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Our Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

By Mba Ukagwu


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Professor Wole Soyinka, a celebrated Nobel Laureate and infamous statesman, is often considered a source of national pride for his country. I once admired Wole Soyinka deeply, to the extent of honoring him, alongside Chinua Achebe and others, in one of my poetry books. I highlighted and extolled his accomplishments beyond the borders of Nigeria.

Recipients of the Nobel Prize in Literature and Peace are typically recognized as activists and peacemakers, respectively. Their work influences society, champions the cause of the less privileged, critiques corrupt governments, and more. Nobel Laureates are expected to embody noble qualities, free from bigotry and racism, and to uphold a sense of noblesse oblige.

Regrettably, our esteemed Nobel Laureate recipient has become a source of shame, making us feel diminished in foreign lands.

In his book “You Must Set Forth at Dawn,” Soyinka portrays himself as a staunch freedom fighter, always advocating for justice, equity, and equality. He recounts that his imprisonment during the Biafran War was not so much due to his support for Biafran secession but because he sympathized with the Biafrans. His advocacy for democracy during General Abacha regime, according to him, infuriated Sani Abacha, ultimately leading to his exile as Abacha supposedly sought his life.

However, it can be argued with confidence that Soyinka’s activism and fight for freedom are only apparent when they align with his personal interests and those of his Yoruba ethnic group. He fiercely opposed the Abacha government, yet failed to criticize the far more oppressive Buhari regime, despite the numerous extrajudicial killings and cold-blooded murders under Buhari’s rule. This inconsistency is particularly striking given that, as an elder statesman, Soyinka supported Buhari during his campaign, which incapacitated him in criticizing his administration.

During the Buhari administration, Professor Wole Soyinka, as an elder statesman, supported Buhari during his campaign. This support likely explains his silence amidst the numerous atrocities committed during Buhari’s tenure.

Despite being an intellectual, Soyinka displayed a strong bias. Many informed Yorubas, including the most influential Yoruba political body, supported and continue to support Mr. Peter Obi. However, Soyinka failed to recognize the promise and potential in Mr. Obi.

Unfortunately, even to this day, he expresses no regret for his choice to support, advocate for, and vote for President Tinubu. Instead, he has chosen to direct unwarranted criticisms towards Mr. Obi.

Our Nobel Laurent turns blind eyes and deaf ears to all the incompetencies, venalities, malfeasance and the ilks fraught in this administration with a resolve to attack someone who’s not in power; is this a red herring, misplaced priorities or an honest ignorant?

Whichever one it is, it lends weight to what most Nigerians already know about our Nobel Laurent, that he is a ruthless but malicious bigot, a sadist and cynic that has his eyes on the main chance in masquerade of being an activist.

Up till now, he still hasn’t said anything negative about his tribesman, President Tinubu, in the face of countless intractable issues his government has created for the country, making Nigeria and Nigerians to feel small both within Africa and on the world stage.

Our Nobel Laurent, you and your contemporaries, Olusegun Obasanjo, Buhari, Tinubu and others grimly ruined this country by virtue of your selfishness, avarice, religious/tribalistic inclinations.

As an elderly stateman, the younger generations are looking up to you to display probity and straightforwardness as is expected of the elderly in our cultures and traditions. Haplessly, in lieu of being a model to the young generations, you’re being an front to long in the tooth Africans.

Look towards the horizon and behold the twilight swiftly approaching you as the necessity of life must visit all mortals. We all never will figure out why we are alive today and many of our contemporaries are not. Yet, there are mysterious reasons behind it. Having written lots of spurious memoirs anent your being a champion of democracy, human right advocate, freedom fighter, inter alia, yours could be setting the record of deception to the world straight. Be bold and honest enough to apprise the world that you only fight your ethnicity and yourself, not what the world erroneous believes by virtue of your leading it to the garden path. For this will bring your spirit peace when gathered with the fathers.

The world is paying close attention, and if there were established rules governing the Nobel Prize Award, Nigeria would undoubtedly have forfeited it by now. The very purpose of institutionalizing the Nobel Prize is being undermined and seemed defeated in the case of Nigeria.


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