The leadership of the Labour Party has chided Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, for accusing the party of attempting to hoodwink Nigerians into believing that its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, won the contentious February 25 election.
The objection is coming in the wake of Soyinka’s declaration on Wednesday at an event titled ‘The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue,’ which was held in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
The renowned writer had stressed that the Labour Party was aware that Obi came third but the leadership persisted in playing “gbajue” (to force a lie) on the people, especially the youthful population.
His utterances, however, did not sit well with the camp of Obi and high-ranking members of the Labour Party.
Reacting in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Obiora Ifoh, described Soyinka’s statement as not expected of someone who is highly revered as a detribalised 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.
“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.
“It is most befuddling as well as disconcerting that a detribalised activist like 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 credit to the Labour Party and its presidential candidate for breaking the monopoly of power hitherto held by the two other parties.”
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 realised,” he said.