Wole Soyinka Decries Absence of Common Sense in Nigeria


Vanessa Obioha

For the first time since he discarded his United States green card following Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. election, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has lashed out at the absence of common sense in Nigeria.

Without mincing words, Soyinka, who spoke yesterday to journalists at the speaker’s forum in Freedom Park, Lagos, expressed disgust with what he termed the “theatre of the absurd displayed” by Nigerians following his decision to “throw away” his green card.

Nigerians had attacked the literary icon on social media, urging him not to renege on his pledge to discard of his green card.

But reacting to the comments on social media he said there was a notoriety about the Nigerian persona that is affecting the reputation of Nigerians.

“What arrogance? What business of yours is it what I do with my green card? It is mine,” he charged.
Addressing the issue in a discussion titled, “The green god and the idolatory of mutants,” he reminded his audience that he never asked for a green card in the first place, as it was given to him.

He narrated the events that took place during the General Sani Abacha regime and his involvement with the National Democratic Coalition (NADECO), which fought for the realisation of the June 12 mandate that led to his exile in the 1990s.

“While I was waiting for an exit to meet with Fani-Kayode concerning the NADECO issue, I was offered the green card. I already told my wife that I don’t know when we will meet again. And behold when I went there, I was given the green card,” he said.

He angrily said that perhaps he would exit Nigeria instead of America because of the shallowness of common sense in the country.

“I’m already making plans to move my Wole Soyinka Foundation Writers’ Residency out of Abeokuta, Nigeria,” he added.
Not sparing the media, he accused them of professional sloppiness, which was evident in the papers through sensationalism and called for investigative journalism.

“No one reached out to me when the news filtered in. And when they finally did, they sensationalised the headline saying, ‘Wole Soyinka says he will tear up his green card on inauguration day.’

“That’s on the front page, until you read the inside pages and you will see what I really said. This kind of professional sloppiness is not good for our reputation.

“This is what I’m going to do on U.S. Inauguration Day. I’m going to hold a private wake. Who am I mourning? Not Americans, but the death of the Nigeria’s common sense. We trivialise everything. There must be a strict response to this level of irresponsibility.

“We are looking for cheap thrills on social media. I don’t even go there. They bring such stuff to my notice. Someone said until he sees a video of me tearing my green card before he believes it. I’m not an entertainer, I’m a dramatist, I don’t entertain.

“There must be two Wole Soyinkas in Nigeria because the one reported is certainly not me,” he said.

Speaking on the new U.S. President-elect, Donald Trump, he said that the harm had already been done and bemoaned the speed with which Nigerians went to defend Trump, terming it the “idolatory of the mutants”.