BREKETE FAMILY-‘ORDINARY’ AHMED ISAH: THE MAN FIGHTING FOR YOUR RIGHT
‘Ordinary’ Ahmed Isah: Meet the fiery man who is shaking Abuja up with ‘Brekete’
Ordinary Ahmed Isa- A very bold and trust worthy person- who is always ready to imagine what others are going through just to know how it feels like
One man with his loyal followers, who are shaking things up in Nigeria and around the world
At 8:35am on a sandy Friday cock-crow in Mpape Hills, Abuja and an uneasy multitude—all men—from the Apo Mechanic community gathers outside the premises of Crowther Love FM, 104.5. They look nervous but resolute as they protest the 72-hour ultimatum given by the Federal Capital Territory administration to move out ahead of a planned demolition exercise. The multitude believes that with the likes of Ahmed Isah of Brekete Family, whatever ultimatum given will be taken care of –
This is without doubt believed to be a statement-¬of the height of confidence they and hundreds of other inhabitants of Abuja and its neighbourhood, have reposed in the brand which is the only Nigeria’s reality radio talk magazine show
Brekete Family have taken it upon themselves to pursue the cause of the demoralized, exploited, deflated, dejected, subjugated, depressed, dispirited etc in the world though mostly in Nigeria, or to be as their motto screams, ‘the voice of the voiceless” “HEMBELEMBE” “OLOLOLOOOOOO”.
In his words-The Presenter Ordinary Ahmed Isa-“By being truthful and honest is how people have come to trust us”,
By many the presenter is known as -“a man that seen everything”.
“I don’t collect money from anybody for what I am doing. I’m enjoying what I’m doing; if you listen to the radio, you see that we bring up a case and it is solved in a week or less.”
The show is usually produced independently by Isah’s Infomercial Media International,
Ahmed isah of brekete family biography
His show first took place in the year 2009 on Kiss FM Abuja, shortly after he folded up a popular radio show known as ‘Oga Driver’, a pidgin language show.
Brekete Family Show’s working formula is pretty simple; the program is all about speaking on behalf of the voiceless ones i.e. those individuals being victimised or oppressed and then proceeds to advocate on their behalf, his followers touchlites the case/issues at hand and finds a concrete solution.
Isah the Forty+ human right activist is not a foreigner to poverty as was raised by poverty itself, this was what geared him up in his career to make himself—together with his legion of contacts—available to help the underprivileged, regardless of one’s religion, ethnicity, or even social affiliations because, ”I know what it means to be assisted when you need assistance. If someone is thirsty and you give that person three spoons of water to quench the thirst, it has more value than giving that person one drum of water after one week,” this was his words.
Everybody seems to be familiar with him in Abuja; from two young men on the ground floor of one of the busy plazas that litter Garki-Abuja, where one of his offices-the other is in Wuse II is “Nwanne ke bu hembelembeh?” One asks the other), to the cab man who took this reporter there and even the ‘big men’ he is forever challenging. The eyes of the elderly cabbie transporting me to his offices lit up with pride at the mention of an appointment with him. “He stands up to the government, for the ordinary people; to save anyone being oppressed by a ‘big man’. Any bode wy say e no sabi m for this Abuja na lier na me talk m”
An Abuja-based blogger, Zainab Hong, describes the change agent as “fearless, outspoken, bluntly truthful and charismatic”. Writer and usually hard-to-please critic, Gimba Kakanda is a fan too. “I haven’t met him, but I really like him,” he gushes. “He’s doing a wonderful job!”
In his typical standalone fashion, Ahmed disagrees. “I don’t have a biography,” he tells a guest in the studio, as they go over some documents. “I am nobody.” His phone is constantly ringing, his drab ringtone punctuating our conversation frequently, as in defiance. His fashion sense is drab too; his white jacket the only exception to the uniformity of his matching blue shirt, blue jeans and blue shoes.
Ordinary Isa believes his not doing anything special, he bellows at this reporter, his voice a few decibels higher than that of a vibrating loudspeaker. He is an impassioned speaker throughout the interview, his voice rising like a boat caught in high tide. “It is just that in a country like Nigeria, it is an unusual thing,” he continues. “Somebody crying to you, you listen to the person, you now think of the right channel to channel the case and then you follow up. That is all I have been doing. If I have money, I support with money. If I don’t have money, I stay.” “That is what I believe I am created for hehehehehehehe”
From Mpape-Abuja- with Love?
