Literary icon Professor Wole Soyinka in a statement released yesterday to media houses said that while he may have publicly chastised First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, he has never referred to her as an illiterate. He said his name is being falsely used to disrespect the first lady and will take legal action once he finds out the source of the lies. I recall him referring to Patience Jonathan as that woman on his CNN interview with Amanpour though. Anyway, his statement reads in part below;
“It commenced over a year ago, I seem to recollect, as a telephone text, ‘tweet’ or whatever it is called, died away after strong rebuttals, and is now being provided renewed life by some faceless cowards with their own private agenda. Let me state quite clearly that literacy is no indicator of intelligence, even though we all believe (I hope) in universal literacy. From childhood I have interacted with so-called “illiterate” men and women, sipped from their innate intelligence, and learnt much from them outside formal schooling”…
“Your readers may wish to know that when I first encountered the statement, I was sufficiently appalled to send a personal message to Patience Jonathan dissociating myself from such a base sentiment. The associated commentary on the president’s decisions – I have no idea which decision, if any – is equally outrageous and disgusting. To attribute to me the slightest interest in the choice of a spouse by man or woman is a complete travesty of my near obsessive belief in the sanctity of private relationships”
“Let me take this opportunity to announce yet again that I do not tweet, blog or whatever goes on in this increasingly promiscuous medium. I do not run a Facebook, even though I am aware that one or two serious-minded individuals/groups have instituted some such forum on their own, for the purpose of disseminating factual information on my activities. I neither contribute to, nor comment on the contents of their “calendar”.
On how the internet is being used to disrespect people, Prof Soyinka said professional actions should be taken to protect the integrity of the medium, and save it from becoming “a mere vomitorium” for unprincipled scallywags who may or may not have a particular axe to grind.