Tonye Cole’s narration of Wole Soyinka’s ‘flight incident’ creates buzz on social media

Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka speaks on June 12 as Democracy Day
Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

Would you give up your airplane seat for Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka? This was the hot topic on Nigerian Twittersphere on Monday.

It all began after a Nigerian businessman, Tonye Cole, shared his flight experience about a young man who ‘disrespected’ Mr Soyinka by asking for him (Soyinka) to leave his allotted seat which the professor sat on.

He (Cole) is seen begging the un-named man to allow Mr Soyinka to remain on the seat.

The younger man refuses and Mr Soyinka eventually leaves the seat to return to his own seat, much to Mr Cole’s disgust.

Mr Cole shared a picture that showed Mr Soyinka and the young man, accompanied by a lengthy caption detailing the incident. The post read:

“@professorwolesoyinka #celebrategreatness #relationshipsmatter met one of the greatest Nigerians walking the earth today and as with other times, he was genteel, witty, forthright and humble. My smile gives me away as he permitted the picture whereas he would have preferred to get back to his newspapers. Then we boarded the flight and after assisting him with his bags, he took the window seat and promptly started reading again.

A few minutes later this young man, baseball cap, t-shirt to show his muscled chest and tattooed biceps boards the plane and tells Prof he is on his seat (which he was). Those of us including the cabin crew tried to reason with Bobo Fine to let the old man be but the chap refused. He insisted Prof should vacate his window seat, which the old man quietly did for his original aisle seat next to him.

I couldn’t understand how we got to this point where we no longer have respect for elders, even if are so ignorant of the great global personalities in our midst. Is it too much to ask that an elderly man be allowed to remain in a seat allotted to you in the same business class cabin and the same row?

Na wa o!”’

The post has gained a lot of traction on social media with different people expressing diverse views.

Check out some Twitter reactions below:


As at press time, neither Soyinka nor the man in question has addressed the encounter publicly.


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