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Barbarians Have Taken Over Social Media In Nigeria – Wole Soyinka Laments

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Barbarians Have Taken Over Social Media In Nigeria - Wole Soyinka Laments

Renowned Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has expressed dismay over the deplorable condition of social media within Nigeria.

He lamented its descent to the lowest common denominator, asserting that it has been overrun by what he deems as “barbarians.”

Soyinka pointed out that, unlike in other regions where social media continues to serve as a valid platform for interaction due to the intellectual content and reasoned discussions initiated by users, the situation in Nigeria is quite the opposite.

He observed that those responsible for its decline in the country have forsaken the intellectual aspect, diminishing its overall quality.

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During the 48th President’s party and his induction as an honorary member of Abeokuta Club in Ogun State on Saturday, the octogenarian addressed the gathering.

He highlighted the concerning state of affairs where even a simple disagreement during an election could result in individuals being unfairly labelled on social media.

The investiture ceremony, graced by the presence of the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, along with numerous distinguished sons and daughters of Egba, saw the playwright calling upon the intellectual and creative community of the nation to rescue the country from the detrimental influence of social media.

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Discussing the recent general elections, particularly the presidential race, Soyinka expressed profound amazement and disbelief.

He noted that he was both “astonished and flabbergasted” by the intense lust for power, observing that some individuals were so fixated on it that they couldn’t fathom the possibility of not emerging victorious. Instead of presenting their facts for careful examination, they opted to demonize others.

He said: “In a situation where disagreement in an election can lead to one being labelled something phobia or whatever. It is certainly amazing that in a community of intellect, genuine and authentic value and then we have a situation of something called the social media.

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“The social media is awash with accusations of one being a kind of ethnophobic. It’s so strange to me, but that is what we have been reduced to. And when that kind of accusation comes, there is no need or value in trying to say you are not. You just say thank you very much! The compliment of ethnophobia is ethnophilia.

“So, if you are ethnophobic in one direction, then pull back and become ethnophilia in the other direction and leave those who claim that they are being phobilized to wallow in their own campaign of hatred, of dehumanization of others simply because of glaring routine mundane activities as holding a political opinion, as making political observation and warning others not to plunge the society into the dark age from which we barely emerged at very cruel dictatorship, the most cruel this nation has ever had.

“I’m astonished and flabbergasted that people are so power-besotted that they can’t even accept the possibility that they did not win an election. It does not matter whether you are right or wrong or they are right. It is just a question.

“Take your facts to the table, let’s examine them carefully, consider the possibility that we may be wrong or you may be wrong. But you don’t have to descend into demonization of the group to which others belong in order to establish your point.

“I don’t deal in social media. As far as I’m concerned, barbarians have taken over social media, and they have swapped the intellectual quotient which used to make and still make social media valid in other societies. Here in this country, social media has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator.

“However, I believe in the community of the intellect of minds and creativity to rescue us from the monstrosity that social media has become (in this country).”

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