The social media was on fire following a controversy involving internationally acclaimed writer, Professor Wole Soyinka, and a young man.
1. Plane seat controversies between Prof. Wole Soyinka and the young man
According to the story collected by Naijauto, shared by Co-Founder of Sahara Group, Tonye Cole, an unidentified young man walked into the business class section of an aircraft, and saw Soyinka, 85, seated in a seat that was originally allotted to him.
He proceeded to ask the NOBEL Laureate to vacate his seat. Despite pleased by the flight attendants, the young man insisted on having the seat which rightfully belonged to him. Soyinka vacated the seat, and sat in his original aisle seat, just beside the young man.
In his post, Cole had touched on the decadence of African values such as respect, insinuating that the young man was disrespectful by asking Soyinka to vacate his seat. Members of the public were divided on the issue. While some upheld Cole’s point of view that the young man should have shown him some respect not just for his accomplishments, but also for being an elderly person, others thought that the young man was not disrespectful as he was only taking what rightfully belonged to him.
They also stated that it was wrong of elders to ‘bully’ younger people with age. The online war lingered with several shots fired.
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Tonye Cole's post of the incident
2. What Prof. Wole Soyinka said?
Addressing the issue, officially, for the first time, Soyinka disclosed in a statement, that it was untrue that he refused to vacate the seat when he realized that it belonged to someone else.
“I don’t know how much airlines succeed in raising for their charity drives through those envelopes they distribute to passengers into which their captive donors are exhorted to deposit their loose change before disembarking.
“Such monies are then distributed to worthy causes all over the world, especially in the pursuit of health.
“What I am convinced of is that they would generate a hundred times more if they were more creative.
“For instance, they could impose a fine on passengers who take the wrong seat on boarding, even for a second.
Professor Wole Soyinka is the first African to win Nobel prize for Literature
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“One can only rejoice in the thought of such benefits to humanity in its efforts to eradicate all kinds of diseases, especially malnutrition, and ensure the supply of nutrients that prevent the premature onset of brain impairment.”
“Those who permit themselves to be persuaded, even for one second that I, Wole Soyinka, having wrongly identified a seat number like millions of travelers all the time, and all over the world, would then attempt to consolidate the error in any form, through act, word, or gesture, qualify to be the first beneficiaries of this vastly improved humanitarian policy.”