Prof. Wole Soyinka has again dismissed insinuations by supporters of the opposition political parties; namely the People’s Democratic Party and Labour Party that President Bola Tinubu did not win the February 265 2023 election.
Soyinka, in recent times has been countering the narrative that Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress lost the election, a view which has gained traction in the international community.
In a statement released from Stellenbosch, South Africa on Saturday, Soyinka insisted that duo of Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, candidates of the Labour Part and PDP in actual fact propelled Tinubu to victory by running separate tickets.
He said, “The mistake we all continue to make is our insistence on regarding the recent Nigerian elections as an adversarial thriller. The contrary is the truth.”
The ballot tally, he said, accurately reflected what happens when a political party splits itself in two, especially so critically close to an election. “What promised to be a spectacular contest is transformed into a Feast of Voluntary Donation of the spoils of war.
“That, however, is not always the ultimate destination – the re-gifting may continue, prodded by a sudden surge of regret.”
Soyinka said there remains, lurking in the background, a far more potent beneficiary and in this case, we easily recall it as the unregistered but loudly canvassed IPP – the Interim Peoples Party, usually to be found in bed with the military.
He said the notorious Datti interview, menacing, intimidating and unambiguous, sets the scene for such re-entry.
He said, “Then, history repeats itself over and over again, as currently manifested along the West African sub-region. The “call to arms” is made literal by those whose trade is precisely that of arms.
“Barring such abrupt “patriotic intervention”, however, the last word belongs to the Supreme Court. Until that conclusive hour, wherever and whenever the subject turns to the Nigerian elections, my contribution can be taken for granted in advance: Peter Obi did not win the Nigerian 2023 elections. Jointly with his erstwhile colleague of the PDP, Abubakar Atiku, they donated the outcome, even before the voting.”
Politicians and their cohorts, he said, should learn to take responsibility for the consequences of their choices within democratic options.
Earlier in the week, Soyinka had said he could categorically say 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.
“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 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.”
In reaction, the National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, on Thursday said Soyinka’s statement was not expected of someone who is highly revered as a detribalised statesman.
Ifoh said that they couldn’t imagine that the playwright could stoop to the ‘groupthink syndrome’ based on “primordial considerations”.
Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, also in Stellenbosch, South Africa in a session at the Africa In the World Conference described the second term of former President Olusegun Obasanjo as Nigeria’s most successful in economic growth, job creation, and inflation rate in Nigeria.
Speaking on Friday, El-Rufai said oil prices began to rise during this period but the Obasanjo government did not waste the windfall, adding that Nigeria’s fiscal health was at its best in 2007, such that when the global financial crisis took place in 2008, the country did not feel it.
If you look at Nigeria’s economic trajectory, the most successful four to five-year period of economic growth, job creation, and reduced inflation was the period of the second term of President Obasanjo in 2003 to 2007, when for the first time, the country went back into proper integrated planning and we also got lucky,” he said.
“Nothing was felt in Nigeria because Nigeria had a big savings account,” he said.
He added that Nigeria had huge reserves then and that the government was able to absorb the shock without any internal problem