The Labour Party’s leadership has rebuked Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka for saying that the party was trying to trick Nigerians into thinking that Peter Obi, its presidential candidate, won the contested February 25 poll.
The protest follows Soyinka’s statement made on Wednesday at a symposium titled “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue,” which took place in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The eminent author had emphasized that although the Labour Party leadership was aware that Obi finished third, they continued to play “gbajue” (to push a falsehood) on the populace, particularly the young.
However, the Obi camp and senior Labour Party members took issue with his statements.
Obiora Ifoh, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, responded in a statement released in Abuja on Thursday, describing Soyinka’s statement as not befitting of a guy who is highly regarded as a detribalized statesman.
In the release titled ‘Soyinka: Statesmen are not double-faced, not blind to the truth,’ Ifoh further stated they could not imagine that the playwright could succumb to the ‘groupthink syndrome’ based on primordial considerations.
A groupthink syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when a group of individuals reaches a consensus without critical reasoning or evaluation of the consequences or alternatives.
He said, “Prof. Wole Soyinka is a Nigerian whose accomplishments in the literary world are 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.
Continuing, the spokesman also expressed disappointment that Soyinka decided to choose a side rather than condemn some anomalies in the build-up to the last general elections and the abysmal performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Ifoh, however, concluded that ‘Kongi’ is a Nigerian and equally entitled to his opinion.
“The whole world followed the 2023 general election and there was a global condemnation on not only the outcome of the election but also the process, particularly, the ‘glitch’ that occurred only during the transmission of presidential results to IREV. We didn’t hear as much as a whisper from Kongi on reminding INEC to stand by its word.
“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.
“We want to also let him know that building a new Nigeria is a dream whose time has come and Nigerian youths will not relent until such dream is realized,” he said.