Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, on Monday, lashed out to those criticising him on his decision to do away with his United States of America’s Green Card, in view of Donald Trump’s presidency, describing such decision as personal and should be respected.
He also threatened to commence Wolexit from Nigeria, on Trump’s inauguration date, to protest the dictatorial tendencies of such Nigerians.
Soyinka, who made these declarations in Lagos, at a press briefing, tagged: “The Green God and Idolatory of Mutants,” expressed disgust over some Nigerians’ decision to query him, on both the traditional and social media, over an issue he described as very personal to him.
The Nobel Laureate expressed regrets that some Nigerians had turned the US Green Card into an object of worship, with some even rating it over human beings; hence their action of moving against whoever talked ill of the card.
The literary icon described as unfortunate, a situation where he, an advocate of freedom of expression, would be denied that entitlement by a group of Nigerians, whom he described as internet millipedes.
He stated that rather than being angry over the scathing remarks of the US president-elect, his present concerns remained those Nigerians, who had arrogated to themselves the power to comment on every remark of fellow citizens.
“Why do Nigerians always wail louder than the bereaved? What is your business with what I say? And if I say Nigerians, I’m addressing those illiterates who feel that in order to have themselves heard, they have to have an opinion on anything or express their opinion on anything,” the Nobel Laureate stated.
Soyinka, who argued that the Green Card issue would not be the first time he would be embarking on such protest against the state, wondered why Nigerians were making so much fuzz about the issue.
“I had once taken out my national honours (medals), put them on the ground and stamped on them, in protest against the police handling of a protest Tai Solarin and I had organised sometimes ago.
“And when interviewed about the incident, I said I would have done something else on it, but I would have been accused of indecent exposure.
“People express themselves in different ways. I don’t go and attack them and say how dare you. I think we have too many illiterates in this country. We worked to ensure freedom of expression in this country, to make sure that the least insignificant human being in the environment enjoys the entitlement of freedom of expression. Expression is not just word, it is also action.
“When I decide to take this action, I don’t want people, on behalf of whom we fought for the rights of freedom of expression to start vulgar and stupid comments about me.
“It looks to me as if this thing called Green Card is more important than human beings, and so, somebody like me cannot express himself. There is something wrong. I think the barbarians have taken over this community, using the anonymity, most of the time, of what we call the internet. That is why some people sit somewhere and write rubbish.
“In any case, I’ve been travelling too much, I’ve been told to cut down. So if somebody gives me that opportunity to cut down on my travels on a platter of gold, I should say thank you very much. So what is the business of any stupid Nigerian to open his or her foul mouth to challenge my right? Did you get the Green Card for me? The arrogance of some Nigerians is over-whelming. I don’t interfere with you, so where is this arrogance coming from?” he asked rhetorically.
The literary icon also threatened to relocate his Foundation’s Writers’ Residency programme out of Nigeria, as part of the protest, with the approval of the Foundation’s board.
He also announced his plans to hold a private funeral wake to mourn the death of the Nigerian commonsense on Trump’s inauguration date.
“I’m going to hold a private funeral wake. But who am I mourning, what am I mourning? Is not the Americans, they can handle themselves, but the death of Nigerian commonsense. Because I think that common sense is lost in Nigeria. And because of this, I might begin a second Wolexit, because sometimes I’m embarrassed that I’m occupying the same nation space with some imbeciles, who think that because they run a blog or twitter, can query the rights of others.”
“The exit could be internal or external. I might exit into the autonomous land of ‘Ijegba.’ But certainly something must be done, in response to the infringement of these rights. There will be action which I will take because of this incident,” he added.