Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate, vehemently criticized the state of social media in Nigeria, characterizing it as being “taken over by barbarians.” During his speech at the 48th President’s party and his induction as an honorary member of the Abeokuta Club in Ogun State, Soyinka expressed profound disappointment at the diminishing intellectual discourse and reasoned engagement on platforms that, in his view, should be nurturing these qualities,leadership report.
Soyinka emphasized that in other parts of the world, social media remains a valid means of interaction due to the intellectual content and reasoned engagements deployed by users. However, he lamented that the opposite is true in Nigeria, where those responsible for its decline have removed the intellectual quotient aspect.
He pointed out that the situation has deteriorated to the point where a mere disagreement during an election can result in being labeled on social media as having a phobia of others. Soyinka highlighted the prevalence of accusations on social media, noting that even a disagreement in an election can lead to being unjustly branded as ethnophobic.
In urging the nation’s intellectual community to intervene and rescue the country from the negative impact of social media, Soyinka expressed astonishment at the power-driven mentality that prevents some from accepting the possibility of losing an election. He emphasized the importance of presenting facts for examination without descending into the demonization of opposing groups.
Soyinka reiterated his decision to abstain from engaging with social media, as he believes it has been overrun by barbarians who have degraded its intellectual quality. Despite his pessimism about social media, he expressed confidence in the community of intellect, minds, and creativity to salvage the country from the challenges posed by the current state of social media.