Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka has said that no apology should be offered by popular Afrobeat artist, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido, to some Muslims who are requesting that he apologise over an alleged offensive video clip posted on his social media pages last week.
Recall that the DMW owner had posted a 45-second long video clip of his signee, Logos Olori’s new song, ‘Jaye Lo,’ on Friday, July 21, promoting the song ahead of the official release. The video caused controversy as it portrayed men dressed as praying mallams, dancing in front of a mosque in a scene, rather than engaging in prayer.
Recall that the ‘Fem’ crooner, after coming under heavy criticism, bowed to pressure and deleted the video on Monday.
While weighing in with his view on the controversy, Soyinka in a letter released Tuesday and titled “Davido Video,” dismissed the claim that dancing in front of a mosque is an act of provocation, insisting that it is an “affirmation of the unified sensibility of the spiritual in human.”
Reacting to the calls for an apology to the Muslim community by Senator Sheu Sani and some other aggrieved Muslims, Soyinka said, “It should come as no surprise that I equally and absolutely disagree with Shehu Sani if indeed, as reported, he has demanded an apology from Davido on behalf of the Muslim community.
“No apology is required, None should be offered. Let us stop battening down our heads in the mush of contrived contrition – we know where contrition, apology, and restitution remain clamorous in the cause of closure and above all – justice.”
Although Soyinka stated that he is yet to see the clip in question, he, however, maintained that dancing around a religious setting is a fundamental freedom all artists should be entitled to.
He said, “I have not seen the clip, but I insist on the right of the artiste to deploy dance in a religious setting as a fundamental given. Such deployment is universal heritage, most especially applicable in the case of Islam where a plot of land, even without the physical structure, can be turned, in the twinkling of an eye, into a sacral space for believers to gather and worship in between mundane pursuits.
He continued, “Dancing in front of a mosque cannot therefore, on its own, be read as an act of provocation or offence but as an affirmation of the unified sensibility of the spiritual in human. Let us learn to read it that way. Those who persist in taking offence to bed and serving it up as breakfast should exercise their right of boycotting Davido’s products – no one quarrels with that right. However, it is not a cause for negative and incitive excitation.”
Soyinka emphasizes that the lynching of Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a student at Shehu Shagari College of Education, by her peers in Sokoto over alleged blasphemy, along with the mistreatment and imprisonment of atheists like Mubarak Bala, are incidents that should provoke the anger of every member of society.
“It was not Davido’s music that lynched Deborah Yakubu and continues to frustrate the cause of justice. Nor has it contributed to the arbitrary detention of religious dissenters – call them atheists or whatever – such as Mubarak Bala, now languishing in prison for his 38th month. These are the provocations where every citizen should exercise the capacity for revulsion. “