Professor Wole Soyinka’s son, Olaolu Soyinka has had his say on the plane seat drama that involved his dad.
The drama was all about how Tonye Cole shared that Wole Soyinka was asked to stand up from a seat in a plane by a young man.
Tonye Cole said, “@professorwolesoyinka#celebrategreatness#relationshipsmatter met one of the greatest Nigerians walking the earth today and as with other times, he was genteel, witty, forthright and humble. My smile gives me away as he permitted the picture whereas he would have preferred to get back to his newspapers. Then we boarded the flight and after assisting him with his bags, he took the window seat and promptly started reading again.
“A few minutes later this young man, baseball cap, t-shirt to show his muscled chest and tattooed biceps boards the plane and tells Prof he is on his seat (which he was). Those of us including the cabin crew tried to reason with Bobo Fine to let the old man be but the chap refused. He insisted Prof should vacate his window seat, which the old man quietly did for his original aisle seat next to him.
“I couldn’t understand how we got to this point where we no longer have respect for elders, even if are so ignorant of the great global personalities in our midst. Is it too much to ask that an elderly man be allowed to remain in a seat allotted to you in the same business class cabin and the same row?
Na wa o!”
Reacting to the situation, Olaolu Soyinka wrote, “I am writing to thank you for standing up for my father, and for respect. You ignited a social media storm that appears to have had even more impact on aviation matters than Iran’s recent downing of the U.S.A drone. Professor Soyinka’s inadvertent trespass into someone else’s ‘seatspace’ has triggered numerous unguided missiles which are flying all over social media.”
“My dad travels a lot and at his age we, his offspring, have been advising him to cut down. I hope if I get to his ripe old age I will still be as independent as he is, though he does have the occasional mishap – I’m sure this is not the first time he’s occupied the wrong seat.
“It’s not a big deal and most frequent flyers have done it. I’ve not asked him yet, but if it was deliberate then, as my wife points out, he was probably trying to keep away from the aisle to avoid the inevitable ‘go-slow’ as people stopped to shake his hand. Most likely it was mere preoccupation with other matters.”
“Others castigated your good self for mentioning the t-shirt and tattoo. They poured venom on the passengers who dared to suggest that Prof should have been allowed to stay where he was. Thus, online, the non-drama transformed into a tragicomic metaphor for the problem of Nigeria. Soyinka representing, to some lazy thinkers, the oppressive ruling class that has laid waste to the country, now trying to deprive the young of their dues even in the confines of an airplane cabin.
“The deprived seat-owner meanwhile representing our virile but dispossessed young Nigerians, angry and determined to grab and hold on to whatever they can. Not prepared to give an inch, or deference, to any venerable agent of the wasted generation. The cabin controversy had gone from local to international.”
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