25th June, 2019
Nigerians on Twitter have continued to share diverse reactions on the trending issue between Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka and a fellow aircraft passenger.
The debate began after entrepreneur, Tonye Cole revealed that a young man refused to give up his airplane window sit for Soyinka, despite pleas.
Cole shared a picture on Instagram @tonyepatrickcole that showed Professor Soyinka and the man in question accompanied by a lengthy caption detailing the event.
He wrote, “@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 will 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 we 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!,” The lengthy post read.
Some Nigerians on twitter were divided on both sides of the debate with one part arguing that the young man ought to leave the seat for Soyinka and the other half emphasising that seats are pre-allocated.
@Umereoma tweeted: ”If there is a video to this, I haven’t seen yet… But what is wrong in demanding for what belongs to you”
@TomiwaImmanuel said, “The fundamental meaning of ‘my right’ means it’s supposed to be exercised. We as Nigerians have ignored our rights for decades and that’s part of why we are in such a terrible state.”
Femi Fani-Kayode @Ffk said, “The young man that told an 80 year old Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka to get up, move to the aisle and vacate the window seat for him on a commercial flight is disrespectful and irreverent.
“We know it is his right but it is not every right that you insist on exercising.#wolesoyinka”
@Classicnedu said, “They both paid the same amount for the ticket. I see no reason why we should call him disrespectful for demanding his rights.”
@Eneeolah tweeted, “That’s why he’s earned his title it’s a fact ! Not all fingers are equal and different personalities and status comes with different privileges.”
Meanwhile, media mogul, Mo Abudu has come under ‘fire’ for insinuating that the ‘young man’ should have left the seat for Soyinka.
Abudu commented under Cole’s post and said, “So so sad. The young man will get what he truly deserves. This is definite.”
Some twitter users noted that the comment undermined the young man’s right to his seat by playing on the privilege usually accorded to older people in Africa.
@Ayoatitiebi said, “Mo Abudu’s comment on the story is an unsurprising evidence of the unfortunate high power distance that exists in most, if not all African countries.
“How dare a child insist on his right against an adult? How dare you, an infant, refuse to subscribe to our culture of silence?”
@Ololade tweeted, “Don’t understand this Mo Abudu comment. Tonye Cole thanks for sharing this and Prof thanks for accepting to go back to your sit.
I won’t say more than that because I have respect for my elders.”
@Upytegor said, “It’s Mo Abudu’s response I can’t wrap my head around. Which one is “that young man will get what he truly deserves”? Aunty, please what does he deserve?”