The Labour Party, (LP) has criticised Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, over his recent comment against the party’s 2023 presidential candidate, Peter Obi.
Soyinka had said in a recent interview that Obi did not win the election and he came third as opposed to his claim at the tribunal.
He said; “Peter Obi did not win that election. I was in a monitoring organisation. 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”.
Reacting, Labour Party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, on Thursday accused Soyinka of being blind to truth and double faced.
LP questioned why the literary icon remained mute when threats were issued to Lagos residents not to vote for LP during the election.
The statement reads; “The Labour Party took note of the statement that emanated from the Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, whom, as an institution, we have the utmost respect for. He 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’.
“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 February 25 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.
“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 when ballot boxes were snatched by thugs in a polling booth right in front of his house, he didn’t condemn 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”.