Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has taken aim at the leadership of the Labour Party (LP), alleging that they were aware of the defeat suffered by their presidential candidate, Peter Obi, in the February 25 election but attempted to deceive the Nigerian public, particularly the youth, into believing otherwise.
Soyinka made these accusations during an event titled “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue,” which was organized by Africa in the World and held on Wednesday in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
When asked about his earlier comments concerning Datti Baba-Ahmed, LP’s vice-presidential candidate, after the general election, Soyinka emphasized the importance of truth and factual accuracy in public discourse. He recounted his own history of standing up for the truth, citing a 1965 incident when he entered a radio station in Ibadan armed with facts rather than relying on “third-hand information” about the results of the 1965 regional election.
Soyinka further accused the LP of taking control of the organized labor movement in the lead-up to the 2023 election. He acknowledged Peter Obi’s achievement in breaking the established dominance of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) but asserted that Obi did not emerge as the victor.
Speaking candidly, Soyinka stated, “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, the force of lies.”
Soyinka also alleged that LP’s leadership had attempted to mobilize young people to protest against the election’s outcome using “lies and deceit” as their rallying cry. He expressed his willingness to join such protests but under the banner of truth, not falsehood.
Furthermore, Soyinka raised concerns about the LP’s vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, who, according to him, used “fascistic language” on television and threatened the judiciary in a manner that was unprecedented.
Soyinka concluded by shedding light on clandestine forces, including certain ex-generals and notable figures, who had called for an interim government before the elections even commenced. These revelations underscore the complexity and intrigue surrounding Nigeria’s 2023 elections and the controversies that have arisen in its aftermath.
In March, Soyinka and the LP clashed over comments made by Baba-Ahmed regarding the presidential election’s outcome. Baba-Ahmed had challenged the legitimacy of Bola Tinubu’s victory, leading to a war of words between the LP and the Nobel laureate.