Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun State has felicitated with Nobel laureate, playwright, poet, author and human rights activist, Prof. Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, who turned 87 on Tuesday.
The governor in his birthday message described Soyinka as a global icon who conquered the world with his works of art.
According to the Governor, Soyinka is a blessing bestowed on Ogun State, boasting that only Ogun State could lay claim to the kind of enigma in the Nobel laureate.
In his words, “On July 13, 1935, 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,” he said.
Also, the Yoruba youths under the aegis of the apex body of all Yoruba interests groups in Nigeria and in the Diaspora, Igbimọ Apapo Yoruba Lagbaye (Yoruba Council Worldwide), while congratulating the literary gaint on his 87th birthday described Soyinka as the pride of ‘Yoruba Land.’
This was contained in a statement issued by the National Secretary of the group, Ogbeni Ajibode Abd’kabir O, and made available to The New Diplomat.
The group, in the statement also wished the Nobel laureate more years on earth, praying that God will grant him all his heart desires.
The statement reads, “On behalf of the entire Youths of Yoruba land under the visionary Presidency of Aare Barr. Oladotun Hassan Esq. (Aare Olori Ọdọ Oodua), we specially felicitate with our Father, Mentor, Icon, Academician per Excellence, Professor Akinwale Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka, the first black noble laureate and pride of Yoruba Land.
“Today we celebrate and as well congratulate you for experiencing another year on earth in sound health with abundant greatness.
“We therefore supplicate that may the spirit of our progenitors continue to guide and grant you all your heart desires and answer both your loud and silent prayers.
“Lẹẹkansi, ẹku oríire ọjọ ibi yin loni, ẹmi yin aṣe ọpọlọpọ rẹ l’aiye, láàyè ninu alaafia, ninu ọla ati ninu aiku tin ṣe baalẹ ọrọ. Igba odun, odun kan ni baba.”
Soyinka who was born on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, in the then Western Nigeria, was educated both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
In an unprecedented feat, Soyinka emerged as the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. In his long and very distinguished career, Soyinka has continued to evince the rich attributes of a global citizen.
Some of his notable works are; The Lion and the Jewel (1959); the Trials of Brother Jero; A Dance of the Forests (1960); Death and the King’s Horseman (1975); A Play of Giants (1984); The Beatification of Area Boy (1996); Aké: The Years of Childhood (1981); Telephone Conversation (1963), among other highly revered works.