Prof Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, has lamented the dismal state of social media in Nigeria, claiming that it has been reduced to the lowest common denominator and taken over by “barbarians.”
Soyinka claimed that social media is still relevant in other contexts – as a form of contact – due to the intellectual content and reasoned exchanges used by users.
He did, however, point out that in Nigeria, the opposite is true, with those who dragged it down swapping the intellectual quotient.
On Saturday, he spoke at the 48th President’s party and was inducted as an honorary member of the elite Abeokuta Club in Ogun State.
He claimed that the situation has deteriorated to the point that even a simple disagreement in an election can result in one being labeled on social media as having a phobia of others.
At the investiture attended by the Alake and Paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; and many renowned Egba sons and daughters, the dramatist implored the nation’s community of intellectual minds to save the country from the ugliness of the social media.
“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).”