IT was all encomium for Chief Kola Animasaun, Vanguard Newspapers’ columnist, as eminent Nigerians from all walks of life gathered at the launch of his autobiography yesterday.
Among those present at the event were former Governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba; Chairman of Action Congress of Nigeria, Chief Bisi Akande; General Tajudeen Olarenwaju; the Sultan of Sokoto, represented by Amb Hamza Ahmadu; Senator Ganiyu Solomon; Publisher of Vanguard, Mr Sam Amuka.
Others include; Mr Ogbuefi Nwokeadi; Alhaji Lai Mohammed; Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Mr Sam Omatseye of Nation Newspapers.
Mr Steve Ayorinde of National Mirror, who reviewed the book, praised him on the launch and public presentation of his of Voice of Reason Volume 2.
Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, also described Chief Animasaun as Nigeria’s finest columnist and one of the greatest writers that ever lived.
Others who showered praises on Chief Animasaun were Vanguard columnist, Mr Pini Jason; Prof Oladapo Afolabi; Sen Remi Tinubu represented by Mrs Yetunde Arobieke; Governor Olusegun Mimiko, represented by Commissioner for Information, Mr Kayode Akinmade, among others.
He was described as one of the few journalists, who stood for the truth and is ever forthright in the analysis of political developments in the country.
Asiwaju Tinubu, who was represented by Chief Akinyelure, noted that “Chief Animasaun played his role and stood up when others ran away. As for me, I can only say “thank you.” Thank you for leaving authentic works on the definitive Alhaji Animasaun for the benefit of generations yet to come. The Great Zik of Africa often said in the mast-head of his newspaper, West African Pilot: Show the light and the people will find their way. By this twin-work, Alhaji Animasaun has shown the light; Nigeria will find the way,” he said.
“I congratulate the immediate family of Chief Animasaun. Without their support and love, the man we celebrate today would not have achieved as much as he did. Thank you for your abiding love. That is what has made him a rare and precious gift to his country,” he said.
Governor Ajimobi on his part, said Chief Animasaun stood for the truth and did not care whose ox was gored in observing his profession’s ethics.
He said, “His stand for truth cannot be overlooked especially during the Ibrahim Babangida administration and that of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo because he stood for truth and justice and one of such example was an article he wrote and tagged ‘Obasanjo as being vindictive against his fellow Egba man, Chief M.K.O Abiola’.
“Alhaji Animasaun had affected me intellectually, culturally, religiously and many of us will continue to celebrate him in many years to come and what he represents which is truth, godliness and uprightness,” Ajimobi added.
Meantime, Governor Abiola Ajimobi on his way to the event, rescued unspecified number of accident victims at the Ebute Metta area of the Third Mainland bridge in Lagos.
A truck carrying beef was said to have lost its bearing and rammed into two vehicles, injuring many occupants, including the truck driver.
Governor Ajimobi, who was on his way to Animasaun book launch, immediately ordered his convoy to stop, as he attended to the victims. He also ordered the Government House ambulance in his convoy to make a detour and convey the injured to the hospital.
Man of integrity
Mr Sam Amuka, who was full of praises for Chief Animasaun, said “This for me, is a personal occasion to thank my friend Kola. In all the years we worked together, we had been friends and everything said about him is true. He is a man of integrity, honour and never shakes whenever he had an opinion on an issue but maintains his stance. He is an honourable man with nine lives. It is because of KoIa and other columnists like Pini Jason, Dele Sobowale, Isiaka, Ochereome Nnana, Donu Kogbare, that we had survived and thrived in Vanguard and still thriving today. Kola Animasaun is a man you can vouch for and I am glad to be here. We have a policy in Vanguard, which gives columnists the freedom to write anything short of libel and these columnists have indeed done well.”
Alhaji Tajudeen Olarenwaju on his part said, “Chief Kola Animasaun is a man of resolute mind and goodwill, whose writings have impacted on the society. He has a good sense of conviction. He is a mentor and public defender and does not waste words but goes straight to the point.”
Chief Segun Osoba,in his speech said, “He is a jolly fellow and he laughs at everything. I am here to testify to the character of a man we are celebrating today, a man of honour, a journalist of repute, a man whom you can always rely on, a man you can always trust. I remember how Kola was able to handle his late rascal brother, who no one else did and how he was appointed a caretaker committee chairman of Abeokuta North Local Government Area.
He did everything well but he was not able to face the politics and he sent his resignation letter, which was rejected. He was told to go back and face the politics. This is the quality of the man we are celebrating today, we are celebrating a man who is honourable, a patriotic Nigerian and a man of honour married to a beautiful girl.”
Senator Ganiyu Solomon, said “I encourage columnists to put their papers together just like Chief Kola Animasaun has done. He is widely read on his Sunday column in Vanguard. His audience is fantastic and he is a good writer. He is an uncle and a mentor.”
Mr Steve Ayorinde, who reviewed the book, noted that “From 1939 to the Vanguard of modern journalism, he emphasised on the importance of appreciating the contributions of outstanding journalists. Kola spent more than 40 years in active journalism. He had firm control in the art of story telling, a content man with modest ideology and was celebrated as an accomplished media practitioner, who has put in 19 years in Vanguard. The author’s name has become synonymous with Vanguard. A pragmatic man without undue pretense and his 19years in Vanguard is a crowning glory in his life.”