The Osun State government Sunday, pleaded with Professor Wole Soyinka not to resign as chairman of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (CBCIU), Osogbo.
The Nobel Laureate had in a statement on Saturday night resigned as chairman of the CBCIU over a ‘leadership tussle’ with former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
But in a statement signed personally by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, the state government reasoned that public interest is supreme in all matters and called on stakeholders to prevail on Soyinka not to go ahead with his decision to resign.
“In the interest of the public and the culture of our race to which Soyinka is passionately committed, he must continue in his capacity as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre.
“Yes, Wole Soyinka has resigned but he himself has conceded the fact that the governor must accept it.
“We cannot accept the resignation even though we hold him in high esteem, because of the responsibilities attached to his chairmanship of CBCIU, which is beyond him and even beyond us.
“It has to do with the culture and tradition of our race which we believe that the CBCIU is meant to preserve and promote.
“We call on people of goodwill to prevail on Prof. Wole Soyinka, an international personage of culture, in the interest of our race, not to go ahead with his decision to resign”.
The government said though the former chairman of the CBCIU had the vision to build the centre in his capacity then as the governor, he cannot be the chairman of the Centre in perpetuity as stipulated by the law establishing the Centre.
The statement said: “The issue here is not difficult at all. The issue is that for whatever reason, a former governor of our state who had the vision of building that centre was misdirected to believe that he could be the perpetual chairman of the board of trustees, a situation that contradicts the constitution on any public institution.
“There is no way the constitution will permit any individual to, in his individual capacity, head at that level, public institutions in perpetuity. It is not done. It offends the constitution. No matter how powerful you may be, no individual can put himself in perpetual role in a public institution”.
The statement further stated that the law which vested that perpetual chairmanship in the former governor has been amended.
It said: “The law which vested the perpetual chairmanship of the Centre on the former governor has been amended through the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding (Amendment) Law 2012.
“Wherever the public interest is, personal interest suffers, diminishes or does not exist at all. The public interest prevails”.
“To that extent, as far at the CBCIU is concerned, the obnoxious section which gives the perpetual chairmanship of the Board of Trustees to any individual is no longer there. It is null and void and cannot be the point of reference for anybody. Whoever therefore still sees himself in that light is not in any way acting on the legal instrument today in force on that centre”.
The government said Soyinka’s chairmanship of the CBCIU is part of a larger responsibility to drive the building of a new heritage centre in the state.
“We call on all people of goodwill to prevail on Prof Wole Soyinka to kindly reconsider his position and avail us his world acclaimed knowledge, intellect, international network and commitment to black culture and civilisation”, it concluded.