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Why Wole Soyinka Is Undeserving of Obidients’ Insults


Wole Soyinka is not just any intellectual; he is a titan in the realms of literature and activism.

His accolades include being the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, an achievement that alone should command respect.

Soyinka’s works have not only enriched African literature but also brought global attention to the continent’s rich cultural heritage and complex social issues.

Beyond his literary contributions, Soyinka has been a relentless advocate for human rights.

His activism has often come at great personal cost.

During Nigeria’s civil war, Soyinka was detained for his efforts to mediate peace and his outspoken criticism of the federal government.

This bravery, this willingness to face imprisonment for the cause of justice, is not something to be dismissed lightly.

Yet, despite his monumental achievements, Soyinka has found himself on the receiving end of harsh criticism and disrespect from some quarters of the younger generation within the Obidient movement.

Obidients are supporters of the former presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.

The anonymity and irreverence encouraged by social media platforms have made it all too easy for individuals to hurl insults and baseless accusations without a second thought.

This culture of immediate outrage and dismissal overlooks the profound impact Soyinka has had on Nigeria and the world.

In African societies, age and wisdom are traditionally respected.

Elders are seen as the custodians of knowledge and culture, deserving of honour and reverence.

This cultural value seems to be lost in the fast-paced, often superficial world of social media.

The notion that anyone, regardless of their contribution to society, can be torn down with a few keystrokes is both alarming and disheartening.

It’s understandable that younger generations, particularly those who did not live through the eras of Soyinka’s most significant contributions, might not fully grasp his impact.

However, they have adults in their lives—parents, teachers, and community leaders—who can educate them about his legacy.

This intergenerational transfer of knowledge is crucial in maintaining a society’s respect for its cultural icons and history.

Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that Soyinka’s critiques often stem from a place of deep concern for Nigeria’s future.

His age and experience afford him a unique perspective, one that combines the idealism of youth with the wisdom gained from decades of activism.

Dismissing his views outright without engaging in meaningful dialogue is a loss for everyone.

Social media has democratized the dissemination of information and opinion, which is, in many ways, a positive development.

However, this democratization has also led to a devaluation of expertise and experience.

The vitriol directed at Soyinka is a symptom of this larger problem. It reflects a broader trend where the loudest voices, not the most informed, often dominate the conversation.

Anonymity on social media emboldens individuals to say things they would never utter in person.

This lack of accountability fosters a culture of disrespect and superficial engagement with complex issues. Soyinka, with his vast reservoir of experience and knowledge, deserves better than to be subjected to the whims of such a volatile and often uninformed public discourse.

The attacks on Wole Soyinka are not just an affront to him but a disservice to Nigerian society as a whole.

They undermine the respect for elders and intellectuals that is a cornerstone of African culture.

They also rob younger generations of the opportunity to learn from one of the most influential figures in contemporary African history.

Respecting Soyinka does not mean agreeing with everything he says.

It means acknowledging his contributions, valuing his perspective, and engaging with his ideas thoughtfully and respectfully.

It means understanding that his criticism comes from a place of deep love for Nigeria and a desire to see it flourish.

Wole Soyinka has earned his place as the conscience of the nation.

His literary genius, relentless activism, and profound sacrifices for the cause of justice command respect.

The younger generation, while entitled to their opinions, must also recognize the importance of engaging with historical figures in a manner that honours their contributions.

Social media should be a platform for dialogue and learning, not for tearing down the legacies of those who have paved the way for us.

In the end, it’s not just about respecting Wole Soyinka; it’s about preserving the values that allow societies to honour their heroes and learn from their wisdom.

As we navigate the complexities of modern life, let’s remember to look up to the giants who have shaped our world and treat them with the respect they deserve.

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