Wole Soyinka Way: Afenifere Commends Tinubu, Celebrates Soyinka

The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and socio-political organization, Afenifere, has commended President Ahmed Bola Tinubu, GCON, for naming the Arterial Road N20 in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, after the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Professor Wole Soyinka.

The commendation was contained in a Press Statement signed by the organisation’s National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Jare Ajayi, on Thursday, June 6, 2024.

It would be recalled that President Tinubu, on Tuesday this week while commissioning the said road which runs from Northern Parkway to Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX) in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), announced that the 5.4 kilometers road will now be called ‘Wole Soyinka Way’ in honour of the Nobel Laureate, Professor Soyinka who was also the pioneering chairman of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Describing the honour bestowed on Soyinka as well-deserved, Afenifere concurred with Mr. President that the literary icon has “brought Nigeria fame, pride, and international acclaim,” as succinctly put by President Tinubu.

Ajayi also gave kudos to Mr. Nyesome Wike, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), for recommending the naming of the said road after Soyinka to President Tinubu adding that the actions of the Minister and his lieutenants are enhancing the aesthetics and infrastructure of Abuja.

Afenifere spokesman recalled that the playwright who is also an activist was globally acknowledged for creatively and humanistically fashioning the drama of existence through poetic, theatric and prosaic presentations, as underscored during the ceremony in which he was given the prestigious Nobel award in Stockholm, Sweden in 1986.

“The honour bestowed on the Nobel Laureate is timely, coming as we prepare to celebrate the 31st anniversary of June 12 struggle in which Professor Soyinka played very active roles. Not only that, the recognition is also a befitting prelude to the celebration of the Professor’s 90th birthday which is coming up next week.”

Ajayi who stated that national honours for a man who has long become a global citizen were long overdue, added that “it is better late than never, though”. He also submitted that it was better that the man was recognized nationally and internationally while still alive “given the immense contributions he has made locally, nationally and internationally to the efforts at ennobling humanity”.

“Professor Soyinka is one of those who made the world to acknowledge that Africans too are not only endowed but also have a lot to contribute to the ennoblement of humanity.”
Praising Soyinka for never despising his culture, Ajayi recalled him as saying that “One’s own self-worth is tied to the community to which one belongs, which is intimately connected to humanity in general.”

He therefore challenged those in authority at every level in Nigeria to emulate the Nobel Laureate not only by identifying with their people but more importantly to ensure that they act in a manner that relieves the pains of the people and enhance their self-worth.

“Soyinka is always challenging those in authority to use their positions to better the lot of the people and to allow free exchanges of ideas. But he is also always quick to challenge individual citizens to always live and act responsibly,” Ajayi submitted as he urged those in and out of public offices to be more responsible humane in their conducts.

“Afenifere seizes this opportunity to rejoice, in advance, with the literary and academic icon on his 90th birthday coming up next week. We also pray that the Almighty God will bless him with many more decades of good living in robust health and all that would be gladdening one’s heart, especially at such an advanced age that the intellectual giant has attained” the statement concluded.

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