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Babarians Have Taken Over Social Media – Soyinka

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Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has bemoaned the sorry state the social media has fallen into in Nigeria, saying it has been dragged down to the lowest common denominator and taken over by people he reckoned as “babarians.”

Soyinka said that in other climes, the social media is still valid – as means of interactions because of the intellectual contents and reasoned engagements being deployed by users but noted that here in the country, the reverse is the case as those who dragged it down have swapped the intellectual quotient aspect of it.

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The octogenarian who spoke on Saturday at the 48th President’s party and his investiture as a honourary member of Abeokuta Club, Ogun State, said the situation has degenerated to a level where even a mere disagreement in an election could lead to one being labeled 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 intellect of minds and creativity to rescue the country from the monstrosity of the social media.

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Apparently referring to the last general elections, especially the presidential election aspect of it, Soyinka said he was both astonished and flabbergasted that people were so power besotted that they could not even accept the possibility that they did not win the election and rather than table their facts for thorough scrutiny, they resorted to demonization of others.

On his investiture as a honourary member of the Abeokuta Club where Dr. Adewale Adeola is the President, Soyinka said it was a recognition he personally cherished, saying the Club is a honourable social group, having interacted with a good number of members at personal level.

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“In a situation where disagreement in an election can lead one being labeled something phobia or whatever. It is certainly amazing that in a community of intellect, genuine and authentic value and then we have a situation of something called the social media. 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.

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“So, if you are ethnophobic in one direction, then pull back and become ethnophilia in the other direction and leave those who claim that they are being phobilized to wallow in their own campaign of hatred, of dehumanization of others simply because of glaring routine mundane activities as holding a political opinion, as making political observation and warning others not to plunge the society into the dark age from which we barely emerged at very cruel dictatorship, the most cruel this nation has ever had.

“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 demonization of the group to which others belong in order to establish your point.

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“I don’t deal in social media. As far as I’m concerned, babarians have taken over social media and they have swap the intellectual quotient which used to make and still make social media valid in other society. 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 the social media has become (in this country).”

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