When the aeroplane incident between Prof Wole Soyinka and a random Nigerian man we are yet to identify reached my side of social media consumption yesterday, my first reaction was to dismiss it as no issue. I waved it off as an oversensationalised news. If you sit on a seat reserved for someone else in a public space, the gentlemanly to do is to excuse yourself when the rightful owner lays claim and that was exactly what the amiable professor did. But an overzealous Tonye who witnessed the incident had to bring it on social media in a way that ridiculed the younger man that wanted nothing but his rightful seat on that particular flight.

In my country, an older man can sit on a seat not his but a younger man can not point same seat out as his. We operate a genrotocracy. Older always mean wiser. An older person can not be wrong. In fact, in Yoruba land, if a younger person errs, he apologises to the elder. If an elder errs, the younger person still apologises. That’s what we grew up to know. It is lofty but like every loftiness, it is grossly abused.

Aside this, I come from a country that thrives on having those in authority being totalitarian. Every symbol of authority is an ass that must be licked. It doesn’t matter whether you’re even remotely under the authority or not. We are groomed to follow without asking critical questions. The inimitable afrobeat legend Fela waxed a song to capture the incredulity. He titled it Zombie. No brake, no jam, no sense. As you’re reading this, a private varsity in Nigeria has some students in jail for the last few months for making unsavoury comments online about the school. Unsavoury not untrue.

Really I have no problem with the action of the young man on the flight. I have no problem with the older man’s reaction too. My grouse is with Mr Tonye Cole. What was his motive for reporting a relatively private incident that didn’t involve him on social media? In his desperate bid to probably give Wole Soyinka a non sexual rimming, he’s unwittingly exposed the man and subjected him to ridicule. It is human to crave the beautiful aerial sight the window seat offer in a plane even if it wasn’t allocated. Professor was human to desire that seat. On another day, he’d probably had been paired with me or Mr Tonye himself who would gladly oblige him to sit wherever he pleases, our heads inclusive. But on this particular day, he met a Nigerian that couldn’t give a fuck who he was which is fine. Or isn’t it, as Mr Tonye claims?

The irony of it all is that Mr Tonye is not a good example of the very morals he sought to preach. The same man contested for APC gubernatorial candidacy in the last general election in the country. He was implored to step down for an older and more politically experienced Magnus Abe by party elders but he stood his ground. He demanded for his own seat.

This incident is an epiphany for any conscious Nigerian youth. The metaphorical implication shouldn’t be lost in the social media frenzy it has generated. Our seats have been taken from us for too long by the generations even before our fathers. It is time we demanded for what is rightfully ours. Education has consistently fallen below the 15 per cent to 20 per cent minimum recommended for developing countries by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation since forever. That’s one seat some old politicians have sat on for so long. Let’s demand for it! Billions of dollars have been expended on electricity in the country since 1999, but not a single megawatt has been added to the national grid. That’s our seat some greedy generations not ours have vandalised, we should protest and demand for this particular seat. I can go and on.

We are more exposed to information and data beyond any generation in history yet we are discouraged from critical thinking. But I tell you Nigerian youths, we have every reason more than ever to ask why and demand our seat. Any older person that feels otherwise should take several seats