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Soyinka: Posers for an atheist at 77
IT is an incontrovertible fact that Professor Wole Soyinka is reverred in Nigeria and indeed globally. As the first African to be awarded the highly coveted Nobel prize in Literature, our cerebral Professor of Literature is, indeed, a pride to the black race.
Aside from being a literary giant, Prof. Soyinka is also a celebrated social critic, being a thorn in the flesh of successive governments in Nigeria. As the founder of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), in Nigeria, Soyinka’s contribution to the development of the country is, indeed, legendary.
But I must say with all due respect that the Nobel laureate goofed recently when he was responding to a question bordering on why he remained an unrepretant atheist on a popular television talkshow Moments with Mo, designed to celebrate his 77th birthday.
The presenter of the programme, Mo’ Abudu had asked Prof. Soyinka why he does not believe in the existence of God, in spite of the fact that he was raised by Christian parents.
To my utter dismay, the Nobel Laureate turned logic on the head and gave an answer which left this writer wondering whether I had heard him right.
Although I might not be able to quote him verbatim, Professor Soyinka had replied thus. “The reason why I don’t believe in God is simple. I simply cannot imagine that somebody (emphasis mine) will be responsible for the action of billions of people. I think everybody should be held responsible for his actions and inaction.”
That I was taken aback by his response was to say the least. How on earth could Professor Soyinka give such an absymally poor answer? However, since Professor Soyinka has stirred the hornets’ nest, I will like him to answer the following questions: Who is responsible for the phenomenon of sleeping and wakefulness? What about the mystery of day and night; who is in control?
As simple as this may sound, can the Professor explain the process of hair growth on his head? Who created him or even if he is a believer in the evolution school of thought, who created that creature that he evolved from? Who created all the wonderful things we see around us - the mountains, valleys, oceans seas etc. What about the phenomenon of birth and death?
For instance, it would be very interesting if Prof. Soyinka can decide all by himself not to sleep or even doze for a whole 48 hours; I mean if he can put sleep under his control. Again, the whole world will marvel if Prof. Soyinka can use his linguistic prowess to command the day not to progress to night and vice-versa.
Even respected scientists and philosophers globally acknowledge that there is “something” that controls to a large extent the activities of Man. This is what they refer to as “nature”. The only thing that Man has as his prerogative is freewill which he can exercise at his discretion and I think this is part of what Prof. Soyinka is enjoying.
I believe there are too many convincing evidences for Professor Soyinka to have a change of heart that God, indeed, exists and He is in control of the heaven and earth, including its inhabitants. It is, indeed, an irony that a man that has enjoyed unquantifiable blessings from his creator still do not acknowledge his benefactor, even as a septugenarian. I think by now, our dear Prof. should do a quiet reflection on his beliefs, and ponder on the many mysteries of this planet earth. May be, we may have a celebrated front page story soonest which may be entitled. “Prof. Soyinka becomes born again at 77” I am sure no newspaper will miss out of such a “hot” story.
Nigerians no doubt love Prof. Soyinka. He is also the darling of numerous people round the world, as he himself disclosed during the aforementioned interview where he claimed that he hardly had time to rest because of numerous invitations round the world.
But all these achievements will pale into insignificance if Prof. Soyinka does not acknowledge that “somebody” is in control of the heaven and the earth. Like the Bible says “What does it profit a man, to gain this world and lose his soul?”
Oyeniran is on the staff of the TribuneShare