Govs, others celebrate Soyinka @87
Prof. Wole Soyinka
Best wishes have started pouring in for Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, on his 87th birthday with governors, social activists, musicians and Nigerians celebrating the academic who speak up always and who doesn’t allow the “man” to die in him in the face of tyranny.
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi, in a Facebook post on Tuesday, described Soyinka as “a defender of the defenceless”.
He wrote, “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.”
Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, also in a Facebook post, said the state is blessed to have produced the “rarest breed of humankind”.
He wrote, “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.”
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.
She wrote, “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.
“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!”
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.
“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.
At 87, Soyinka’s voice continues to wax strong against social and political vices. He is one of the strong critics of the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.)