NOBEL laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka yesterday lamented alleged failure by the Federal Government to rescue the kidnapped Chibok girls.
He spoke at the presentation of the 60 finalists in the 2015 edition of “Vision of the Child (VOTC)” competition for primary and secondary school pupils in Lagos State. The event, with the theme “The Road to Sambisa”, was organised by the Lagos Black Heritage Festival (LBHF).
Addressing the 60 finalists for the competition at the event, for which he is the consultant, Soyinka said anybody who says he should cast his vote or encourage anybody to do so for the present government after the kidnap event in the North east of the colleagues of the students in the competition “must be living in Sambisa Forest.”
According to him, there has been a failure of leadership in the nation, the leadership betrayed the children through their lack of appropriate action and laxity at the initial stages to rescue the abducted children.
His words: “I have at least 60 reasons why I will not vote or encourage anybody to vote for the continuation of this present government and those reasons are here (The 60 finalists). This is simply because your colleagues numbering over 200 were kidnapped; these young ones on a mission for education, enlightenment, writing their examination, rob minds with their peers, and they disappeared and the government of this nation failed to save these people.
“So anybody who says after that event that I will cast my vote or encourage anyone to vote for this regime must be living in Sambisa Forest.
“Our children who you represent today have been betrayed because no appropriate action was taken to retrieve your colleagues who were stolen under our noses… ten days before this government even accepted the fact that they were missing.”
Soyinka deplored what he described as “identity stealing” by some online media whom he accused of publishing interviews he never granted. He also frowned at the use of some quotes attributed to him by some political parties, but said jokingly, “even though when a statement is made in the public, it becomes a public property, my annoyance is that I was not paid royalty.”
The nobel laureate described as ‘sinister’ and ‘amusing’, recent rumours of his demise, again, putting the blame on the online media whom he alleged have consistently stolen his identity.
The VOTC competition which drew over 250 participants from 60 different schools in Lagos, according to the Festival Secretary and Programme Manager for VOTC, Foluke George, is a continuation of the innovation of the organization introduced in 2014. This year’s edition sponsored by Diamond Bank, HoneyWell Noodles and Microsoft, unlike the previous year’s, would require the children to express their vision about the missing girls in two creative media: Painting and the Literary Arts- poetry, prose and fiction, or essay.
Soyinka finally said that the result of the competition would be taken round the nation for children in the North East to see that kids in the South West corner of the country care deeply about what happened to them.