Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has paid a touching tribute to the heroine Dapchi schoolgirl, Leah Sharibu, during an event at the prestigious Georgetown University in Washington, United States.
The teenager was kidnapped on February 19, 2018 alongside her schoolmates from their Government Science College at Dapchi, Yobe State.
But while the other schoolgirls were released, Leah was held back by Boko Haram terrorists for refusing to convert to Islam.
Likening Leah to the late South African iconic human rights champion and president, Nelson Mandela, Soyinka stated: “We must celebrate the exception who said ‘no’ “as it reminded me of Mandela who refused conditional release.”
Reciting the ode, “Mandela comes to Leah”, the renowned playwright clarified: “No”, she said, “Faith is not of compulsion. Her torch undimmed in the den of zealots.”
The poet said he could only recite the excerpts because he broke down the last time he attempted to read it, Guardian writes.
Soyinka also did an epic takedown of a Georgetown professor’s claim that poverty and desperation were behind the Boko Haram insurgency.
He said: “It was ideological bordering on the metaphysical and we should not underestimate it. We are dealing with something much deeper.
“Recall the son of a former Chief Justice of Nigeria who was upper middle class but who disappeared with his family to join ISIS in Syria.
“There is a will to deny the possibility of horror and evil. We have reached a point where we have to go beyond the material analysis of this phenomenon. It goes beyond poverty and marginalisation. The ideology of sheer morbidity.”
The renowned playwright deplored the 20 American intellectuals who opposed the designation of the sect as a foreign terrorist organisation (FTO), adding: “It took my breath away.”
He went on: “Some were my friends, but in all seriousness, they simply had a very wrong analytical approach to this problem.
“We must simply jettison the language of political correctness. Political correctness is turning the African continent into the graveyard of freedom and liberty if we don’t call things by their proper names.
“We are dealing now with the toxin of power which barely manifests itself under the cloak of religion.”