Soyinka during the worldwide reading for Freedom of the Press

Monday letter1

I write neither to sympathize nor castigate you on the recent flight seat brouhaha. I had longed to meet you in person prior to this incident. Even as old age closed up on you, I have not capitulated on the dream of having a lengthy conversation with you in person. I had the opportunity to meet you at the grand opening ceremony of the 2018 Festival of Food and Identity presented by the Institute of Cultural Studies, Obafemi Awolowo University. My effort in holding a lengthy discourse with you was futile but I had the privilege of a memorable handsake. I would have continued nurturing the hope of meeting you in silence but the recent occurrences have rendered my nerves restless.

Prior to the airplane incident, it was reported in 2017 that you were persuaded before gracing the matrimonial ceremony of your son, Tunlewa and his fiancee, Nneka, due to age and ethnic barriers. It became a national discourse on the social media that you had to clear the air at the Freedom Park on Lagos Island during the presentation of these books: “Between Defective Memory and the Public Lie” and “Green Cards, Green Gods.” Few days ago, it was about a young man’s refusal to give up his airplane window seat. Tomorrow, it may be a debate on your walking or eating style. My generation has unquenchable passion for such typical debates.

The intent of such debates is innocuous. It is intended for catching fun. My generation is much more engrossed with cyber bullying for satisfaction. A new day comes with a new drama: that is my generational direction. Moreover, the deliberate misconception and concocted lies against your personality can’t totally be disconnected from the ruling class fight back. This hidden agenda is being ignorantly championed by the youths through the social media. My generation has failed to understand the clash of interest between your humble self and the establishment. The unending reign of frivolities continues as my generation awaits tomorrow’s drama.

I need not recount your heroic struggle in emancipation of the oppressive class. It is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf. No amount of sponsored defamation against your personality can withstand the test of time. My generation seems to have misplaced its priority. I beseech you not to regard my generation as clueless. Your landmark legacy would live forever. Sooner than later the menace bedevilling this generation will be duly addressed. The country shall be delivered from the current shackles of bad governance and leadership crisis.

 Binzak Azeez, Faculty of Law, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife