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Soyinka Not Qualified To Chair ‘Lagos At 50’ Celebration, Says Eko Foundation

Nigerian Literature Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka speaks during an interview with Reuters in his home in the southwest city of Abeokuta July 1, 2014. Nigeria is suffering greater carnage at the hands of Islamist group Boko Haram than it did during a secessionist civil war, yet this has ironically made the country's break-up less likely, oyinka said. Speaking to Reuters at his home surrounded by rainforest near the southwestern city of Abeokuta, Soyinka said the horrors inflicted by the militants had shown Nigerians across the mostly Muslim north and Christian south that sticking together might be the only way to avoid even greater sectarian slaughter. Picture taken July 1. To match Interview NIGERIA-SOYINKA/ REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye (NIGERIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST SOCIETY) - RTR3WSS7

Lagos indigenes under the aegis of Eko Foundation have kicked against the choice of Professor Wole Soyinka as Chairman, Planning Committee of ‘Lagos at 50’, saying that he is not an indigene of Lagos State and has never pretended to be one. Professor Soyinka is from Abeokuta in Ogun State.

It would be recalled that Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State had recently constituted a 12-man 50th Anniversary Committee with Professor Soyinka and Alhaji Rasheed Gbadamosi as the chairman and co-chairman, respectively, for the celebration.

However, in a release jointly signed by Professor Imran Oluwole Smith (SAN) and Kunle Uthman, President and General Secretary, respectively, of Eko Foundation, the group said that although Professor Soyinka has a towering image as an international playwright and scholar, that his choice to chair the committee is wrong and offensive.

The group said that there is a social disconnect in the choice of the Nobel Laureate “because he has no family house or compound in the geographical conglomeration of the state.”

The group also queried the rationale behind the choice of Soyinka, pointing out that he (Soyinka) “does not speak any of the dialects of the indigenous people and cannot connect with their sights and sounds.”

They urged Soyinka to “do what is right in law, in fact and in morality, by resigning and relinquishing this appointment, in order for an indigene of Lagos State who has a social connection with his people be appointed as chairman of the committee.”

Eko Foundation said that when Ogun State celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier in February that Governor Ibikunle Amosun did not appoint a Lagos State indigene or indigene of any other state in Nigeria as the chairman of the celebration committee.

“Amosun simply engaged the people of Ogun State to plan the auspicious event, and the celebration was a monumental success.

“This humane act of patriotism is what His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has an obligation to emulate”, the group stated.

They added that “the younger generation cannot grow or actualise the budding talents among them, if our governor would ignore the budding talents and appoint an octogenarian to pilot the affairs of its 50th anniversary celebrations”.

“And in celebrating Lagos, Eko Foundation concluded that “we must showcase our cultural heritage. We must celebrate the language, arts, sights and sounds of Lagos State”.


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