Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has disclosed his intention to hold a private funeral on January 20 when the US President-elect, Donald Trump, will be inaugurated.
Addressing a news conference on what he titled, ‘The green god and the idolatory of mutants,’ in Lagos, on Monday, Soyinka explained that the funeral would, however, mourn the death of common sense in Nigeria and not bewail the citizens of the US over their choice of president.
“Our common sense is totally lost. I am embarrassed sometimes that I occupy the same nation space with some people,” he said.
Many Nigerians had been looking forward to the day the Nobel laureate would publicly tear his Green Card because he had promised to tear the card if Trump won the US presidential election.
Soyinka, however, noted that Nigerians had no right to query his personal decision on the tearing of his Green Card.
He said, “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.”
Soyinka, who said he got the Green Card during the National Democratic Coalition years without requesting it – when the exigencies of the time necessitated it – said it was absurd for people to ask him to produce a video showing he tore it.
“I am not an entertainer. Why should I entertain you on that? I am a dramatist. When I say I have done something, Ogun is my guiding spirit on it. Maybe I should be exiting Nigeria and not the US. People that one dedicated one’s life of struggle to can be so slavish in mentality to query the right of their champions to freedom of expression,” he added.
According to him, it is his personal business and not anyone else’s if he wants to leave the US and the way he plans to do it.
He said, “If I decide to leave the US, it is my personal decision and not that of the millipedes of the Internet, who claw at any excuse. I don’t know what the excitation is. Why do Nigerians tend to weep more than the bereaved? Trump is not really my business. He has been elected. He should do his work. There are born-again humans in all areas, why not in politics? Even the stock exchange reacted to Trump’s election. I also reacted in my own way. There is freedom of expression. We have far too many illiterates in this country.’’
The playwright, who said he might consider WOLEXIT 2 – a word he coined on his planned exit of the US – added that he would relocate the residency of the Soyinka Foundation outside Nigeria.
“It is a significant decision on my part in response to the stupid melodrama. Exit can take two forms; internal or external. I can stay put in my private Green Belt – the one I have named the Autonomous Republic of Ijegba,” he stated.
On whether he was reacting angrily to the Green Card brouhaha because Nigerians had never queried his personal decisions, Soyinka said it was wrong to say that.
He recalled that his former students such as Profs Femi Osofisan and Biodun Jeyifo always took him up on issues.
Besides, he advised President Muhammadu Buhari to be wary of sending congratulatory messages like he did to the outgoing President of The Gambia, Alhaji Yahya Jammeh, for conceding defeat to the incoming President, Mr. Adama Barrow.
He stated that Jammeh, who ruled for 22 years, represented sit-tight African leaders.