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SOYINKA IS A TRIBALIST
By: Amaechi Odimeze

Published March 25th, 2015


Nigerians over the years have distinguished themselves as nonpareils in their various fields of endeavour, Soyinka is not an exception. At least, his literary versatility still speaks volume of him, ever since he won a Nobel Prize in literature in 1986. But then, academic excellence is not all about a man, hence my interest on this enchanted swathe of riddle called Soyinka lies on his character, belief and positions more especially as it affects any contentious issues in the country and I have by careful analysis, discovered that he is a dour tribes man or tribalist to use Nigerian parlance.  The days of Biafra and the saga of a mystery gun man are out of it, as that use his sheer exuberance and exaggerated anxiety for fame and relevance. The real Soyinka is now and apparently his real chemistry which he can no longer suppress a criss-cross of tribalism   Every since, I discovered this, I have seen that my study of his personality is a wasted enterprise. Soyinka is a known atheist and a brazen hierophant of Ifa or Ogun or both. I suppose that every paterfamilias would wish his scions what he is or more. In the light of this, I keep wondering what Soyinka has got to tell this growing generation.

Among his many foibles which are becoming more pronounced with time, is his incessant prove of having the monopoly of knowledge, or to be all- knowing and all seeing to be a cognoscente, a philosopher, a writer of some high profile, the bee’s knees and all that. This has prompted him and still does, to wallow in the entrails of some kind of power to fructify facts or de-fructify them, to sift regime from regime and to label ant side that falls short of his expectation with some fortuitous name (s) .This is why Abacha was a “terror” in the order of Boko Haram and Jonathan, a Nebuchadnezzar.

 


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I thought that Sadiq Abacha’s response to his attacks on his late father published on March 15, 2014 and which was intrinsically pedagogical would have tampered his mischievous act of “thingification” which is daily becoming his second name. But it hasn’t. And so, he is still miles away in better safeguarding his relevance in the society. What a pity!

I also thought that, that  same article which summarized his person would have cautioned   him or bridle his running mouth, but again, it hasn’t  and cannot  because his wiles and guiles of mischief which  always make him to align himself to issues of ethnicity , won’t give him that chance.

I have been therefore, watching with hypochondriac melancholy the way he tears presidents upon president like useless drawings. I would have referred him to the decorum laid down by bible concerning this class of people; but this may be sheerest waste of time, since he may not have one. This is not supposed to be an insult, far from it. But what pains me in all, is that he would dine and wine with some presidents today and tomorrow turn round to lampoon them, more especially those who are not of the same descent with him.

I still remember some of his tilted utterances on Shehu Shagari during his regime and of course his incessant “second murdering” of late Abacha. In fact, he hasn’t allowed his ghost to have the respite it deserves. Reading about his lampoon or calumny on the late Head of State, one would wonder if Obasanjo ever erred during his tenure. Well, that is Soyinka- tribalistic and has a unique  way of holding the souls of the people and making them feel bad about his  personal enemies . His enemies are indeed many and ubiquitous and most them of course are not of the some tribe with him. Right in the sub-soil of his heart, if he will tell himself the truth, Abacha isn’t the worst leader ever, but because he did not allow his tribesmen, Shonekan to tarry on power and Abiola, the purported winner of 1993 election to assume power, he thus became a dragon Head of State ever to be calumniated. He hasn’t proved so embittered with Ibrahim Babangida who actually annulled the election at the first instance. This is because he worked in his regime and made some money and fortunes

This is one of the repulsive idiosyncrasies of Wole Soyinka. His days with FRSC never made him better. The period was addled -a lot of funds were misused and a great lot of it was unaccounted for. Come to think about it and imagine this prig who criticizes every regime!

During the menace of mend in the Niger Delta, he was invited or was it his busy body career that took him there, whichever. He did advocate “intellectual militancy” to the boys as an alternative. This idea is noble in itself but it surprised me that his tribal dispositions did not allow him to make such suggestion to OPC when they were killing the Hausas in Lagos. Instead we tactically “approved” that unparallel sanguinary madness. Or can he tell us how he condemned that show of paranoia of his people.

In the recent past, his tribal propensity and cowardice were once brought to the fore in his condemnation of the late literary luminary- Achebe, concerning what he wrote about Awolowo, in his last book “There was a country” alleging that it was dragon advice of that patriarch, to use hunger as a weapon of war against the nascent republic,  that stifled it. Soyinka never spoke when the icon was alive but immediately he died, his tribalism was ignited once again and he said “ Achebe should have never written, “There was a country”. And after wards, he consolidated his hatred, jealousy and tribalism on the late icon’s exploits by saying “ Achebe’s place in history as celebrated story teller was definitely assured, referring to him as the father of African literature was either literary ignorance or momentary exuberance to which we are all prone” Then quickly he prefixed ‘I’ to that bilge when he sensed some salvo of criticisms. Soyinka forgot that everybody cannot be a perfect story teller. My late father way a story teller but of course not on the same pedestal with the late literary icon so, the sense at which he saw that story teller is hideous and so it is an abuse. Anyway, his lack of gasp on reality has made him forget that people like Herbert Marculay was referred to as the a “Father of Nigerian nationalism” because of the trajectory nature of his works, same with Herodotus, “the father of modern history” . History never told us that these people did not have contemporaries during this period under review or that others did not exist before them. Well, I won’t blame Soyinka him much as his tribal flecks have always prevented him from making detailed analysis of any  situation. No wonder he has ever distanced himself from the Association of Nigeria Authors just because it was founded by Chinua Achebe.

Soyinka, I have discovered finds delight in a campaign of calumny, and thus, he is always  a gadfly to any government that is not popular with him.

After gracing FRSC at 25 in February 16, 2013, with Jonathan and Babangida, he turned round to bite the sole of the former like the kind of rat he is. I learnt that the Yorubas never settle with the Ijaws, that what is obtained between them is a marriage of convenience. Let it subsists. I don’t want to talk about that now. My bother is his “A road to Sambisa”. His sixty reasons which he advanced to brain wash the innocent children are quite uncalled for. It baffles me how a father like Soyinka could attempt to instill hatred into young generation. Soon, when they go rabid, he is the very person who will call them “ wasted generation” you see, if Soyinka is true to himself he would always castigate  Obasonjo for Odi and Zaki bian massacre the way does to Abacha and recently Jonathan. But he won’t, definitely he won’t. As this is one of mediums he uses to sate his people and to tell them where he stands. Other crackles or aesthetics are mere abracadabra. None of us is a kid. But it will pay Soyinka more if he defines his personality now so that people will know how to classify him when he dies

This is my humble advice and not calumny of any sort after all we are members of one extended of writers.

Amaechi Odimeze, a Playwright, based in Minna


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