Rem­i­nis­cences with Al­haji Halilu Ahmed Getso

Sunday Trust - - REM­I­NIS­CENCES - From Yusha’u Adamu

Al­haji Halilu Ahmed Getso ven­tured into the jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sion as a re­porter in Ra­dio Nige­ria. He rose through the ranks and be­came an ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor in Ra­dio Kaduna. In this in­ter­view he ex­plained why he was re­moved and trans­ferred to La­gos. He also said he was ready to an­chor pro­grammes on ra­dio, even at 70; among other things.

From child­hood to this mo­ment, how has life been?

My life has been a suc­cess­ful one since I could be con­tacted for an in­ter­view. When I was old enough to be en­rolled in school, I started in a Qur’anic school, then pri­mary and sec­ondary schools, up to the time I stopped. Then I se­cured an em­ploy­ment in a very good place, where you could talk and peo­ple would lis­ten. I was no­body, but I be­came some­body, by the grace of God. Al­ham­dulil­lah, life has been kind to me. In the course of my work, I in­ter­acted with dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties from near and far.

Which pri­mary school did you at­tend?

I started at Getso Ju­nior Pri­mary School in my home­town, from 1958 to 1960; that’s three years. Ac­tu­ally, it was sup­posed to be four years, but for some rea­sons, I was pro­moted to se­nior pri­mary school af­ter my third year. At that time, the sys­tem was four years at ju­nior pri­mary and three at se­nior pri­mary, af­ter which you would pro­ceed to sec­ondary school, ei­ther a teach­ers’ col­lege or what was known as craft schools. They are called tech­ni­cal col­leges nowa­days.

Af­ter three years at se­nior pri­mary school, I was ad­mit­ted into a sec­ondary school. At that time, there were only two sec­ondary schools in the whole of Kano Prov­ince - Govern­ment Col­lege, Birnin Kudu, as it is known to­day, and Pro­vin­cial Col­lege, Kano, now called Rumfa Col­lege. I was sent to Govern­ment Col­lege, Birnin Kudu.

At Birnin Kudu, I did not spend the re­quired num­ber of years be­cause in the first year there were no class­rooms for us, no hos­tels, and no lab­o­ra­to­ries for sci­ence sub­jects; there were no teach­ers ei­ther. So we were de­layed for about five months un­til all these things were pro­vided. That was how we spent four and a half years in­stead of five years. But that did not have any neg­a­tive ef­fect on our class be­cause from the time the school was es­tab­lished till to­day, I don’t think there is any class that had prom­i­nent peo­ple as ours. The class pro­duced a lot of doc­tors, such as Dr Ju­naid Muham­mad, who later be­came a mem­ber of the Na­tional As­sem­bly dur­ing the Sha­gari regime; Dr Bashir Dankadai, the dis­trict head of Tudun Wada; Dr Ghali Habib; Dr Ibrahim Adamu Busurka - about six med­i­cal doc­tors; and those of us who did not fol­low the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion, in­clud­ing Dr Ab­dul­lahi Umar Gan­duje, the cur­rent gover­nor of Kano State.

Did you pro­ceed to a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion?

I wanted to pro­ceed to the univer­sity, but two rea­sons pre­vented me from achiev­ing that. Firstly, I wanted to do some jobs and earn salaries to sup­port my par­ents and broth­ers. Se­condly, my fa­ther passed on when I was 11 years old. His el­der brother took care of me and my broth­ers.

The late Ah­madu Rufa’i was asked to go round sec­ondary schools and pick stu­dents that could be trained for the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture in Kano. At that time, Gover­nor Audu Bako had in­tro­duced new ways of boost­ing agri­cul­ture in the state, and he had achieved a lot.

