By Uche Amunike
The Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun has described Nigerian Playright and Noble Laureate Prize winner in Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka, as a rare breed who has sojourned through life with exceptional candour, as he marked his 88th birthday, saying that he remained an evergreen ambassador, not only to the state, but to the country.
In his written tribute where he celebrated the erudite scholar, he described him as a flag bearer of the banner of excellence which has made the state stand tall among the comity of states in Nigeria.
It partly read: ‘Ogun is proud to have a son who studied a language; began to teach the owners of the language the language, and invented words for the language, which the owners of the language have never heard of and now which has become regular lexicon of the, or if you like, their language.’
He also stressed that Professor Wole Soyinka deserved to be celebrated, having made himself stand out as the conscience of the nation, poet and public intellectual of prodigious hues, essayist and playwright.
He further stated thus: ‘Professor Wole Soyinka, an emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature and the Black race’s first Nobel Laureate in the Arts of Beautiful Letter (Literature) means many things to different people. To the literary world and the academia, he is celebrated as Kongi, the wordsmith. To the dictators and enemies of democracy, he is a fiery civil fighter. To lovers of democracy, he represents the best in the promotion of people’s rights and good governance, while he remains a father, husband, leader, mentor, hunter and connoisseur of best brewed wine to his buddies.’
Hear him: ‘Today, Ogun State, Nigeria, is a famed point on the global map. The name of Oluwole Akinwande Soyinka is one of the compasses pointing to our dear State.’
He continued: ‘“I have read so many books in the three genres of literature; drama, poetry and prose. The Lion and the Jewel; The Jero Plays; A Play of Giants; Death and the King Horseman; Madmen and Specialist; The Strong Breed; A dance of the Forest; The Forest of a Thousand Demons; A collection of Black African Poetry and, if you like depending on which divide you are, The Man Died and so on. All these literary pieces are Kongi’s footprints in the literary world. But very importantly, these pieces are not just pleasure reads; they are evergreen works of arts and commentary of our religious, political and economical existentialism and essentialism as humans.’
‘Today, the entire World celebrates Professor Wole Soyinka at 88. The Government and the entire people of Ogun State celebrate intellectual accomplishment, integrity, civil liberty defence and so on. And, if Nigeria celebrates our fledgling democracy, Wole Soyinka remains one of the planters of the seed which has grown to bear the bountiful harvest of people-oriented good governance’ Abiodun’s tribute stated.
He affirmed that Prof Wole Soyinka valued and longed for ideals of continued development of the state and increased prosperity for all residents in the state, irrespective of gender, religious or polity affiliation, ethnicity, geographical location and social status, which was why he vowed to ensure that his administration will continue to deliver on good governance, while sustaining equity, Justice and fairness as a way of celebrating him at 88.