BY ABUCHI IFESINACHI, AWKA
History was made yesterday , November 14, 2014, as the literary icon and social activist per excellence, Professor Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate stepped foot on the sands of Anambra State, courtesy of His Excellency, Dr Willie Obiano, to deliver a powerful lecture at Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka-Anambra State.
The discourse, which happened to be the theme talk, titled ‘Magic Lantern: Excursions in the creative realm’ was delivered in the school’s auditorium during the third Zik Lecture Series organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences under the auspices of the Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Joseph Eberendu Ahaneku.
Addressing newsmen after the lecture, the Anambra State honourable commisioner for Education, Professor Kate Azuka Omenugha, who represented the Executive governor at the event, made it clear that it was the confidence Chief Willie Obiano had in the celebrated playwright as an ideal role model for the young ones that made him commit a lot of money in the ton of a couple of millions, towards ensuring that Wole Soyinka graced Anambra state with his erudite presence.
Hon. Omenugha described Prof. Soyinka’s coming to Anambra State as epoch-making.
According to her, ‘it is not easy to bring a man of his stature, knowing where he is ‘up there’, down here. Chief Dr. Willie Obiano recognizes this and, I want this in black and white, that it was the state government that paid 4.9 million naira for his first-class ticket .
So, I want you to get that right. If the governor did not believe in him and in Unizik and that what has taken place today is worthwhile, he wouldn’t have invested so much money to see to its actualization.’ Prof. Omenugha said.
Speaking about the league, Mrs. Omenugha described Professor Soyinka’s lecture as an elephant with many sides to it.
According to her, ‘one is bound to see a lot of wisdom in what the Nobel laureate has said regardless of the angle of the lecture one looks at’ .
She highlighted the major themes of his talk as ‘creativity’, ‘boko haram’, ‘how social media destroys our creativity and thinking’, ‘the need to recognize who we are as a people and appreciate as well as protect our culture.
Quoting her in her description of Professor Wole Soyinka, ‘he is always up there, smitten by the muse.
The poetic nature of his rendition,
the lyrical prose, the sonorous voice and the perfect rendition has actually made this lecture worthwhile.’
In response to what the Anambra State government is doing in the light of what Wole Soyinka represents, Hon. Azuka revealed that the government has been committed to unleashing the creative potentials of the young people. The government has been doing through such programs as ‘basic debate competitions’. She proudly submitted that Anambra State came first and got the president’s award during a debate competition held at Abuja to mark the 54th year anniversary of the country.
She concluded that what Anambra State is doing to unleash the creative potentials of the young people is in line with what Professor Soyinka is saying.
Prof. Omenugha informed the media that the government is working towards getting the technical colleges in the state accredited. This, she said, involves training their teachers. She unveiled that the government has sponsored the first set of teachers and principals to Singapore to learn the model of technical school the government is working towards. ‘What the government wants to do is to create more job opportunities and that can only be possible when the students learn to use their hands effectively’, she added.
Speaking on the government’s anticipated effect of Wole Soyinka’s visit, Professor Azuka quickly pointed out mentor-effect as the primary thing. She declared, ‘Wole Soyinka is a model of all times and people should look up to him.
It is good Wole Soyinka was in Anambra to encourage and support the progressive government. I wish the state and the people well, your direction shall be fruitful.
Message from Pretoria, South Africa