The Labour Party has faulted Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka’s comment accusing the party of attempting to deceive Nigerians into believing that its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, won the February 25 election.
On Wednesday, Soyinka reportedly said LP knew that Obi came third in the keenly contested poll but kept playing ‘Gbajue’ (to force a lie) on Nigerians, especially the youthful population.
But in a statement on Thursday, LP’s National Publicity Secretary Obiora Ifoh accused the Nobel Laureate of exhibiting dual character. He said Soyinka’s statement was not expected of someone who is highly revered as a “detribalised” statesman.
“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 and not exhibiting the dual character of someone who may be blinded by some chauvinistic tendencies,” the statement read.
“However we are aware that Soyinka resides in Lagos State and he was in Nigeria on February 25 when elections were held in Nigeria. He watched probably with glee when a certain individual in Lagos warned non-indigenes to vote for a particular political party or risk being deported to their place of birth, and he never condemned it.
“He was there where ballot boxes were snatched by thugs in a polling booth right in front of his house, he didn’t condemn it. We are still looking for where he came out to condemn the unprovoked attacks on our supporters in Lagos by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, during the last elections.”
See the full statement issued by LP below:
SOYINKA: Statesmen Are Not Double Faced, Not Blind To Truth
The Labour Party took note of the statement that emanated from the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka who as an institution we have the utmost respect for. He is a Nigerian whose accomplishments in the literary world is 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. Soyinka who owned up to having an electoral “monitoring unit” conveniently glossed over INEC’s legerdemain leading to substantial non compliance and erosion of constitutional dictates, just as he conveniently glossed over the INEC’s advanced ‘gbajue’ of 25 February that has surreptitiously installed the King of ‘gbajue’ in Aso Rock.
It is most befuddling as well as disconcerting that a detribalized and activist 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. We also noted his admission of his willingness to be part of a demonstration which would be based on the banner of truth.
However we are aware that Soyinka resides in Lagos state and he was in Nigeria in February 25 when elections held in Nigeria. He watched probably with a glee when a certain individual in Lagos warned non-indigenes to vote a particular political party or risk being deported to their place of birth, and he never condemned it. He was there were ballot boxes were snatched by thugs in a polling booth right in front of his house, he didn’t condemned it. We are still looking for where he came out to condemn the unprovoked attacks on our supporters in Lagos by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, during the last elections.
The whole world followed the 2023 general election in Nigeria and there was a global condemnation of not only the outcome of the election but also the process, particularly, the ‘glitching’ incidence that occurred only during the transmission of presidential result to IREV. As someone who is known to demonstrate based on truth, we didn’t hear as much as a whisper from Kongi reminding INEC to stand by its word.
He also watched when Labour Party provided evidences of several defaced result sheets permitted and uploaded to the IREV by INEC particularly in places where Labour Party won, again the great Soyinka was astonishingly mute.
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 and not exhibiting dual character of someone who may be blinded by some chauvinistic tendencies.
We would rather keep our impression about his recent dual personality with us. We want to also let him know that building a New Nigeria is a dream which time has come and Nigerian youths will not relent until such dream is realized
National Publicity Secretary