Rufa’i met us in school and gave us a lec­ture on the im­por­tance of the pro­gramme and the need to study agri­cul­ture. Af­ter his lec­ture, he asked whether any­one had in­ter­est; and we sub­mit­ted our names. Some of us were taken to the School of Agri­cul­ture, Sa­maru, Zaria, while oth­ers were taken to Kabba, an­other school of agri­cul­ture. So, we stud­ied while we were given three square meals. We had ac­com­mo­da­tion and were re­ceiv­ing a salary-like al­lowance.

I was one of those who went to Zaria. There too, I was not able to com­plete the stud­ies. That was how I kept go­ing in life. I left three months to our grad­u­a­tion due to a mis­un­der­stand­ing we had with one of our teach­ers. It hap­pened be­cause I was read­ing a New Nige­rian news­pa­per in class while he was teach­ing. He told me what I couldn’t bear, so I re­sponded ac­cord­ingly and left the class. In­ci­den­tally, I saw in the pa­per I was read­ing, an ad­vert call­ing for in­ter­ested can­di­dates with Grade II, or sec­ondary school leavers from Kano, North-East, North-West and North-Cen­tral states to ap­ply to work as state cor­re­spon­dents for Ra­dio Nige­ria. And it had al­ways been my dream to work for a ra­dio sta­tion, just to present the Zabi da Lanka pro­gramme, where greet­ing cards writ­ten by lis­ten­ers were read. As soon as I saw that ad­vert I tore a pa­per from my book and wrote my ap­pli­ca­tion let­ter. I rode my bi­cy­cle to a post of­fice at Sa­maru and sent the ap­pli­ca­tion im­me­di­ately. For­tu­nately, I re­ceived a re­ply within a week, ask­ing me to go for an in­ter­view. That was how I ven­tured into jour­nal­ism. In less than two weeks I re­ceived my of­fer of ap­point­ment. I filled the ac­cep­tance let­ter and re­turned it to them. I re­ported of­fi­cially on Septem­ber 11, 1979.

What was your sched­ule of duty when you re­ported?

The essence of the em­ploy­ment was to be a state cor­re­spon­dent, so there was no way they would change it to an­other thing. More so, most of those that were pre­sent­ing the pro­gramme did not have the sec­ondary school cer­tifi­cate I had. So on the first day I was at­tached to the duty con­ti­nu­ity an­nouncer called Idris Garba. He was a kind man. What­ever he wanted to do, he would show me how to do it. I spent three days there and moved to an­other sec­tion.

It was their tra­di­tion at that time that as a newly em­ployed staff you would go round all the sec­tions to have a lit­tle knowl­edge of how they were run. The last sec­tion one would visit was mar­ket­ing, and from there, you would know whether you were good or they would send you out if you were not ca­pa­ble.

I was posted to pro­grammes sec­tion, then news and cur­rent af­fairs. We were trained at Lu­gard Hall, Kaduna, by some qual­i­fied jour­nal­ists, on how to do our re­port­ing, af­ter which we were posted to our dif­fer­ent states of duty. I was the first Kano cor­re­spon­dent of the Fed­eral Ra­dio Cor­po­ra­tion of Nige­ria (FRCN), Kaduna; Tunde Oladipo, Kwara; Muham­mad Bashir Gulma, Sokoto; Madu

Aisami, North-East; and so on. I re­ported in Kano af­ter that ori­en­ta­tion, with nei­ther an of­fice to work in, house to live, nor a leader that would guide you. We were just at­tached to the Min­istry of In­for­ma­tion. When­ever they were go­ing out to source for news we would fol­low them and see what we would be able to gather and send to Kaduna. At that time it was very dif­fi­cult to com­mu­ni­cate. To even get the phone to use was a tug of war. I was us­ing their phone, but to even get the num­ber through was an­other prob­lem.

You were trained in agri­cul­ture, then you found your­self in jour­nal­ism, what chal­lenges did you en­counter?

