NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, on Thursday, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, recommended outright imprisonment for anyone found guilty of corrupt practices.
He said this during the presentation of awards to 82 students, who participated in the 2016 edition of Wole Soyinka Cultural Exchange programme to mark his 82nd birthday anniversary, held at the Obas Complex, Governor’s Office, Oke-Mosan.
The celebrant, who spoke on the theme “Corruption: A battle for the Arts”, admonished artistes and creative writers to use their works of arts in fighting corruption which had been endemic in the country.
He stated that the fight against corruption must be a collective responsibility which must be encouraged by all and sundry in making the society a better place to be.
Soyinka said, “It is a battle for everybody and definitely the arts must be in the front as usual. Not just the arts, the theologians, the moralists, the philosophers, the architects, builders, it’s everybody’s work.”
He urged Nigerians to shun any act of corruption, describing it as an endemic that had eaten deep into the fabrics of the nation, adding that the country must be returned to the path of honour and integrity.
Soyinka insisted that anyone found guilty of corruption must not be allowed to walk freely in the society.
The state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, in his remarks, challenged students and indeed the youth population in Nigeria to emulate the life of heroes like Professor Soyinka.
While addressing students who participated in the competition, he said the nation’s youth should not give up on Nigeria, in spite of the many challenges facing the nation.
He said, “Just like Professor Soyinka is doing, you must continue to show love and support for the country irrespective of the challenges facing the nation.”
Governor Amosun also expressed his joy with the fact that many Nigerians now appear to appreciate arts while promising to extend the participation in the subsequent edition of the program to all students in Nigeria and beyond.
Amosun who congratulated the winners of this year’s contest charged other students to be more diligent irrespective of the challenges of growing up, saying, “tough situations don’t last, but tough people do.”
Highpoint of the event was the presentation of trophies to Miss Naomi Akinremi of St. Peters College, Olomore, Abeokuta; Miss Adedoyin Sotonwa of Mayflower Secondary School, Ikenne and Friday Zacheaus of Adeola Odutola College, Ijebu-Ode, who came first, second and third respectively.
The title of the essay competition was, “Challenges or not, you must love your country.”