Thursday, 11 July 2013


Wow, I have always admired this man amongst men! – One of the wittiest and most incisive radical socio-political commentators to have emerged out of Black Africa, not to mention his world-renowned prowess as a playwright, poet and stage director.

The 1986 Nobel Laureate in Literature is fondly called “Kongi” by the literati, after a major character in one of his plays, Kongi’s Harvest. He has an uncanny knack for going unerringly for the jugular – the very heart of any matter! Admired by many and loathed by more, there is no one more imminently and eminently qualified at this time in Nigerian history than this erudite Professor of Comparative Literature, who has seen it all – to call “Madame, la Femme de notre President – notre reine!” to order urgently – and, of course, done in his own inimitable style (as you will see, a rare feat which drove many tyrants and megalomaniacs-in-power to crazed distraction in their transient time – including Abacha!), there is no more succinct way of putting the matter!

With his dignified hoar-frosted Afro-style hair and fluffy Moses-like beard vibrating in indignation, I was so impressed with Soyinka’s speech that I transcribed it here for your enjoyment, trying to capture the heated exasperation of his mood as he delivered the speech. Read it and make your own comments:

“For me, er ... the siege of Port Harcourt for eleven days, with full security apparatus indicates that we --- it’s something beyond even that Madam herself, you know. My last word to her is that just be a lady first before being a First Lady. In fact, you cannot be a First Lady without being a Lady – and that is the only advice I have for her, because now it is evident that she is getting away with murder in this country - only because she has the backing of her husband - and that she is being used – in my view – politically.

“When things get to a stage where an unelected person – a mere domestic appendage of power - can seize control of a place for eleven days; and as a result of her presence, the Governor of that State is told by a policeman: “You cannot pass here because the Queen is there” – I mean, what sort of jungle are we living in? So again, there is at the very least, a vicarious responsibility that must be laid at the door of President Jonathan. And above all, I am calling on the President – now openly, publicly:

 “Please curb the excesses of your wife!"

“You know, she is a wife, she is an unconstitutional being. She should not be empowered to such an extent that she is flouting the prerogatives, the rights and the responsibilities of the Governor of any State – be this Lagos, Oyo State, Rivers – or wherever. Too much is too much! The Papers have been crying - I read Youth Speak the other day on one of the pages of the Paper – exactly the same thing – What is it?! Is she the first First Lady we’ve had in this nation? The vulgarity has become intolerable - and is being used, I noticed - and this is the worst part of it – is now being used directly or indirectly to destabilise, or at least, reduce the authority of an elected Governor.

“We have now reached the bottom of obscenity, and it’s got to stop!"

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