I met some ex­pe­ri­enced hands like the Daily Times cor­re­spon­dent, that of New Nige­rian, Dele, and some other news­pa­per cor­re­spon­dents. How­ever, they would not nec­es­sar­ily as­sist you on your job, es­pe­cially as there was ri­valry be­tween news­pa­pers and ra­dio be­cause ra­dio was rel­a­tively a new medium but more pop­u­lar. That was one of the chal­lenges.

That was how I stayed in Kano for two years and re­turned to Kaduna. In Kaduna, I met a new em­ployee, Al­haji Musa Karate, who was a de­gree holder but not a jour­nal­ist. He hap­pened to be my pri­mary school teacher. He was there for about three months and was posted to Kano as a se­nior cor­re­spon­dent, be­liev­ing that since he was a de­gree holder he could do more than me. He pleaded that since I was in Kano, I had more ex­pe­ri­ence, so I should be at­tached to him as his deputy. That was how we re­turned to Kano.

This time, we rented our own of­fice along Ibrahim Taiwo Road. But Al­haji Musa Karaye did not stay long; he de­cided to join govern­ment.

I de­vel­oped in­ter­est in work­ing at the BBC. We dis­cussed with them and agreed on some terms. Be­fore I signed the doc­u­ments of our agree­ment, an­other op­por­tu­nity came knock­ing. That was a course in Hol­land in form of tech­ni­cal aid. Our ra­dio/tele­vi­sion sta­tion in Kaduna was given two slots, one of which was given to me to go and study at their ra­dio/tele­vi­sion school. It was fully spon­sored. They gave me the lever­age to choose be­tween the two. Af­ter some con­sul­ta­tions, I opted to go to Hol­land be­cause it was an op­por­tu­nity that would come once while the BBC would be there all the time.

At the end of the course they would give you the op­por­tu­nity to choose any Eu­ro­pean coun­try you would like to visit, and they would spon­sor your trip to and fro. Once you were back they would re­turn you to your coun­try. So I chose to go to Lon­don. That was also my op­por­tu­nity to visit the BBC and we re­newed our agree­ment, af­ter which I re­turned to Nige­ria.

I spent two years af­ter my re­turn from Hol­land, then the BBC came again for a three-year con­tract. But Kaduna said they would not re­lease me for three years. They said I could go for one and a half years on train­ing at­tach­ment. The BBC agreed, but when I got there they did not treat me as some­one on at­tach­ment. I was treated as a fullfledged staff. But I had signed an un­der­tak­ing that I would re­turn at the ex­pi­ra­tion of the pe­riod. That was how I went there and couldn’t even wait un­til the end of one and a half years be­cause I couldn’t con­done the ill-treat­ment of the British. The is­sue of racism was pro­nounced. We were con­stantly mocked for not hav­ing free­dom be­cause of mil­i­tary rule. Again, there were calls for self­gov­ern­ment in some parts of Africa - South Africa, Namibia, An­gola, and so on. De­spite the fact that they were south­ern African coun­tries, we still felt they were our broth­ers and sis­ters, so what af­fected them equally af­fected us. We had to con­trib­ute to their as­pi­ra­tions in what­ever form, such as ed­i­to­ri­als etc. That did not go down well with the white men.

So I de­cided to quit, three months to the ex­pi­ra­tion of our con­tract with them. In fact, I was look­ing for what would send me back.

I did some­thing that was never done be­fore. I went there with my two wives. Tra­di­tion­ally, they would not ac­cept some­body com­ing in with two wives; what they recog­nised of­fi­cially was one wife. Ini­tially, I wanted to go with one, but even­tu­ally, the three of us had to go. They had to seek for per­mis­sion from the for­eign af­fairs de­part­ment to al­low me in One other dif­fer­ence be­tween those days and what ob­tains nowa­days is the qual­ity and or­a­tory of politi­cians. Where do you see such or­a­tors now? What we have now are just po­lit­i­cal beg­gars and hunt dogs who bas­tardise and de­mean peo­ple on ra­dio. with two wives and give us what­ever as­sis­tance nec­es­sary.

