Nigeria and the Language of War By Seun Sobola. - THE BUSINESS PACKAGE


Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Nigeria and the Language of War By Seun Sobola.

I was at Professor Wole Soyinka’s house in Abeokuta on Thursday, 3rd of March, this year, over personal timetable or what me I call “inner metaphor” to meet the Professor of English. This was after many times of phone looks, which had suspended me into a quantum state version of a scholar, forgetting that such a man could only be seen on the basis of appointments. And yes, it was easy to conclude what happened! But then, outside of what the conclusion might be, so it would be too quick for my gentle reader to say that my picaresque feeling should be imputed to wandering desultorily. 

Perhaps, my journey was worthwhile like a sleuth who glued aimlessly at a place of lettered discombobulation from where emerged serious-minded theses which at onset boom out of good dimensions and fueled by such a handful of hunts for adventure. It began when I was armed under a gamut of fear as I saw what it takes a man to possess a heaven on earth; and that he is the same at home and in books. Yes, while the latter will give birth to the object of discourse of this piece, it is thus crucial that my gentle reader understands why I didn’t use an upper case “H” for “heaven” in the former.

As I have said, my energy got dissipated into an over-centralized brain fog! And believe me, I couldn’t fade it on the pathway that led to his house in Kémta! I became terrified instantly when the bike man aroused a dose of trepidation fashioned in his own geographical pronunciation, paving a way for my own personal entry like Everyman who had no choice after being swindled by his worldly materials. And here, for my Bible in the book of Colossians, chapter three verse two, tells me to keep my mind on things above and not on worldly things. Soon, I took on the boldness to evade such thoughts which had set in. After all, I had my “foot-jeep” on, thus, I was not the trespassing vehicle that would be shot or eaten. 

The environs was eco-art*, cool* and collected*; the pathway, a sloppy one, was sided by towering trees of the same height of Gunuko diety breading with sedulous songs of different birds from the northwest. These particles gave my mind an outrageous feeling, as even more important was the stone-throw river next to his house, which has a wrecked boat; and to me was more like a ritual center for the god the Yoruba worship with snails, palm oil, pigs, cold stream water and many others. I presume the generous god is by the name, Osun.

My gentle reader, I hope you know that I am a believer. And believe me, I am not a calculated traditionalist like Professor Wole Soyinka. In fact, I do not engage in Yoruba cosmological technologies, rather I am just a man who has the feeling and the nose to feel the sense of history and embeds himself within it. Besides, it was the prominent didactic writer, Professor Femi Osofisan, who claimed that we celebrate our ancestors and our indigenous intellectual class to pave ways for the compassion and wisdom of Orunmila and the questioning gaze of Esu.

Oh! What was I saying? Yes, the placard above was the first thing I saw when I was on the pathway to Professor Wole Soyinka’s house. And I must confess that I understood what he meant after thorough interpretation. Meanwhile, I am not saying it is not clear, but the presence of “eaten” may require sensory evaluation, leading to the idea that it should have been “burnt” on such axis of combination. What is the point thereof to this shocking stylistic seasoning?

The perfect explanation to this may be done through the notion of “selection restriction”. This phrase, taken from one of the linguistic extensions popularly called “stylistics”, reveals the strangeness in Professor Wole Soyinka’s attitude as seen in his choice of word. This is so because the Verb Phrase “eaten” should select its preceding (subject) and, perhaps subsequent Noun Phrase. So, my gentle reader, let’s compare the difference between the sentence:

a. Trespassing vehicles will be shot and burnt.


b. Trespassing vehicles will be shot and eaten.

Falling out from the above, the verb ‘eaten’ is expected to follow a ‘subject’ Noun Phrase which must entail:

           + N (Noun)
           + Edible

Returning home in one piece, the sentence of Professor Wole Soyinka is ungrammatical. Indeed, vehicles can never be eaten, and so, the sentence is a misfit in the context of  “pure” sentence, but may be acceptable in the context of literature, and as well for the purpose of threat. This, like any other type of language, is the best in the World’s present condition! The World is in total War and so language of clarity, simplicity can never be used to combat it! Oh, yes! Or my gentle reader: Have you ever seen people making songs and dances on the battlefield? We must grow accustomed to this darkness, such that, through our mitigating figured dissatisfactions, we become neither humans nor anything else; to wars: #Ritual Killings, to #Ukraine, to #ASUU strike, to #2023 General Election, to #Rape, to #Western Insensitivity, to #Yahoo Yahoo, to #A Return to Hard work etc. 
Language of War is in threatening!
Language of War is in contempt!
Language of War is in ambiguity!
Language of War is in protests!
Language of War is in continuous protests!
Language of War is in confidence!
Language of War is in arrogance!
Language of War is in disorderliness!
Language of War is in blood until our needs are met

By Seun Sobola.
This piece may be beneficial to students of English in particular and people in general and more especial literary works.

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