SOYINKA: A BLACKMAILER?

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ONWUASOANYAFCC JONES

The immediate response of oppressors to voices of dissent is to clamp down on them with an intent to break up the ranks of the dissatisfied citizenry. But most often than not, we end up creating more heroes than the villains we aimed to make them.

Instead of heeding to the wise counsel of a man - who has been so blessed, that he holds many first records, including being the first African to win a Nobel in literature, a man who has seen too much wars, yet, is still singing sonorously at 85, a man who set up the best Confraternity in the Nigerian, a man, who is not a mere man - the Nigerian government's response is to allegedly dismiss him as a blackmailer.

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What in the world would Soyinka blackmail for? For fame? He is of course more famous than our President. For money? He is so satisfied that the Naira is an insult to him. For political relevance? He is actually more politically relevant than all the relevant politicians in Nigeria.

Soyinka loves Nigeria, if not, he wouldn't be here. Every country of the first world, would buy his citizenship for all the money in their national bank, if that is what is required to make him their citizen. The most the Nigerian government can do, is to pay heed to him. Listen to him, he speaks more truth than all the appointees of the present government. Yes, and I think he wants the President to succeed more than anybody in the President's cabinet.

Soyinka has got nothing to lose, but I think his humanitarianism is at the fore of his continuous intervention on Nigerian affairs. He can keep quiet and enjoy his old age, or just concentrate on his literary works, till the sleep knocks. But, no, he wants the younger generation to inherit a freer nation and enjoy more opportunities.

Soyinka has never experienced poverty all his life, and his name alone is enough currency to sustain his fifth generation. He is not afraid for himself, nor for any of those directly linked to him. He is concerned about me, about you, and about all the suffering Nigerians, who do not have half the opportunities open to his own children.

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