In the viral video, members of the National Association of Seadogs, aka Pyrates confraternity, are heard singing about Tinubu wanting to be president despite the fact that he “no well” and his hands and legs “shake”.
Reacting, Wole Soyinka, who founded Pyrates Confraternity as a university student in Ibadan, Nigeria, described making a mockery of Tinubu due to his ill-health as distasteful.
He said: “My attention has been drawn to a video clip making internet rounds, of a dancing and chanting group, in red and white costume, purportedly members of the Pyrates Confraternity.
“The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the awaited 2023 elections. Since the whole world knows of my connection with that fraternity, it is essential that I state in clear, unambiguous terms, that I am not involved in that public performance, nor in any way associated with the sentiments expressed in the songs. Like any other civic group, the Pyrates Confraternity is entitled to its freedom of expression, individually or collectively.
“So also is Wole Soyinka in his own person. I do not interfere in, nor do I attempt to dictate the partisan political choices of the Confraternity. I remain unaware that the association ever engages in a collective statement of sponsorship or repudiation of any candidate. This is clearly a new and bizarre development, fraught with unpredictable consequences.
“In addition, let me make the following cultural affirmation. I have listened to the lyrics of the chant intently and I am frankly appalled. I find it distasteful. I belong to a culture where we do not mock physical afflictions or disabilities. Very much the contrary. The Yoruba religion indeed designate a deity, Obatala, as the divine protector of the afflicted, no matter the nature of such affliction. This sensibility is engrained in us from childhood and remains with us all our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal frailty to which all humanity remains vulnerable.”