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ICYMI: Labour Party Slammed Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka for ‘Dual Character’ 

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Labour Party (LP) has taken Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka to task for his recent comments criticizing the party’s actions in the aftermath of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election.

Soyinka had accused the LP of trying to mislead Nigerians, particularly the youth, into believing that its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, won the election held on February 25.

During an event titled “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue,” Soyinka remarked that Peter Obi’s party came in third, not even second, in the presidential race. “The leadership knew it but they want to do what we call in Yoruba ‘gbajue’, that is force of lies,” said Soyinka.

‘Befuddling and Disconcerting’

Responding on Thursday, Labour Party’s spokesperson Obiora Ifoh described Soyinka’s remarks as “disconcerting” and “befuddling,” especially coming from a “detribalized and activist statesman.” Ifoh argued that Soyinka had ignored the alleged irregularities by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) during the election.

“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,” said Ifoh.

Accusations of ‘Groupthink Syndrome’

The Labour Party went further by accusing Soyinka of succumbing to “groupthink syndrome” and suggested that he was potentially influenced by “primordial considerations.”

“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,” added Ifoh.

Failing to Condemn Violence

Ifoh also took issue with Soyinka’s lack of condemnation regarding alleged attacks on Labour Party supporters in Lagos by members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during the last elections.

“He also watched when the Labour Party provided evidence of several defaced result sheets permitted and uploaded to the IREV by INEC, particularly in places where the Labour Party won, again, the great Soyinka was astonishingly mute,” Ifoh stated.

A Statesman or Dual Character?

The Labour Party stopped short of alleging that Soyinka had “selective amnesia,” but Ifoh expressed disappointment, suggesting that Soyinka should have lived up to his reputation as a statesman rather than exhibiting what they termed a “dual character.”

“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 a dream is realized,” concluded Ifoh.

The Labour Party’s strident criticism of Soyinka, a revered figure in Nigeria and internationally, adds another layer of complexity to the already contentious aftermath of the 2023 presidential election. With both sides unwilling to back down, the debate is likely to continue to capture the nation’s attention.

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