Mr Ochereoma Nnanna, Editorial Board Chairman of Vanguard newspaper had in an unguarded moment described Yorubas as “sophisticated morons more like” in reaction to a FaceBook comment on the June 12, which implied that the people were too political discerning not to see the political undertone in President Buhari’s declaration of the annulled 1993 poll as Democracy Day, followed with the highest national award, GCFR, for the acclaimed winner, Chief MKO Abiola.
Hell was let loose as Nnanna and the newspaper came under heavy attack on social media, despite observations that Nanna made the remark on his private FaceBook wall and not on the pages of the newspaper. To calm frayed nerves, the medium’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr Gbenga Adefaye, had to issue a statement assuring readers of its neutrality and promised to continue to serve them in the best tradition of journalism practice. Hours later the man behind the storm, wrote an apology, shown below
Plead For Forgiveness From The Yoruba Nation
By Ochereoma Nnanna
Once again, I wish to humbly appeal to all Yoruba people to please forgive and forget my indiscretion on my Facebook comment on Friday, 9th June 2018 which, understandably sparked off widespread outrage. I never imagined in my wildest dream that an offhand remark could provoke an anger of volcanic dimension which has threatened my career and Vanguard Newspapers as an institution.
The offensive comment did not come out the way I intended it – as familial joke – but as an adult I am solely responsible for the outcome. One moment of madness has threatened my 29 years of living and working in Lagos during which I have made friends from all ethnic groups, and not among the least the Yorubas. I sincerely regret this unfortunate incident.
I must say that the indiscretion was not done at the behest, or on behalf of, Vanguard Newspapers. That is why I have serially issued my heartfelt apologies to my Yoruba compatriots both as a group and personally to those whose contacts I possess. Happily, almost all of them have shown uncommon understanding because they know me very well and have followed my work as a journalist closely.
Nothing could be further from the wrong notion of “ethnic hatred” some have ascribed to me. I have enjoyed mutually beneficial relationships with people of Yoruba ethnic stock as with a cross-section of other Nigerians, both high and low. This is probably not the forum to go into details on this because of space constraints. Therefore my apology is total and without reservations.
I take the blame for my failure to realise the damage such careless and irresponsible comment could cause. It is a big eye-opener and lesson to me. I regret the trauma this unfortunate episode has caused everybody.
I am willing to play any role required of me to end this matter peacefully and promote understanding. I have learned my lessons and I am eager to prove that I have no hatred for any group whatsoever, not least the Yoruba ethnic group. Their generosity of heart has promoted the corporate existence of Nigeria and provided all Nigerians and even foreigners a condusive environment for self-actualisation.
On this note, I completely retract that offensive post because it neither represents what the illustrious Yoruba nation stands for nor my perception of them. I call on all my friends, kith and kin to please join in all efforts to restore confidence, mutual respect and love which were badly shaken since this nightmare started.
Thank you, and may God bless you all. And may God bless Nigeria.