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Soyinka reacts to Viral Video Of Pyrates Mocking Tinubu’s ‘Emi Lo Kan’

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Professor Wole Soyinka has denounced a viral video showing some Pyrate Confraternity members allegedly singing a song to jeer the All Progressives Congress’ presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

Members of the Pyrates were seen in the video dressed in their regalia, dancing in the streets, while using the Tinubu-popularized phrase Emi Lo Kan in a song.

The lyrics to the song go thus: “Hand dey shake, leg dey shake. Baba wey not doing well, they shout emi lokan. I repeat: Emi lokan. Baba wey not feeling well, “E dey shout emi lokan!”

In a statement, the Nobel laureate, who is among the confraternity’s founding members, described the members’ behavior as repugnant.

“My attention has been called to a video clip that is becoming viral online showing a group of people chanting and dancing while dressed in red and white, ostensibly representing the Pyrates Confraternity”, he said. “In the upcoming 2023 elections, the display acerbically criticizes a presidential candidate.

“It is imperative that I make it clear and unmistakable that I am not a part of that public performance or in any way connected to the sentiments expressed in the songs because everyone is aware of my affiliation with that fraternity. The Pyrates Confraternity is allowed to express itself freely, either singly or collectively, just like any other civic organization.

“Wole Soyinka is a unique individual, too. I don’t get involved in the Confraternity’s partisan political decisions and I don’t try to tell them what to do. I continue to be unaware of any collective statements of endorsement or condemnation of candidates made by the association.

“There is little doubt that this is a novel and odd development with unanticipated repercussions. Let me also add the following cultural statement. I paid close attention to the chant’s lyrics, and I was horrified. It annoys me, to be honest. My culture does not make fun of physical ailments or disabilities. The exact opposite is true.

“No matter what kind of sickness a person is through, the Yoruba religion designates a god named Obatala as their spiritual guardian. This sensibility is ingrained in us from a young age and follows us throughout our lives. It is based on the idea that everyone is mortal and so susceptible to death.

“CLR James, the author of The Black Jacobins, Beyond A Boundary, etc., was one of my favorite writers, about whom, by accident, I just had occasion to write. He became known as my ideological uncle. Even though he had Parkinson’s disease, he fought the condition for many years while still being sharp, lucid, and assertive. At the Dakar Festival of Negro Arts, the Tanzanian Pan-African Congress, and other cultural and political gatherings, we engaged in political discourse.

“Despite his difficulty, we had many encounters and shared meals in restaurants throughout his lifetime. To participate in any activity that mocked his condition would be unthinkable and desecration of his memory.

“When I have more information about this odd, unusual behavior of the association, I will issue a new statement.”

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