NIGERIA: Soyinka Predicts End to Book Reading, Writing

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Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has predicted an end to the culture of book writing and reading in a world being ravaged by the revolution of the internet and mechanical devices like computers and IPAD as well as destruction of the individual's innate abilities to imagine.

Soyinka who spoke on Friday as a Guest Lecturer at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU) 3rd Zik Lecture series with the theme; The Magic Lantern, Excursions in the Creative Realm, said that the sun remained the magic lantern of the entire universe which gave life to the earth.

The mechanical magic lantern, he said, had been sealed and projected and had nothing magical in it. The magic lantern, to him, was the life projector which was synonymous with such communication gadgets as computers and IPAD.

These gadgets he noted, were capable of bringing  an end to the culture of book writing and reading, adding that the end point however should be how to find a way of collaborating between book writing and use of internet knowledge.

But their partnership, he reasoned, may have witnessed a revolution in the communication world, but had essentially destroyed the realm of imagination in young people, stressing that they smash the kaleidoscope of the mind which is the true magic lantern.

World Humanity today is faced between this kaleidoscope and the mechanical; Taboo, utopia ideas and secular which in turn breed intolerance among different adherents and believers in what should and what should not even as he noted that the mission of creative humanity extends beyond the realm creative writing.

This intolerance for instance is the root cause of the rape on ancient cultural, historical artefacts and heritages by perhaps born again Christians in some communities who out of ignorance commit sacrileges, he said.

Affected communities he said, should rise against such impunities, adding that these religious relics can't be destroyed by any spiritual inclination.

Intolerance like tolerance he further said, shared in Nigeria's present predicament with both collaborating to create the worst order.
Kidnapping of school children grappling to develop their mind he observed, was a rudimentary destruction of their inert imaginative abilities and the future of the country.

Boko Haram can prosecute knowledge wherever they found them, destroy stored literature of ancient wisdom and libraries, materials of learning but can  neither reach the moon nor the sky, he said.

He enjoined the young people to tap their potentials and not allow certain primordial factors within their environment inhibit them.

Benefactor of the Zik lecture series and special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Inter Party Affairs, Senator Ben Ndi Obi had said the project was started three years ago to immortalise Nigeria's first President, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe after whom the school was named.

He described the lecture as unique and thought provoking, saying that the theme was one of Prof. Wole Soyinka's enigmatic cum realistic, and an attempt to unravel same without him would be like an excursion into oblivion and confusion.

The lecture series he also said was a turning point in the process of actualisation of his childhood dream of immortalising Zik, a reason he endowed N10 million in 2010 with an additional N2 million over a five year period for research in honor of this icon and legend of all times.

Zik's faith in intellection resources as a problem-solving he said  stood tall in all his classical statements and actions as his Lincoln experience re-affirmed his belief in education as a constructive social force which could be harnessed for social progress.

The Vice-Chancellor of NAU, Prof. Joseph Ahaneku said the lecture series was named after Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe more fundamentally because he was the doyen of African nationalism and the struggle to liberate the continent from the shackles of imperialism for which he earned the sobriquet Zik of Africa.

Chairman of the occasion, Chief Emeka Anyaoku said the lecture was to honour Zik's legacies and initiatives, adding that people knew him as a great inspirer of nationalism and Africa's fight against colonialism mainly with his pen, first in Ghana and later, Nigeria.

Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, NAU, Prof Jude. O. Ezeokana, a Reverend Father said the Zik's lecture series was inaugurated about three years ago as one of the faculty's numerous contributions towards the attainment of a just Nigerian society.

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