Highlights of Wole Soyinka’s interview on UK’s Channel 4 news
In an interview with Channel 4 news in the United Kingdom last week, Nigerian Nobel-prize laureate, Wole Soyinka, spoke extensively about how Nigerian politicians sponsored Boko Haram. He also spoke on issues surrounding colonization, how he almost became a professor at Oxford Univeristy and issues surrounding racism.
Politicians sponsor Boko haram
“They supported them for various reasons because, in their lust for power and pursuit for power, they were ready to sacrifice anything or to ally with anything, and of course they found that they have been turned against (by) the very forces that helped them.”
Professor Wole Soyinka suggested that there were some politicians in the last administration, who sponsored Boko Haram then. However, Boko Haram’s “ideology of death” meant these politicians could not stick with the terrorist group for long, for fear of their own lives. The immediate former ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) just made an alleged Boko Haram sponsor, Ali Modu Sherriff, its party chairman, a move which lends credence to Professor Wole Soyinka’s statements.
The disappearance of the Chibok girls
“The government refused to accept this fact until it was too late…For at least two weeks, it would have been possible from all reports to rescue those girls.”
He suggested that the previous administration was to to blame for the kidnapping of the girls, saying the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration was irresponsible. However, even if that may be true, the present administration has not fared better in the search for these girls.
Why I didn’t get the post of Professor of Poetry at Oxford university
“When things got a bit tough, I said listen, we are experienced in Nigeria in electioneering, let me bring our experts, they would rig this election and I would emerge victorious overnight. But they won’t listen to me and we lost.”
He attributed his failure to get the post of professor at Oxford University, England to his inexperience, and then made a joke about how his countrymen could have helped him rig the votes in his favour. However, he said it would have been nice for him to retire as a professor poetry.
The Cecil Rhodes controversy in Oxford University
“History is not just what is written down, it is also culture. The painful part of history is how a [group of] people or a community came to be…”
Cecil Rhodes was a British colonialist who settled in the Cape colony (present day South Africa) and founded Rhodesia (present day Zimbabwe and Zambia) before his death. His statue at Oriel college, Oxford University, England caused controversy last year when students wanted it to brought down because of what it represents. The whole controversy initiated the #RhodesMustFall movement. Wole Soyinka sat on the fence on the issue, comparing it to how though he disliked former Britain Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, British people would never share the same feelings.
On racism in the world
“I think we are going backwards. There was a time when the sense of humanity became globalised. What Martin Lurther King fought for is not yet over.”
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