By Japhet Alakam
Notable Nigerians penultimate week commended the roles played by some prominent journalists in Nigeria’s development and enthronement of democratic government in the country. Specifically, roles played by the former Managing Director of Daily Times and former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba, Felix Adenaike and the late Peter Ajayi during the presentation of The Three Musketeers, written by Agboola Sani.
The presentation which witnessed the presence of notable Nigerians including Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi 111, The Alafin of Oyo took place at the Banquet hall, Premier Hotel, Ibadan.
Speaking in his capacity as the father of the day, The Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Olayiwola Adeyemi congratulated both the author and the three musketeers especially late Peter Ajayi for his professional excellence in the defence of whatever he believed in just like his other two colleagues. Chief Segun Osoba and Mr. Felix Adenaike who had been consistent in his rebuff to all overtures to take chieftaincy title. He listed icons in the journalism profession and the roles they played, saying the trio “may not be biological brothers but competence, excellence and professional integrity bind them together.
He recollected their professional excellence during the political tremor of the Second Republic especially between 1979 and 1983 during the Shagari era. “The political wind that was blowing across the South West at that time was that of seeing anybody that recognized the national political status quo, then as an enemy of the Yoruba. That was the fallout of the failure of the sage,Chief Obafemi Awolowo to win the presidential election.
On my own part as the Alaafin, I stood by the age-long tradition to always respect all legally constituted authorities. It was the spirit that guided my relationships with both the federal and state authorities at that time.”
On the future of journalism in the country and Yoruba land? “I don’t want to believe that there is a declining level of professionalism; rather, I can trace it to the state of anomie the country finds itself today.”
Finally, he advised the present set of journalists to try and rise above any social defects’ just like the three Musketeers and their own predecessors too. They should not allow themselves to be consumed by the current vogue of industrialization.
On his part, Chief Muritala Adebayo Adetunji JP, OFR, the father of the day who was happy to be part of the celebration of the personalities known as the Three Musketeers because he knew them from the very beginning, narrated how they told him about their intention to document their voyage into journalism and the bond among them.
“When these people, Peter Ajayi, now late, Felix Adenaike and Segun Osoba told me about their intention to document their voyage into journalism and the bond among them, culminating in the “Three Musketeers” as propounded by the late Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, I was happy that at last something in permanent form would be available as reference point for what journalism should be.”
Adetunji who was not happy that the Nigerian state has not done enough in tapping from the Three Musketeers, especially their primary constituency, practitioners of journalism urged them to maximize the resources that abound in these highly cerebral individuals.
He urged Osoba and Adenaike, to help the profession by writing more books to reveal the secrets of the many exclusive stories by Osoba and the magic wand used by Adenaike to turn around the negative fortune to positive at both Sketch and Nigerain Tribune.
He advised younger practitioners to strive for excellence instead of cash and carry syndrome that has virtually robbed the profession of its noble status among the people.
“The younger generation can still take up the challenge to produce many more Musketeers to take over from these people.”
Finally, he tasked the media which has been promoting people in other fields to find time to promote their own by organizing yearly awards of honour to lift up the practitioners and consequently raise new Musketeers even if under a new name.
I congratulate the Three Musketeers for this wonderful event and commend their spouses, for making the home front comfortable and convenient for the friendship among their husbands to survive and endure.