“The Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, has said that when he “grows up,” he would like to be like Professor Wole Soyinka, the literary giant and Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, who bestrides the global literary landscape like a colossus.
Dr. Ayakoroma stated this as representative of the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism & National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, on Thursday, August 8, 2013, at the Opening Ceremony of the International Conference on “D. O. Fagunwa: Fifty Years On,” organized by Ondo State Government in conjunction with the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), D. O. Fagunwa Foundation and Fagunwa Study Group, at Jojein Hotels and Resort, Akure, Ondo State.
Dr. Ayakoroma recalled that, though he did not have the privilege of studying under Professor Wole Soyinka, as a second year undergraduate at the University of Calabar, he played the role of “Samson” in the play, The Road, written by Wole Soyinka, and that he was glad to relate with the literary icon at very close quarters, a disclosure that made the Nobel Laureate, who gave the keynote address at the event, to smile broadly.
The event was to mark a universally acclaimed literary genius, D. O. Fagunwa, author of several Yoruba literature books, which included, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole (1938), Ireke Onibudo (1947), Igbo Eledumare (1949), Irinkerindo Ninu Igbo Elegbeje (1945), and Adiitu Olodumare (1961), and who died 50 years ago, at the age of 60.
It was actually a renaissance of a dream to promote Africa’s rich culture and language, which the late literary genius devoted his hugely successful life and prodigious talent to espouse.