Wole Soyinka Nobel Laureate messed up, big time

Soyinka launched an ill advised rant on Nigerians this week. We are willing to forgive him just because he's Soyinka

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Nigerian Literature Nobel Wole Soyinka has been a regular teacher at US universities including Harvard, Cornell and Yale play

Nigerian Literature Nobel Wole Soyinka has been a regular teacher at US universities including Harvard, Cornell and Yale

(AFP/File)
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For a man who is widely respected at home and abroad, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, did his reputation little favours this week.

Just before the last U.S Presidential contest featuring Hillary Clinton on one hand and Donald Trump on the other, Soyinka vowed to rip apart his green card if Trump won.

Like most of the civilised world, Soyinka just couldn't stand Trump's xenophobic, incendiary, misogynistic, sexist rhetoric.

Ripping apart his green card was Soyinka's way of disagreeing with and protesting all Trump stands for.

And then like a bad dream, Trump is U.S President-elect.

ALSO READ: 5 Things we learned as Nobel Laureate bins green card

English-language China Daily newspaper warned that 'diplomatic rookie' Donald Trump needs to moderate his behaviour or he will create 'costly troubles for his country' play Donald Trump (AFP/File)

 

No one forced Soyinka to make the pledge, but he made it anyway.

Soyinka is a man of letters, a global icon. Whatever he says becomes gospel. His remarks are often widely reported.

So, when Trump won the U.S Presidential contest, the "facebooking and twittering children of anger" (apologies Reuben Abati, we just couldn't help it), went back to Soyinka's promise. Naturally.

They wanted Soyinka to be a man of his words and consign his green card to the garbage heap. And they went hard.

ALSO READ: Nigerians remind Wole Soyinka to tear US green card

Days snowballed into weeks and Soyinka hadn't kept his promise. So, the children of anger got very angry and rude, on occasion.

They piled the pressure on Soyinka.

"Tear the green card, Baba," they chorused from behind sleek gadgets and laptops.

On December 1, on the sidelines of an education conference at the University of Johannesburg, Soyinka announced he had thrown away his beloved green card. Which wasn't quite the same as "tearing" the green card, but we'll pass.

Wole Soyinka play Wole Soyinka (silverbirdtv)

 

"I have already done it, I have disengaged (from the United States). I have done what I said I would do,” Soyinka announced.

He added that: "I had a horror of what is to come with Trump… I threw away the (green) card, and I have relocated, and I’m back to where I have always been".

The 'children of anger' laid off Soyinka after this and the attacks ceased. They had scored an important victory and drank to it.

End of the matter, then? Dead wrong!

Soyinka wanted the last word on his green card saga.

Addressing a news conference in Lagos, Monday, Soyinka revisited the saga and labelled his countrymen and women with all sorts of unprintable names for piling the pressure on him to rip apart his green card.

“Why do Nigerians wail louder than the bereaved? Our commonsense is totally lost. I am embarrassed sometimes that I occupy the same nation space as some imbeciles and morons.  I am planning my Wolexit, which could be internal or external," Soyinka bristled.

But there was more: “Where is the arrogance coming from? What right do they have to tell me that I have no right to take a decision in a particular way? I never took orders from (the late) Sani Abacha, why should I take orders from you? Let us have a little respect and spirit of tolerance. I can decide whether to use a garden shell or scissors for my green card. What is the business of any Nigerian to challenge me on my decision? Barbarians have taken over the country using the anonymity of the Internet. They sit somewhere writing about me, questioning the right of me to express myself.”

play Soyinka (The Nation)

 

There was certainly no need for Soyinka's rants and diatribes on the average Nigerian.

There was no need for the meltdown and outbursts.

Calling your compatriots "morons and imbeciles" was also beyond the pale.

It is said of the extremely gifted and knowledgeable, that they often tend towards arrogance. We don't want to believe that our own Soyinka is cut from that cloth.

More than any group of persons in the world, Nigerians are excited that Soyinka is returning home to contribute to national development now that Trump is U.S President....elect.

Soyinka is our national treasure.

We've always wanted him back. He's our biggest star. Like everyone else however, he's due his moments of Freudian slips.

He messed up this week, but we'll forgive him no less. Just because his name is Wole Soyinka.

However, we are sure our ginger-haired icon will be the first to admit that going after his own disciples in the manner he did, was jejune and petty. He'll accept that on this occasion, he dropped the ball.

Dear Soyinka, please don't do it again. Otherwise, we'll tell our Daddy for you.

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