From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Former Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof Tam David-West, has told Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, to destroy his United States Green Card based on his threat to do so if the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, won the November 8, 2016 presidential election.
In an interview with Daily Sun in Ibadan, Oyo State capital yesterday, David-West described Soyinka as a great and honourable man, saying if he failed to destroy his Green Card and returned to Nigeria, he has become a dishonourable man.
But he dismissed the insinuation that Soyinka might go to jail if he carried out his threat, saying: “Somebody said if Wole Soyinka destroys his Green Card, he (Soyinka) will go to jail. That is not true. He will not go to any jail. The Green Card is his own personal property given to him by the United States Government.”
Soyinka, a scholar-in-residence at the Institute of American Affairs, New York University in the US, was quoted to have before the election when he addressed Oxford students that he would destroy his Green Card and leave the US if Trump won.
“If in the unlikely event he (Trump) does win, the first thing he will do is to say all Green Card holders must reapply to come back into the US. We’ll, I’m not waiting for that. The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my Green Card myself and start packing up”.
Trump had defeated Democrat candidate, Hillary Clinton, and will take office as the 45th President of the US in January 2017. He defeated Clinton with 276 votes to 218 electoral college votes.
But David-West, who noted that he was worried when Soyinka threatened to destroy his Green Card, said, “there was no need for him to have said that. If he destroys his Green Card, he will hurt himself not the United States. It is because of the Green Card he works in the US.
“The Green Card entitles him to work in the US. Without the Green Card, he could not have a paid job in the US. It is because of the Green Card that he has a paid job in America, which translates to thousands of dollars for him; by conversion, it is millions of naira.
“In America, you apply for Green Card, they don’t beg you to take it. Some people applied for the Green Card and for four years, they don’t get it. I have a cousin in America who spent four years without Green Card, until Senator Kennedy got it for him. Americans don’t dash you Green Card, until you apply for it. So, if Wole Soyinka has US Green Card, he applied for it.”
David-West, however, took a swipe at Soyinka for purportedly changing his tone after Trump has been declared President-elect. When Soyinka was asked when he would destroy the card, he was quoted as saying: “Why don’t we wait until Trump actually takes office? I am just going about my normal commitments, but definitely, not getting into any more commitments. Let’s put it that way for now.”
But the former minister responded: “Now, he has changed his tone. When I read it, I was very upset. He is toying with the intelligence of Nigerians. He said if Trump is elected President; the moment Clinton admitted defeat, Trump is elected. Immediately, Soyinka should come back to Nigeria.
“I know Wole Soyinka is a honourable man. I am waiting for him to destroy his Green Card and return to Nigeria honourably. If he does not come back, he is very dishonourable. He should keep to his words. It was not necessary for him to make that statement at all.
“In the first instance, he never said he would cut his Green Card when Donald Trump takes office, he said if he is elected President. So, Soyinka should honourably cut his card and honourably return to Nigeria.”
David-West noted that Trump would not maltreat the Blacks in the US, adding that the reign of Trump would translate to a robust relationship between the US and Israel. (The Sun)