1. What pushes you to write?
I write for change. I stay awake late at night to write the stories that could bring about change in Nigeria and by extension the rest of Africa. Writing is the last hold for those of us who would like to see a different Nigeria without going through a bloody war. I consider myself a writer for the revolution as opposed to being “a revolutionary writer."
2. What has been your best news scoop? How do you get your news scoops?
Every story and news report we’ve done is a good scoop; it is difficult to evaluate any of the newsreports we broke as the best scoop. For me, it always gets better; I believe the best is yet to come.
3. Who is your hero? What kind of books do you read?
I have spent little time anointing heroes. I have also changed careers too many times already to have accumulated heroes. Everyone or being who resists oppression is my hero – be the person in Palestine or South Africa. As for books, I read a variety of them -fiction, biography, history.
4. Do you have a favorite quotation?
Yes, a statement credited to Arthur Schopenhauer, a German philosopher who lived between 1788-1860: “Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self-evident.”
5. What do you have against the Nigerian government?
My main pre-occupation is to help achieve a real government Nigeria – properly, credibly elected, not imposed by a cabal whose mission is to thwart the nation’s best aspirations.
In the real sense of it, Nigeria does not have a government. You can ask me that question when we get to have a government.
6. What is your position on rebranding and the present Amnesty granted to Niger Delta militants?
Both policies are spoofs that reinforce my conviction that Nigeria does not have a government. How can a nation with a genuine government wake up and claim that it wants to “rebrand” the nation? What kind of moronic policy is ‘rebranding”? Is Nigeria Coca Cola? What, really, is the meaning of “rebranding”? Who is buying Nigeria, or who is selling a rebranded Nigeria? In what supermarket is that crappy product sold? With regard to the so-called “Amnesty,” I believe it failed from the day Yar'adua accepted to be "president" of Nigeria in an election he didn’t contest nor did he win. A government without legitimacy cannot perform the duties of a legitimate government. The Amnesty proclamation failed on that note. The Niger Delta militants are not giving up their weapons because they know that Yar'adua is incapable of fulfilling the functions of a president. But most importantly, it goes to the heart of the quackery of Dora Akunyili’s image. Contrary to the widely held opinion that she hates fake products, it is actually now revealed that she is an apostle of fake products. She has just invented Nigeria’s most notoriously dangerous fake product, known as “Rebrand Nigeria”. It is going to kill more people than any fake product known to Nigerians.
7. In your opinion, do you think Sahara Reporters does what Nigerian journalism is not doing? How well is SR doing?
Saharareporters is not a journalistic endeavor. It is a reportorial platform for Nigerian citizens. It is a place where citizens report news – where they report themselves. We do not lay claim to the practice of journalism. We do not write or keep journals. We report events, news and write reports of real time issues. It is our response to the failure – the refusal or lack of will on the part of professional journalists – to report real news to the people. The goal of Saharareporters is like asking citizens to prepare their own food instead of eating junk food. SR is doing well in that regard. We have broken the sound and speed barriers of reporting authentic, evidence-based news.
8. Would you accept the criticism that SR does not often provide the solutions to the problems faced in Nigeria? Would you say that writing is not always the answer?
It is ignorant to say that we do not provide solutions. We are well known for providing solutions. The solution to corruption is anti-corruption; everyone knows that we are against corruption. The solution to shady elections is free and fair elections. Everyone knows that that’s our position. So, who told you we don’t provide solutions? We are perhaps the most analytical reporter of news in Nigeria today. Our news as well as investigative reports are based on solid information, historical and factual data plus analysis. On occasion, the usurper regime in Nigeria is known to have stolen our ideas and implemented them. The masses of Nigerians can run a nation better than the bunch of fools and usurpers who call themselves leaders of Nigeria today!
9. What can you say about writers/journalism in Nigeria? What do you think the future of journalism is in Nigeria?
I have no opinion about writers. It is not my territory. As for Nigerian journalism, it is going through its worst moments today. There is a difference between journalism and the circulation of press releases written by state governors and their media aides. Look at the pathetic interview the Guardian had with Umaru Yar’adua. That’s the point you reach and you say to yourself that Nigeria should get rid of its government and its useless media.
10. If you had 15 minutes with Mr Yar’Adua, what would you discuss with him and why?
I am aware that Yar’adua can’t hold his own – can’t sit up – for that long. If the bloke could stand me for 15 minutes, he would surely be running Nigeria better than he is doing now. You have to be a medical doctor to have fifteen minutes with him. I am not a doctor. Most importantly I have never aspired to spend 15 minutes with a usurper and robber of democratic rights of Nigerians or any nation for that matter. I did not start Saharareporters because I wanted 15 minutes with Nigeria’s president; we started this because we wanted to be free for life from characters like Yar’adua.
11. Have you received any awards, recognition, and threats for what you do?
I didn’t go into this to garner awards. I have received lots of threats: those are my awards for what I do. It comes with the territory. The threats and harassment, just like awards, are the inspiration that push this work. Each time I am threatened, I interpret it to mean that we must necessarily create a society where no one is threatened for expressing his or her opinion and for using his or her talents.
12. What is a day like in your life?
It is not different from the day of an average Nigerian whose life is made miserable by a bunch of morons in government. I wake up hoping that the day would be over – without the wreckers of Nigeria!
13. What’s your message for Nigerian leaders?
That the REVOLUTION is coming and that they would not be around to watch it on television!
14. Your message for Nigerian journalists?
The message for them is on Saharareporters. They know how to get it.
15. What next? Future plans?
We will keep doing what we’re doing – exposing the corruption and perfidy by those who steal or abuse power in Nigeria and Africa, whether they are presidents, governors, local government councilors, corporate executives. We plan to invite more Nigerians and Africans with information of damnable conduct to report these goings-on. We’re able to expand the information we receive because we always, as a policy, protect the confidentiality of our sources. That’s why we get information from a wide variety of sources. That will continue – in fact grow – in the future in different philosophical forms, ideological shapes and digital dimensions.
Interview conducted by Tundun Adeyemo, an abridged version was published in TELL magazine, Lagos