Soyinka the gadfly, man of many parts: Birthday tributes pour

Professor Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laureate and literary icon, is 86 years old today.

Tributes are pouring in for the man who has stood for decades as his country’s gadfly and conscience.

Soyinka’s life has been kaleidoscopic: he is a playwright, novelist, poet, conscientious objector, political activist, human rights campaigner and a change campaigner.

In an early tribute, President Centre for Change, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, saluted Soyinka, whom she called “Kongi”, describing him as a “Man of Many parts”.

According to Okei-Odumakin, Soyinka is many things to many people.

She commended the Nobel laureate for being a “Third Force” to liberate the suffering Nigerians from the shackles of oppression.

“He is a man of Conscience who stood stoically against a senseless civil war.

“When we talk of the Masked Man who stormed a radio station, we talk of him.

“When we talk of The Man (who) Died for keeping quiet in the face of tyranny; Kongi’s Harvest, Brother Jero and his Metamorphosis, we talk of him.

“When we talk of Death and the Horseman, we talk of the same person.

“What of Ake, which happens to be his place of birth? We can go on and on,” she said

Okei-Odumakin congratulated Prof. Soyinka and wished him long life and good health.

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