By James Ogunnaike, Abeokuta
The Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has dissociated himself from a video where some members of the National Association of Seadogs, NAS, also known as the Pyrates Confraternity, mocking one of the presidential candidates.
In the said video, members of the Confraternity were seen during a procession dancing to an anti-Tinubu song and poked fun at the former Lagos State governor for a speech he made in June in Abeokuta, Ogun State, where he asked that power should be handed over to him.
The members of the Pyrates Confraternity sang, “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’)”.
It would be recalled that Tinubu, while addressing party faithful at the Presidential Lodge, Ibara GRA, Abeokuta, during the build up to the APC Presidential primary election, said, ‘Emi lo kan’, meaning ‘It’s my turn’.
Tinubu, at the political function narrated how he consoled President Muhammadu Buhari after he had failed three times to become Nigeria’s President.
He also narrated how he formed a political alliance spearheaded that ensured Buhari won the 2015 presidential election.
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 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”.
“A further statement will be issued when I have made further enquiries into this strange, uncharacteristic outing of the association”, he said.