Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, says the kind of discourse that takes place on social media in Nigeria leaves so much to be desired because some ignoble characters have taken over the spaces of virtual engagement.
Soyinka stated that while social media remains an important platform for interaction and exchange of idea in other climes, the reverse is the case in Nigeria.
Speaking on Saturday at the 48th President’s party and his investiture as an honorary member of the prestigious Abeokuta Club, Ogun State, he said the intellectual quotient aspect of social media has been dragged down.
Soyinka said the situation has got to a level where even a mere disagreement in an election could lead to one being tagged on social media as having a phobia about others.
At the investiture graced by the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; and many prominent Egba sons and daughters, the playwright urged the nation’s community of intellectual minds to rescue the country from the monstrosity of the social media.
Soyinka insinuated that those behind the sorry state of social media in Nigeria were those who lost in the last election.
“In a situation where disagreement in an election can lead one being labelled something phobia or whatever.
“The social media is awash with accusations of one being a kind of ethnophobic. So strange to me but that is what we have been reduced to. And when that kind of accusation comes, there is no need or value in trying to say you are not. You just say, ‘Thank you very much! The complement of ethnophobia is ethnophilia.
“I’m astonished and flabbergasted that people are so power-besotted that they can’t even accept the possibility that they did not win an election. It does not matter whether you are right or wrong or they are right. It is just a question. Take your facts to the table, let’s examine them carefully, consider the possibility that we may be wrong or you may be wrong but you don’t have to descend into demonisation of the group to which others belong to establish your point.
“I don’t deal in social media. As far as I’m concerned, barbarians have taken over social media and they have swapped the intellectual quotient which used to make and still make social media valid in other societies. Here in this country, social media has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator.
“However, I believe in the community of the intellect of minds and creativity to rescue us from the monstrosity that social media has become (in this country).”