Edo Gov Oshiomhole hails Soyinka at 80

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Governor Adams Oshiomhole has congratulated Professor Wole Soyinka on his eightieth birthday, saying he remains a source of inspiration and pillar of support.

In a congratulatory message to the Nobel Laureate, the Edo State Governor said: “over the years, whereas many to whom our nation has given so much often conduct themselves in a manner that undermines national unity, Soyinka, who has brought global glory to Nigeria, has done more to cement our nationhood without demanding much. You have not only written volumes seeking to cement our nationhood, but at some point even had to endure 20-month solitary confinement to keep Nigeria one.

“As a Global Statesman today, your greatness lies not only in your extra-ordinary literary talent and creativity but also the tireless energy you always exert in the pursuit of your convictions.

“For you, art is nothing if not deployed as a weapon to extend the frontiers of liberty and elevate the human civilization. From your classic, “The Man Died”, we draw timeless inspiration never to be afraid of telling truth to power. That it is more honorable to die fighting on our feet than on our knees before the oppressors.

“As a hardcore labour man myself with the privilege of leading the Nigerian workers’ movement as two-term president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), I attest that you are a true comrade at the barricade in the true sense of the word.

“In the popular resistance of military dictatorships in the 1990s, you joined us on countless occasions on the street to fight for freedom. Even when the Praetorian Guard drove you into exile and sentenced you to death in absentia, you never failed to connect with those of us left at the barricade at home to deepen the struggle for liberation.

“With the return of democracy in 1999, age would still not deter you from joining us in street marches against government’s anti-people policies, even in the face of the ambush of Armoured Tanks.

“For us, the Government and good people of Edo State, you have remained a source of inspiration and pillar of support, in our determined effort to liberate our people from the shackles of political oppression by a few political “godfathers” and expand in a meaningful way, the frontiers of good governance, democracy and development.”