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Wole Soyinka rejects centenary award

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NOBEL laureate Professor Wole Soyinka has joined the
growing list of eminent Nigerians who are planning to refuse the
national honours due to be conferred on 100 of the nation’s
outstanding citizens over the last century.
On Friday, President Goodluck Jonathan will be conferring
awards on 100 prominent Nigerians as part of the government’s
centenary year celebrations. Professor Soyinka is on the list along
with the likes of Professor Chinua Achebe, Chief Gani
Fawehinmi, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu,
Nwankwo Kanu, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chief Mike Adenuga
and Pastor Enoch Adeboye, among others.
Professor Soyinka said: “I would have preferred that the
entire day of infamy be ignored altogether. I’m even thinking
favourably of just ignoring the obscenity, then turning up at
the counter-event.”
On the government’s list are several military dictators who
Professor Soyinka has fought against over the last 50 years
including the likes of General Ibrahim Babangida and General
Sani Abacha. Already, Fela’s son Femi Anikulapo-Kuti has
said his family will reject the honour unless the government first of
all apologies for the murder of his grandmother and the burning
down of his father’s house Kalakuta Republic.
Professor Soyinka has now joined the list of those
questioning the criteria for nominating these outstanding 100
Nigerians. He has said he will not attend the ceremony and
instead has asked why the government has not seen it fit to
look at the list of Nigeria’s 20 most outstanding doctors over
the last 100 years.
This list includes Sir Samuel Manuwa, Professor John Edozien,
Dr Moses Majekodunmi, Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti,
Professor Oladipo Akinkugbe, Professor Latunde Odeku,
Professor Nelson Oyesiku and Dr Funmi Olopade. Others on
the list include Professor Oyin Olurin, Professor Orishejolomi
Thomas, Professor Bello Osagie, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti,
Professor Ade Elebute, Dr Akinola Maja, Professor Femi
Williams, Professor Ambrose Alli, Dr Dalhatu Tafida,
Professor Ishaya Audu, Professor Oladele Ajose and Professor
Tola Adebonojo among others.
Professor Soyinka has said he will endeavour, however, to be at
the centenary awards planned in London on June 27 during which
diasporans will honour 100 outstanding Nigerians in the UK. At a
gala dinner due to take place at Waltham Forest Town Hall in
east London tagged Nigerian Centenary Awards UK, diasporans
will hand out honours to 100 Nigerians who have excelled in
various fields in the UK over the last 100 years.

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