Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has reacted to the mockery of the candidate of the All Progressives Congress for the 2023 presidential election, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, by members of the National Association of Seadogs, popularly known as Pyrates Confraternity.
Recall, as earlier reported by The Eagle Online, that the association, to which Soyinka belongs, released a video.
In the video, they were seen dancing and calling to question the health status of Tinubu.
In the viral video, they sang Pidgin English: “Emi lokan.
“Baba wey no well, him dey shout Emi lokan.
“Hand dey shake, leg dey Shake, baba wey no well, him dey shout Emi lokan.”
Recall that “Emi lokan” became a popular word associated with the APC presidential candidate after his outburst on June 3, 2022 when he vented his frustration during a presidential campaign in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, saying it was through his efforts that President Muhammadu Buhari made it to Aso Rock after failing thrice.
He also pointed at the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, whom he described as: “Eleyi,” as one of the products of his political hard work.
He said: “Look at this one (Eleyi) seated behind me, Dapo, he wouldn’t have become governor without my support.”
Tinubu made the statement while addressing the APC delegates in Ogun State.
His outburst evoked mixed feelings from Nigerians, with many loyalists of the party, including the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, saying the remarks were meant to slight the President and Ogun State Governor.
Twenty-four hours after the drama, the Bola Tinubu Media Campaign Team dismissed insinuations that the presidential candidate disrespected the Ogun State Governor.
The director of the BAT Campaign Team, Bayo Onanuga, said that the comment was “mischievously interpreted.”
Reacting to the video by the Pirates Confraternity, Soyinka said in a statement on Monday: “My attention has been drawn to a video clip making internet rounds, of a dancing and chanting group, in red and white costume, purportedly members of the Pyrates Confraternity. The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the awaited 2023 elections,” the 88-year-old said.
“Since the whole world knows of my connection with that fraternity, it is essential that I state in clear, unambiguous terms, that I am not involved in that public performance, nor in any way associated with the sentiments expressed in the songs.
“Like any other civic group, the Pyrates Confraternity is entitled to its freedom of expression, individually or collectively. So also, is Wole Soyinka in his own person. I do not interfere in, nor do I attempt dictate the partisan political choices of the Confraternity. I remain unaware that the association ever engages in a collective statement of sponsorship or repudiation of any candidate. This is clearly a new and bizarre development, fraught with unpredictable consequences.
“In addition, let me make the following cultural affirmation. I have listened to the lyrics of the chant intently and I am frankly appalled. I find it distasteful. I belong to a culture where we do not mock physical afflictions or disabilities. Very much the contrary. The Yoruba religion indeed designate a deity, Obatala, as the divine protector of the afflicted, no matter the nature of such affliction. This sensibility is engrained in us from childhood and remains with us all our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal frailty to which all humanity remains vulnerable.
“One of my favourite authors, about whom, by a coincidence, I had cause to write quite recently, was CLR James, author of The Black Jacobins, Beyond A Boundary etc. etc. I called him my ideological uncle. He suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, but remained alert, lucid and combative for decades after the onset of the disease. We interacted politically at the Tanzanian pan-African Congress, the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts and a number of other cultural and political fora. We met frequently in his lifetime, dined together in restaurants, despite his challenge. it would be unthinkable, and a desecration of his memory to be part of any activity that mocked his affliction.”