By Sylvanus Okpe
Nigeria in particular and Africa at large have sadly slid into a moralist community where every action irrespective of it’s logical and legal background is subjected to morality tests. Not quite many of us are in the know that legal right supersedes any form of moral obligations.
I had purposely refrained from making comments on the issue which has generated an umbrage in the media space so as to monitor the development and gather more facts and having done that I have come to the conclusion that the young man who insisted on taking his allotted space on the aircraft which is by the window deserves our accolades instead of the bashing and condemnation on the basis of morality that has neither helped nor brought any developments to the African sub-region.
Soyinka, though a demigod respected and even worshiped by a large number of the population including myself committed an unforgivable blunder by leaving his own allotted seat on the aircraft to occupy that of another without first seeking and obtaining his permission ostensibly on the grounds that because he is Soyinka anybody occupying the position would scamper and yield it to him with no much hassles.
I am therefore bemused that well-meaning Nigerians including the less privileged, without first counting and digesting the pros and cons of the issue were blinded by the morality toga to join the Tonye Cole led Bandwagon in an attempt to vilify and condemn the innocent young man who for reasons best known to him paid for the window seat in the said aircraft and insisted on enjoying the services he had paid for.
Not many of us who went on the media to take up the position of moral instructors and cast aspersions on the young man who deserves our accolades are aware that some persons are allergic to flight and would become plane sick if they do not seat by the window side in the plane. We jettisoned considerations on what his health status might be and only insisted on his lack of good moral upbringing.
It is sad that Prof Wole Soyinka who I join not a small number of the populace to hold in high esteem and even adore as the god of African literature would forget the famous African adage which posits that whoever brings home ant-infested firewood invites the Lizards for a feast.
Wole Soyinka invited whatever embarrassment and disrespect he was lashed with on that aircraft. Our highly placed citizens must learn to play by the rules. Enough of bending the rules to suit them always. Until we learn how to stand our ground and begin to insist on a uniform law for the entirety of the citizens irrespective of class and creed, we will continue to wallow in underdevelopment in an unequal society without any hopes of a better Nigeria and indeed Africa.
Let me commend the young man for standing on his right with little regards to the powerful personality involved. By this singular action of his, we have put the powerful men and women in Nigeria and Africa on notice that it is no longer business as usual. We will demand our rights when we foresee any dangers of it being eroded and we will face any human eyeball to eyeball to demand our rightful places in society. We thank him for alerting the powerful men and women that the days of riding on our rights to get whatever they crave for is long gone. The days of muscling the poor and the less privileged with mighty personalities and profile are dead and buried. We commend him for the courage to resist impunity and insist on the rules of the game (orderliness).