The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in the February 2019 presidential election, Atiku Abubakar, has joined millions of other well-meaning Nigerians, including President Buhari, to celebrate Professor Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka who turned 85 on July 13, 2019.
Wole Soyinka as he is popularly called was born on July 13, 1934 into a Yoruba family in Abeokuta, Ogun state Nigeria. He graduated from University of Ibadan (University College Ibadan), before proceeding to University of Leeds in England.
The essayist, poet and playwright is a political critic who played an active role in Nigeria’s struggle for independence. He is Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Arts at Emory University, Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Professor of Comparative Literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ife, Professor for African Studies and Theatre Arts.
Professor Soyinka who has taught in different universities including Oxford, Harvard, Yale and Duke was made professor emeritus in 1999. And was also made the first Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) Corps Marshall by the former Nigeria military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in 1988.
In a statement released by Atiku via his official twitter handle, he described Professor Soyinka as “an institution of literary excellence and conscientious activism” stating that he is beyond being described as an icon.
The PDP presidential candidate in his tweet also described Soyinka as “national treasure” “Nigeria’s pride and a beacon to Africa”.