Friday 19 October 2012

Forces of good, evil at war in Nigeria —Soyinka

RECENT wave of killings in different parts of the country has been attributed to an ongoing war between the forces of good and evil.

Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, said this in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in his keynote address at the public presentation of Port Harcourt as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) World Book Capital 2014, on Thursday, noting further that Nigerians would cease to be human beings if they succumbed to the evil forces.

Soyinka, who expressed anger at the manner in which four students of the University of Port Harcourt were recently killed and the Mubi killings in Adamawa State, said the forces of evil were out to extinct all traces of enlightenment and creativity in the country.

He, however, charged literary minds in the country to see themselves more than just authors, writers and readers, but as part of a creative army standing against the forces that had come to extinct creativity in today’s world.

“I believe quite frankly this country is at war, the war is between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. The forces of intellect, the forces of rationality and the forces of atavism retrograde thinking, forces of hatred against humanism.

“I believe that if we surrender to these banal forces in our society, we cease to be human beings, because we succumb completely to fear and it is the same message we must take to those in this nation, who believe that books are wrong.

“I don’t care whether they call themselves the final defenders of the pure road and the ultimate salvation or call themselves Boko Haram.

“This recognition indicates very clearly that something, at least, is going right in Nigeria, despite the avalanche of negativities. One plea to my fellow writers, authors everywhere is that we are not just engaged in the business of writing books, we are parts of large army of creative people,” Soyinka said.

In his welcome address, Governor Rotimi Amaechi, who was represented by Commissioner for Information and Communication, Mrs Ibim Semenitari, said the administration had been investing in the education sector so as to grow a literate citizenry.

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