Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has described Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as “a worthy ambassador” of the nation’s “Progressives” community.
Professor Soyinka gave the commendation at an exclusive reception he held for Comrade Oshiomhole and his wife, Iara, at his Abeokuta home, assisted by his wife, Folake Soyinka, last weekend.
In a reference to Comrade Oshiomhole’s activism even as Governor, the literary giant said: “Adams, I must use this occasion to thank you for your courage, for not forgetting your roots and for not letting us down.
He continued: “I’ve always believed that people should try and remain themselves and not allow themselves to be blinded by power. Which is why among the favourite photographs I keep today is the one where you were shown really digging it down at a public concert with your two fingers pointing to the ground like arrow, without any inhibition. I think the picture was taken sometime in 2012.
“When I saw it splashed on the front page of the newspaper while driving on a Lagos street, I grabbed a copy from the vendor and I told my wife ‘Yeah, this is the Oshiomhole that we’ve always known’.”
On her part, Mrs. Folake Soyinka, an old student of the St Maria Gorreti Secondary School in Benin City, praised the Edo State Governor for his transformation of public schools in the State since coming on board in 2008. She said: “I’m sure the governor does not know this; I attended St Maria Goretti in the 70s and graduated in 1979. In our days, it was a beautiful school. But many years later, the school was completely run down. But when I checked recently, I was quite impressed with what I saw. The school has been completely transformed.
“It is the same story at Idia College and hundreds of other public schools across the state. We can’t thank the Comrade Governor enough for his good works.”
Responding, Comrade Oshiomhole thanked Professor Soyinka and his wife, Folake, for honouring him and his wife by inviting them to their home for dinner, adding that whatever modest achievements recorded under his stewardship in Edo would not have been possible without the critical solidarity of the anonymous counselors like the Nobel laureate.
Oshiomhole said, “Prof, I am eternally indebted for the support and inspiration you have provided me over the years, dating back to when I was in the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). Some would limit themselves to just being critics or commentators on the pages of the newspapers. But you are different, sir. You are not just a man of words but also a man of action.
“The other day, I saw a couple of photographs taken during our public protests against the policies and programmes of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, more than ten years ago. One of the photographs that stood out is the one in which you were in the front-line, hand-in-hand with me, wearing the NLC apron. For me, it is a mark of your statesmanship and a testament to your commitment to fight and speak for the masses of Nigeria. Like it has been said time and again, you are indeed a living legend and the conscience of not just the nation but the continent of Africa at large.”