Jaye Lo:  Davido Owes Muslims No Apology – Wole Soyinka

Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has come to the defense of Afrobeats singer Davido regarding the controversial music video “Jaye Lo” by his signee, Logos Olori.

The video, which generated significant criticism from the Muslim community, was said to be disrespectful to Islamic tenets.

It depicted a mosque-like scene with men in white Jalabiya who transitioned from seemingly observing Sallah prayers to dancing while reciting Quranic verses.

In a statement, Soyinka expressed his support for Davido and stated that, although he had not yet watched the clip, he believed no apology was necessary.

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The playwright referenced a previous incident where he rebuked a bank manager for apologizing over an Easter message, further emphasizing his stance.

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He upheld that the DMW boss should not apologize for the video that dancing in front of a mosque is not offensive, but rather a creative expression of the spiritual unity among all people.

The Professor maintained that Shehu Sani and others who demanded an apology from Davido were misguided.

According to him, there were more important issues in the country that require apologies, but have been ignored like the tragic mobbing of Deborah in Sokoto, and the unjust imprisonment of Mubarak Bala for 38 months.

He said:

The following should not be needed, but we appear to inhabit a nation space where memory deficiency has become an accreditation badge of competence in national affairs.

“I recall my intervention, several years ago, in an attempt to pillory former Governor of Kaduna State, El Rufai over some comment he had made that was considered derogatory to followers of Christianity.

“I forget the reference now but I do distinctly recall another of a bank manager who, at Easter tide, referred to the risen Christ as a metaphor for the risen dough in the bakeries of Oshodi. Something along those lines. Under obvious pressure, he apologized, and I rebuked him for the gesture.

“There was nothing to apologize about, and that applied equally to El Rufai’s comments at the time. It should come as no surprise that I equally absolutely disagree with Shehu Sani if indeed, as reported, he has demanded an apology from Davido on behalf of the Muslim community.

“No apology is required, None should be offered. Let us stop battening down our heads in the mush of contrived contrition – we know where contrition, apology and restitution remain clamorous in the cause of closure and above all – justice. Such apologies have not been forthcoming. In their place, we have the ascendancy of petulant censorship in the dance and music department. Just where will it end?

“Most forms of worship – from the Hare Krishna to Hinduism and lesser-known religions – sought transcendental experience through the medium of dance.

“It goes beyond mere elation or euphoria and involves surrender of the ego to the mystical and sublime – through dance. The secularization of that medium stretches across religions, and offers the artistes’ a means of invoking a sense of spiritual community, through a common act of self-surrender.

“As already admitted, I have not seen the clip, but I insist on the right of the artiste to deploy dance in a religious setting as a fundamental given. Such deployment is universal heritage, most especially applicable in the case of Islam where a plot of land, even without the physical structure, can be turned, in the twinkling of an eye, into a sacral space for believers to gather and worship in between mundane pursuits.

“Dancing in front of a mosque could not therefore, on its own, be read as an act of provocation or offence but as affirmation of the unified sensibility of the spiritual in human.

“Let us learn to read it that way. Those who persist in taking offence to bed and serving it up as breakfast should exercise their right of boycotting Davido’s products – no one quarrels with that right. However, it is not a cause for negative and incitive excitation.

Logos Olori: Davido Deletes Offensive Music Video By Signee

“The greater responsibility is to face squarely the root issues of religion in the nation. That root issue is starkly stated thus: the sectarian appropriation of the power of life and death across a community of believers, other believers, and even non-believers alike, be it for real, imagined, or deliberately contrived offence.

“It was not Davido’s music that lynched Deborah Yakubu, and continues to frustrate the cause of justice. Nor has it contributed to the arbitrary detention of religious dissenters – call them atheists or whatever – such as Mubarak Bala, now languishing in prison for his 38th month. These are the provocations where every citizen should exercise the capacity for revulsion.

“They are the issues deserving of, indeed exercise primary claim on a nation’s capacity for righteous indignation. All else is secondary. Distractive piffle.”

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