How did you cope in Lon­don, a for­eign coun­try with a dif­fer­ent cul­ture?

Be­fore I went to Lon­don I was in Hol­land. The life in Europe is vir­tu­ally the same ev­ery­where. Eng­land and Hol­land share bor­ders. From Am­s­ter­dam to Lon­don is an hour flight. So I got used to their way of life when I was in Hol­land. If you were walk­ing along the road in one of the cities in Hol­land and you came across a bridge, if you were to go to Ger­many or Eng­land, France or Spain and saw an­other bridge, you would think it was that of Hol­land be­cause they were ex­actly the same. That’s their way of life. The only dif­fer­ence I could say I no­ticed is that Hol­land was more hos­pitable than other West­ern Europe coun­tries. They were more ac­com­mo­dat­ing, es­pe­cially to Africans. We re­ally en­joyed our lives in Hol­land. It’s a very nice coun­try.

In Lon­don, one day I planned to visit a friend at an area called Balaam, a town very far way from cen­tral Lon­don. I had to board at least three trains be­fore I got there.

It was an un­der­ground rail net­work, so it was a bit com­pli­cated. I thought I could go, but un­for­tu­nately, I got lost. Trains came every 5 to 7 min­utes and I was con­fused. I didn’t know which train to board, so I de­cided to ask a young lady. When I got close to her and greeted her she ig­nored me. I ap­proached her again and po­litely be­gan to talk to her, but be­fore I fin­ished my state­ment she shouted, ‘Leave me alone!’ I said I just wanted to ask a ques­tion, but she said, ‘I don’t want to talk to you, leave me alone.’’

When you re­turned from Lon­don, the man­age­ment of Ra­dio Kaduna had in­tro­duced a po­lit­i­cal pro­gramme called Mece ce Siyasa, which you an­chored. What was the mo­tive be­hind the pro­gramme?

I ran the pro­gramme from 1977 to 1978. At that time, Nige­ria was un­der mil­i­tary rule and govern­ment had banned all po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties in the coun­try. But be­fore the com­ing of Obasanjo, govern­ment lifted the ban and politi­cians were al­lowed to form as­so­ci­a­tions, do all the need­ful, and if they sat­is­fied the cri­te­ria for reg­is­tra­tion, they would be reg­is­tered as po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Many peo­ple who were el­i­gi­ble to vote were not aware of how pol­i­tics was played, so there was the need to sen­si­tise and en­lighten them. That was why we ini­ti­ated that pro­gramme. It was with the sole aim of sen­si­tis­ing peo­ple on pol­i­tics.

I ran the pro­gramme for only few months. Although it was very short, it served its pur­pose be­cause peo­ple were sen­si­tised about pol­i­tics.

Af­ter Mece ce Siyaya, you also ran two other po­lit­i­cal pro­grammes, Dan­dalin Siyasa and Alka­wari Kaya ne. What in­formed your in­ter­est in them?

Im­me­di­ately af­ter the sus­pen­sion of Mece ce Siyaya, Dan­dalin Siyaysa was in­tro­duced. It was more ac­cepted than Mece ce Siyasa be­cause it was in­tro­duced af­ter po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties had com­menced all over the coun­try and peo­ple wanted to know what was hap­pen­ing. They were wo­ken up and en­cour­aged to par­tic­i­pate in pol­i­tics.