When asked to throw more light on the intimidation and incidents of physical attack he has experienced over the past couple of years, pointing to the contrary. He refuses to cogitate on supposed enemies, attributing his escapes to divine shield and comparing himself to controversial former chairman, Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), Abdul Rasheed Maina. “This is our own small world where the wrong has been going on for a very long time looking like a normal thing,” he laments. “And off-course the terrible individuals will not allow you to just come and change things overnight when they have been thriving or perhaps succeeding from that my there e no easy but we go fight m till the end.”
Isa asking- “Why do they want to silent Abdul Rasheed Maina, is it not because he has been able to uncover their secrets?
On one occasion in April 2013, he was followed by two SUVs when returning from a function he had attended in Maitama. It is reported that he escaped by driving right into the Inspector General of Police’s house. An hour later, he continued on his way, allegedly refusing the police escorts offered him for security; the vehicles were on his heels again a few minutes later, but as the story goes, he managed to escape again and get home.
There have been other attempts to silence him too.
Nduesoh Ogar a 21-year-old NYSC member who served with a government parastatals in the city. Her boss, who happened to be a staunch Brekete fan, listens on his way to work every morning and recounted to her in 2013 how Isah had been trampled upon to the point of death after been locked up in a police cell on the orders of a top-ranking customs official. “He went asking questions, that’s why,” she says, by way of explanation.
Ordinary Ahmed remains unshakeable, saying, “The little time I have on earth, I am going to make an impact on my generation of people. If I die tomorrow because of what I am doing, I have no regrets.”
Power to the people
Classes of cases brought to him ranges from the placidly desperate to the enormously disheartening.
Recounting what has happened of recent “Only last week, a widow sought my assistance in retrieving her deceased spouse’s entitlements from the Nigerian Customs Service, where he had worked till his death four years ago. Calls were made and the lingering case is set to be resolved in no time, as the NCS is presently processing the required amount that is the essence why we are still alive to help the helpless, the voiceless, the down trodden oh may God help us all say Amen”.
“A Nigerian not a stranger ooh-will serve this country for thirty-years +, put in all his youthfulness and the whole lot, only to get to a stage of retirement and then the country will tell you , the same establishment you spent the reasonable part of your life will tell the next of kin that his/her file is missing. Just imagine it was you how will you feel, now tell me is that not an insult to an elder statesman?” he laments.
“It is in Nigeria that a senator will take a one-way traffic against the normal traffic, such a senator should be removed for heaven’s sake but no, they would rather flog people and if you, an ordinary person decides to take advantage to follow suit, they get you arrested. A Governor’s convoy will kill somebody in Nigeria and nobody cares. Is Nigeria just for a few people?”
Isah the Honourable
For many, the graduation from human rights activism to politics is only normal, as the trust of the masses is a precious promotion tool in running for elective offices in the land, available for barter. Governors Kayode Fayemi and Adams Oshiomole of Ekiti and Edo states respectively are two politicians who have transited smoothly from carrying placards and mobilising their colleagues to attending state executive council meetings, but Ahmed Isa is neither swayed nor persuaded by arguments within the polity that government critics get into politics to hasten the much sought-after change.
He explains further: “He Oshiomole is a human rights activist, I am not an activist. I am a humanitarianist. Activists stay where they are. I am not a human rights activist, no! What I do goes beyond just human rights.”
“If you feel joining politics will help in changing Nigeria for a better tomorrow, good you are free to join as long as if you see white you will not paint it to look like yellow no problem go ahead and join the moving train, good for that person. I am a human being and I, Ordinary Ahmed Isa will never go into politics. Even you nominate me for an appointment; I will never take till I die. I will observe from afar and give people a voice period.”
“Some few people thinks that i am building my political career- just like I overheard some people one time saying what I am doing has some political undertone; that I am doing this to build some political clout for myself. As it is now, Between God and Man if I should come out to say I am running for the senatorial position in FCT, even if the person contesting with me is the President Muhammadu Buhari, I will win him hands down, but no I will never vie for any political position in my life time”
Ahmad Isah is also unflinching in his refusal to align with other progressives in the struggle for awareness of citizen rights and a push for justice. “I only know myself,” he says.
The Book of Isah
In March 2013, the programme went on an enforced leave of absence, for three weeks. On its return, the station manager, Mr Sam Akpan quelled rumours of complicity and conspiracy by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) in yanking it off-air. He explained that the producer – who evaded questions on the issue during this interview – had previously refused to sign an undertaking not to use uncouth language on air, a violation of the NBC code.
On the surface though, the Brekete lingua seems more hilarious and crude than racy. Two examples will suffice here; sexual intercourse is termed O-m-o-n-y-o-h and while ‘small’ is interpreted as ‘k-u-r-u-b-e-t-e’, ‘talk’ is ‘v-w-a-n-o-r. Defecation gets a makeover, as one can euphemistically claim to “dey read newspaper under tree”.
