Finally, Wole Soyinka Reacts to Flight Saga

The Nigerian media space was this week dominated by an incident involving a young man and Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, aboard a flight.

According to a first-hand narrative by Sahara Group co-founder, Tonye Cole, the young man, seeing Soyinka on his window seat, asked the revered playwright to move to the aisle which was originally allocated him.

Amidst the divergent reactions which had trailed the incident, media personality, Mo Abudu, said Soyinka sent her an email explaining how the incident happened.

On her IG post, Mo Abudu shared a photo of her and the 84-year-old Nobel Laureate with the caption;

Good morning beautiful people.

Its 6.30 am here in Los Angeles.

Quite a bit has been said about me making certain comments about the young man that refused to give up his seat for Professor Wole Soyinka.

I will not comment further on this, however, as you all know I LOVE and RESPECT Professor Wole Soyinka dearly.
Based on this incident, I did receive an email from Professor Wole Soyinka this morning and with his permission, it’s below:

Hallo Mo,
Someone sent me Patrick Tonye’s comment on the plane incident, and I saw your brief comment. It was a very minor thing and I’d forgotten all about it.

However, after reading the boy’s response, I became curious. First, I never exchanged a word with him throughout beyond inviting him to take his allotted seat.

Never spoke a word to him after that. Certainly never exchanged contact. So of course, I wonder if it’s the very individual who’s posted this or a total fake.

The phenomenon of stolen identities takes very strange dimensions and has become a source of worry. I wonder if this is one such. Anyway of your finding out.

I don’t operate in the social media as you probably recall.


See the previous post by Tonye Cole:

View this post on Instagram

@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!

A post shared by Tonye Patrick Cole (@tonyepatrickcole) on


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