ByÂ Dapo Akinrefon
RENOWNED journalist, Dr. Olatunji Dare, yesterday described Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, as the best writer that ever lived.
Dare, who was guest lecturer at the 75th birthday celebration of Soyinka, said: â€œno person has told the Nigerian story as Wole Soyinka and he has done so in so many ways.”
Also, former Action Congress (AC),Â governorship candidate in Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has described Soyinka as the â€œbest Nigerian that has ever lived in this country.â€
Dare said this in a lecture, entitled: â€œNarrating the Nigerian Story:The challenge for Journalism.â€
Fayemi, on his part, described Soyinka as an icon to most Nigerians just as he explained that â€œthe Soyinka generation has done their own, he continues to be an icon to many of us, but what are we doing in our own generation about transforming this society?â€
He added: â€œI think thatâ€™s the challenge before us. I have had the rare privilege of knowing the celebrant almost all my life. Iâ€™m a child of the penkelemes years and if you read Ibadan, Soyinkaâ€™s book, you would know what he said about penkelemes years.
Though Soyinka was absent, dignitaries at the event included a former Minister of Information, Prince Tony Momoh; Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was represented by his Special Adviser on Media and Strategy, Mr. Segun Ayobolu.
Others were Fayemi’s running-mate, Mrs. Funmi Olayinka; Justice Moronkeji Onalaja; founder, Oodua Peoples Congress, Dr. Fredrick Fasehun; Messrs Ray Ekpu and Odia Ofeimun.
On the occasion, Dare urged the Nigerian press to rise up to the task of defending the rule of law and also ensuring that public office holders adhere strictly to it.
Dare, who is a teacher at the Bradley University, Illinios, USA, explained further that in narrating the Nigerian story, it was imperative for the press to be involved, noting that â€œa constituency for democracy has to be built with the help of the press and the press must emphasise on democratic themes.
”There can be no real democracy without strengthening our institutions.â€
While advocating for the speedy passage of the Freedom of Information Bill, he said, â€œthe campaign for the passage should be pursued by the press. The press must be a voice for the voiceless.â€
Meanwhile, former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and a University don, Dr Olatunji Dare have tasked the Nigerian media on nation building.
Tinubu said that the â€œquality and the professionalismâ€, of a journalist needs to be looked into noting that â€œthe remuneration of a journalist too to be an anti-corruption dose should be looked into.
The former governor spoke at the 75th birthday anniversary of Soyinka organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.
According to him, â€œgood insurance package to assure good journalist and reward good journalist professionally is worthy of a standard setting epoch. Those are the areas but again, the reward that are being touted and what we kicked against are like â€˜what do you mean by Governor of the Year, what do you mean by Transaction of the Year, what do you mean by all those categorisation in a society that is being exploited and all sorts of assault on our democratic principle and environment should be stopped if investigative and sincere fair journalism is to develop in the country.