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Noble Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka, has expressed displeasure at a trending viral showing some alleged members of the National Association of Seadogs popularly known as Pyrates Confraternity mocking the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu.
A viral video pictured the members dressed in red and white attire dancing and chanting, “Hand dey shake, leg dey shake, baba wey no well, he dey shout Emi Lokan.”
The song could be loosely translated to imply “With an unstable hand and leg, a man with frail health is claiming it’s his turn to be Nigeria’s president.”
Recall that “Emi Lokan,” became popular when Tinubu during a meeting with APC delegates in Ogun State on June 3, expressed frustration over the non-support of his presidential ambition by some stalwarts.
Tinubu during the meeting also claimed to have been instrumental in the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari as President in 2015, and Mr Dapo Abiodun’s victory as Governor of Ogun State.
Reacting to the video in a statement issued on Monday titled, “Interim statement on a dubious political outing,” disassociated himself from the sentiment expressed in the video.
He said, “The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the awaited 2023 elections. Since the whole world knows of my connection with that fraternity, it is essential that I state in clear, unambiguous terms, that I am not involved in that public performance, nor in any way associated with the sentiments expressed in the songs.
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“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 own person. I do not interfere in, nor do I attempt to dictate the partisan political choices of the Confraternity. I remain unaware that the association ever engages in a collective statement of sponsorship or repudiation of any candidate. This is clearly a new and bizarre 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 appalled. I find it distasteful. I belong to a culture where we do not mock physical afflictions or disabilities.
“This sensibility is engrained in us from childhood and remains with us all our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal frailty to which all humanity remains vulnerable.
“One of my favourite authors, about whom, by a coincidence, I had cause to write quite recently, was CLR James, author of The Black Jacobins, Beyond A Boundary etc.. I called him my ideological uncle. He suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, but remained alert, lucid and combative for decades after the onset of the disease. We interacted politically at the Tanzanian pan-African Congress, the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts and a number of other cultural and political fora. We met frequently in his lifetime, dined together in restaurants, despite his challenge. It would be unthinkable, and a desecration of his memory to be part of any activity that mocked his affliction.’’