Following the emergence of Donald Trump as President-elect of the United States, former Nigerian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Prof Tam David-West, has taken a swipe at Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, urging him to live up to his threat of tearing up his green card.
Speaking exclusively with Daily Sun in Ibadan, capital of Oyo state, David-West said:
“I know Wole Soyinka is a honourable man. I am waiting for him to cut 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.”
Prior to the US presidential election of November 8, Soyinka, a scholar-in-residence at the Institute of American Affairs, New York University, was quoted to have said he would tear up his green card and leave the US if Trump won the poll.
The Guardian UK quoted Soyinka, while addressing Oxford students, as saying:
“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.”
“There was no need for him to have said that. If he cuts his green card, he will hurt himself not the United States. It 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 cannot 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.”
“Why don’t we wait until Trump actually takes office? I am just going about my normal commitments. Let’s put it that way for now.”
The former minister added:
“Now, he has changed his tone. When I read it, I was very upset. He is toying with the intelligence of Nigerians. He said (he’d destroy his green card) if Trump is elected President. The moment Hillary Clinton conceded defeat, Trump is elected. Immediately, Soyinka should have come back to Nigeria.
“I know Wole Soyinka is a honourable man. I am waiting for him to cut 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.”
He, however, dismissed reports saying Soyinka might go to jail if he cut his US green card.
He said: “Somebody said if Wole Soyinka cuts his green card, he (Soyinka) will go to jail. That is not true. He will not go to jail. The green card is his own personal property given to him by the United States Government.”