Ibrahim argue that he straddles the key turns in the lead up to the present T-Junction in Nigeria and thus occupies a position to initiate, coordinate or join any such team with prospects of thinking out a more fundamental framing of the current crisis beyond the formulae being bandied about. The piece considered him capable of assembling such a thinking vanguard in a few hours. And the argument in support of that include his rating as an unusually deep Marxist philosopher when he was a Marxist; how his overarching characterisation of ‘the struggle’ in Nigeria as no more than advocacy for democracy is fundamentally right because it wasn’t much more than that and, lastly, how the country has transitioned from ‘History as Iconoclast’ to an unthinkable meltdown between 1985 and today and is in need of thinkers to produce a rescue framework.
If a reader battling with his or her own interpretive baggage takes this submission to a strange context as to come up with whatever meaning, there is nothing Intervention would want to do about that, with all due respect to people who have fallen to this trap. A piece of writing must be capable of multi-vocal reading or else, we are back to Plato’s Republic.
A previous birthday piece which was pressuring Prof Ibrahim to put back his theoretical thinking cap because he is equipped for that was similarly read upside down. Some people in Kano had their own Facebook debate on how Intervention was insulting Jibo. Unfortunately, this came almost six months after when it no longer mattered. Intervention takes reactions to its publications seriously but cannot worry itself over divergence in interpretation, except that this time, someone joined the complaints bearing.
Intervention was, indeed, honouring Prof Ibrahim except that we don’t do that by lavishing praises in the vulgar way the society is used to. We subscribe to the tradition of critical celebration and there is nothing to apologise for that. It is well, as our Pentecostal brothers would say!