The internet was set abuzz recently after Nigerian Business executive, Tonye Cole took to his Instagram page to share the encounter between a young Nigerian man and Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on an airplane.
Tonye Cole had said Prof. Wole Soyinka got on the plane and took the window seat and when the young man, who was assigned the seat boarded, insisted Mr Soyinka leaves his seat.
Others on the plane, including the crew members, begged the young man to let the Nobel Laureate have his seat, but he insisted on sitting where he was assigned.
After sharing the story on his page, there were different reactions as to the encounter with some saying the young man should have had respect for the Professor and allowed him have the window seat.
The young man has now been identified as one Tosin Odunfa, who took to the comment section of Mr. Tonye’s post to share his own side of the encounter. According to him, Prof. Wole Soyinka didn’t mind that he’d asked for his seat and was rather embarrassed by the attention Mr. Tonye and the rest of some passengers caused.
He revealed his reason for wanting to have his window seat and the manner in which he wrote, has earned him respect from a lot of people. He wrote,
I am the young guy! Yes the one in question with a baseball cap and t-shirt. I am unashamed to be at the prime of my youth infact I blushed a little bit after reading your decription of my chest and muscles. Is thanks to strong discipline that I live a fit life and I am able to go to the gym on my tight schedule.
Prof didnt mind getting up and infact he confided in me as we chatted later on the flight that he would have done the same and that he was more embarrassed by the undue attention. Prof and I actually have a few things in common, we are both in academia, I have a PhD in electrical engineering and teach nano electromagnetic theory at the University of Mannittawiw. He said to me that he thinks that Nigerian youth need to stand up more for themselves than we do and he spoke to me about the ideals they tried to promote when he cofounded a secret society in his youth . I have read up on him now and know for sure that Wole Soyinka is a great man but I sadly was not taught about him in school. We exchanged contact information and I will certainly stay in touch.
Please note that I am on the Autism spectrum and need the view from the window to keep me from getting sick on the plane hence my insisting on taking the window seat. Finally, Brother Tonye the words on your lap are very inspiring “Everything you want is on the other side of not giving up.