Nigerian playwright, Wole Soyinka, says the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) knew that Peter Obi, its 2023 presidential candidate, lost the election.
According to Soyinka, the opposition party is trying to force “a lie” on Nigerians, especially youths, that Obi won the election.
The political activist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 spoke at an event on Wednesday in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
Speaking on the theme “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue” organised by Africa in the World, he was asked to react to his comment against Datti Baba-Ahmed, LP’s vice-presidential candidate, after the general election.
Soyinka said the truth matters to him, noting that many people always look for shortcuts.
While accusing the LP of taking over the organised labour movement in the build-up to the 2023 election, he noted that Obi achieved “something remarkable” by breaking the monopoly of power established by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
His words: “This recent election – two things happened first of all. One party took over the labour movement, which is not my favourite movement, and then it became a regional party.
“Whereas it was a marvellous breach into the established two camps. Peter Obi achieved something remarkable there, that he broke that mould. However, he did not win the election.
“I can say categorically that Peter Obi’s party came third not even second and the leadership knew it but they want to do what we call in Yoruba ‘gbajue’, that is force of lies.”
Soyinka also alleged that the LP leadership attempted to mobilise young people to protest against the outcome of the election on the “banner of lies and deceit.”
“They were going to send some of the hardliners, proud young people into the street to demonstrate.
“I’m also ready to be among such demonstrators but only on the banner of truth not on lies, and deceit.
“This party wanted the same thing (referring to 2011 post-election violence) to happen on the basis of a lie and we find this vice-presidential candidate on television boasting, insisting, threatening and trying to intimidate both the judiciary and the rest.
“What kind of government will result from that kind of conduct? In addition, they did not know this but they were being used.
“Before the election, there were certain clandestine forces, including some ex-generals, who were already calling for an interim government before the elections began.
“Some of them were known figures, including a proprietor of a University (Datti) calling for an interim government before the election took place,” Soyinka said.
In March, Soyinka and LP were at loggerheads over comments made by Baba-Ahmed on the outcome of the presidential election.
On March 22, Baba-Ahmed, in an interview with Channels Television said the country has no president-elect despite the declaration of Bola Ahmed Tinubu, flagbearer of the APC, as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Baba-Ahmed said Tinubu should not be sworn in as president because he “did not meet requirements of the law.”
Reacting to the comment, Soyinka said the LP vice-presidential candidate’s words contained “fascistic language” and that he has “never heard anyone threaten the judiciary on television the way Datti did.”