Nigeria's Soyinka hits back at 'imbeciles' in green card row

2016-12-06 06:09
Wole Soyinka (File: AFP)

Wole Soyinka (File: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Nobel prize-winning author Wole Soyinka hit back Monday at critics from his native Nigeria, denouncing the "slugs, barbarians and imbeciles" who derided him for tearing up his US residency card after Donald Trump's election win.

"I don't want people we fought for to have the freedom of expression to use it for stupid comments", Woyinka told journalists in Lagos.

Soyinka, who regularly teaches at top US universities, made good on a pledge to bin his green card in the event of a Trump victory, in protest at the Republican's anti-immigration stance.

But after the news was reported on Friday, Nigerians fired up their Twitter feeds, simultaneously blaming the playwright and poet for his distance from his fellow countrymen, and demanding proof that he actually went through with it.

"I beg did you see him throw it away?" asked one Twitter writer, while another claimed: "(I won't believe it) 'til no video and no photo...."

"Why didn't he give it to me!" said yet another.

Death of Nigeria common sense 

Many commentators accused Soyinka of being disconnected from the plight of Nigeria's 180 million citizens, many of whom dream of the comforts of US life with its educational and economic opportunities, reliable electricity and freedoms.

Soyinka, one of Africa's most famous writers and rights activists, was jailed in 1967 for 22 months during Nigeria's civil war, or Biafra war. He won the Nobel prize in 1986.

He fled into exile in the United States in 1994 and was sentenced to death for treason by the military leader Sani Abacha. He has since spent much time teaching at US universities, including Harvard, Cornell and Yale.

To reply to the barrage of criticism on Twitter, Soyinka invited journalists to a discussion held on Monday in Freedom Park, a former slaves' prison transformed into a site for freedom of expression.

"On the (Trump's) inauguration day, I will mourn," he said.

"You know what I will be mourning? The death of Nigeria common sense. I feel we have lost it. Sometimes I am embarrassed to share the same nation space with imbeciles."

Read more on:    donald trump  |  wole soyinka  |  us  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  us 2016 election

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.