Obi visits Soyinka
Peter Obi (left) and Professor Wole Soyinka during the visit of the LP Presidential candidate to the Nobel Laureate in his Abeokuta home on Sunday May 7, 2023

Peter Obi De-escalates Political Conflicts, Visits Soyinka In Abeokuta

“I cherished this Sunday's visit which was intended to erase the needless misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the OBIdient family.”
1 year ago
2 mins read

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Gregory Obi, on Sunday visited Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, in his Abeokuta home where they exchanged ideas about the future of Nigeria.

The move is seen as a deliberate effort to de-escalate political tension as the LP candidate continues with his legal action against the election results declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“Today, I visited one of Nigeria’s most revered figures and an international literary icon, Prof Wole Soyinka,” said Obi, who took to his Twitter handle to announce the Sunday evening meeting.

Soyinka had, shortly after the controversial declaration of the election results by INEC, described ‘Obidients’ – a group of Labour Party supporters with large national and international following – as ‘fascists’, an appellation that put him on the fire line for weeks. Many Nigerian youths accused the Nobel Laureate of unjustifiably supporting his own ‘kinsman’ and candidate of the  All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, who was declared winner by the Mahmood Yakubu-led INEC in controversial circumstances. Soyinka had also supported the APC in 2015 when President Goodluck Jonathan was unseated by Muhammadu Buhari’s APC then led by Tinubu.

With Tinubu as the candidate this time around, his victory in the March 25, 2023 presidential election  is being challenged at the election tribunal by Peter Obi and the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, who was  Nigeria’s Vice President between 1999 and 2007 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo held the reins of power.

It is generally believed that the election lacked transparency and was marred by violence, voter suppression and widespread irregularities.

APC and the Buhari government, however, say the election was representative of the wishes of the people and asked losers to “go to court.”

Consequent upon Soyinka’s comments in reaction to Obi’s running mate Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, who said that it would be unconstitutional for Tinubu to take oath of office on May 29 when his election was still shrouded in controversy and litigation, forced millions of Nigerian youths supportive of Peter Obi’s presidential ambition to accuse the literary icon (Soyinka) of bias. They took to the social media to castigate him for many weeks accusing him of selling out on his life-long conviction on justice, anti-corruption and good governance.

In response, Soyinka proposed a debate with Yusuf Baba-Ahmed Datti, Obi’s running mate, on Channels Television, an offer readily accepted by Obidients. Datti however, rejected Soyinka’s proposal on grounds of respect for his age.

READ ALSO: Obidients Accept Soyinka’s Challenge For Channels TV Debate

But Obi, who has managed to earn a reputation for de-escalating potential crises through his conciliatory moves, chose to pour cold water on the unhealthy development. “Prof Soyinka has been a father whom I hold in very high esteem for what he has achieved and stands for in the struggle for a better Nigeria,” he said regarding the elder statesman’s character and integrity.

What Obi Said:

“His reputation as a fighter for justice and equity in our society has been legendary and we will NEVER ignore them. I had a very useful and enriching discussion about his aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria, and he shared a lot with me about his dream for a greater and more inclusive Nigeria. I reminded the Nobel laureate of the huge price he paid just before the outbreak of the civil war, fighting for the cause of the Igbos.

“I cherished this Sunday’s visit which was intended to erase the needless misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the OBIdient family.”


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