Professor Wole Soyinka

The resumption of hearing on the Oyinlola versus Osun case of wrongful dismissal strikes me as a compelling juncture at which to express my frustration and embarrassment at the persistence of sectors of the media in designating the situation as some kind of hustle for position between two individuals. This is painful reductionism. In any case, I am left with no choice but to openly demand of the governor of Osun State the immediate and formal acceptance of my resignation letter from CBCIU chairmanship. In that resignation letter of July 14, 2015, my position was spelt out in part, as follows:

"I undertook this assignment on principle - quite apart from my sentimental attachment to the political constituency of my late friend, Bola Ige, assassinated by those very forces against which CBCIU must remain resolutely embattled. More relevant however is that I have always found it despicable conduct when an elected individual diverts the resources of the people over whom he presides to carving out for himself a sinecure. Self-service should not be read in the vocabulary of anyone fortunate enough to be called to serve his or her people."    

My layman understanding – backed, fortunately, by consultations - is that this is a legal tussle between Prince Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State and his coterie on the one hand, and the incumbent government of Ogbeni Rauf Arigbesola, and his House of lawgivers on the other. Let me repeat this: I have NOT instituted any case against either governor, nor have I been issued with any summons to appear either as plaintiff or respondent. The CBCIU is of course the object of contention, but the CBCIU is not listed among my personal possessions or creations.  To play a variation on the late MKO Abiola's favorite sayings: while I do occasionally loan out my head to crack a coconut, I deplore any attempt to have it shaved it in my absence. I am not a party to this case! 

That the state lawyers leave me out of hearings should be sufficient to affirm the irrelevance of my person in this legal encounter. I am totally in the dark, except through the concern of colleagues who have forwarded media reports on the notice of resumption. I am out of the country at present and, for all I know, may be cited for contempt for failure to put in appearance etc. etc. 

I must not end this brief position statement without commending Prince Oyinlola yet again for pursuing his quest for justice the civil way - submitting himself to the authority of the law courts. This is what has been constantly urged on him – wait! Do not pre-empt the court and do not concoct, distort or embellish its pronouncements! The present constitutes an advance in civilized conduct, an improvement on mounting night commando raids on the CBCIU headquarters in Oshogbo to empty it of all its contents. Equally praiseworthy is Prince Oyinlola’s formal notice to would-be participants of the "postponement" of the much-touted conference on GLOBALIZATION, originally destined for Brazil this November. This “postponement” by a full year should provide more than enough time for Oyinlola to put his entire tenure within the CBCIU  – both the disputed and the undisputed -  in fiscal order, and thus be seen as a shining example of the virtue of accountability. 

When the legal air has been cleared and the corpse of impunity firmly interred in this instance, there shall be a public inquest over this avoidable penkelemes. The saga is not yet over. There is still much to be shared in the cause of public enlightenment, including the hidden hand of ‘godfathers’ who still obsess over cultural possessions to which they have neither legal nor moral entitlements.  


Wole Soyinka

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