Nigerian Twitter is abuzz with news of the appointment of Toni Kan as Spokesperson to the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq. Wailers are insisting that Kan, award winning writer, Public Relations expert and media entrepreneur, is an enemy of the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari. But nothing could be farther from the truth.
An ideas man and committed Nigerian, Toni Kan has never been content to merely criticise. He is a firm believer in the fact that those who criticise must also show how the job can be done better.
When he got tired of seeing a lack of professionalism in the Nigerian online media space, he launched sabinews.com (now 1stnews) to provide an ethical and professional example. That site became the first Nigerian news site to be acquired in Nigeria underlining its success and ethical bonafides.
Sensing a deep need for young Nigerian writers to be published and validated at home instead of abroad, Kan launched thelagosreview.ng to provide a space for young Nigerian writers to be published.
As to charges that Kan is anti-APC and Buhari, many do not realise that when First Lady, Aisha Buhari, was being attacked and accused of shutting down the Aso Rock chapel, it was Kan who undertook an investigation and wrote a balanced report, which summarily put paid to those attacks and they say he is anti-Buhari.
Read the article here, where he writes: “Sitting on the chair he has offered me, I take a few more shots and as I rise to leave I wonder where the story about the chapel being turned into a spa came from and what I would do if I was the president and the chapel was sitting that close to my wife’s residence. Knowing myself, I would never allow the chapel or children’s church to sit so close to her bedroom and kitchen and this is a Christian speaking.”
Femi Adesina once criticised Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari and today they are playing on the same team. Garba Shehu used to work as media aide for Atiku Abubakar, who is without question Buhari’s biggest political opponent, but today he is one of the President’s most trusted media aides. How many people realise that Tolu Ogunlesi, one of the President’s media aides, got his start in PR and Communications when Kan hired him at Visafone?
The question to ask is this: is Kan qualified to be media aide or not? The answer is a BIG yes. M.A and B.A English literature from the universities of Lagos and Jos. Best Graduating student both times. Magazine Editor at 26. Fellow of the Civitella Ranieri, Heinrich Boll and Yaddo writing fellowships, some of the most prestigious in the world. Author of 12 books – novels, short story collections, biographies, poetry. Multi sectoral experience consulting in Banking, Telecoms, oil and Gas, Energy, etc. NIPR and APCON certified. Former Editor Nigeria Monthly magazine, his first Federal Government appointment.
A federal appointment offers an opportunity to serve one’s country at the highest level. Many ministers today were Peoples Democratic Party stalwarts just three years ago, but they are serving. Kan is a man of ideas and action. A change agent, he is never content to just criticise. By taking this job, he means to do good instead of sitting on the sidelines and playing arm chair critic. We all have a stake in Nigeria and whether President Buhari or another, the country comes first.
. Dike writes from Lagos.