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Wole Soyinka, renowned playwright and professor, says it is “not the business of any stupid Nigerian to open his or her mouth” to challenge his right to say he was leaving the United States.

On November 2, Soyinka had said he would destroy his green card if Donald Trump became president of the United States.

“If in the unlikely event he does win, the first thing he’ll do is to say [that] all green-card holders must reapply to come back into the US. Well, I’m not waiting for that,” he told students of Oxford University, England.

“The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.”

Trump’s surprise emergence as president-elect opened the playwright up to public scrutiny, and there were series of calls for him to promptly fulfill his pledge.

Although he revealed last Thursday that he had already torn his green card, he hasn’t hidden his disdain for the behaviour of the “noisome creatures” whose problem he said was “ignorance”.


Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Monday, he reserved even more scathing words for his critics.

“If I decide that I want to leave the United States and I want to leave it in a particular way, that’s my business,” he said.


“It’s not the business of the Internet; I don’t know what the excitation is all about. As the saying goes, why do Nigerians wail louder than the bereaved? What is your business?

“What is the business of any stupid Nigerian to open his or her mouth to challenge my right to say I am leaving? Did you get the green card for me? Do I eat in your house? The arrogance of some Nigerians is overwhelming. I don’t interfere with you, why would you interfere with me?

“One had the impudence to write that he needs a video to reassure him that it’s been done. Video? Are you mad? I don’t know you, I don’t respect you. Do you think I am here to entertain you? They want cheap thrill.”

Soyinka said he had begun plans to move out of Nigeria, the residency operated by his foundation.

“I am going to move the residency operated by my foundation out of this country, I have already begun to make arrangements. It is my property, I can do what I like with it,” he said.

“Maybe I should not be exiting the United States, maybe it’s Nigeria I should be exiting from because how can the people on behalf of whom one have struggled for all one’s life can be so slavish in mentality as to start querying the right of their champion to free speech?”

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