Soyinka slams ‘generation of Internet trolls’

Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka came down hard on youths at the launch of InnoCreativa Youth Hub 2030 and project logo by Creative Youth Community Development Initiative (CYCDI) at The Civic Centre, Lagos. Ozolua Uhakheme and Quadri Adegun write..

Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka has described the new generation of Nigerians as illiterate, noting that the nation is raising a generation that is the first to comment on the internet on issues they are ignorant about.

According to him, the new generation Nigerians are waiting for him to lead a march to Aso Rock instead of getting off their backsides and stop writing rubbish on the internet about things they don’t understand.

Said Soyinka: “They are waiting for Wole Soyinka to lead a march to Aso Rock. It is about time to get off your feet and stop writing rubbish on the internet about things you do not understand. I do not know how to describe the new generation beyond a generation of internet trolls.

“Nigerian youths are full of spunk outside, but when they are inside Nigeria, they are full of gas. We are building a generation of illiterates. They are the first to comment on the internet on issues they are ignorant about. When you talk about education, I get texts from the new generation and can’t believe these texts are from the youth.

“When I decided to build my house in the forest, I bought a second-hand diesel generator and asked someone to dig a borehole. I wanted to be self-sufficient. What I want to pass on to you is that I thought of the possibility of being self-reliant. This entails that I can come to cooperatives with others and demand things from the government by any means necessary.”

InnoCreativa Youth Hub 2030 project explores creative and innovative capacities of young people through the development of knowledge and attitudes that are relevant to employability and skills for entrepreneurship, which are primarily targeted at solving one global problem: unemployment.

Speaking at the launch, which also witnessed the conferment of special recognition award of grand patron on Prof Wole Soyinka, the Managing Consultant, CITC Global Consulting Limited, Mr. Tayo Orekoya commended Prof  Soyinka for his infallible support for CYCDI, his creative assistance to the development of the Nigerian child, and indeed, the youth in Nigeria over the past decades.

Orekoya, however, expressed worry over the level of poverty globally and particularly in Nigeria, which, he said, is assuming an alarming rate. He recalled that a recent world poverty report indicates that Nigeria has overtaken India to become the poverty capital of the world. “With about 86.9 million Nigerians, almost 45 per cent of our over 200 million population is now living in abject poverty. This sad and unfortunate situation makes the UN Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty by 2030 more challenging to implement. Nonetheless, we are undaunted, for we do not believe that it’s unachievable,” he said.

He assured that as consultative partner to CYCDI, CICTC Global Consulting Ltd shares the belief that everyone was born to influence and create impacts in different spheres of life. He added that the great partnership is with an aim of imperative factor for accelerating influence on  communal, national, and global development towards fast-tracking the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda by the year 2030. To him, the journey did not start today.

Director, United Nations’ Information Centre, (UNIC) Mr. Ronald Kayanja dismissed as unfounded the claim that UN described Nigeria as the capital of poverty, having overtaken India in poverty index. He said United Nations has never said this about Nigeria, noting that if it was true, it hurts but ‘we cannot sit here and agonise about our poverty. We need to work up and do something’.

He added:“I heard this story of Nigeria being the poverty capital of the world. United Nations has not said this. Other organisations are saying this, but we are not saying it. If it was true, it hurts, but we cannot sit here and agonise about our poverty and all these. We need to work up and do something. So, it is people like Foluke Michael we have to commend, and to agree with her that we can’t always wait for the government.

“As I said, Prof. Soyinka didn’t wait for the government for him to be the leader he is. So, all of us have to be leader for the younger generation of Nigerians. The framework of the Agenda 2030 is giving all of us the opportunity to be  leaders and therefore to make an impact on our generation.”

Commending the doggedness of Prof Soyinka, Kayanja said the Laureate does not hold any political office, yet he is a leader and nobody can dispute his leadership. “And that is why I have continued to commend Foluke Michael, because she has taken advocacy beyond Nigeria and that makes the United Nations recognise her works. It will be difficult for us at United Nations to support you if you have not led in anything. It is the person who does something with excellence that doesn’t need to mobilise people; once you excel, people will follow you. And those are the leaders Africa needs,” he noted.

Foluke Michael  said at CYCDI:  “We believe in new Nigeria, we believe in a new Nigeria where poverty will be drastically reduced, a new Nigeria where culture of integrity will replace the culture of indiscipline and corruption; a new Nigeria where children will have right to education, right to good health and right to good life.”  (The Nation)

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