Buhari, Muslim bodies, Islamic scholars mourn
A torrent of tributes has continued to pour in for the late Muslim icon, journalist and former Chairman of the Editorial Board of The Vanguard, Alhaji Kola Muslim Animashaun, who returned to Allah on Thursday, May 30 (Ramadan 25) at the age of 79.
Hundreds of Muslim faithful and sympathisers defied other commitments to attend the Janazah (funeral prayer) of one of Nigeria’s finest journalists at the Muslim Burial Ground, Markaz, Agege, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
Muslim News reliably gathered that the veteran Muslim journalist, who would have been 80 on July 5, pronounced the Shahada (Laa ilaaha illa-Allaah) at the point of death. According to sound Islamic tradition, Jannah (Paradise) is guaranteed for a believer whose last word is the Kalimah.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari, who is currently in Makkah, Saudi Arabia for the OIC Summit, mourned the loss of Alhaji Animashaun, a veteran newsman who spent decades of his life as a formidable columnist.
In a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Mallam Garba Shehu, Buhari offered his deepest condolences to the late veteran journalist’s family, saying he would be long remembered and honoured for the rich and elucidating write-ups in the ”Voice of Reason” column he left behind.
“As a distinguished member of the Fourth Estate of the Realm who was largely recognised and admired by colleagues as a consummate professional, the President paid tribute to the late veteran’s contributions to the development of journalism in the country and the many literary works he authored as well as the array of media professionals he trained and mentored on the ethics of the noble pen profession,” Buhari said.
The Chairman, Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalism (NUJ), Dr Qasim Akinreti confirmed the passing of Alhaji Animashaun to Muslim News revealed, “I am glad he lived a fulfilled life.”
Akinreti said, “With utmost sadness, I announce the death of our father in the journalism profession, a first class journalist, columnist, trainer and mentor, Alhaji Muslim Kola Animasaun. He died early this morning according to the Managing Editor, Vanguard Newspapers, Uncle Gbenga Adefaye.
“I visited him at home yesterday night (Wednesday) in company of two journalists. I held his hands and prayed for him. My condolences to the entire Vanguard chapel family and NUJ Lagos Council at large. We lost a rare gem in the industry,” he added.
In their joint tribute, the National President, Alhaji Abdur Rahman Balogun and the Lagos State Chairman, Alhaji Kabir Garba of the Muslim Media Practitioners of Nigeria (MMPN) commiserated with the family of Alhaji Animashaun, who was an MMPN patron, praying that Allah grant the entire family the fortitude to bear his loss.
“We are comforted that our doyen of journalism departed on a beautiful note, in the glorious month of Ramadan and during the last ten days when Muslims globally become more dedicated in Ibaadaat in the search for the Night of Majesty – Lailatul Qadr. For this, we say AlhamduliLlah for a gracious transition!
“Alhaji Animashaun will be remembered for the many giants in journalism that he mentored to prominence. In his death, the nation has lost a true voice of reason, who intervenes with his lucid and informed commentaries at critical times in the life of the nation,” the statement read in part.
The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) also mourned the passage of Alhaji Animashaun, who was one of the Muslim media VIPs who graced the cover of the Muslim News’ May 2019 edition, titled, ‘The Hall of Fame’, which celebrated Muslim men and women changing the face of Islam in the Nigerian media.
Ustadh Abdulwarees Solanke, the
Director, Media and Strategic Communications of the Centre said, “Alhaji Animashaun was truly a Muslim in life and death. He lived Islam to the end, as a just, fair, forthright, peace loving, reasonable, peaceful and humble person.
“He affected his world with his knowledge and commitment to Islam. He used his skills, as a distinguished journalist, to stand out in our convoluted polity to present the voice of reason and beamed light to darkness.”
An Imam at Maryland Central Mosque, Lagos, Ustadh Kabir Al-Asfar recounted his ten-year relationship with the late columnist of the ‘Voice of Reason’ fame on Vanguard Newspaper.
He said, “I knew Alhaji Animashaun about ten years ago when we wanted to extend the Dawah activities of our organisation then to some mosques, and we chose the small mosque in his home then as the first and it was also the last. He would sit at our gathering even with the fact that the age difference was so wide as was his status.
“He made his own burial very easy. He had instructed his children not to bury him at home (even had it written). He, as I was told, had also informed them to not do any Fidau prayers. Till his last breath, he pronounced the Shahadah as I was reliably informed. Such a death is to be wished for.”