Nigerian Nobel Prize Winner, Wole Soyinka, has accused the leadership of the Labour Party of trying to force “a lie” on Nigerians on the outcome of the 2023 general elections.
The Nigerian poet, novelist and essayist who spoke at an event that took place on Wednesday in Stellenbosch, South Africa, said that the leadership of the Labour Party knew that the presidential candidate, Peter Obi, lost the February 25 election.
The Nobel Laureate spoke at an event titled “The Lives of Wole Soyinka — A Dialogue” organised by Africa in the World.
Soyinka accused the leadership of the opposition party of trying to force “a lie” on Nigerians, especially youths that Obi won the election.
While speaking at the event, Soyinka was asked to react to his comment against the Labour Party’s Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, after the general election.
Soyinka said the truth matters to him, noting that many people always look for shortcuts.
The Nobel Laureate said he was armed with facts when he invaded a radio station in Ibadan in 1965.
He added that he was not relying on “third-hand information” about the result of the 1965 regional election.
Soyinka accused the Labour Party of taking over the organised labour movement in the build-up to the 2023 election.
He noted that Obi achieved “something remarkable” by breaking the monopoly of power established by the All Progressives Congress and the People’s Democratic Party.
“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,” he said.
“Whereas it was a marvelous 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,” he added.
Soyinka also alleged that the Labour Party leadership attempted to mobilise young people to protest against the outcome of the election on the “banner of lies and deceit”.
“They were going to send some of the hardliners, proud young people into the street to demonstrate,” he said.
“I’m also ready to be among such demonstrators but only on the banner of truth not on lies, and deceit.
“This party 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 ex-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,” he declared.
In March, Soyinka and the Labour Party were at loggerheads over comments made by Baba-Ahmed on the outcome of the presidential election.
On March 22, Baba-Ahmed, in a live television interview said the country has no president-elect despite the declaration of the flag bearer of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the election by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
Baba-Ahmed said Tinubu should not be sworn in as president because he “did not meet requirements of the law”.
Reacting to the comment, Soyinka said the Labour Party’s Vice Presidential candidate’s words contained “fascistic language” and that has “never heard anyone threaten the judiciary on television the way Datti did.”