PYRATES: Professor Wole Soyinka, “emi lokan” composers celebrate their 70th anniversary

NOTobel Laurette, Professor Wole Soyinkaand members of the National Association of Seadogs, aka Pyrates Confraternity, who sang “Emi lokan”, called on security authorities to stem the worrying tide of insecurity across the country.

They made the call on Sunday in Ikeja, Lagos, during their 70th birthday celebration which lasted from Friday to Sunday, the penultimate weekend.

They further called on the authorities to redirect the adrift ship of state away from the gaping precipice.

It will be recalled that Professor Soyinka, had dissociated himself from a video where certain members of the Brotherhood of Pyrates, made fun of one of the presidential candidates.

The Pyrates were a colorful sight to behold in their long-sleeved white shirts, black pants tucked into white socks, black shoes, belts, red badges and red sashes bearing the skull and crossbones emblem that serves as an allegory for the friability of life. reports that Pyrates was not in Ikeja for sightseeing. They weren’t in Ikeja crawling past the political seat of power in Alausa.

After the jaw, the brotherhood, in their characteristic way, held a huge procession through the streets of Ikeja on Sunday, singing a medley of songs about the state of the nation, including “Emi lokan”. which went straight to #1 on the social media billboard.

Founded at the University College of Ibadan in 1952 by seven adventurous undergraduate students, known as the Original Seven, the National Association of Seadogs is a charitable and humanitarian brotherhood registered with the Federal Ministry of Home Affairs under the land law (perpetual succession). 98 with branches in all 36 states of the federation, the FCT, and countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, Ireland and South Africa. South.

The original seven include Wole Soyinka, Ralph Opara, Pius Oleghe, Ikpehare Aig-Imoukhuede; Nathaniel Oyelola, Olumuyiwa Awe and Sylvanus U. Egbuche.

They formed the Brotherhood of Pyrates to fight against the elitism and class privileges of wealthy students who looked down on poor university students.

The idea that fertilized the germination of the Brotherhood of Pyrates was found in the novel Treasure Island, written by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), about the escapades of pirates.

In crafting their brotherhood’s ethos, the Original Seven adopted the rare but good traits of a few treasure island pirates.

They have distilled the good traits which include vision, bravery, loyalty, camaraderie, honesty and reliability into their guiding principles called the four cardinal points, and these are:

Against moribund conventions, against tribalism; For humanist ideals and for camaraderie and chivalry as they abandoned evil traits such as deceit, drunkenness, corruption and hypocrisy exhibited by many pirates on Treasure Island.

The Original Seven also changed the spelling from pirate to Pyrate so that their organization would not be confused with the contemptuous bandit buccaneers who are loosely referred to as pirates.

Like Pyrates, which is a nickname, Red Devils is also an example of a curious name carried by the famous Manchester United FC.

The inflection of the name “pirate” into “Pyrate” is not new in intellectual circles; Ghanaian writer, Ayi Kwei Armah, inflected the adjective ‘Beautiful’ in the title of his classic novel to read ‘The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born’.

A former Nigerian newspaper, Weekend Concord, owned by the winner of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, the late Bashorun MKO Abiola, once headlined a story, “A Disaster”, when the late Major General Abdulkareem Adisa, former Minister of Public Works and Housing, was arrested for alleged coup plotting.

Weekend Concord’s editor, Oga Mike Awoyinfa, was specifically responsible for writing the paper’s headlines. He also dropped the headline, “Drugs? Never mind Alaafin,” when someone in Oyo’s late Alaafin entourage, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, was caught with drugs in the UK.

According to the organization’s website,, NAS closed all of its on-campus student branches to date on July 28, 1984, when the despicable activities of copycat organizations posing as brotherhoods have spread across Nigerian campuses.

The song, Emi lokan, was not the first NAS had composed to ridicule poor leadership in Nigeria.

They sang “The Ogoni Don’t Suffer” to denounce the degradation of Ogoni land, they also sang “Kenule Saro-Wiwa” to lament the murder of the Ogoni activist, just as they sang “Universities of Chicago and Toronto” to criticize the controversies surrounding the certificates of All Progressives Congress presidential candidate Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and a former speaker of the House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari.

Some other notable Nigerian leaders, institutions and ideologies ridiculed by Pyrates in their songs are President Muhammadu Buhari, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, former Governor James Ibori; INEC, National Assembly, Boko Haram, among others.

Simple in its composition and rhythmic in its verses, Emi lokan says: “Emi lokan, emi lokan, papa wey no well, e dey shout emi lokan; they shake hand, legs shake, daddy is not well, they shout emi lokan. Emi lokan, is a Yoruba expression meaning “it’s my turn”.

It is in the aforementioned historical context and evolution of PC that many have seen the song, Emi lokan, as another pertinent commentary on governance and leadership.

For this set of observers, Soyinka was wrong to frown on the mocking Tinubu, who proposed the Emi lokan theory of entitlement when he claimed his claim to the presidency in a famous speech in Abeokuta recently.

For this group of people, Soyinka was protecting Tinubu because they are both of Yoruba ethnicity.

The group, made up mostly of people from the southeast of the country, reminded the Nobel laureate that he had called Patience, the wife of ex-president Jonathan, sheppoppotamus, in 2013.

In particular, a lecturer, who teaches sociology at the University of Kansas, USA, Professor Ebenezer Obadare, in his article, “Wole Soyinka’s Overreach”, published in Premium Times, criticized Soyinka at the time for the use of sheppoppotamus, a word he describes as disrespectful to Patience.

It is within Obadare’s right to criticize Soyinka’s use of language against Patience. I salute his courage.

For the purposes of the dialectic that Emi lokan of Tinubu raised, however, it should be noted that Soyinka spoke out against the authoritarian tendency of the Patience in Rivers policy at the time on a personal level, and not as Capoon Blood of Tortuga.

During the sheppoppotamus saga, the image of the PC was nowhere in sight. It was the white mane and the literary pen at work.

That said, the image of the Nobel laureate cannot be completely separated from that of the PC, an organization from which he has drawn inspiration since its creation.

Following his larger-than-life international and national image, partisan individuals or groups have a habit of taking political advantage of Soyinka’s connection to the brotherhood.

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