Osinbajo Bemoans State of the Nation, Optimistic About a New Dawn
•Extols departed media leaders at Afternoon of Tributes in Lagos
Deji Elumoye in Abuja, Charles Ajunwa and Emma Okonji in Lagos
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday at a National Prayer Breakfast in Abuja, expressed optimism about a new dawn for Nigeria after the travails it is going through.
The Vice President was also in Lagos later yesterday at an Afternoon of Tribute for departed media leaders, where he eulogised late Malam Ismaila Isa, Malam Wada Maida, Mr. Bisi Lawrence, Chief Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, Mr. Eddie Aderinokun, Mr. Ben Egbuna, Prince Tony Momoh and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, describing them as giants of their craft “who used their noble profession to make enduring impacts on both the private and public sectors of the country.”
Osinbajo, was joined at the National Prayer Breakfast by former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon; President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Samson Ayokunle, among other dignitaries, where he declared that the current challenges facing the country would eventually give way to a glorious and bright new nation.
He said: “The new nation is birthing already. It is covered by a cloud, but the cloud will pass, and God Almighty will take all of the glory for the birthing of a new nation.”
Noting that the theme of the Prayer breakfast, “Birth of a New Nation”, was significant, especially in this trying period, Osinbajo emphasised the need for collective prayers, faith, hope and action, adding that Nigeria would prevail over the challenges of today.
According to him, the National Prayer Breakfast “comes at a time of great travail and tribulation for the nation: in the throes of a pandemic for well over a year, leading to a severe economic downturn, loss of jobs and livelihoods; and as we climbed out of the recession, we have been faced with an unprecedented scale of insecurity, in different zones of the nation.
“But we know that every time that a nation where the lives of the children of God are challenged, it is God’s call to His people to take action. It is an opportunity for God to demonstrate that He is God over the nations, that He is the creator of the heavens and the earth, that He knows the beginning from the end. But God also wants us to know that He has ordained us to speak to life.”
Quoting copiously from the Holy Book, the Vice President recalled the work and prophetic actions of men and women of faith who played vital roles in nation-building during biblical times.
Osinbajo said: “The Scripture has consistently shown us that children of God are central to the birth of a new nation, the rebirth of nations. They must desire the change, cry to God, be ready to make the sacrifice of repentance.”
Describing the people of God as the salt of the earth, Osinbajo stressed: “As we are the salt, we are also the light; the light ends the darkness; it marks the end of the night of weeping and marks the glorious sunlight of the morning of joy. So, the pouring of the salt into the source of the water, the source of the problem, is the prophetic act we perform today,”
Making reference to 2 Kings 2:19-22 in the Holy Bible, he posited: “We, the salt, are also poured today by prayer and prophecy, to the source of our nation’s problems. And as we pray and prophesy, a new nation will be birthed; one where, like the city to which Elisha went, the land was healed, the people prospered and peace and joy prevailed.”
Osinbajo thanked the organisers, CAN, as well as the former Head of State whom he described as the “father of the Nigerian Pray Movement.”
He also commended Gen Gowon “for his commitment and dedication to this nation from his youth, when he was Head of State, when he led the fight to keep Nigeria one, to his later years as an elder statesman where his well-seasoned words uttered in Godly wisdom have counselled our nation’s leaders for decades.”
The Vice President landed in Lagos in the afternoon for an Afternoon of Tributes to departed media leaders and eulogised late Malam Ismaila Isa, Malam Wada Maida, Mr. Bisi Lawrence, Chief Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, Mr. Eddie Aderinokun, Mr. Ben Egbuna, Prince Tony Momoh and Alhaji Lateef Jakande, describing them as giants of their craft who used their noble profession to make enduring impacts on both the private and public sectors of the country.
At the eceremony held at the Muson Centre, Onikan, Lagos, Osinbajo said Nigeria’s history would be incomplete without the media, saying that the media were at the forefront of the country’s independence in 1960, adding, “that we have democracy today are due to the sacrifices of the media.”
He praised the departed media leaders for their dedication and patriotism towards nation building.
Vice President Osinbajo thereafter presented certificates and plagues to family members of the nine departed media leaders.
The Publisher, THISDAY Newspapers, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, who paid tribute to late Wada Maida (March 5, 1950-August 17, 2020), described him as a friend who was always “gentle and quiet”.
