For two days in the month of July, Abeokuta’s June 12 cultural centre will be playing host to the Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange. The annual event is scheduled to take place on the 13th and 14th of this month, coinciding with the 82nd birthday of its initiator, Professor Wole Soyinka.
As part of the activities to mark the Nobel laureate’s birthday, 82 students drawn from various schools in Ogun State and its environs will participate in an essay writing competition. The Executive Producer of the event, Teju Kareem, made this known in an interview with members of the press. The competition is to form part of the youth segment of the exchange, which is themed “Challenge or Not, I Love My Country”. He said that the theme of this year’s youth segment “is aimed at awakening the patriot in young Nigerians”.
The series producer for the event, Haneefat Ikharo, disclosed that the essays written by the students will be edited and published in a book, along with contributory write-ups from 18 past winners of the competition. She pointed out that the number of students selected “symbolically signposts the fact that Professor Wole Soyinka will be 82 years on July 13, 2016.”
The wife of the Ogun State Governor, Olufunso Amosun, is also expected to have a mentorship session with the students at the program.
The overall theme of the 2016 edition of the WSICE is “Corruption: A Battle for the Arts”. Since its inception in 2010, the program has supported the rubbing of minds on subjects related to literature and the promotion of the art of literary communication in Nigeria and internationally.
Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.