Professor Wole Soyinka, on Saturday, resigned as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding, two days to a hearing at the Federal High Court, Osogbo, in a case between the centre and the Attorney General of Osun State.
The case has the Attorney General of Osun State as the first defendant, while the CBCIU and others are the plaintiffs.
The chairmanship of the board had sparked a bitter war of words between former Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Soyinka.
Oyinlola, who was the Governor of Osun State at the time the centre was established, was the chairman of the board. But Governor Rauf Aregbesola, who took over from Oyinlola, appointed Soyinka as the chairman of another board of the centre.
Soyinka recently accused Oyinlola of carrying on illegally as the chairman of the board of the UNESCO-affiliated centre, but Oyinlola, who showed documents which authorised him to be the permanent chairman of the board, countered the professor's claim.
Soyinka, in a statement titled, 'Unfinished business in the CBCIU,' on Saturday, however, said, "The resumption of hearing on the Oyinlola versus Osun case of wrongful dismissal strikes me as a compelling juncture at which to express my frustration and embarrassment at the persistence of sectors of the media in designating the situation as some kind of hustle for position between two individuals. This is painful reductionism.
"In any case, I am left with no
choice but to openly demand of the governor of
the immediate and
formal acceptance of my resignation letter from CBCIU chairmanship. In that
resignation letter of Osun State July 14, 2015, my position was
spelt out in part, as follows:
"I undertook this assignment on principle—quite apart from my sentimental attachment to the political constituency of my late friend, Bola Ige, assassinated by those very forces against which CBCIU must remain resolutely embattled."
The Nobel Prize winner added that he found it despicable when "an elected individual" would divert the resources of his electorate to "carving out for himself a sinecure." He noted further that self-service should not be read in the vocabulary of anyone fortunate enough to be called to serve his or her people.
Soyinka denied claims that he was involved in the legal battles surrounding the chairmanship of the centre.
He said, "My layman understanding – backed, fortunately, by consultations — is that this is a legal tussle between Prince Oyinlola, former governor of Osun State, and his coterie on the one hand, and the incumbent government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and his House of lawgivers on the other.
"Let me repeat this: I have not instituted any case against either governor, nor have I been issued with any summons to appear either as plaintiff or respondent. The CBCIU is, of course, the object of contention, but the CBCIU is not listed among my personal possessions or creations.
"To play a variation on the late MKO Abiola's favourite sayings: while I do occasionally loan out my head to crack a coconut, I deplore any attempt to have it shaved it in my absence. I am not a party to this case!"
Soyinka expressed conviction that his exclusion by "the state lawyers" from court hearings in the legal battle should be sufficient to affirm his irrelevance in the encounter.
"I am totally in the dark, except through the concern of colleagues who have forwarded media reports on the notice of resumption. I am out of the country at present and, for all I know, may be cited for contempt for failure to put in appearance, etc.
"I must not end this brief position statement without commending Prince Oyinlola yet again for pursuing his quest for justice the civil way—submitting himself to the authority of the law courts. This is what has been constantly urged on him—wait! Do not pre-empt the court and do not concoct, distort or embellish its pronouncements!
"The present constitutes an advance
in civilised conduct, an improvement on mounting night commando raids on the
CBCIU headquarters in
to empty it of
all its contents. Equally praiseworthy is Prince Oyinlola's formal notice to
would-be participants of the 'postponement' of the much touted conference on
globalisation, originally destined for Oshogbo this November,"
he said. Brazil