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I have learnt my lessons, I am sorry… top journalist apologises for disparaging comment against Yorubas

NNANNA Ochereome, Chairman of the editorial board of Vanguard newspaper, has apologised for referring to the Yoruba ethnic group as “sophisticated morons” in a social media group chat.

In the apology published on his facebook handle, Ochereome said the remarks was intended as a “familial joke”, but added that “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,” Ochereome wrote.

“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 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.”

Vanguard, via a statement authored by its Editor-in-Chief, Gbenga Adefaye, had dissociated itself from Ochereome’s comment, describing it as “unwarranted and careless”.

“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,” Adefaye stated at the time.

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