Soyinka distances herself from those who mocked Tinubu in public
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has distanced himself from a viral video showing members of the Pyrates brotherhood mocking All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
In the video, members of The Pyrates, who celebrated the band’s 70th anniversary this year, donned their traditional red and white attire and sang a song about a presidential candidate whose “hands and feet are shaking, but he says it’s 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 hit the internet after an outburst by the presidential candidate in Abeokuta, the capital of Ogun state, in June.
Tinubu had said that after working for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari and the progress of the APC, it was his turn to be president.
In a statement released on Monday, Soyinka, who is a renowned member of the group, said he was “frankly appalled” by the song’s lyrics.
Soyinka, in the statement titled “Interim Statement on Questionable Political Exit,” distanced himself from such action, saying he was not involved in it.
The statement read: ‘My attention has been drawn to a music video making rounds on the internet of a dancing and singing group, in red and white costume, allegedly members of the Brotherhood of Pyrates. The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the long-awaited 2023 elections.
“Since the world knows of my connection to this brotherhood, it is essential that I state in clear and unambiguous terms, that I am not involved in this public performance, nor associated in any way with the sentiments expressed in the songs.
“Like any other civic group, the Brotherhood of Pyrates has the right to freedom of expression, individually or collectively. So too is Wole Soyinka in his own person. I do not intervene or attempt to dictate the Brotherhood’s partisan political choices.
“I am still unaware of the association engaging in a collective declaration of sponsorship or repudiation of a candidate. This is clearly a new and bizarre development, fraught with unforeseeable consequences.
“Furthermore, allow me to make the following cultural assertion. I listened carefully to the lyrics of the song and I am frankly appalled. I find it unpleasant. I come from a culture that doesn’t make fun of physical afflictions or disabilities. Quite the contrary. The Yoruba religion indeed designates a deity, Obatala, as the divine protector of the afflicted, whatever the nature of this affliction. This sensitivity is rooted in us from childhood and accompanies us throughout our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal frailty to which all of humanity remains vulnerable.
“One of my favorite authors, on which, by chance, I had to write quite recently, was CLR James, author of 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 have interacted politically at the Tanzanian Pan-African Congress, the Dakar Negro Arts Festival and a number of other cultural and political forums. We met frequently during his lifetime, dined together in restaurants, despite his defiance. it would be unthinkable, and a desecration of his memory, to be part of any activity that mocked his affliction.
According to him, another statement would be issued when he had conducted a further investigation into “this strange and unusual exit from the association”.