While the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) are still grappling with the reality of their defeat at the February 25 presidential election and the dismissal of the party’s petitions at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) challenging the emergence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu as President, Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has fired another dart at the party.
Professor Soyinka on Wednesday, accused the leadership of the LP of forcing a lie on Nigerians especially the youths that its presidential candidate, Peter Obi won the election knowing fully well they lost.
Professor Soyinka said this at an event in Stellenbosch, South Africa, “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue”, held in his honour which was organised by Africa in the World.
It would be recalled that few weeks after the election, Soyinka said he reached out to Obi and warned him that “if he lost the election, it would be his followers who lost it for him.”
Also, there was an incident where Soyinka challenged the LP vice presidential candidate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed to a one-on-one debate on national television regarding the nation’s democracy.
These incidents were resolved after Obi visited the Nobel laureate.
But Wednesday’s event was a reopening of old wounds between the LP and Soyinka when he was asked to react to his comment against Baba-Ahmed after the general elections.
He said, “This recent election – two things happened first of all. One party took over the labour movement, which is not my favourite movement, and then it became a regional party.
“Whereas it was a marvellous breach into the established two camps. Peter Obi achieved something remarkable there, that he broke that mould. However, he did not win the election.
“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 force of lies.”
Soyinka continued and alleged that the LP leadership attempted to mobilise Nigerian youths to protest against the outcome of the election on the “banner of lies and deceit.
He said, “They were going to send some of the hardliners, proud young people into the street to demonstrate.”
He, however, said, “I’m also ready to be among such demonstrators but only on the banner of truth not on lies, and deceit.
“This party (LP) wanted the same thing (referring to 2011 post-election violence) to happen on the basis of a lie and we find this vice-presidential candidate on television boasting, insisting, threatening and trying to intimidate both the judiciary and the rest.
“What kind of government will result from that kind of conduct? In addition, they did not know this but they were being used.
“Before the election, there were certain clandestine forces, including some former generals, who were already calling for an interim government before the elections began.”
“Some of them were known figures, including a proprietor of a university calling for an interim government before the election took place.”