JUNE 2, 2015: CHUX OHAI
Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Denja Abdullahi, and former General Secretary, Baba Dzukogi, are currently at loggerheads over who should be the next President in October, CHUX OHAI writes.
Ever since they joined the Association of Nigerian Authors, Denja Abdullahi and his friend, Baba Dzukogi, worked closely together to achieve common goals. Over the years, their alliance became so formidable and influential that they were, sometimes, described as members of a secret mafia operating within the writers’ body.
Unfortunately, the bond shared by these two active members of ANA seems to be severely threatened by their failure to agree on who should be at the helms of the affairs of the association, come October, 2015.
The first sign of a crack in their relationship appeared on Facebook a few days ago. Dzukogi posted a message on his Facebook wall that was obviously intended to cast aspersions at Denja Abdullahi’s ambition to become the president of ANA.
The post reads, “2015 ANA Presidency is a contest between a formidable force and a common force. It is between bakers of ideas and consumers. The edge we have over them is that we think out ideas and put life into them for the benefit of others. We hardly wait to latch on to what others have developed to become functional. So, we are both thinkers and doers.”
Both writers confirmed to our correspondent, in separate telephone interviews, that they were planning to run for the same position. “Denja has been telling other people that I want to block his chance of becoming ANA President. Let both of us contest for the post and let the best man win,” Dzukogi, who spoke first, said.
He denied ever having a gentleman’s agreement with Abdullahi. “Where and when did that happen? I never had an agreement with him,” he insisted. Dzukogi, who is a past general secretary of the association, went on to accuse Abdullahi of holding a secret meeting with some members of ANA during the last annual international conference of the association held at the University of Ibadan and forming a shadow cabinet without informing him about it.
He said, “Denja did not invite me to that meeting and not one of those who attended it told me anything about what they discussed. Yet, when I complained and went ahead to announce that I would contest, they lied that no positions were distributed at the meeting.”
In spite of the denials, he alleged that Abdullahi gave positions to Callistus Ukah of the Imo State chapter of ANA and the current publicity secretary of the association, Richard Ali, as well as a few others, without consulting him.
“They knew I was a longstanding associate of Denja Abdullahi and a member of their group. Even if I was not going to contest for the post of president, shouldn’t they have had the courtesy to let me know they were going to make that move? I think Denja decided to cut me off because I told him that I was not going to run for the position of general secretary for the second time,” Dzukogi added.
Although he was aware that other members of the association were worried about the development, Dzukogi saw nothing wrong with vying for the same position with his erstwhile ally.
“Why are people trying to complicate this issue? Didn’t Tambuwal and his in-law contest in an election? One of them won and the other accepted defeat. This is democracy and everyone is free to contest any election. I don’t have a problem with this,” he said.
On the other hand, Abdullahi, who sounded quite bitter, described Dzukogi’s decision to contest against him as a breach of trust.
“Everybody in the North knows that I am the person running for the position of ANA president. Dzukogi’s entrance is just an afterthought. Before now, we had been talking as friends and both of us agreed that he would be the next vice president of the association. He just wants to see if he can turn the applecart,” he said.
However, Abdullahi boasted that he was the best candidate for the position, having served as general secretary of the writers’ body for four years before he was elected vice president three years ago.
He noted that, in spite of the fact that many members of the association who allegedly disapproved of Dzukogi’s ambition had asked him to back off, the latter had refused to do so.
Ruling out any significant support for his opponent from writers in the northern and southern parts of the country, Abdullahi said, “Quite frankly, I do not see Dzukogi getting any support from any person other than his small circle of friends in Niger State.”
Ahead of the election, which is scheduled to hold in October, Dzukogi told our correspondent that he had chosen to run with a female member of ANA, Dr. Ngozi Chuma and the current general secretary, Tanko Okoduwa.