Professor Wole Soyinka As Charlatan And Pedestrian Panderer
Paul I. Adujie
New York, United States
Dear Pyrate/Pirate member, is Pyrates/Pirates a cult? Members of the Pyrates/Pirate hate Army Generals? I thought befitting to address the Nobel Laureate by his cult membership appellation, in my opinion the Pyrates/Pirates are a cult!
Addressing Soyinka thus, in view of his preferred prefix for President Obasanjo, why does Soyinka prefer to address President Obasanjo as General with the unsavory innuendoes and connotations to that appellations as if that will singularly impugn President Obasanjo’s democratic credentials? Soyinka has been a regular feature in the critics’ mill in Nigeria for decades now, and I used to actually respect his take on issues, in recent times, however, he seem to have been affected by the combined effects of the aging process on memory and acuity, as Soyinka’s recent dabbling into Nigeria’s public affairs regarding the late Attorney General and Minister of Justice of our Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ige Esquire; Soyinka fired his newest blistering of many salvos at President Obasanjo, Soyinka did this in the most recent indecorous manner of public debate, ridiculing and denigrating!
Soyinka’s endless torrents of criticisms follows unabated even though the courts in Nigeria had advised parties and commentators to eschew comments about a pending trial, especially, when such commentaries, attempt to draw legal conclusions of guilt and innocence of those charged or accused of an offense, an offense so grave and heinous, it carries the death penalty as punishment.
Many legal experts have enjoined Soyinka and other persons like him, from further inflammatory comments and sub-judicial discourse, legal processes and procedures are supposed to remain the color gray, until and unless all the facts are adduced in evidence are known and examined in details, but, for Soyinka and the other irreverent Nigerians, the only color seem to be or the only color that they recognize are black and white? Even in the dark? Even before all the facts and evidence are known? It has become clear, that Soyinka and some other Nigerians are too quick hype flimsy information, in order to criticize President Obasanjo and his team! Or why else, would Soyinka impute criminality or knowledge of specific crime and criminals to President Obasanjo and the PDP?
Just because President Obasanjo received a letter from the victim of crime, before the victim was murdered? Where is the causal connection? What sort of pepper soup and beer parlor debate are these? Soyinka and a myriad of President Obasanjo’s platoon of critics, have become so irritatingly supercilious in their haste to demonstrate their unalloyed obstreperous natures and apart from portraying the Nigerian leadership class and Nigeria in the most odious lights, what else has Soyinka done for Nigeria lately? Soyinka’s glory days are surely over! Are vituperations and venomous attacks Soyinka preferred legacy? He leaves me to wonder about his sense of appropriateness, good judgment and sense of fairness to others?
As Soyinka began his latest pretense at “public service” criticisms of our president with the vacuous term “General”? Would Soyinka address President Bush with Bush’s US National Guard rank? Would Soyinka have addressed the late Ron Brown Esquire formerly US Secretary of Commerce in President Clinton’s administration as Captain Brown as he was in the US Army?
The truth is that, most American presidents and most American public officials and politicians had served in the US Military or Armed Forces of the United States military establishment and preferences are actually given to American Military Veterans in civilian employment after they leave the military and Veteran statuses are enquired into, in employment forms and processes! Veterans status is a badge of honor, whereas, Soyinka and some other Nigerians want to discolor Nigerians who have served in the Nigerian Military or Armed Forces, Notable Americans who served in the US Military before their foray into politics and other form of public service include, President John F. Kennedy who was a US Navy pilot, the first President Bush who was also a US Navy Pilot and was shot down during the Second World War, Senator Bob Dole lost an arm in the Second World War, Senator John Kerry also lost a limb during his military service in Vietnam, Senator John McCain is also a well respect! ed war hero of the Vietnam war! The point here?
Many American public figures served their country, in the US Armed Forces, and no American disparage them for that reason, even though many Americans were against these wars in Vietnam and Iraq etc, No Americans praises or criticizes these American officials and public figures by addressing them as Captain, Major, Colonel or General in order to allude to wrong-headed policies of the US governments. Why do Soyinka and some other Nigerian resort to these Sophomoric style of public debate? The Nigerian Armed Forces intervention in political administration did not put a Nigerian on the moon or achieve desired rapid development and progress, but Soyinka and many Nigerians, have been seeking to convert service in the Nigerian Military into some epithet of some odious and venomous sorts?
