Sunday, 2 March 2014

Why I rejected centenary award — Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, said,
yesterday, he rejected his nomination for
centenary award by the Federal Government
because he could not share the award with the
late Head of State, General Sani Abacha, who he
described as a "murderer and thief of no
redeeming quality".
"I can't think of nothing more grotesque and
derisive of the lifetime struggle of several of this
(Honours) List and their selfless services to
humanity", Soyinka said in a statement entitled,
`The Canonisation of Terror'.
"I reject my share of this national insult", he
Listing some of the atrocities that took place
under Abacha that made the late Nigerian leader
of undeserving of the centenary award, the
Nobel Laureate said: "It is a confidence trick
that speaks volumes of the perpetrators of such a
fraud. We shall pass over – for instance – the
slave mentality that concocts loose formulas for
an Honours List that automatically elevate any
violent bird of passage to the status of nation
builders who may, or may not be demonstrably
motivated by genuine love of nation.
Accordingly, generalized but false attributes to
known killers and treasury robbers is a
disservice to history and a desecration of
memory. It also compromises the future. This
failure to discriminate, to assess, and thereby
make it possible to grudgingly concede that even
out of a 'doctrine of necessity' – such as military
dictatorship - some demonstrable governance
virtue may emerge, reveals nothing but national
self-glorification in a moral void, the breeding
grounds of future cankerworm in the nation's
"Such abandonment of moral rigour comes full
circle sooner or later. The survivors of a plague
known as Boko Haram, students in a place of
enlightenment and moral instruction, are taken
to a place of healing dedicated to an individual
contagion – a murderer and thief of no
redeeming quality known as Sani Abacha, one
whose plunder is still being pursued all over the
world and recovered piecemeal by international
consortiums – at the behest of this same
government which sees fit to place him on the
nation's Roll of Honour!"

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