June 13, 2024

Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has weighed in on the ongoing controversy surrounding singer Davido’s Twitter post, which has sparked criticism from predominantly Muslim communities in northern Nigeria. Angry youths in Maiduguri even set Davido’s banner on fire, demanding an apology and the “cancellation” of the singer. However, Mr. Soyinka passionately argued in an opinion piece that no apology should be required from Davido for his signee’s artistic expression. Demanding apologies and resorting to censorship, he asserted, deviate from the true pursuit of justice, which should be sought through more meaningful avenues.

According to Mr. Soyinka, the right of artists, like Logos Olori, to use religious settings as part of their artistry should be recognized. He emphasized that this practice is a universal heritage and particularly relevant in Islam, where ordinary places can become sacred spaces for worship.

The Nobel Laureate urged people to distinguish between art and matters of personal sacred beliefs to promote peaceful coexistence. He called for mutual respect and understanding between believers and non-believers, cautioning against over-sensitivity to trivial aspects that hinder harmonious living.

Mr. Soyinka expressed concern over the misuse of “offence taken” as a diversion from crucial issues relating to fundamental human rights. He emphasized that acts like the controversial video should not be blamed for unrelated acts of violence or discrimination against individuals with differing religious beliefs.

The Nobel Laureate called on Nigerians to focus on genuine challenges that threaten human rights, unity, and progress, dismissing the controversies surrounding Logos Olori’s video as mere distractions.

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