Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has saluted Prof. Wole Soyinka for inducting Nigeria into the Hall of Fame through his iconic literary works.
The minister spoke on Sunday at the National Theatre at the command performance of King’s Horseman to commemorate Soyinka’s winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986 and 40 years of the publication of the play.
Mohamed said Soyinka’s literary creativity, ingenuity and contributions to the growth and development of literature and dramatic arts can easily be described as legendary.
“He has continued to play vital roles in the development of arts, culture and democracy in Nigeria and around the world. On behalf of the ministry, I salute Professor Soyinka and wish him longer life so that this exemplary Nigerian and global citizen can continue to make us proud,” he said.
Recalling the epochal event 30 years ago, Alhaji Mohammed said the Nobel Prize in Literature was a historic moment for the creative industry, for Nigeria and for Africa ”because it was the first time that a Nigerian, an African and indeed a black writer will be named a recipient of the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature”.
He used the occasion to harp on the enormous potential of Nigeria in the creative industry, particularly the performing arts, and the rich cultural heritage which, he said, if gainfully harnessed will further drive tourism and significantly lift the Nigerian economy.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Troupe of Nigeria, Akin Adejuwon, had explained that the staging of the production is more propitious because it is 30 years this year since Africa and indeed the world joined Nigeria in celebrating Soyinka’s award of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Present at the performance by the National Troupe were Permanent Secretary in the office of the Head of Service, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote; Oba Gbenga Sonuga and Olori Peju Sonuga; Odia Ofeimun; Ben Tomoloju; Lari Williams; Francis Onwochei, Mahmood Ali-Balogun; Segun Adefila; Jahman Anikulapo; Toyin Akinosho; Teju Kareem and the Nobel laureate’s son, Makin Soyinka.
Aside the command performance of the play that was directed by Mike Anyanwu, there was an exhibition in honour of Soyinka and a special stampede on “40 years of Death and the Kings Horseman” held in collaboration with the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA).