The Labour Party’s (LP) leadership has faulted Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka for saying that the Party tried to deceive Nigerians into believing that Peter Obi, its presidential candidate, won the February 25 poll.
Information Nigeria had reported that the Nigerian playwright posited that the Party was aware that Obi finished third, but the leadership insisted on forcing lies upon the populace, particularly the young.
His disposition however didn’t augur well with the camp of Obi and the Labour Party.
Reacting in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, said Soyinka’s statement was not expected of someone who is highly revered as a “detribalised” statesman.
In the release titled, ‘Soyinka: Statesmen are not double-faced, not blind to truth,’ Ifoh noted that they couldn’t imagine that the playwright could stoop to the ‘groupthink syndrome’ based on “primordial considerations.”
“Prof. Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian whose accomplishments in the literary world are without doubt intimidating. However, we beg to disagree with his prognosis and personal opinion on the performance of our party during the 2023 general elections. The facts are before the courts and, out of respect for our judiciary, we will reserve our comments until the Supreme Court makes a final pronouncement.
“We understand that the literary giant is human and thus susceptible to emotions and probably said what he said based on information made available to him by those who share the ‘Emilokan’ sentiment.
“In Yoruba, ‘Gbajue’ refers to fraudulent activities like age, name or certificate forgery, 419 or narcotics trafficking, all of which are issues in the 2023 elections but not on the Labour Party’s part.
“‘Gbajue’ in Yoruba also literally means ‘slap him/her in the face.’ Have all Nigerians not been slapped sufficiently in the face? Thanks to this man of letters for bringing this out albeit, advertently. It’s rather interesting that the erudite Prof.
“It is most befuddling as well as disconcerting that a detribalised and activist like Soyinka would succumb to the ‘groupthink syndrome’ that subscribes to state capture by those belonging to the criminal fringe by any means, based on primordial considerations. We really appreciate him for at least giving some credits to Labour Party and its presidential candidate for breaking the monopoly of power hitherto held by the two other parties,” Ifoh said.
Continuing, the spokesman also expressed disappointment that Soyinka decided to take sides rather than condemn some anomalies in the build-up to the last general elections and the abysmal performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ifoh, however, concluded that Soyinka is a Nigerian and equally entitled to his opinion.
“The whole world followed the 2023 general election and there was a global condemnation on not only the outcome of the election but also the process, particularly, the ‘glitch’ that occurred only during the transmission of presidential result to IREV. We didn’t hear as much as a whisper from Kongi on reminding INEC to stand by its word.
“We will not allege selective amnesia as the reason for Soyinka’s wrong prognosis but we would have expected him to be a statesman, which we thought he was by remaining on the side of caution. We want to also let him know that building a New Nigeria is a dream whose time has come and Nigerian youths will not relent until such a dream is realised,” he added.