Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka during an interview with Headlinenews at the Freedom Park, Lagos. (Tuesday, 2nd March 2021)
Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State congratulates the Nobel laureate, playwright, poet, author and human rights activist, Prof. Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, who turned 87 on Tuesday.
The Governor described Soyinka as a global icon who showcased his works of art to the world. Dapo Abiodun stated that, Soyinka is a blessing bestowed on Ogun State, and is proud of its exceptional qualities and talent.
“On July 13, 1935, the heavens bestowed on Ogun State, Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, the rarest breed of mankind.”
“From being the conscience of the Nation, you conquered the world as a playwright, poet, essayist, and public intellectual.”
“At 87, we proudly celebrate an enigma whose kind only Ogun State has the privilege of laying claim to. Congratulations, Prof,.”
Also, the Yoruba youths under the aegis of the apex body of all Yoruba interests’ groups in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, Igbimo Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council Worldwide), congratulated the literary giant on his 87th birthday confirming Soyinka as the pride of ‘Yoruba Land.’
This message was in the press release issued by the National Secretary of the group, Ogbeni Ajibode Abd’kabir O, and made available to Headlinenews.
YCW wished the Nobel laureate more years on earth, praying that God Almighty would grant him all he desired.
Soyinka was born on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, in the then Western Nigeria, and educated both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
In an unprecedented feat, Soyinka emerged as the first Africa to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In his long and distinguished career, Soyinka has continued to evince the rich attributes of a global citizen confirming Nigeria as a country with talented persons of integrity.
Some of his notable works are; The Lion and the Jewel (1959); the Trials of Brother Jero; A Dance of the Forests (1960); Death and the King’s Horsemen (1975); A Play of Giants (1984); The Beatification of Area Boy (1996); Ake: The Years of Childhood (1981); Telephone Conversation (1963), among other highly revered works.
The founder of the Non-Governmental Organisation “Against Injustice” Princess Gloria Adebajo-Fraser MFR also congratulated the literary icon on his milestone birthday. She extoled the virtues of the literary giant describing him as a “colossus who has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the Yorubas in particular and Nigeria in general has all it takes to compete on the global stage in a level playing field.”
Princess Gloria further stated that having a way with words and the ability to communicate effectively is a talent which is given by God Almighty and developed irrespective of colour, gender, race, religion, ethnicity or nationality.
Soyinka’s track record is a confirmation of this and his life and achievements should be an inspiration to many young people today. Soyinka will remain a role model for generations and the Yoruba should be proud of him.
The Yorubas are the largest homogenous race in Nigeria and could also boast of being the most educated ethnic group in Nigeria with the highest record of literary scholars and academia.
The Yorubas, therefore, have no justification for the underdevelopment in the region and dependence on other regions for many essential items.
The Yorubas ought to strive for self-sufficiency in food production and initiate an industrial revolution to sustain the socio-economic development in the region.
There should be free education in the region so that the educational sector will provide the foundation for more Soyinkas in the region. According to her, the celebration of Soyinka @ 87 is a wake-up call for the region’s educational sector.