Opinion: The demystification of Professor Soyinka?

by Simon Utsu

Soyinka finally unveiled himself as a disrespectful hypocrite when he said a few days back that the green card he claimed he had destroyed (on his own terms) was given to him by President Jimmy Carter. Is that how to ridicule a gift? At least you should have waited for Jimmy Carter to die (as you’re fond of) before publicly ridiculing his gift. Same way you waited for someone you called your bosom friend, Achebe to die before attempting to rip his legacy apart in newspaper interviews in an unbelievable  fit of envy.

Prof, I was one of  your biggest fans up until the time you did that and followed it up with insulting a sitting first lady, live on CNN, referring to her as “that thing” and “a female hippopotamus”. Thenceforth, I made up my mind to ditch the blind support I hitherto showed you. You arrogantly followed all that up with selling us Mr Buhari, who is turning out to be the worst President in Nigeria’s history! I’m beginning to agree with the school of thought that your Nobel price wasn’t on merit but was a political reward for being a loyal stooge of the West. Chinua Achebe whose body of work is more universally understandable & acceptable deserved that Nobel prize for literature ten times more than you. Well, legendary musician Bob Dylan was ‘awarded’ (rewarded) with the same prize a couple of months back in a move that lent credence to our theory that the Nobel prize for literature is more of a reward for being a loyalist than an award for artistic excellence.

To further demystify you, Prof Soyinka, I want to remind Nigerians that you were the one that introduced cultism to Nigerian universities. You together with Aig Imoukhuede Snr. (father to the immediate past MD of access bank) and a third person started the Pirates confraternity in the University of Ibadan. I guess the plan was to replicate the campus fraternities/sororities like Alpha Delta Phi, Lambda Lambda Lambda obtainable in the United states but our society wasn’t the right breeding ground and what started out as an ‘innocent’ idea became a catalyst for the formation of several other campus cults which later spread to the streets. What am I saying? Seadogs/Pirates confraternity still exists and is more or less a social movement or gathering but most of other campus movements which sprung up as a result of the formation of the pirate’s confraternity turned out to be breeding grounds for violent and deadly activities. After Soyinka and co started Pirates in UI, some other people followed suit and new cult groups were formed especially in UNIBEN and UI.

The activities of these groups on campuses were/are controlled to and extent and are usually seen as social gatherings but when they later spilled onto the streets, where touts and other lowlifes latched on, the resulting effect became quite dangerous. A perfect example is the Ateke Tom(Icelanders/dey-bam) vs Asari Dokubo(Greenlanders/dey-well) supremacy battle that raged in port Harcourt circa 2003-2006. Dey-bam was modelled(I stand to be corrected) after the buccaneers campus cult whilst dey-well was modelled after the Vikings (another cult group which originated from the campus). Those of us who were close to Rivers/Port Harcourt around that period can authoritatively estimate that thousands lost their lives in those few years of Dey-bam vs Dey-well street fighting in Rivers state. Just this year, Calabar witnessed intense royal rumble-esque battles between the Vikings, KK and Black Axe  street cult groups within a short period, that left over a hundred dead in their aftermaths.

In essence, you can’t talk about the history of cultism in Nigeria and its unending menace on our society without mentioning Wole Soyinka’s name.


Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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