By Farooq A. Kperogi
A November 5 Sunday Tribune article by Bolanle Bolawale titled “Have Tinubu’s appointments been equitable and fair?”— which justifies, rationalizes, and explains away what some people have called Tinubu’s Yorubacentric appointments— has been misattributed to me.
It turned out that the Nigerian Tribune’s webmaster posted Bolawale’s “On the Lord’s Day” Sunday column in the space for my Saturday “Notes from Atlanta” column on Tribune’s website in error. I had no idea this had happened.
I first became aware of it early Sunday morning when I got scores of messages from random people commending and condemning me for the article, which I had not the slightest hint existed.
Because I had no clue what was going on, I genuinely thought the people who emailed me had lost their minds. I thought they were mass hallucinating or suffering from fuel-subsidy-removal- and hunger-induced psychosis—until one of them sent me a link to the article, and it had my byline!
I immediately texted a Tribune editor and asked what was going on. He reached out to the webmaster who profusely apologized and said the mix-up of Bolawale’s column and mine was an honest, unintentional error.
The webmaster immediately corrected the mistake. If you go to Tribune’s site, the article now appears in Bolawale’s “On the Lord’s Day” column. His contact details are on the site, too.
I thought that was it. But I have now discovered that the column has gone viral on WhatsApp and has been republished on many fringe websites. Multiple people still share it with me and wonder what motivated me to write it.
I want to put it on the record that I did NOT write the article. My “Notes from Atlanta” column on the back page of the Saturday Tribune appears only on Saturdays (duh!) and is always also published on my blog and on Facebook and Twitter.
Plus, anyone who has read me consistently would know that the language in the column does not bear my stylistic imprints.
This is the third time (as far as I am aware) that I have suffered this sort of misattribution. The first was the misattribution of my column on how power damages the brain to Pat Utomi in late 2019.
Although I wrote multiple articles to call attention to this, and Pat Utomi himself wrote a column in ThisDay to deny authorship of the article, some people still misattribute it to him.
Then in June 2022, someone (maybe some people) intentionally misappropriated my March 5, 2002, column titled “Tinubu, Dogara, and the Prison and Poison of Religious Politics,” retitled it as “ARE YOU CHRISTIANS REALLY A MINORITY IN NIGERIA,” proceeded to attribute to me things I didn’t say in my original column, circulated it on WhatsApp groups, and got it published on numerous peripheral websites.