Big politi­cians like the late Aminu Kano, Maitama Sule, Lawal Dam­bazau and the rest of oth­ers went to the nooks and cran­nies of the coun­try for cam­paign. When we in­tro­duced Dan­dalin Siyasa, peo­ple were very happy; hence it was widely ac­cepted. This pro­gramme was in­tro­duced to guide politi­cians on how to con­duct them­selves dur­ing po­lit­i­cal cam­paigns. Nor­mally, when elec­tions are over, po­lit­i­cal pro­grammes will stop. But the man­age­ment of Ra­dio Kaduna came up with an­other po­lit­i­cal pro­gramme, Alka­wari Kaya ne, which I was also di­rected to an­chor. The mo­tive be­hind the pro­gramme was to fol­low up on the prom­ises made by politi­cians dur­ing their cam­paigns. The pur­pose was to en­sure that these politi­cians ful­filled their prom­ises. I de­signed the pro­gramme in such a way that

I would re­mind the politi­cians about these prom­ises from time to time. I ran the pro­gramme up to 1983 when the mil­i­tary took over power from civil­ians.

Among these three po­lit­i­cal pro­grammes, which one ex­posed you to in­flu­en­tial peo­ple?

All the three pro­grammes ex­posed me to big politi­cians. I started meet­ing big politi­cians when I ran Mece ce Siyasa. For in­stance, when I came to Kano, I in­ter­viewed politi­cians like Al­haji Tanko Yaka­sai, Al­haji Inuwa Wada; Dan­masanin Kano, Dr Yusuf Maitama Sule and many oth­ers.

These pro­grammes served as the cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity of the me­dia in those days. Are you sat­is­fied with what ob­tains in the me­dia to­day, in re­la­tion to pol­i­tics?

It de­pends on your def­i­ni­tion of what is wrong and what is right, what is good and what is bad, what is re­spon­si­ble and what is ir­re­spon­si­ble. Per­haps, be­cause of the selfish­ness of man I will say that in those days we did what was more re­spon­si­ble. But even in those days, some peo­ple were not sat­is­fied with what we were do­ing. There was a time when some­body told me face to face that our ra­dio sta­tion had be­come that of ir­re­spon­si­ble peo­ple. And that was a man who worked with us up to the level of a man­ager. In fact, I met him there. I asked if it was af­ter he left or when he was there. He said it was af­ter he left. So it was within the two years he left that we be­came ir­re­spon­si­ble. His only rea­son was that I re­fused to dis­close our new pro­gramme to him, even when he in­sisted. I told him that he was ir­re­spon­si­ble as well.

One other dif­fer­ence be­tween those days and what ob­tains nowa­days is the qual­ity and or­a­tory of politi­cians. Where do you see such or­a­tors now? What we have now are just po­lit­i­cal beg­gars and hunt dogs who bas­tardise and de­mean peo­ple on ra­dio. Some­times you don’t even know the per­son you are abus­ing, but be­cause you are paid to do so, you be­gin to say he is this and that. It was not like that in those days.

In those days, Ra­dio Kaduna was very pow­er­ful, but with time, it be­came what it is to­day. There were in­sin­u­a­tions that it was a de­lib­er­ate act of govern­ment to pull it down. What’s your take on this?

Well, when some­thing hap­pens, ei­ther good or bad, there must be some­one re­spon­si­ble. When it is good, peo­ple tend to own it, even when they were not there when it hap­pened. But when it is bad, peo­ple tend to trade blames. Hon­esty, the harm done to Ra­dio Kaduna was colos­sal, but it did not just hap­pen one day. It was sys­temic; it hap­pened over­time. We can no longer do what we were known for in the past. In the last 30 to 40 years, no mem­ber of staff would com­plain of his en­ti­tle­ment. All our rights, priv­i­leges and en­ti­tle­ments were given when due. Some­times

you wouldn’t even know that some­thing was for you and you would be called to col­lect it.

To­day, the story is dif­fer­ent. It is not a mat­ter of giv­ing you what you were not aware of, it is now a mat­ter of try­ing to deny you what you are even aware of. In those days, the mo­ment you be­gan drift­ing off track they would call you back on track. And if you de­served to be dis­missed, you would bear the con­se­quences. No one would do you a favour and no­body would lobby for you.

