Nigerian elder statesman, Nobel Laureate, writer, poet and linguist, Professor Wole Soyinka has turned 87 today and good and well wishes have trooped in from all angles. Governors, social activists, musicians and many Nigerians have taken to social media to celebrate the academic, serenading him with several amazing and humbling names.
Wole Soyinka’s State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, described Wole Soyinka as the rarest breed of humankind, saying the State is blessed to have produced him. Adding that he is the conscience of the nation, the Ogun Governor said Wole Soyinka conquered the world as a playwright, poet, essayist and public intellectual.“On July 13, 1934, the heavens bestowed on Ogun State, Nigeria and Africa as a whole, the rarest breed of humankind. 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”, Dapo Abiodun wrote in a Facebook post.
Also taking to Facebook, Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State Governor described the Octogenarian as a defender of the defenceless, an advocate of truth, fairness and equity, and one of the very best the nation has produced. “We celebrate an iconic personality. A patriot of high repute. Our mentor and hero. A defender of the defenceless. Advocate of truth, fairness and equity. A man of whom justice is the first condition of humanity. One of the very best our country has produced. Wishing you many more blessed and impactful years”, Fayemi wrote.The widow of deceased Afenifere PRO, Yinka Odumakin, activist and President, Women Arise, Joe Okei Odumakin, in a statement, reminisced on Soyinka’s life as an activist from the dark days of military despotism. “Soyinka adds another year… The LION is a year older! Constant as the Northern star! Happy birthday to KONGI himself! Igba odun, odun kan! Long may you live! Long may your services to mankind continue! Long may you be around as the Pathfinder you have been for ages! When there were no civil society groups to serve as the conscience of the masses, you filled the void acting as a one-man Riot Squad! The rogue regime of Ladoke Akintola in the defunct Western Region bears you witness”, she began.
“When the Nigerian Constitution was yet to assign the media the role of holding government accountable to the people, you had picked up the gauntlet and filled the gap. Your role in the Nigerian civil war and your epic novel, The Man Died, bear you witness! Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in the academic category (specifically in Literature); tireless crusader for human rights; a voice that could not be silenced come what may; forever speaking truth to power: We salute Prof. Wole Soyinka as he turns 87!”, she wrote.
Fuji musician popularly known as Saheed Osupa also hailed Soyinka on his 87th birthday. “To a primus inter pares, an African pride, a National crusader, a father-figure, a meritorious mentor, a legendary icon, a core traditionalist, a glocal scholar, a witty literatus, a rare gem and an outstanding intelligentsia whose erudition I so much adore and respect”, he said.
“Thank you for being a blessing to the entire Black race, Prof. May the God of longevity grant you his favour sir, because we really need you to stay longer for a better tomorrow. Happy 87th Birthday, King Kongi, Prof Wole Soyinka! My love for you can never be overstated!”, he wrote on Facebook.
Amnesty International, Nobel Prize and Humanists UK are not left out in the celebration of the first Nigerian Nobel Laureate.
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