Remark Against Igbo, Emeka Obasi Writes Open Letter To prof. Wole Soyiunka… Tags It An Ode To Madness

Despite Prof. Wole Soyinka denying that he ever made a remark against the Igbo race where he was quoted to have said they are greedy at a lecture at the Hutching Centre, Harvard University, USA recently, many people are still not satisfied that he didn’t make such an ethnic based statement. One of the many people who are at the moment not pleased with the cerebral Nobel Laurette is Prince Emeka Obasi. Obasi, who sold Mirror Newspaper to Jimoh Ibrahim has decided to vent his opinion about what the professor said, He did this through an open letter he wrote earlier today that he tagged “An Ode To Madness” read it below

 Let me say upfront that I hold you in very high esteem. I spent my
teenage years and youth, lapping up your writings; first as a hobby
and later formally, in pursuit of a degree in English and Literary
studies. I have bought almost every book you wrote, including “You
Must Set Forth at Dawn”, copies of which I gave out to some of my
friends. Even beyond literature, I have often admired you. Your
willingness to speak out in defense of human values, civil rights and
good governance, endeared you to millions of Nigerians. You have been
a role model to many, a strong source of inspiration and a very
weighty voice in defense of enlightenment.

But with every due respect to you sir, I was alarmed and deeply
saddened by the views you expressed during your recent lecture
at the Hutching Centre, Harvard University, USA. Despite the creeping
atmosphere of ethnic witch hunting developing in Nigeria, I never
expected that you could, under any circumstance, become part of the
lynch mob. No, that is not you, certainly not the Wole Soyinka of,
“The Man Died” fame. Your conclusion on the voting pattern of the Igbo
in the last general elections was not only wrong, it was incurably so.
By extrapolation, your general thesis on the voting pattern of
Nigerians, was also defective and lacked logic. I am appalled that an
erudite intellectual of your calibre could make such fundamental
mistakes. The incredulity yields itself to another explanation, which
is rapidly emerging as the conventional wisdom among many commentators on the issue in the social media, i.e, that you deliberately contrived the facts in order to validate your pre-conceived opinion as part of a grand campaign to malign and demonise the Igbo. However, I am not
going to be seduced by to such a simplistic deduction. Obviously, I
have too much respect for you and your pedigree to succumb to such
easy analysis. I insist that such an act would be simply beneath you.
But the question then remains, how could you be so blatantly mistaken
and then revel in it? Can this explain why you remained
uncharacteristically silent after the Oba of Lagos issued the “fatwa”
against the Igbo?
Prof, it is not true as you gleefully alleged that Igbos are the only
ones whose voting pattern can be easily predicted in Nigeria!! The
correct position is that all the three major ethnic groups- Yorubas
Igbo and Hausa-Fulani- vote in a predictable manner. In the first
republic, all these groups voted along ethnic hires, despite Dr.
Azikwe’s valiant efforts in the Western region and Chief Awolowo’s
efforts to break the strangle hold of the NPC in the North. In the
second republic, the Yoruba voted for Awo, the East for Zik and the
North for Shagari in the main. Of course NPN’S “air slide, landslide
and seaslide,” captured Oyo, and for a spell of time Ondo, and
Anambra. But in the end, everyone knows where the people stood. During
the 3rd republic, the Igbo voted mainly for Chief Abiola’s SDP in line
with the national trend, with the SDP winning the Anambra governoship
election. In 2003, Igbos supported Ojukwu massively, which explains
the continued success of APGA despite its many challenges. If you are
honest sir, you would agree that the Yoruba voting pattern has
remained predictable. They always vote for their strategic interests,
whether pecuniary or otherwise. From the 1959 Federal elections, the
Yoruba have always “put their votes where their mouth is!”Even in
2003, when it passed over its right to produce a Presidential
candidate, and supported Olusegun Obasanjo’s PDP, it was all in
furtherance of its strategic interest, otherwise called
“stomach infrastructure” in your lexicon.
In 2011, the Igbo chose Goodluck Jonathan, not for stomach
infrastructure as you mischievously alleged, but on principle. They
repeated the same choice in 2015. What did the Yoruba do in 2011? They
betrayed the Presidential candidate of their preferred party, ACN, the
hapless Nuhu Ribadu, and in a Nicodemus like move, opted for pecuniary
interests. You can’t claim to be ignorant of that, given your relationship with the architect of that move, Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
One can argue that the reason why the Yoruba didn’t betray Buhari
again in 2015 was because a Yoruba, Yemi Osibajo was on the ticket, as
the VP. It was not because of any high minded pontificating that you
posture. In other words, they voted for their strategic interests
which is totally acceptable. In the same manner, Igbos are right to
choose to vote for Jonathan and not Buhari. No one, not even you, has
any right to question their choice or censure them. Such a move will
be tantamount to a gratuitous insult at the least and extreme
provocation at the worst, all of which are unbecoming of you or of the
man you were! As a humanist and advocate of freedom, one expects you
to remain true to the canons of freedom. In democracy, the right to
choose is sacrosanct. It is at the core of the democratic ethic. The
day such rights become circumscribed, then we can all kiss goodbye to
For example, I was deeply disappointed that despite all you stand, or
stood for, you could endorse Buhari, in your infamous “leap of faith,”
public statement, but I conceded to you the right to your opinion.
Such rights are inalienable and sacrosanct. It is inconceivable that
you can strut the global stage mounting off on those ideals,
while harbouring such dreadful inclinations in the dark recesses of
your mind. Simply put sir, you were dead wrong in your analysis and
rude in your conclusions. You have no right to censure the Igbo for
exercising their right to choose. I admit you may not have intended to
do so, but as you well know, intentions are intentions, actions are
actions! Your lecture did grave injustice to the Igbo. It was grossly
insensitive, rude and provocative. It fits a growing pattern of ethnic
profiling, what we call stock characterization or stereo-typing in
literature. It boggles the mind that you could even be remotely
associated with this insidious behaviour.
As a humanist you are fully conversant with the wretched record of ethnic baiting in history. In Nazi Germany, in Turkey, (the Armenian genocide) in South Africa, Rwanda, Nigeria (the Igbo genocide), etc. History will record you as one of the few Nigerians of your status who has consistently
maintained the truth that what happened to the Igbo in 1966-70
Nigeria, was genocide. However, it will be tragic if you become
wittingly or unwittingly, a catalyst in any further genocide of eventuality which your tendentious lecture could catalyze
Your views on MASSOB and Biafra were the most frightening. How could
you, Prof? How could you isolate the Igbo for such virulent
condemnation without condemning the N/West and N/East, who in three
successive elections, voted along tribal and religious lines? How
could you, Prof? Could it be because the President- elect is
Hausa-Fulani and you find it expedient and politically correct to
defer to them? Or could it be because Igbos are weak and vulnerable,
so it is fair game to beat on them? Since when did you become such a
bully? Our mutual friend, and your benefactor, Rotimi Amaechi is Igbo.
Was it stomach infrastructure that made you to support his opposition
to Jonathan and support for Buhari? I urge you to re-read that lecture
and ask one or two of your fair minded friends to also read it. Then
follow the path of honour, apologise! That is the only way out of this
penkele-mess. Otherwise, be on notice that history will reserve some
of its darkest pages for you.

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