There was a day one of our Hausa news­cast­ers mis­rep­re­sented an an­nounce­ment made by the gover­nor of the North­ern Re­gion, the late Bri­gadier Abba Kyari, that the north­ern govern­ment would in­tro­duce uni­form school cal­en­dar for the re­gion. But un­for­tu­nately, the caster trans­lated the news to mean that govern­ment would pro­vide school uni­form to all stu­dents in the re­gion. It was a great blun­der be­cause he mis­rep­re­sented the govern­ment. The govern­ment could not shoul­der such huge re­spon­si­bil­ity at that time. Our boss, Al­haji Dahiru Modibbo, rushed to the sta­tion be­fore the caster fin­ished the news and stayed at the stu­dio’s door. When he came out, Modibbo col­lected the news bul­letin and asked him to leave the sta­tion. He di­rected him to come back the next day and col­lect his dis­missal let­ter, and that was the end of it.

You see, he of­fended the job and his su­pe­rior pun­ished him ac­cord­ing to the grav­ity of his of­fence. To­day, we don’t have the courage to do this kind of thing to pro­tect the job for the younger ones to ben­e­fit. Do you know that no­body came to the sta­tion to save the guy af­ter he was dis­missed.

Again, there was a time a whole gover­nor came to the sta­tion and re­quested Modibbo to re­move the re­porter that was cov­er­ing his state, but Modibbo told him that he would not re­move him be­cause he (re­porter) was not work­ing for the gover­nor alone. Rather, he was work­ing for the en­tire peo­ple of the state and no­body com­plained about his re­portage. And the re­porter was not re­moved.

But to­day, re­porters lobby to be sent to states of their choice. In those days, when­ever we had an as­sign­ment to do, ev­ery­body would do his best to en­sure that it was done per­fectly. If such in­ci­dence fell on a week­end, our su­pe­ri­ors would bor­row money from their wives to set­tle the per­son­nel in or­der to al­low him go for the as­sign­ment. But it is not like that to­day. No one is will­ing to ex­e­cute the job, even if he or she has the means to do it. In the past, our per­son­nel would be con­fronted with var­i­ous types of gift in cash or kind, in­clud­ing cars, but they would re­ject them. It hap­pened to me sev­eral times and I re­jected them. I chal­lenge any­body to come out and prove that he of­fered me a gift and I col­lected it. I will pay him, no mat­ter the cost of such gift. To­day, young jour­nal­ists are beg­ging for such gifts.

An­other dis­heart­en­ing thing is that present jour­nal­ists, es­pe­cially those work­ing in the broad­cast, are bas­tar­dis­ing our lan­guage. When you are lis­ten­ing to ra­dio, some­times you can­not even un­der­stand what these young broad­cast­ers are try­ing to say when they men­tion some words. You can­not dif­fer­en­ti­ate whether he is us­ing Katsina or Kano di­alect. They mix gen­der any­how they like. You will hear them say, mata na ne in­stead of mata ta ce, or mota na ne as against mota ta ce, and so on. They don’t mas­ter the lan­guage but they ven­tured into broad­cast. These are some of the dif­fer­ences I have no­ticed. I don’t know where we are head­ing to.

Are you say­ing that govern­ment has no hand in de­stroy­ing Ra­dio Kaduna?

Well, govern­ment also played a role. Even at that, the lead­er­ship of the sta­tion al­lowed govern­ment to de­stroy the sta­tion. I can re­call when an ad­viser to the then Pres­i­dent Shehu Sha­gari, Olu Ade­banjo, at­tempted to re­duce the fre­quency of Ra­dio Kaduna. When Sha­gari tried to im­ple­ment it he wit­nessed se­ri­ous re­sis­tance from many peo­ple, in­clud­ing emirs. In fact, some emirs con­fronted him and warned him not to re­duce the fre­quency of the ra­dio. In the end, it was not done. You see, in those days, even the govern­ment was not al­lowed to do things unchecked.