Obaigbena said he came across Wada as a journalist with Time Magazine (in America) in search of supplement and on issues of transition programmes for democracy, after the coup of Muhammadu Buhari which overthrew President Shehu Shagari.
According to him, August 25, 1985, Wada helped him to organise the interview with General Buhari which happened to be his last as Head of State which he flew to New York to produce.
On August 27, 1985, he said he got a call that there was a coup in Nigeria, he tried to call Wada on the day of the coup that ousted Buhari and he couldn’t reach him. Obaigbeina said on 28, 1985, he placed a call to the Dodan Barracks and the person that picked his call was Wada. I said, “Wada you are still there? He replied, “Of course, and he was the Chief Press Secretary to IBB for about a month. And he helped me organised the first interview with General Babangida for the same edition (Time Magazine).”
He said his late friend got more involved at NAN (News Agency of Nigeria) after the crisis of 1982, where he (Obaigbena), Wada and two others revived the Guild of Editors and brought the Guild back in 1988. According to him, Wada who was born in Katsina and attended school in Katsina, was one of the early investors in Daily Trust Newspapers and other organisations.
In his tribute to Alhaji Lateef Jakande (July 24, 1929-February 11, 2021, former governor of Ogun State Chief Segun Osoba, said he was so close to the former governor of Lagos State for over 60 years.
On late late Jakande during his time at Tribune, he said: “The Tribune was one newspaper no government could afford to miss because of its rich editorial content.”
Osoba requested that late Jakande’s wife open his library to enable researchers carry out thorough research on his works which he failed to pen down for posterity before his demise.
“I feel upset, uncomfortable and unhappy about the demise of Grand Pa of Nigeria’s journalism. For today’s event, we should be happy of his enduring legacy.”
The Director of May Five Media, Mr. Ray Ekpo, in his tribute to Prince Tony Momoh (April 27, 1939-February 1, 2021), described him as “Journalist of Journalists”, saying he was a man of dignity. “He was professional to his finger nails…He made many things possible in journalism”.
On former Director General, FRCN, Mr. Ben Egbuna, John Momoh, Chairman, Channels TV, described him as the man with a “golden voice” and one of the finest journalists and media practitioners. “Selfless and uncompromising in all that is good, Ben was a thorough bred journalist, brilliant and innovative.”
Lanre Idowu, CEO, Diamond Publications Ltd, described Mr. Eddie Aderinokun (July 1930-January 3, 2021) in his tribute as multi-talented in music, sports, poetry, saying he was fatal in his imagination and careful in speech. According to him, late Aderinokun enjoyed meeting standards in his profession. “He was a noble soul that recognised his shortcomings.”
For former Publisher of Leadership Newspaper (May 1, 1962-ecember 11, 2020), Mr. Isaiah Nda-Isaiah, Mr. Azubuike Ishiekwene, Eitor-in-Chief, Leadership), described him as a man of big ideas with patriotic spirits, saying he loved Nigeria dearly. According to him, Nda-Isaiah spoke “truth to power, a bridge builder, down to earth pundit.” He said that late Isaiah believed that Nigeria was better together.
Chairman, Vanguard Media Ltd, Mr. Sam Amuka, in his tribute to Mallam Ismaila Isa (January 17, 1942-July 20, 2020), described him as a successful businessman and a blessing to the Nigeria media. He said Ismaila who was erroneously described as a member of a cabal in President Buhari’s administration, said he meant well for Nigeria.
Former General Manager, Lagos State Broadcasting Corporation, Mr. Bisi Lawrence (October 23, 1932-November 11, 2020), was described by Mr. Tony Akiolu, Managing Director, Daar Communications, as an inspiration and mentor whom he said mentored him for 30 years. “A man of matchless courage, with him there was no cutting of corners, he was uncompromising and Lagos to him was everything.”
Consultant, Guardian Newspapers Ltd, Mr. Lade Bonuola, in his tribute to Chief Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, said he invested a lot on human development and kept public officials on their toes.
The event was attended by governors of Lagos and Ekiti states – Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Dr. Kayode Fayemi. Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun was represented by his deputy, Noimot Salako-Oyedele. Katsina State Governor Aminu Bello Masari was represented by his Commissioner for Information, Abdulkarim Yahaya Sirika. The Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, family members of the departed media leader, and media practitioners from all over the country were also at the event.