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By uzoukwuchidiadimiracle • 9 days ago • 157 views • 29 comments

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has lambasted the

United States for the delay in designating Boko Haram a

terror group, paying glowing tributes to Leah Sharibu in an

ode to Leah and Chibok girls.

Festival consultant Professor Wole Soyinka delivers

a speech during the opening of the fourth edition of

African drum festival at the Abeokuta city centre

amphitheatre in Ogun State, southwest Nigeria, on

April 25, 2019. – The fourth edition of African drum

festival with theme “Drumming for Futureî has

opened with international workshops by culture

scholars and performances by troupes from various

regions across the world in Abeokuta, southwest

Nigeria. (Photo AFP)

Soyinka, who spoke at Georgetown University, Washington,

also likened Leah Sharibu to iconic human rights champion,

the late Dr. Nelson Mandela of South Africa.

“We must celebrate the exception who said ‘no’ as it

reminded me of Mandela who refused conditional release,”

Soyinka said.

Reciting the ode, entitled Mandela comes to Leah, Soyinka

said: “Faith is not of compulsion…her torch undimmed in

the den of zealots.”

Professor Soyinka said he could only recite excerpts from

the ode because he broke down the last time he had tried

to read it, even as he did an epic takedown of a

Georgetown professor’s claim that poverty and desperation

were behind Boko Haram .

According to Soyinka, it was rather ideological bordering on

the meta-physical and “we should not underestimate it.”

“We’re dealing with something much deeper,” he said and

recalled the son of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who

was upper middle class, but who disappeared with his

family to join ISIS abroad.

According to him, “there’s a will to deny the possibility of

horror and evil. We have reached a point where we have to

go beyond the material analysis of this phenomenon. It

goes beyond poverty and marginalisation. The ideology of

sheer morbidity.”

Soyinka deplored the 20 American intellectuals who wrote,

protesting the proposal to designate Boko Haram as a

foreign terrorist organisation, FTO, pointing out it would

interfere with their “scholarly research”.

“It took my breath away. Some were my friends, (but) there

they were in all seriousness simply because they had a very

wrong analytical approach to this problem.

“We must simply jettison the language of political

correctness. Political correctness is turning African

continent into the graveyard of freedom and liberty if we

don’t call things by their proper names.

“We’re dealing now with the toxin of power which barely

manifests itself under the cloak of religion.”

Also on the panel with Soyinka was the ambassador who

belatedly announced Obama’s decision to designate Boko

Haram as an FTO as then top US diplomat for Africa,

Assistant Secretary of State, Linda Greenfield.

Greenfield pleaded impotency in responding to the Chibok

abductions due to denials by many as to what happened,

which she said was her biggest challenge.

“I had this feeling of impotency— a superpower who

couldn’t do anything…I still feel it…there’s no more

frustration to be in and I felt frustrated,” Soyinka quoted

her as saying.

She also mentioned a recent attack in Nigeria where girls

were taken the previous week.

Greenfield paid tribute to some of the girls whom she had

met as being strong, saying she was traumatised just

watching the drama “Chibok: Our Story” which preceded the

panel discussion.

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