To­day, jour­nal­ists have sold their im­age and the im­age of their me­dia houses. If you turn to Ra­dio Kaduna and it is off air, you may dis­cover that it is some­thing that is not up to N5,000 that halted the op­er­a­tion.

You served as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the sta­tion twice, what ef­fort did you make to cor­rect such mis­takes?

When I was ap­pointed ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, the ra­dio sta­tion was in a se­ri­ousmess,be­yondtheimag­i­na­tion of many peo­ple. I in­her­ited debts worth over N50mil­lion. NEPA and NI­TEL bills had ac­cu­mu­lated be­yond ex­pec­ta­tion. The sta­tion was also ow­ing those who nor­mally sup­plied us diesel some huge money. But be­fore the time I was re­moved, I had cleared all the debts and saved be­tween N7 mil­lion and N10 mil­lion for the or­gan­i­sa­tion. The per­son I suc­ceeded is still alive; if I am ly­ing he should come out and chal­lenge me.

You were re­moved as the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the or­gan­i­sa­tion and trans­ferred to La­gos. What hap­pened?

It was a mi­nor mis­un­der­stand­ing be­tween me and the late Al­haji Mam­man

Shata. What hap­pened was that in 1995, we or­gan­ised Kalankuwa, in a view to gen­er­at­ing more rev­enue on our own. We set up a com­mit­tee in that re­spect and man­dated it to come with rec­om­men­da­tions. The com­mit­tee came up with the idea of or­gan­is­ing the event in three dif­fer­ent towns, namely, Kano, Zaria and Fun­tua. We did one in Fun­tua and planned to do the sec­ond one in Zaria. We in­vited our lo­cal mu­si­cians, in­clud­ing Mam­man Shata and Dan Bade. But we were in­formed that the two mu­si­cians were not in good terms with each other, so we planned that one of them should come in the morn­ing and the other in the night to avoid any clash. We sent for them and they all agreed to come. For Shata, I first sent one of our staff, Mustapha Umar Misau, who was in good term with him, with an in­vi­ta­tion, and he agreed to come. When it was two weeks to the date, I sent one of my man­agers, the late Bashir Mustapha, with an­other in­vi­ta­tion to Shata as a re­minder and he af­firmed his ear­lier stand. Again, nine days to the date, I per­son­ally vis­ited Shata in Fun­tua with an­other in­vi­ta­tion. I met him in his house and he started com­plain­ing that I both­ered my­self send­ing him a se­ries of in­vi­ta­tion even when he promised that he would at­tend the event. Un­for­tu­nately, both Shata and Dan Bade did not come for the event. Be­cause of their fail­ure to at­tend the event, some an­gry youths went on ram­page, at­tempt­ing to set the place ablaze. But God, in his in­fi­nite mercy, gave us the courage and wis­dom to con­tain the sit­u­a­tion.

Dur­ing our re­view meet­ing, we all agreed that from that day we should sus­pend play­ing any mu­sic by both Dan Bade and Mam­man Shata in our sta­tion un­til they gave us gen­uine rea­sons and apol­o­gised for not com­ing to the event. We im­ple­mented the de­ci­sion.

