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Soyinka distances self from those who mocked Tinubu in public

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has distanced himself from a viral video showing members of the Pyrates Confraternity mocking the presidential candidate of the All Progressives…

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, has distanced himself from a viral video showing members of the Pyrates Confraternity mocking the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

In the video, the Pyrates’ members, who marked the 70th anniversary of the group this year, donned their traditional red and white attire, and sang a song about a presidential candidate whose “hands and feet are shaking, yet he is saying ‘it is my turn.’”

“Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, baba wey no well we dey shout emi lokan,” they sang during a procession.

Tinubu’s emi lokan mantra broke the internet after an outburst of the presidential candidate in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, in June.

Tinubu had said after working for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari and progress of APC, it was his turn to be president.

In a statement on Monday, Soyinka, who is a renowned member of the group, said he was “frankly appalled” by the lyrics of the song.

Soyinka, in the statement titled ‘Interim Statement on a dubious political outing’, distanced himself from such action, saying he was not involved in it.

The statement reads: “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.

“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 to 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 designates 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 favorite 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.

According to him, a further statement would be issued when he had made further enquiries into “this strange, uncharacteristic outing of the association.”

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