“I created it,” he announces, his voice rising again. “Having realised the fact that anything you see in this world is someone else’s creation and I believe there is nothing any other human being can do on earth that I cannot do better.”
Isah and his disciples
Boldly written on the wall of the reception is a notice: “Please note that volunteering with us is without pay, allowances or monetary compensation of any kind.” With over 72, 000 likes on his Facebook page, there is a scramble to volunteer for the show and the task of picking them is no easy one. Some have gone on to use his platform to extort money from people and were immediately dropped – a fact that he indirectly admits in a roundabout way, without giving details – from the crew.
His receptionist, an undergraduate in one of the tertiary institutions in the North, chatting excitedly on the phone to a schoolmate about her work in one of the partitions in the studio, is one of the few volunteers on his team, who have passed his rigorous screening tests.
Sir is everyone on your team a volunteer?
In his words no de put Sir if you de talk to me i be Ordinary Ahmed Isa back to your question “No, I have realised some of the mistakes I have made in the past. Now, I have staff, and volunteer mixed up together. currently, we have just a few lawyers that are volunteer lawyers; they do pro bono cases for people we also have Senior Advocates of Nigeria.”
His staff seem to hang on to his every word; his flow of authority wafting across the room in a like the breeze from an air conditioner. His comrades have traits of the same arrogance: “Wait for me to call you,” one says to someone else on the phone. “I won’t pick your call again if you call me before I call you when I’m ready. It’s that simple.”
Ordinary Isa avoids questions darting to his private life, steering us back to his crusade like a preacher eager to preach the word of salvation. Once however, he lets his guard slip, on the question of having his children become his disciples. “I am a disciplinarian. Even if my children do not grow up to become humanitarian like me, they would be highly disciplined. I am a disciplinarian to the core. That does not make me a saint. I misbehave once in a while. I am a human being. I am not an angel. I am not a saint.”
The Isa Empire
He hopes to build an empire and spread out the show’s reach to other parts of Nigeria to effect nationwide transformation.
In the course of this interview, a techie from House on the Rock is setting up a Teradek Cube—worth a whopping N650,000—for live internet streaming. It is a step further in actualizing his dream of returning Brekete Family to TV (and mobile) screens, after his broadcast initially on DaarSAT and a free-to-air channel – had to be cut, because of lack of funding. He is prepared to resume, but only when he has money, he says.
One source of funding the TV show is his public speaking which he says, pays for producing the show, he says. “I am a public speaker, I am a professional talker. I am an anchor person and MC, I anchor events and that is where I get the money that I use to pay even the radio station.”
Adverts are scrutinized before they get on the show; those that disagree with its ideals get turned down. While on the other hand, “You can bring a good advert and we won’t even ask you to pay money if it will impact on human lives. If it will develop the masses, we will allow you to have it on the platform free of charge after all that’s why we are running the programme”
Even donors are to be screened too.
“I have to know what the organization is donating me for. You don’t say because I need money, you bring money and I embrace it, no.”
Am sorry to say but the truth is that not even the almighty United Nations will be exempted from our scrutiny or given a free pass, in the event of a hypothetical offer. “United Nations will not give any country money without attaching a particular agenda to it. I know of a country that said they are going to support me with money but I should subtly promote gay rights, I insulted the idiot that called me, in fact I wished I was seeing the person on call.”
This in turn answers all on his gay stance, that he is not in support of it “Every sane human being would be in support of it. We are Africans. We have culture; we have tradition. We don’t just behave like animals. Can you dare say to your mum, ‘Mummy, you are lying?’ That is not true, your mouth go swell up. We are Africans. We have culture; rich culture and tradition and values. We are not like the whites that live their lives like animals.”
Though many elite do not believe in his crusade, because they believe he is either been sponsored by a group who have a special interest on something or that he is only trying to buy fame, some do call him noisemaker but according to him that doesn’t stop him from doing his work, Ordinary Ahmed Isa has helped a lot of people ranging from the voiceless to even those with voice. Ordinary Ahmed has assisted a lot of Uniform men and women either in bringing them back to their position or in fighting for their benefits, he has turned the live of a veteran Actor Bruno for the better, Ordinary Ahmed have seen a lot of family through financially, though many are still waiting on the fateful day he will open their case file to offer solution to their problems
Crowther Radio Love Fm
Ordinary Ahmed Isa begins his Live Radio Show on Crowther Love FM every day of the week from Mondays to Fridays 7:30 am to 8:30am
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Originally posted 2017-03-27 13:25:00.