The internet was abuzz, yesterday, after billionaire politician, Tonye Cole, shared his flight experience on how Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, was asked to vacate a seat by a fellow front-row passenger onboard.
Cole, co-founder and former group executive director of Sahara Group and Energy, had taken to his Instagram page on Sunday, to narrate how a young passenger insisted that the foremost playwright must leave the window seat assigned to him (the passenger), despite pleas from him and the cabin crew.
“I met one of the greatest Nigerians walking on earth and, as with other times, he was genteel, witty, forthright and humble. My smile gives me away as he permitted the picture whereas he would have preferred to get back to his newspapers.
“Then we boarded the flight and, after assisting him with his bags, he took the window seat and promptly started reading again. A few minutes later, this young man, baseball cap, tee-shirt to show his muscled chest and tattooed biceps boards the plane and tells prof he’s on his seat (which he was). Those of us including the cabin crew tried to reason with bobo fine to let the old man be but the chap refused. He insisted prof should vacate his window seat, which the old man, quietly did, for his original aisle seat next to him.”
The plane incident became a hotly debated topic on social media platforms, yesterday and, also stirred outrage and condemnation from all quarters.
While some users were of the opinion that “a younger Soyinka” would have done the same if roles were swapped, others dragged the young man to the mud for being so “utterly disrespectful.”
Cole, who ran for the Rivers State governorship, on the platform of the All Progressives Congress but was disqualified by the court, was also not sparred in the backlash.
“Any diligent reader of Wole Soyinka will know that he would have insisted on his seat as a young man. Yes, our culture demands respect for elders. But undue entitlement by senior citizens, especially when the premise is wrong, should always be resisted. That’s why we are here,” a Twitter user said.
Koded, with the Twitter handle: @OG_Drizx, said: “Tonye Cole tries to paint an image in our heads with the way he described the young man so as to convince us that the guy is wrong-Prof Wole did the right thing by not resisting. Young man was not wrong for asking for his seat. Shame on you Tonye and all who make a big deal.”
To which Dart Wobe, with the handle: @Crosseyednerd added: “My own is: why didn’t Oga Tonye give up his own seat for Prof. Wole Soyinka since he was so invested in respecting the elderly (because even the Prof. quietly moved when asked).”
“Sadly, a lot of elderly Nigerians are entitled bullies who don’t understand the reciprocity of respect