“Video Of Pyrates Mocking Tinubu Distasteful” – Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed disdain at a viral video showing members of the National Association of Seadogs, also known as Pyrates, mocking the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, in a song during a parade.
In the video, the members of the fraternity chanted: “Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, baba wey no well he dey shout Emi Lokan,” roughly translated to mean “with unstable hands and legs, a man with frail health is sounding off that it’s his turn to be Nigeria’s president.’’
In a statement on Monday, Soyinka, a founding member of the association, said he is not “associated with the beliefs expressed in the songs.”
Soyinka said: “The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the awaited 2023 elections. Since the whole world knows of my connection with that fraternity, I must state in clear, unambiguous terms that I have not been involved in that public performance nor in any way associated with the sentiments expressed in the song
“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 person? I do not interfere in, nor do I attempt to dictate the partisan political choices of the Confraternity. I remain oblivious that the association ever engages in a collective statement of sponsorship or contradiction of any candidate. This is a new and unusual 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 stunned. 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 excellent protector of the afflicted, no matter the nature of such suffering. This sensibility is engrained in us from childhood and remains with us all our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal weakness to which all humanity remains vulnerable.”