Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), is not a member of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS), better known as the Pyrates Confraternity, his media aide Valentine Obienyem has said.
Obienyem made the clarification on Monday while responding to claims that Obi is a member of the group founded by Nobel Laurette, Prof Wole Soyinka by one Fejiro Oliver in a now deleted post.
“Not at all,” Obienyem said in response to a question from an online publication on the deleted Facebook post.
Fejiro had in the deleted post claimed to be a member of the association, and described Obi as a “dedicated Pyrate who has led by the tenets we were baptised with”.
“I have watched the trending video of the revered and worldwide adored Pyrates Confraternity, a beloved Association that I’m proud to belong to, where they ruled out Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a candidate in our ongoing convention taking place in Lagos State,” the post had read.
“As customary with the fraternity to use songs to pass messages to society, towards condemning or supporting individuals, government or policies, I find this particular song in bad taste, especially with the way an uninformed member posted it on social media.
“Yes, Peter Obi is one of us, a dedicated Pyrate who has led by the tenets we were baptised with. He has always promoted the ideals of Pyracy during his days as a Governor and has contributed to the frat as a whole.
“It is proper we support one of our own to ascend the number position in Nigeria after getting the number two in Namadi Sambo. We do know that with Peter Obi as President, the just society that we want will be achieved and the ills militating against a just society that we fight will be reduced.
“While it is in our inner consciousness to gyrate towards one of our very best to be President, it is improper to promote it publicly.
“In PDP and APC do we have many men who are time tested seadogs, men in very high places and the best where they are.
“We cannot publicly disown these men who support Tinubu their whole life or will die for Atiku Abubakar to emerge as President for Peter Obi.
“Peter Obi is better but moderation is also everything.”
Soyinka distances himself from Video of Pyrates mocking Tinubu
Meanwhile, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka on Monday condemned the video that showed some members of Pyrates Confraternity mocking Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The video which trended on social media on Sunday, showed some members of the group mocking the former governor of Lagos state.
“Baba wey no well e dey shout emi lo kan (Baba that is sick is saying it’s his turn)”, and “hand dey shake (hand that shakes),” the group chanted in the video.
But reacting to the video in a statement obtained by Alabingo.com, Soyinka said he was not a part of the performance and he is not in anyway connected to the feelings the remarks were intended to convey.
According to him, while members have the freedom to express themselves, it is necessary for him to comment on the video because he is “connected” with the group.
“The display acidly targets a presidential candidate in the awaited 2023 elections. Since the whole world knows of my connection with that fraternity, it is essential that I state in clear, unambiguous terms, that I am not involved in that public performance, nor in any way associated with the sentiments expressed in the songs,” he said.
“Like any other civic group, the Pyrates Confraternity is entitled to its freedom of expression, individually or collectively. So also is Wole Soyinka in his own person. I do not interfere in, nor do I attempt dictate the partisan political choices of the Confraternity. I remain unaware that the association ever engages in a collective statement of sponsorship or repudiation of any candidate This is clearly a new and bizarre development, fraught with unpredictable consequences.
“In addition, let me make the following cultural affirmation. I have listened to the lyrics of the chant intently and I am frankly appalled. I find it distasteful. I belong to a culture where we do not mock physical afflictions or disabilities. Very much the contrary.
“The Yoruba religion indeed designate a deity, Obatala, as the divine protector of the afflicted, no matter the nature of such affliction. This sensibility is engrained in us from childhood and remains with us all our lives. It operates on the principle of mortal frailty to which all humanity remains vulnerable.”
The Nobel laureate further stated that a follow up statement will be issued when “I have made further enquiries into this strange, uncharacteristic outing of the association”.