Nobel laureate has thrown away his United States residency green card.
Shortly before the United States presidential election, Prof. Soyinka had vowed to give up his permanent US residency over a Donald Trump victory to protest against the Republican billionaire’s campaign promises to get tough on immigration.
”I have already done it. I have disengaged (from the United States). I have done what I said I would do,” the 82-year-old told AFP on the sidelines of an education conference at the University of Johannesburg.
“I had a horror of what is to come with Trump… I threw away the (green) card, and I have relocated, and I’m back to where I have always been” — meaning his homeland Nigeria.
Soyinka, rights activist, playwright, novelist and poet won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 and has been a regular teacher at US universities, including Harvard, Cornell and Yale.
“It’s useful in many ways. I wouldn’t for one single moment discourage any Nigerian or anybody from acquiring a green card… but I have had enough of it,” he said.
Soyinka, a rights activists, was jailed in 1967 for 22 months during Nigeria’s civil war.
He was reported to have recently completed a term as scholar-in-residence at New York University’s Institute of African American Affairs.
Obtaining the U.S. Permanent Resident Card, otherwise known as “Green Card”, confers on the holder equal rights with the U.S. citizens to have access to service and immigration benefits, including permission to reside and take employment in America.
Valuable document, you say? Well, that is the document the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has just thrown into the trash bin. The foremost playwright has just made good his threat to tear up the ‘valuable document’ to protest Mr. Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President.
Although, the poet did not openly declare support for candidates of the two major parties in the election, Soyinka’s personal grudge for Mr. Trump stemmed from the latter’s uncharitable racial comments to spite black folks and Hispanics.
After Mr. Trump was announced winner of the election, some young Nigerians on social media went vociferous in reminding the Nobel Laureate of his “August Promise”. Soyinka responded, asking the youths to go back to school. He described those urging him to tear up his Green Card as “noisome creatures, the nattering nit-wits of Internet”.
Soyinka said the youths were ignorant of his antecedent, saying their ignorant comments made him feel embarrassed for “occupying the same national space” as them.