Professor Mvendaga Jibo whose interview opened this online newspaper on July 26th, 2016 has protested the portion of the interview which quoted him as describing the Idoma as narrow minded. The interview published under the title “Joseph Tarka: Mvendaga Jibo’s Explosives” and which dealt essentially on the forgotten legacy of late Joseph Tarka reported Jibo as saying that Idoma have problem of making it as governor of Benue State because they are narrow minded.
Professor Jibo explained how he could not have made such a comment because the analogy he was connecting to did not call for that. He said he was merely recasting Professor Billy Dudley, his former teacher’s analysis in the book Parties and Politics in Northern Nigeria in which the author said that Idoma and other ethnic minorities in the Middle Belt abandoned Tarka’s agitation for creation of states. “This did not follow that I would single out Idoma and describe them as narrow minded”, he maintained. He said such a statement is too far from the way he has been trained to reason and from the reality he has dealt with. Unveiling the reality, Jibo disclosed how it was Adejo Ogiri, an Idoma cabinet colleague under Aper Aku that he decided to handed over his own portfolio when he left Nigeria that time. “And he remained my lifelong friend. That is the same with many Idoma colleagues and friends, such as Professor Tony Edo, Ogo Alubo, Mathew Adejo and many others”, he protested.
Jibo stated he not been brought up to deny whatever he has said but that the context and subject matter of the interview did not warrant what was attributed to him. If not corrected, said Jibo, that portion of the interview stood to make him an enemy of so many friends of his from the Idoma ethnic group as well as of Senator David Mark whom the portion of the interview held up as having deceived the Idoma people in relation to creating Apa State. Professor Jibo emphasised that if those were things he is convinced about, he would say them without thinking twice but not so in the context of the interview under reference.
The Management of Intervention has carefully studied Professor Jibo’s protest and endorsed it. The argument here is that the likelihood that he used such words in the much smaller part of the interview is open to question when the longer part contained no such words. And the doubt must be resolved in his favour, more so that the source of the inference about abandonment of Tarka is so straightforward that no twisted meaning of what he could have said is admissible or sustainable. The late Billy Dudley’s book in question is unmistakeable.
Without imputing incompetence or mischief on the part of the reporter who conducted the very short, initial part of the interview where the quotation came from, Management hereby withdraws that quotation in the original interview and apologizes to Professor Jibo accordingly. Management is happy that nobody involved with the interview has any other reservations about it whatsoever. And that the essence of the interview in highlighting the message of selected politicians of the earlier period who did something symbolically outstanding was achieved, far in excess of the initial expectation because of the rich perspective Prof Jibo brought to it in the interview.