The Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo has called on President Bola Tinubu to declare July 13 a national day to celebrate the invaluable contribution of Prof. Wole Soyinka to humanity, both nationally and globally.

Oba Gbadebo also said the federal government should also honour Nobel Laureate with the second highest national honour of Grand Commander of Order of Niger to  mark his 90th birthday.

Oba Gbadebo said, the Egbaland has already decided that July 13th which is the birthday of the literary giant would henceforth be celebrated as Wole Soyinka Day to further promote his ideals and excellent scholarship disposition in the coming generation.

He noted that Soyinka being the first African Nobel Prize winner in Literature and international playwright who is wanted in every part of the world deserves to be so honoured back home.

Oba Gbadebo made the call during the a press conference held to herald series of events lined up to mark the 90th birthday of the first African Nobel Prize winner in Literature.

Speaking at the press briefing, Oba Gbadebo described Soyinka as a global icon, a living legend, a playwright, actor, human rights and political activist, hunter and a globally respected elder statesman with roots in Ake, Abeokuta, saying that this is why the Egbaland is rolling out drums to celebrate the unquantifiable honour and glamour the famous poet has brought to his kith and kins in Ogun State.

He said that the theme for the 90th celebration of the Nobel Laureate fondly called, Kongi is “Defiance and Creativity: A Celebration of Soyinka’s Artistic Ingenuity and Impact on Nigeria, Africa and The Entire World”.

The royal father said as way to further honour the playwright, he is declaring July 13th  Wole Soyinka Day and this will be celebrated by all sons and daughters of Egbaland, both at home and in diaspora.

Oba Gbadebo said “it will be appropriate for the federal government to adopt July 13 as a national day to celebrate Prof Wole Soyinka given his contribution to literature and humanity globally.

“It will be good to henceforth adopt his birthday which is July 13 as Wole Soyinka Day. In fact, New Orleans in the United States of America has already adopted a day to celebrate him, so why can’t we do so to honour our own too.

“The Federal Government should also in addition to this confer on Wole Soyinka the second highest national honour of Grand Commander of Order of Niger because his contribution to register our dear nation on global map”.

Oba Gbadebo said, the two days celebration fixed for Friday 12th and Saturday 13th of July would feature series of events such as art exhibitions by the pupils of the primary school attended by Prof Soyinka, St Peters Primary School, Ake, Abeokuta Grammer School as well as Ogun State Chapter of Society of Nigerian Artistes.

Other programmes lined up for the celebration are cultural performances, books exhibition, documentaries on Wole Soyinka, poetry recitals as well as hunting expedition by the hunters in Egbaland among others.

The convener of the 90th birthday celebration of Wole Soyinka, Dr Paul Bankole said the essence of the celebration was to acknowledge the great contributions of the Nobel Laureate to both academically and to humanity as a whole.

Dr Bankole said he met Soyinka in 1964 in Ibadan as a young boy and that his literary journey started as a result of his encounter with him.

He said that the declaration of July 13th as Wole Soyinka Day in Egbaland by the Alake is a welcoming development and in line with the declaration of November 1st as Wole Soyinka Day in New Orleans, USA.

Bankole said “I believe that people like Prof Soyinka should be celebrated while they are alive, we must not wait till they are gone before we begin to pour the accolades on them, let them understand that we value them and acknowledge their unique contribution towards having a better world”.