Recall the “plane seat” conversation between the Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and another passenger who was described to be in his prime took the Nigerian social media and blog sphere sometimes last week. The issue got both celebrities and ordinary Nigerians talking. Some taking the side of the Prof while others supporting the young man for standing for his right.
Few hours after Tonye Cole reported the “drama” on social media, decrying the state of ‘Our youth’ mannerism, celebrities like Seun Kuti, FFK, Daddy Freeze, MO Abudu amongst others were quick to react. A particular young man stood out by the name Tosin Odunfa.
Tosin Odunfa took to his social media page claiming to be the young man in question. Narrating his experience with the Prof; how they both exchanged contacts and conversed all through the flight. Reacting to the claims, the Prof debunked it in a letter he wrote to the media mogul MO Abudu.
Tosin Odunfa has again taken to his IG page to write a lengthy post explaining the reason behind his claims and sating that it was not a prank. He, however, acknowledged his failure of not labeling it as a commentary. A metaphoric, one.
Read his post below:
Some still do not know and understandably so, that, No, I am not the person who sat next to Wole Soyinka on the plane.
Then why did I say I was, you may ask?
The controversial comment that many of you read about this tattooed, muscle bound nanotech lecturer from an oddly named university was meant as a literary commentary so vivid and colouful that the label SATIRE would have been extra. Or so I erroneously thought.
No it was not a prank but I realise now that I could have labelled it clearly as a commentary. A metaphoric, one. This would have averted the level of controversy it has caused. Kindly note that the comment has not been deleted as some reported it to be.
I took writing that comment very seriously and carefully worded each part to address a few issues. Even the part of being a lecturer at the fictional University of Mannittawiw, (which has now taken on a life if its own) was meant to be an overt clue to the nature of the commentary but I see that it was inadequately so.
The issues I raised which some of you got quickly were as follows:
1. Lets not judge the guy based on his physique, fashion sense and definitely not his age. What if he had an acceptable or even empathetic defense.
2. Our education system is in trouble and the state of History as a subject in the curriculum is a case in point. Some people in their 20s do not know Prof who is actually an Icon I hold dear.
3. The importance of inclusion – a united front of old and young, women and men in solving Nigeria’s complex problems. Not just one group.
Furthermore, I ran for office in deep rural Ogun state last year and remain forever changed by the process. I have become truly passionate about a few things: fairness, youth-gender-and-rural inclusion, education, and technology as the keys to the progress of our country. I now automatically react at any stereotyping of young people by the patriarchy. Perhaps this is to blame for launching my literary art without fully making all necessary disclaimers.
For those who were offended, it was not my intention. Now, here’s hoping we can get back to the serious business of fixing this country.