Soyinka’s shocker: Solving Maths problems saved me from insanity during incarceration



Photo:Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka presenting cash and laptop gift to  Aishat Kareem of Aminat International College, Obantoko, winner of JET Competition, while Ogun State for Education, Prof Abayomi Arigbabu and the permanent secretary in the ministry, Mrs Abosede Ogunleye look on when Soyinka hosted Ogun State young academic laureates at his Ijegba Forest amphitheatre in Abeokuta on Thursday

Elder statesman and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has disclosed how solving mathematical problems saved him from insanity during his 27 months incarceration.


Soyinka, said though he disliked the subject while in secondary school, the mathematics actually became his saving grace while he was undergoing incarceration by a military junta.


He said it was while in detention that he “realized that you must always have an integration, a common line – be you an historian, horticulturist, mathematician…”


At school, the Nobel laureate said “I hated mathematics at school but .. I even had a C. I hated my teachers who were very brilliant at mathematics and they forced it down throats whether we like it or not.”

The literary icon made these disclosures on Thursday when he played host to the academic laureates who did Ogun State proud in various academic competitions, at his Kemta, Idi Aba residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.


Soyinka, while addressing the laureates, advised them not to prioritise any subject above others.


Governor Dapo Abiodun had on April 22, 2021 showered the academic  laureates and their teachers with cash prizes, houses and laptops at a ceremony held at the Obas’ Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta.


Noting that the efforts of the Dapo Abiodun administration on education were evident in the emergence of the academic laureates who have shown great excellence and exploits, Soyinka further encouraged them to always have holistic sense of integration and interaction of subjects, which he said would help them to excel in all spheres of life.


Speaking at the event, Governor Abiodun, while highlighting some of the achievements of his administration in the education sector, to continue to sustain and uphold the legacy of the founding fathers of the state who strived to Ogun a citadel of education. 


The governor represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi, enjoined the awardees to thrive in their best and that the state would continue to create an enabling environment for learners to excel.


“We are indeed proud of all academic laureates who have distinguished themselves in different competitions. And as a state, we promise to continue to put in the required provisions that will continue to aid teaching and learning activities that will produce more academic giants”, the governor said.


In his welcome address, the for Education, Science and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, enjoined the students to draw inspiration from the Nobel Laureate by not relenting in achieving greatness in all they do.


Some of the laureates were given cheques ranging from N50,000 to N5m, laptops and other goodies.(Press Release)