Soyinka Fires Another Salvo At The First Lady, Says If She Refuses To Learn, She Must Be Educated

Soyinka-VS-PatienceDespite his seeming old age at 79, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Prof. Wole Soyinka, still believes he has the strength to stand up to those he perceives to use their public office to oppress others in Nigeria.

He was speaking on the backdrop of his recent public spat with President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Dame Patience Jonathan.

And though the afternoon open-door lecture series tagged “WS79 – Memoirs of Our Future: An Audience with Prof. Wole Soyinka,” was supposed to be a commemoration of his birthday, the renowned thespian quickly delved into familiar terrain as he touched on the subject of the First Lady, her alleged interference in the affairs of Rivers State and abuse of power.

While fielding questions from a member of the audience at the event which held at the African Centre in Covent Garden, London on Saturday, Prof. Soyinka said he was not afraid to call the First Lady to order and also enlighten her if she cannot take a cue from how first ladies in other climes behave.

“People said I call her a domestic appendage, what’s the problem with that? What’s the problem with Madam Shepopotamus?”

Shedding more light on the lingering political crisis in Rivers State, Soyinka revealed: “What happened in Rivers began long ago, before five decided that five was greater than 27. If we don’t move in support of the truth at certain mathematics, we shouldn’t be surprised if the next mathematics anomaly takes place at our doorstep.”

He added: “We move when there’s interference, when all roads are closed – for hours – because she’s going to her hairdresser.”

He warned that if members of the civil society remain indifferent to the abuse of office perpetrated by the president’s wife in states where she has visited, then Nigerians should not be surprised when a curfew is imposed the next time she is visiting their state.

The Nobel Laureate called on Mrs. Jonathan to borrow a leaf from Michelle, President Barack Obama’s wife, stating: “We ask unelected people to look around and see how the Mrs. Michelle Obamas of the world are conducting themselves,” adding, however, that if the Dames of this world do not learn, “we must educate them.”

Responding to a question if he was a friend of the embattled governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, Soyinka replied: “That Amaechi is my friend is not an allegation,” because he would be friends with anyone who has been given the mandate of the people through the electoral process.

He stressed that he would not shy away from identifying with public office holders if they are fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities of governance.

“To say the Governor of Rivers is my close friend is like saying Kayode Fayemi or Dr. Babangida Aliyu or Governor Ibikunle Amosun or even the Second Republic Governor, Mohammed Shugaba, in Shagari’s administration, is my friend”, he stated.

However, Prof. Soyinka made it clear that “it’s not a matter of friendship,” but defence of democracy and truth, noting that he would not be afraid to switch loyalty if the people he once praised change their ways and start oppressing the same people who elected them.


  1. Prof nd first lady ain’t d same ok…
    Prof a life time title ..
    First lady is an opportunity……
    So what has to lecture d opportunitees …to knw how to use it nd use it well ok…. She should go to school ok… Nd understand or hv a little knowledge on d constitution of great nation …. That dere’s no office for anything knw as first or second lady in d Govt. Ok…….

    • who is the leader in this instance now broda CK, Mr 79 should respect madam 50 something?????. who is she by the way/ what is her antecedence, achievement?????. Just one title/position and she’s gone bananas……Mtchweeewwww. And U MR CK must be one of the vultures surrounding her pot of gold (un merited privileges plus loots from ur country Nigeria)

    • Wole is indeed a disgrace. Pride has so much eaten deep into the fabrics of his medulla oblongata. He has no respect for the President, otherwise, he would have respected his wife.

      To him, he thinks he is gaining the attention of the opposition parties, to me, I think he is suffering from old age as he no longer reasons before he sprouts out rubbish from the four compass points of his decomposed buccal cavity.

      Wole has seen his mate. He should go and exchange grammer with his fellow professors and stop disgracing himself here.

  2. Prof, thanks very much 4 enlighten d miscreant so called first lady. Even her husband who claim to be no1 in naija also knws nothing dan ( TO ALL MY FELLOW NIGERIANS ). Wen are we goin to av a well educated nd handsome president? I guess not in dis century, we got much problem in dis country. All wat dis fucking useless pipu are afta is how to embezzle money in dere native wear ( AGBADA ). To u all politician, as GOD demolish d wall of JERICHO so sha GOD make ur story hapun in dis country.

  3. To be candid, Prof Wole Soyinka should not be the one criticizing Mrs Patience Jonathan in such words. I believe Prof is right, however I do not support the method he has been adopting in correcting a public figure like her. With his age and experience with almost all of Nigeria’s past leaders, he should be familiar with what goes on in Nigerian politics.
    The truth is that Mrs Patience is not going to turn over a new leaf as a result of his comments, (afterall, he’s not the first and would not be the last person to criticize her behaviour publicly) instead Prof Wole Soyinka will just end up receiving a backlash of insults from someone who is far far below his educational status and International profile…which is not necessary for someone of his caliber. Besides, the Jonathan family has developed an immunity to insults and criticism’s from memebers of the public.
    Therefore, calling Mrs Patience Jonathan who is an Okrika woman (a.k.a Madam 1st Lady) to order publicly will not yield any tangible results that Prof expects. It is more like pouring water in a basket or throwing stones at planet Mars

  4. Prof it is quite disturbing if you refer to babangida aliyu as one of those “fulfilling their obligations and responsibilities of governance” you don’t sit in Lagos or London and rate people like babangida aliyu as performing governors, when last did you pay a visit to Niger State. As a regarded elite in Nigeria I wish you tell Nigerlites the yard stick you used in measuring the achievement of the noise maker.