Can’t Nigerians criticize bad policies without making it look like it is a criminal offense to have served our military? Some puerile commentators recently referred to President Obasanjo as, the name of the former notorious German header of the Third Reich in the 1930s early 1940s? Why should a Nigerian engage in these sorts of name-calling, labeling and castigations? Why would some Nigerians now equate poor management, inefficiency and even stealing/looting of public treasuries to Nazism and Hitler? (That is, even if these stealing and looting are proven? How does that make a Nigerian public official a Nazi or an Hitler?) What sorts of public debate are these in Nigeria? But here now comes Soyinka, Professor and Nobel Laureate with his infantile reference to President Obasanjo and comparison of the latter with mindless, trigger-happy, shoot-before-you-think Rambo? With these types of immature comments or methods of criticizing the Nigerian President, Especially coming from the calibers of Soyinka? an educated, enlightened and well-traveled and an unwise at 69 years of age? Education, enlightenment, travel and age is becoming meaningless!
Soyinka should be required to learn some sense of responsibility and obligation, particularly more so, for a man of his huge follower-ship, whose every cough, grin and flatulence is held with complete awe and reverence by some segments of the Nigerian population! Soyinka should be taught to cry wolf ONLY when he possesses specific, real and STRONG evidence of wolves! Soyinka and Achebe in recent years degenerated!
From the most admired literary giants and pacesetters to their calumnious campaigns against Nigeria, with their respective publication of books like “The Trouble With Nigeria” and “The Sore Of A Continent” to their unflattering shoot-yourself-in-the-foot ridiculing of Nigeria, Soyinka about 8 years ago, predicted the end of Nigeria within a short time from his prediction, by his standard, Nigeria should have ceased to exist years ago! Why can’t Nigerians, prominent, eminent and famous Nigerians use their fame and clout and public acclaim to impact Nigeria positively? Why is maligning Nigerian and Nigeria’s leadership the only thing the can do? Why are they so adept in the negative? Why can’t they reverse this into a passion for advocating Nigeria’s causes, image making for Nigeria and all? This is not about the leadership, it is about your home and country!
When SARS scourge hit Toronto Canada, film star/comedian Mike Myers led public campaign to drum up tourism industry businesses that suffered because of the fears of SARS by tourists, who started to avoid Toronto Canada and other parts of the world that suffered SARS outbreak, Mike Myers became an honorary bus driver for Canadian tourism buses (Soyinka as a uniformed LSTC bus driver for a day?) Myers adorned in bus driver uniform drove Toronto City Bus, with his mother and others as Myers’ passengers! Jackie Chan another famous movie star is doing the same for Hong Kong, to make the world forget that SARS ever visited Hong Kong! Both Myers and Chan are immigrants in America who made it big in America. Jackie Chan is currently starring in a new television commercial for Hong Kong, and this is not his first. Where are the eminent, prominent and famous Nigerians at home and abroad? Are they doing the same as Chan and Myers are doing? Where are the Nigerian Writers? Musicians? Basketball Stars? Soccer Stars? Lawyers? Doctors etc?
You usually will find all of them appearing from all the nooks and crannies and all the wood-work competing for who can lampoon and denigrate or ridicule Nigerian leadership and Nigeria the most, they usually excel in and with self-destructive criticisms of Nigeria. Nigerians should begin to use their famed eloquence for a better image for Nigeria, project Nigeria well to the outside world, Nigerians should begin to sing songs and write books in praise of Nigeria, for a change! I have read books critical of other countries and also read books in praise of other countries by citizens of those countries, I have similarly read books that are hyper critical of Nigeria, but I am yet to read books praising Nigeria! Perhaps they should run for elective offices?
So Nigerians get to see and know the truth and the lie about these persons who see no good in Nigeria? Why can’t they be more somber in their public expressions? Especially when they lack hard empirical and verifiable facts about incidents and events, including crimes of murders? Or be quiet? Soyinka’s twirling insolence has become overbearing and offensive! And too many Nigerian commentators today, completely ignore facts, rules and procedures and issues! Right thinking people expect Soyinka to elevate public debates, but instead, he engages in salacious rumor mongering and the only elevation that he brings or engages in, appears to be his attempts at giving scientific credence to suspicions and rumors of who Bola Ige’s murderers are! Rumors and more rumors!
If Soyinka has a DNA evidence or a hair sample and finger-prints of Bola Ige’s killer/killers, If Soyinka has a “smoking-gun” connected to the brutal and heinous crime of murder of Nigeria’s late chief law officer, Soyinka should stop titillating Nigerians and the World, Soyinka should lay-it-all-out or shut up!
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional.