Professor Wole Soyinka has reacted to a viral video showing some members of the National Association of Seadogs better known as Pyrates Confraternity mocking the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.
The Nobel Laureate dissociated himself from the video and condemned the act.
Recall that Tinubu had in June, 2023, while speaking in Abeokuta, Ogun State, during the build up to the APC presidential election primary, said, ‘Emi lo kan’, meaning ‘It’s my turn’ (to become the next president of Nigeria after President Muhammadu Buhari.)
In the viral video, members of the Confraternity were seen during a procession dancing and the statement by Tinubu to make mockery of the former Lagos State governor.
They were singing and asking how a Tinubu, who according to them, has shaking hands and feet would be saying it was his turn to rule Nigeria.
They were singing, “Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, Baba wey no well, e de shout emi lo kan (Hands are shaking, legs are shaking. A sick old man is shouting ‘it’s my turn’).
“Emi lo kan (2ce), Baba wey no well, him dey shout emi lokan (It’s my turn (2ce), a sick old man is shouting ‘it’s my turn’)”.
In his response to the video, Soyinka said, “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 ingrained 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”.
“A further statement will be issued when I have made further enquiries into this strange, uncharacteristic outing of the association.”