Af­ter two days, Dan Bade came and told us that he could not at­tend the Kalankuwa be­cause one of his drum­mers lost his el­der son and he felt it would be im­proper to at­tend the event while the fam­ily of the de­ceased was mourn­ing. We ac­cepted his rea­sons. But for Shata, not only did he refuse to come and apol­o­gise, he also went to many places, brag­ging that we did not An­other dis­heart­en­ing thing is that present jour­nal­ists, es­pe­cially those work­ing in the broad­cast, are bas­tar­dis­ing our lan­guage. When you are lis­ten­ing to ra­dio, some­times you can­not even un­der­stand what these young broad­cast­ers are try­ing to say when they men­tion some words. gen­er­ate money at the Kalankuwa be­cause he did not come, and so forth. Af­ter some months with­out play­ing his mu­sic in Ra­dio Kaduna, peo­ple started mak­ing noise in the town and Shata re­alised that he was los­ing pop­u­lar­ity. He started look­ing for a way to rec­on­cile with us, and in the process, he went to the late Adamu Dank­abo Jar­man Kano and re­quested for his in­ter­ven­tion. Jar­man Kano sent for me in Abuja. When I met Jarma he de­manded that we should lift the ban on Shata, but I turned down the of­fer. When Jarma failed to con­vince me to lift the ban, Shata hired some lawyers and planned to go to court to com­pel us to lift the ban. But I think some of the lawyers told him that he would not win the case in the court. Fi­nally, some­body ad­vised him to take his case to the then First Lady, Ha­jiya Maryam Abacha. So, be­ing a friend to Abacha, he met Ha­jiya Maryam and lodged his com­plaint. The First Lady spoke to the then se­cu­rity ad­viser, Al­haji Isma’ila Gwarzo and di­rected him to han­dle the mat­ter. Through him they di­rected our di­rec­tor-gen­eral, Al­haji Ab­dul­rah­man Michika to re­move me and send me some­where else. That was how I was trans­ferred to La­gos.

Can you re­call any joy­ful mo­ment?

There was a time I went to Da­m­a­garan in Niger Repub­lic with my friend. Un­for­tu­nately, we could not get rooms be­cause there were too many guests that day. At last, we got two rooms, and when I men­tioned my name to the at­ten­dant who was writ­ing re­ceipt for us, one big man heard me and asked: ‘Who is Halilu Ahmed Getso?’ I said I was the one and he hugged me and di­rected the at­ten­dant to col­lect our keys, say­ing we were his guests. He took us to his house and or­gan­ised a won­der­ful din­ner for us and told us to come back in the morn­ing for break­fast. The next day, af­ter we had our break­fast, the man took us to the Emir of Da­m­a­garan, the late Amadu Kuren Daga.

As a for­mer ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ra­dio Kaduna, have you ever been con­sulted by your suc­ces­sors for ad­vice on how to move the or­gan­i­sa­tion for­ward?

Who will con­sult you? It is very dif­fi­cult for lead­ers to call you for ad­vice. It is dif­fi­cult be­cause they al­ways open their hands to col­lect and you will ad­vise them to stop that. So how would they come to you for ad­vice? Cer­tainly, they will not.

Is it be­cause of your rigid stand on is­sues that some peo­ple con­sider you a rad­i­cal jour­nal­ist?

Yes, some­body called me rad­i­cal and I ac­cepted it. If be­ing rad­i­cal means stand­ing for the right thing, yes, I am one. And it has paid off. I am not re­gret­ting most of my ac­tions dur­ing my years in broad­cast­ing.

still prac­tise

Do you jour­nal­ism?

Any time some­one ap­proaches me to do a pro­gramme for him, I can do it, pro­vided the per­son will pay me. This is be­cause I don’t have any­thing to sus­tain my­self and cater for my fam­ily. Very soon I will start a new pro­gramme called Iyabo. The pro­gramme will fea­ture for­mer Pres­i­dent Oluse­gun Obasanjo and peo­ple will have the op­por­tu­nity to know him very well.


Who will pro­gramme?

the I will get a spon­sor be­fore the time.

What ad­vice do you have for young jour­nal­ists?

They should fear God in the dis­charge of their du­ties. They should hold trans­parency and hon­esty as their guide in all their un­der­tak­ings. If you can do these, I am sure you will ex­cel in this pro­fes­sion.

What is the size of your fam­ily?

I have four wives, 26 chil­dren and 26 grand­chil­dren. I thank Al­lah for bless­ing me with them.

Al­haji Halilu Ahmed Getso

Al­haji Getso: “I would re­mind the politi­cians about these prom­ises from time to time.”

Getso: “It is very dif­fi­cult for lead­ers to call you for ad­vice.”

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