From Taiwo Oluwadare, Ibadan
The governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi has commended the literary Icons like Professor Wole Soyinka, late poet, Christopher Okigbo and others for their literary role in the country’s unity.
The governor who was represented by his deputy, Otunba Alake Adeyemo at the Christopher Okigbo conference on Wednesday in University of Ibadan to honour the late poet, said there is still hope for Nigeria because of the unifying literary works of the writers.
According to him, Nigerian writers and scholars aparts from the strident unifying themes of their writings, have through their beliefs in humanity and altruism, continued to show other Nigerians how to live in harmony with one another.
The governor said: “Much have been said of the man we all gathered here today to honour. Suffice it to say that Christopher Okigbo who spent a substantial part of his life in these parts of Nigeria as a student, poet, Publishing representative and later teacher, is an epitome of what Nigeria should be.
“He and his generation many of whom are gathered here today, are a good reminder that all is not lost and that there is still hope for Nigeria.
“Today’s event could not have come at a more auspicious moment than when the country is straining from inter-ethnic and inter-religious tensions. Due to some strange negative foeces, Nigeria is currently more than ever before deeply divided on ethnic lines that seems to hold no reconciliation factors.
“Despite the current religious and ethnic intolerance in some parts of the country, it is remarkable that today, here in Ibadan, we are celebrating a distinguished Nigerian from the South Eastern part of the country who once studied and lived in this part of the country”, Governor Ajimobi said.
In his keynote address, Dan Izevbaye described the late poet as a peace maker whose writing and singing prowess revolve around settling conflicts.
According to him, Okigbo was initially a song composer before he delved into poetry saying his approach to music reflects his poetic skills. He added that Okigbo’s poetic skill was borrowed from French symbolism while he always thinking about how to compose music all the time.
Izevbaye noted that the political tension of 1964 and 65 chased Okigbo out of poetry to join Army because poetry didn’t change anything in the politics of the time.