Nobel Laureate and founding member of the Pyrates Confraternity, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has disowned the viral video showing members of the group making mockery of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He described the video, showing some members of the group in red and white attire, chanting: “Baba wey no well e dey shout emi lo kan (Baba that is sick is saying it’s his turn)”, and “hand dey shake (hand that shakes)” as distasteful.
‘Emi lo kan’ is a slogan associated with the former Lagos State governor who had said it was his turn to be president.
Soyinka, in an interim statement, yesterday, said while members have the freedom to express themselves, it was necessary for him to comment on the video because he is “connected” with the group.
“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 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. Very much the contrary…”
Meanwhile, the camp of Mr. Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has denied that the former governor is a member of the Pyrates Confraternity.
In a now-deleted Facebook post, one Fejiro Oliver, who claimed to be a member of the association, described Obi as a “dedicated Pyrate who has led by the tenets we were baptised with.”
However, media aide to the former Anambra State governor, Valentine Obienyem, said there was no iota of truth in the claim.