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Soyinka’s harem politics


Re “Soyinka: Down From Olympus 1&2” Daily Sun 14 & 21 May
I wish to remind (Nigerians) of Lord Harcourt’s metaphor “in a speech to a Colonial Service dinner in 1913 (where) the Secretary of State summarized this financial dependence in a humorous metaphor: ‘we have released Northern Nigeria from the leading strings of the Treasury. The promising and well-conducted youth is now on an allowance “on his own” and is about to effect an alliance with a Southern lady of means. I have issued the special license and Sir Frederick Lugard will perform the economy. May the union be fruitful and the couple constant. The Nigerias are not designed to be a great “Trust” but a great “Federation.” (Lugard and the Amalgamation of Nigeria – H.A.M. Kirk-Greene page 30).”
In my presentation at 2008 Igbo Day Annual Symposium held in Enugu, I said that the marriage between the ‘well conducted youth’ and the ‘Southern lady of means’ is now 94 years old. During this period, the ‘well conducted youth’ dominated the marriage and mistakes were made on both sides especially the attempted divorce of 1967-1970 when over one million Nigerians lost their lives.
This fact notwithstanding, it is time for change and the wife or wives must come out of their harems and take charge of the family affairs. Harem politics has made the family backward and stagnant. When the bride and groom were granted freedom in 1960, they were at par with Brazil, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, etc. Today they are poorer notwithstanding oil wealth, fertile land and intelligent people. Past politics have reduced the country into one of the most dangerous and corrupt countries in the world where gangsters dominate and the most intelligent ones have to migrate and where greed, evil and criminality are acclaimed.
All these must stop and give way to better politics and better management where democracy and rule of law will hold sway and provide for a Nigerian dream which everyone can look up to. With this in place we can have one Nigeria and not one North in one Nigeria.
I am convinced that at the slightest opportunity the well conducted youth resorted to harem politics. The Soyinka’s speech is such an attempt to introduce Harem politics between Ndigbo and Yoruba, two of the metaphor wives from the South. Regards,Solomon Asemota, SAN.
He’s a flip-flopper
You succinctly exposed this man Soyinka and his “intemperate language dripping with an overkill of vitriol.” Age they say is a game of numbers but one cannot totally extricate Soyinka’s age with his current form of flip flopping. How can one reconcile the current state of his ideological mindset with his books, “Madness and Specialists” and “The Man Died?” This can be attributed to the onset of diminishing returns due to age? If not so,why should a Nobel Laureate of international repute be speaking from both sides of his mouth.
His rebuttal of his alleged vexatious and derogatory speech against the Igbos in Harvard was not substantiated with any evidentiary facts such as audio or video of his lecture. His denial is just a white wash and can only be believed if and when he provides evidence.
Emeka Onyejiaka.
… He’s petty
Your article on Soyinka is interesting. He is now very petty and his inborn Yoruba tribal sentiment has become the underlying force behind his public speeches and lectures. Tell him the Igbos did not vote for stomach according to him, rather they voted against the conspiracy of Yorubas (who want to be VP) and Hausas (who want to take back power by all means) against the minority tribe. Soyinka should not insult the Igbos for their voting pattern in 2015, they have made a statement. For once, the minority of old Eastern Region can count on the support of their big brother tribe – the Igbos. We have no regrets.
Mrs. Obioma Nkechukwu
He’s found gold in APC, Amechi… Thanks for your thoughtful frank write-up. Soyinka needs to know how embarrassing his public utterances are fast becoming. It seems that he has found gold mine in APC and Amaechi but he can savour all that without damaging his image. While he speaks his big grammar to the applause of those he is bent on pleasing he must bear in mind that he stands to gain nothing by destroying the image of the country. He should leave the great Igbos out of his destructive intent under whatever design and never in the least the person of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
Save for those who hate the immortal truth, Dr. Jonathan is a great leader like none in the present democracy. Public figures will earn respect by not desecrating the temple of truth. Let all be patriotic and avoid self-serving engagements that will not help this country. Ogbonnaya. He should be applauded
Your usually praise-singing views about Jonathan’s presidency were unhelpful and hardly warned him about the hard facts and impending disaster of 28th March 2015. Soyinka’s clever application of innuendoes should be applauded in his painstaking appraisal on the two most visible and leading evils before an electorate that was dreaming and re-dreaming of change. Take notice that the majority of Nigerians finally chose the better of the two devils. No time to cry over spilt milk. Rather it’s advisable to watch critically how this chosen devil performs under democratic setting.
—Barr Edet Essien
Igbos thrive on a level playing field
Thanks for your analysis of Prof. Wole Soyinka’s assessment of the presidential candidates. We the Igbos have continued to be at the receiving end of bare-faced hatred from our so-called compatriots. Soyinka had the sophistication to disguise his feelings behind winding often irritating wordsmanship. Others like the Oba of Lagos and the US-based Dr. Ariyo could not be bothered .
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What’s the way forward? I think we need to sustain our efforts by way of a periodical espousing Igbo culture, history and achievement globally, like Ebony magazine. Otherwise we may soon begin to believe the negativity being spewed out of every mouth for whatever motive, envy being one of them.
I wish to add that the supposed powers that be had since 2011 decided that power must return to the North and therefore all these excuses, criticisms and outright falsehood against the government of Jonathan must be given to a predetermined end.
But I think you should save your breath. The Igbos on meeting level playing fields excel in all fields – science, sports, academics, business, etc. See the Philip Emegwalis, and Chibedu Echeruo. In my own family, my sister, a graduate of the University of Ibadan could hardly feed her family 16 years ago here in Lagos. She tried poultry farming, “okada” transport and cold room business to no avail.On arrival in USA, she was able to do her Bar exams. Today she’s left the Queens area to Long Island where her real estate business has made her a land lady of at least four properties. Had she remained here, the little space reserved for Igbos would never have allowed her unleash the energies that elevated her.
Barr Anne, Lagos.

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