Soyinka Rues Continous Missing Of Chibok Girls
Professor Soyinka, in a lecture titled, ‘Science and Imagination in Temple of Knowledge’ asked rhetorically, ‘can science and religion co-exist?’, and described members of Boko Haram sect as enemies of sound knowledge warning for a collective war against them in order to halt their callousness against humanity.
For him, the Boko Haram members could not be described as persons without knowledge since they could develop explosives and weapons to kill but as sadistic persons with pleasure to kill and maim even when there was no war.
He lamented that the lofty dreams of the Chibok Girls had been cut short, since their whereabouts was not yet known, just as he canvassed patenting of Western Education.
He said, “World war two is over except the debris. This epical framework may yet return to common parlance and in a far more localized; equally lethal but blood savagery and sadistic context.
I will like to suggest that both nationally and internationally the iconic image and symbol of the struggle we are still undergoing today remains the image of numbers of young school pupils whom we handed over to the enemies of education.
“All two hundred and forty something of them are still missing; I will like to suggest that the iconic image of that struggle is the photographs of those young pupils in the open air taken by the brutal captors and broadcast all over the newspapers, international media, You tube, internet etc.
“That group of de personalised, coward, terrified captured young children who were like all you here, in search of the Golden Fleece when they were at the beginning of their journey.
That image which was published so widely and was taken by their enemies in a gloating manner was meant to strike at our self consciousness as human beings, as parents and as citizens. I don’t know about other people but that image hurts me even up till today, even when I am not looking at it.
When I just recollect those de personalised children under a tree perhaps, taken by their captors and broadcast all over the world.” Soyinka cautioned against religious extremism thus; “it is an irony in these days and age especially if one considers another image.
Today is what is known as the age of internet when information flies across space without physical intervention. Where reality has taken over the age of fantasy; that the same age where self-appointed, sanctimonious interpreters of the will of God in countries like Somalia decree that human beings engaging in handshake with the opposite sex must have their hands amputated.”
He added,”the kidnapped pupils are potential doctors when we sent them to take their first qualifying examination; up till today we cannot say whether they are alive, whether they are in slave or sold off.
All we know is that they have been dehumanized, brutalized and their childhood has been taken away from them. Sometimes I wonder whether we are speaking of a remote, newly discovered planet or we are speaking of this very planet for which you and I standing today.
“Their captors are not without knowledge; they have learnt how to make bombs. They pride themselves in killing and maiming in absolute fidelity to corrupted ideology. They may have acquired even the most rudimentary knowledge how humanity makes these weapons of destruction but they have failed to acquire of how humanity sticks together as beings of the same species; they exist on fragmented zones devoid of any holistic crack of the human phenomenon in its entirety.
“They remain to a possibility that apart from claims to revelation, which is always subjective, dubious if not calculating and opportunistic opposition that there are other rules to the creation of the harmonious commonwealth of man.
Yes, indeed, they have acquired the knowledge of the lethal destruction but they lack the sheerest acquaintance with the moral mandate of knowledge. They acquired the means of impeding; of imposing fear and intimidation; the elements superstitious dread; the mystic hypes. “The temple of learning must be patented.
There is no other option for the ultimate triumph of humanity over bigotry and hate than the solid foundation of the edifice that must house community of learning.
And that learning applies to all irrespective of belonging and gender. I saw a heart-warming poster left over from the election campaigns as I am driven into the street of Ilorin yesterday and it says ‘no woman no nation.’ ”
The Vice Chancellor of KWASU, Professor Abdulrasheed Na’Allah, said the University, within its short history has greatly contributed to the nation’s intellectual pools.
According to him, “I wish to state unequivocally that KWASU has indeed been making remarkable contributions to our intellectual and professional capabilities.
To buttress this, I present to you the evidence of growth in KWASU. “In 2013 KWASU graduated 236 students; in 2014 we graduated 616 students, but today, Kwara State University shall be conferring on 853 graduands various bachelor’s degrees from five colleges.
The breakdown is as follows: 11 students from College of Agriculture; 71 from College of Education; 446 from College of Humanities, Management and Social Sciences; 184 from College of Information and Communication Technology, and 141 students from College of Pure and Applied Sciences.”
He added, “it is noteworthy for me to also report that the University held its sixth Matriculation ceremony on 13th November, 2014 for the 2014/2015 Academic Session where a total of 1,538 students, who were admitted out of about 5,000 qualified candidates who sought for admission into the institution in 2014, were matriculated.”
Earlier, the Chancellor of the University, Professor Agboola Gambari, urged Nigerians including the graduands to translate the dividends of democracy into actions rather than slogans. According to Gambari, “the new President (Muhammadu Buhari) is faces with very high expectations but these are accompanied by enormous goodwill within and outside Nigeria.
One thing is clear however, change must not remain a slogan; the governments that have been elected on that platform must prepare themselves to deliver on campaign promises.
“In this regard, the current socio-economic challenges such as high poverty level, huge youth unemployment, persistent power blackout despite huge amounts of money invested, the challenge of insecurity, especially the scourge of Boko Haram, and the perennial disconnect between the citizen and the government that has inevitably led to high levels of distrust of the leaders by the rest of the citizens must be tackled headlong.
But the new administration can only succeed with the support of all of us. We must give that support while insisting on a permanent end to impunity and zero-tolerance for official corruption.”