Born on July 13, 1934, in Abeokuta, capital of southwest Ogun state, Soyinka cut his literary teeth in the 1950s at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university, where he studied English literature.
The poet, novelist, political activist and playwright has around 30 published works to his name, most of which satirise Nigerian society.
His Eightieth birthday is a special occasion and ideal opportunity to tell Wole Soyinka the first African to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature, how much he means to us.
President Jonathan felicitates with the globally- renowned academic, dramatist, poet and literary icon as he celebrates the attainment of another significant milestone in a long, very fulfilled and achievement-laden life, a statement by Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity said.
“Jonathan applauded Soyinka’s “life-long dedication and indefatigable commitment to using his acclaimed genius and talents, not only in the service of the arts, but also for the promotion of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.”
Former dictator General Yakubu Gowon, who jailed the writer for about two years during Nigeria’s 1967-70 civil war, attended a lecture in Soyinka’s hometown on Friday, saying: “I have come to Abeokuta for the sake of this particular man, to honour him.”
Gowon imprisoned Soyinka on suspicion that he supported Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, who declared a
state of “Biafra” in 1967, plunging the nation into war.