The pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has commended President Bola Tinubu for naming the Arterial Road N20 in the Federal Capital Territory after Prof. Wole Soyinka.

   He is the first African to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Afenifere commended the President for the gesture in a statement on Thursday in Lagos signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Jare Ajayi.

The group urged Tinubu to inject Soyinka’s humanism philosophy into his governance.

Describing the honour bestowed on Soyinka as well-deserved, Ajayi said that Afenifere concurred with the President that the literary icon had brought Nigeria fame, pride, and international acclaim.

“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,” he said.

Ajayi also applauded the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, for recommending the naming of the said road after Soyinka to President Tinubu.

He added that the actions of the minister and his lieutenants were enhancing the aesthetics and infrastructure of Abuja.

Afenifere spokesman said that the playwright was globally acknowledged for creatively and humanistically fashioning the drama of existence through poetic, theatric and prosaic presentations.

According to him, these qualities are underscored by the ceremony in which Soyinka was given the prestigious Nobel award in Stockholm, Sweden in 1986.

Ajayi said that national honours for a man who had long become a global citizen were long overdue.

“It is better late than never, though,” Ajayi added.

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He also submitted that it was better that the man was recognised 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 saying that “One’s own self-worth is tied to the community to which one belongs, which is intimately connected to humanity in general.”

The Afenifere spokesman called Nigerian leaders to emulate Soyinka and ensure that they act in a manner that relieved the pains of the people and enhanced 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,” he said.

Ajayi urged those in and out of public offices to be more responsible and humane in their conducts.

He said Afenifere was congratulating the literary and academic icon in advance on his 90th birthday coming up on July 13.

“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 to one’s heart, especially at such an advanced age that the intellectual giant has attained,” he said.

NAN reports that Tinubu, on Tuesday while commissioning the said road which runs from Northern Parkway to Outer Northern Expressway (ONEX) in Abuja, announced that the 5.4 kilometers road would now be called ‘Wole Soyinka Way’.

This is in honour of Soyinka, who was also the pioneering Chairman of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Tinubu, in naming the road after Soyinka, highlighted his contributions to literature and his role in elevating Nigeria’s global cultural standing


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