•Commends Vanguard on fair, balanced reporting
By Ishola Balogun
LAGOS—Professor of Sociology and former Dean, Faculty of Social Science, University of Lagos, Lai Olurode has described all the insinuation about Fulanisation and Islamisation of the country as a trash and impossibility.
The former National Commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, also commended Vanguard Newspapers for choosing the path of credibility, democratisation and giving a sense of belonging to everyone.
Prof Olurode stated this, yesterday, during a courtesy visit by Unilag Muslim Community to Vanguard Newspapers. The delegation was received by the Editor, Mr Eze Anaba and his deputy, Mr. Adekunle Adekoya.
“There are many institutions whether privately owned or publicly owned that have not survived for more than 30 years. Many newspapers of the 70s are no more, but for you, the founder of Vanguard newspapers has a good vision of leaving something credible that can survive the time. That is why you have chosen not to identify with a particular ethnic group or with any religious group. We have observed that you just only create a platform for religious ideas and ethnic consciousness to compete for attention. For that reason, we decided to pay a courtesy visit to this exceptional institution that have sailed through turbulent periods in this country.
“Each time you go through Vanguard, you have an idea of what the country is like, you see what I call Mosaic culture revealing ethnic mix and multiculturalism.
“We also want to commend you on giving Islam a breathing space. You must be a pioneer of newspapers dedicating two pages for Islam every Friday. You have consistently done this for the past 15 years. We acknowledge that and say kudos to you. We enjoin you to keep it up and possible give more space to Islam on Friday.
“I want to tell you that Muslims are not insensitive to what you are doing. We don’t want to lord it over others, that will be primarily anti-Islam and it is not the character of Prophet Muhammad. Islam emphasises ‘No compulsion in religion’. Most of the early converts came into the religion not by cohesion but by exemplary conduct of the Prophet. But today, we say religiosity in terms of proliferation of houses of worship, but not in terms of conduct and human centered relationship. We know Vanguard is a general interest paper, cutting across business, entertainment especially your weekend edition as well as cartoons. If it is only the cartoon you read daily, you will get the message of what is going on in the country.
“Look at what has happened recently, Buhari conferred more credibility on June 12, and it is like admitting that Abiola ought to have been sworn in as President. Nobody could have thought that could happen through Buhari. Same way, you can have an Islamic oriented newspaper that will not do justice to information about Islam as you are doing. So, what is important for everybody is to dispense justice regardless of the religion and ethnicity. That is the only way our society can make progress. So, we want you to continue on that path you have chosen, the path of credibility, the path of democratisation and the path that gives sense of belongings to all manners of people.
“Diversity is God’s creation. All the story about Fulanisation, Islamisation is trash because it is not possible. God created the world with multiplicity, we cannot be wiser than Him, we can’t even be as wise as He is. So, if He had wanted everybody to be one, He would have done so and nobody would stop Him, rather He said, multiplicity is my way and diversity is for me. So, we want to encourage you to continue along this path. You can be rest assured that the University of Lagos Muslim Community, will continue to recommend your paper to most of our students. We know they always want to pick your paper, at least, on Fridays.
Receiving the delegation, Deputy Editor, Vanguard Newspapers, Mr Adekunle Adekoya said:
“Vanguard is a liberal and general interest paper. We don’t deny anybody the right or the opportunity to present his or her view on any issue. As different groups present their views, we also allow readers to react as they deem fit, without let or hinderance.