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Labour Party fires fresh salvo at Soyinka, accuses him of 'dual character’

Soyinka had accused the Labour Party leadership of misleading Nigerians into believing that Obi won the presidential election.

The Labour Party presidential candidate visits the iconic playwright, Prof Wole Soyinka. [Twitter:PeterObi]

The respected playwright, who spoke at a programme in South Africa on Wednesday, September 13, 2023, accused the Labour Party leadership of deceiving Nigerians into believing that its candidate, Peter Obi, won the hotly-contested poll.

Soyinka aligned himself with the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which held that Obi finished third behind Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and President Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

"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," the Nobel Laureate said.

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Reacting to this in a statement on Thursday, September 14, 2023, the National Publicity of the Labour Party, Pastor Obiora Ifoh, accused Soyinka of exhibiting dual character.

Ifoh said the remarks made by the literary giant were not expected of someone who is highly revered as a “detribalised” statesman.

Read the Labour Party full statement below:

“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’.”

“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 are without doubt intimidating.

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“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.

“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.

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“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 that 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.

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“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,” the party maintained the statement signed by pastor Ifoh.”

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