Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has explained the reasons for visiting Noble laureate, Wole Soyinka, citing his great respect for the renowned playwright and outspoken critic.
Obi, who made the visit about a week after explaining on Prime Time, a current affairs programme on Arise Television, had used his official Twitter handle to announce the meeting, which took place on Sunday, describing it as enriching, and useful.
“Today I visited one of Nigeria’s most revered figures and an international literary icon Prof Wole Soyinka,” he said, adding: “Prof Soyinka has been my father whom I hold in very esteem for what he has achieved and stands for in the struggle for a better Nigeria.
“His reputation as a fighter for justice and equity in our society has been legendary and we will NEVER ignore them. I had a very useful and enriching discussion about his aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria, and he shared a lot with me about his dream for a greater, and more inclusive Nigeria.
“I reminded the Nobel laureate of the huge price he paid just before the outbreak of civil war, fighting for the cause of the Igbos. I cherish this Sunday visit which was intended to erase the needless misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the Obidient family.”
The Nobel Laureate, had sparked off a strong resentment from the supporters of the former Governor of Anambra State, after he criticised Yusuf Datti Ahmed, the running mate to Obi, of fascism, following his insistence that swearing in Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu without winning the 25 per cent votes in Abuja, as required by the constitution would “end democracy.”
Apparently undeterred by the barrage of attacks by the Obidients, after his interview which first appeared on Channels Television, Soyinka, in another interview with Arise Television, dug deeper and a day after released a statement to further lampoon them.
The LP candidate, had used the opportunity of his appearance on Arise interview to appeal to Soyinka, saying that apart from the fact that not all those who made the comments were Obidients, there should be an understanding that Nigerian youths were angry and mostly spoke from that perspective.
His words: “Prof is a well respected, revered personality in Nigeria and globally. And I have always respected him and he is a dear father to me. For me I was very very sad that there was such an exchange. Some of the ‘Obidients’, I must tell you, or people they mentioned that they are ‘Obidient’ are not entirely people who are with us.
“The opposition have also come into it. We don’t worry about that. But I was very sad there was such an exchange. I respect a father, but you have to understand this, these young people are people who have been so deprived by supposedly a system that is supposed to care for them.
“They have been pushed to the wall. Even me, the way they even react when I say things, I could feel their pain. I could feel it because I live in the same system that they are living in. When we were young, things were working. All of a sudden, it became a worse situation.
“My own comment on that is that Prof remains a revered father, and I have kept respecting him for that. And of course the young ‘Obidients’ I feel for them, I wish you can feel what they are feeling, the pain. There is nothing the society is offering them, even when they try to do it on their own. This is a place you move around with a laptop, you will be arrested and labelled all sorts of names.
“This is a place where people are thrown into jail for even making comment, when people who have stolen billions of the country’s money, done worst things are moving around and celebrated.”