No more conferment of honorary awards on me, says Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has said that the honorary doctoral degree he bagged at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) on Friday is the last he would accept.
Soyinka said that openly declaring an end to his active academic career in a place he began learning was not only symmetrically and nostalgically symbolic, but also a defensive note against more subsequent honorary awards.
“On behalf of both of us, Prof. Toyin Falola and myself, I wish to thank this institution for this distinguished honour which of course means a lot to me than it can to him.
“He is just an Ibadan man, I am an Ogun State, Abeokuta, Ije-gba man and nonetheless, I assure you in all seriousness that I am honoured to be honoured by this institution.
“When I received the delegation headed by the Vice Chancellor to my Ije-gba Forest, I hesitated and suddenly, I had a flash. I said wait a minute, this is an institution where in the same town, same state, where I took my first steps to learning in an early institution. So, I said it is symmetrical; it is a closure and suddenly, everything became sensible, logical. I said this really is a way to symbolically conclude my teaching career.
“I cannot think of a more appropriate place to say this is the last honour I am receiving. Thank you very much. And so, Toyin, you can go and find an institution where you will make your own debut, but this one is mine. So, thank you very much.” the literary icon said.
He said FUNAAB should have given him a doctoral degree in the science of crop protection or pest control based on his hunting expeditions at the premises of the university.
Soyinka, however, commended the management of the university for stabilising the academic activities and departing from the history of academic disruptions, saying: “I used to come here, drive in, just shake my head in sorrow because most of what should have been students’ dormitories were deserted; the classrooms were deserted and I would just go into the bush and do some little pest control while everybody was away. But now, I am glad that this place is once more alive. The disciplines are ongoing, being enhanced, and let us hope that when I come here the next time, I will not find a deserted village.”