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… Historical background


Wole Soyinka

The background to the Wole Soyinka Museum is steeped in time, which can be traced to the voyage of Wole Soyinka perhaps through his Yoruba ancestry. It is worthy of note that a very significant part of Wole Soyinka’s creative and mid-life productive years were spent on the campus of Obafemi Awolowo University (formerly University of Ife). It is at the University of Ife, that Wole Soyinka brought forth quite notable fruits. He spent about 24 years lecturing at the Obafemi Awolowo University during which time his daughters Peyi and Moremi Soyinka studied here at the university (not to mention Makin who made his entry in 1986- the year after Baba exited).

Wole Soyinka developed several vocations during his period of stay. He was patron to the only unofficial Hunters’ Guild, the acknowledged inspiration of the Kegites Club among many other hobbies. Enthralling accounts of the hunting expeditions are documented in his autobiography, “You Must Set Forth at Dawn”.

The Federal Road Safety Corps, now a reputable Federal Government Agency was midwifed by Wole Soyinka as a token of efforts at reducing road accidents on the notorious Ile-Ife – Ibadan road in the 1970s-80s. The embryo group was headed by Professor Wole Soyinka himself who led like- minded men to physically police our campus roads and monitor the activities of motorists on the notorious Ife-Ibadan road. They insisted on government’s involvement in these efforts and this culminated in the establishment of the Federal Road Safety Corps in Nigeria.

Professor Wole Soyinka headed a number of committees while he was on this campus, he ran the Oduduwa Hall, conjoined with the Amphi-theatre among others. There was also his role in the co- founding of the Pyrates Confraternity on Nigerian University campuses Apart from his global presence today, these exploits among others form the reason why the OAU and others are convinced that Wole Soyinka deserves to have a lasting legacy endowed for him in Obafemi Awolowo University. We are grateful to the Wole Soyinka Foundation for agreeing to interface with Obafemi Awolowo University in furthering the cause. We are also grateful for the prompt and timely support of the visionary Governor of Ogun State of Nigeria.

His intervention through the mobilisation of all necessary financial and material requirements within one month jerked the goal of the WS Museum to life. It is important to note that a substantial part of the Wole Soyinka collection has just completed a tour of three continents and will be proudly rotated through the Wole Soyinka Museum at OAU Ile- Ife, first of its kind, for the benefit members of the Academic and non- Academic communities.

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Wole Soyinka
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