“The Putin Files”: Soyinka expresses concern over negative social media use

Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has expressed concern over the negative use of technology and social media, saying it is now in the hands of ignoramuses.

He stated the wrong usage of  technology is fast taking humanity backwards due to the use of profiling and abusive words.

Soyinka, who spoke on Friday in Lagos at the unveiling of his latest Interventions volume, titled: The Putin Files: Excursions around the ideology of pain  at Freedom Park Lagos, confessed to not being a fan of the social media.

“I don’t tweet, I don’t WhatsApp. I tried WhatsApp but I stopped,” he said.

Reading from the latest instalment in the series, Soyinka said: “Project Nigeria, I must confess, has become near terminally soul-searing. Do I still believe in it? I am no longer certain, but first we must rid ourselves of the tyranny of the ignorant and the opportunism of time-servers.

“In any case, there is not much else to engage one on a foundation of ownership stakes. There is, of course, always the possibility of a revolution, with a clarity of purpose and acceptance of all attendant risks, including costly errors.

“Revolutions are not, however, based on the impetus of speculative power entitlement. No matter, until that moment, the structures that ensure just and equitable cohabitation must be protected from partisan appropriation – be it from material inducement, fake news or verbal terrorism – the last being the contribution of one who is positioned to assume co-leadership of the nation, no less.”

According to him, the whole concept of democracy needs to be re-examined. 

“Revolution is not about lining up behind the nearest available symbol. When a symbol does emerge, however, we are still obliged to examine every aspect of what is fortuitously an offer, and continue to guard our freedoms every inch of the way,” he said.

He said Putin, as used in his book, is a metaphor and reality, adding: “We can’t be shielded from what is happening.”

He however described #EndSARS, which was ironically based on social media mobilisation, as one of the most successful movements in this country because it was based on truth.

The unveiling of The Putin Files, was organised by the publishers of the series, Bookcraft Africa, featured a conversation between the Nobel laureate and Anthony Kila, a professor of political science, and a well-known public affairs analyst and newspaper columnist. Kila is currently international director of studies at the European Centre of Advanced and Professional Studies (CAPS). 

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