Nigeria: Soyinka Centre Postpones Integrity Award On Osinbajo Over Protests

Omoyele Sowore was rearrested in court by agents from the Department of State Security (DSS) the day after he was released on court order.
9 December 2019

Lagos — The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has postponed the presentation of award to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo after it generated protests on social media.

Osinbajo was slated to be presented with an Integrity award as part of the 2019 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting holding on Monday night in Lagos coinciding with the World Anti-Corruption Day.

The plan to honour Osinbajo however generated protests as some Nigerians took to social media querying the timing of the award.

A social media activist and blogger, Gimba Kakanda writing through his verified twitter handle @gimbakakanda said he was disappointed by the choice of Osinbajo by the Wole Soyinka centre.

He was however quick to dissociate the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, from the choice of Osinbajo as one of the awardees for the prestigious WSCIJ awards, saying the literary icon, who has been in recent times, very critical of the Muhammadu Buhari's administration does not select the awardees for the organization.

For those deviating, @WSoyinkaCentre isn't Wole Soyinka. It's an organization, and what they do must be separated from Professor Wole Soyinka the person. It's a registered organization named after him, and he's not responsible for their choices, and so shouldn't be castigated.

-- Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) December 8, 2019

"For those deviating, @WSoyinkaCentre isn't Wole Soyinka. It's an organization, and what they do must be separated from Professor Wole Soyinka the person. It's a registered organization named after him, and he's not responsible for their choices, and so shouldn't be castigated," Kakanda wrote.

Executive Director/CEO of the Centre, Motunrayo Alaka, in a statement posted on the organization's Twitter page @WSoyinkaCentre at 2:32 am on Monday announced the postponement of the award to Osinbajo.

The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has postponed the presentation of award to the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. #WSAIR2019 pic.twitter.com/IbiIjy6KJ2

-- Wole Soyinka Centre (@WSoyinkaCentre) December 9, 2019

She said the postponement was in response to the protest against what she called, "the repression of freedom of speech" by the present administration, citing the case of the convener of #RevolutionNow Movement and Sahara Reporters' Publisher, Omoyele Sowore.

She wrote: "The postponement was decided on, to align with protests against the repression of #FreedomOfSpeech in recent times, especially the incidence between the Department of State Security (DSS) and @YeleSowore, Publisher of @SaharaReporters, on Friday 6 December.

"The Vice President @ProfOsinbajo himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point."

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