June 12: Vanguard editorial board chair under attack over abusive comment

A columnist and chairman of Vanguard Newspapers editorial board, Ochereome Nnanna, is presently under attack over his recent comment on Social media, where he described Yoruba people as ‘sophisticated morons’ following the award of Nigeria’s highest honour bestowed on M.K.O Abiola by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Buhari had on Wednesday June 6 announced to confer the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR) on Abiola, a posthumous honour that came 25 years after the most believed free, fair and credible election held in 1993.

Though, to many Nigerians, the step was a welcomed idea, which attracted commendations but some critics have also questioned the motive behind it considering why it is done when elections will hold in few months time.

A Facebook thread had emerged on Saturday where one of the users, Sunday Areh wrote: “I used to think that the South-West was very sophisticated. I was wrong. They are the most gullible. They fall for every poisoned carrot dangled before them”, before Nnanna retorted, “Sophisticated morons more like.”

These two comments generated a lot reactions among Social media users, which endeared management of the Newspapers to issue a statement, dissociating itself from Nnanna’s comment.

The statement, which was circulated by its Editor-in-Chief, Gbenga Adefaye partly read, “While we are carefully interrogating the circumstance that led to that comment, with a decisive response to the author, we wish to acknowledge that the statement was made entirely as part of a private conversation.

“Vanguard dissociates itself totally from such unwarranted but careless, private outburst.

“But we also wish to stress that Mr Nnanna’s position (as indeed like that of any senior editorial staff at the Vanguard) must always reflect a circumspect conduct that takes into cognizance the sensitive nature of our responsibility, and in particular, the need to maintain decorum and decency in all conduct and dealings, whether private or public, formal or virtual.”

The newspaper, however assured patrons, readers and stakeholders to always remain on the path of correct professional etiquette, practise responsible journalism and adhere to the highest ethics of fairness, objectivity and just conduct as vital ingredients for peace and growth in a plural and multifaceted society like Nigeria’s.

“We will like to re assure our patrons, readers and stakeholders that Vanguard newspapers will always remain on the path of correct professional etiquette, practice responsible journalism and adhere to the highest ethics of fairness, objectivity and just conduct, as these are essential ingredient for peace and growth in a plural and multifaceted society such as ours.

“We will like to place on record that Vanguard newspapers will continue to do all within its power to ensure that we do not betray the trust that has been reposed in us by the public,” the paper said.

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