Soyinka to Obidients: Your refusal to accept constructive criticism has become a badge of honour

Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate, has addressed the
criticisms he received from supporters of the Labour Party (LP).


On Wednesday, Soyinka faulted the remarks by Datti
Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the LP, saying they contained
“fascistic language”.


Baba-Ahmed had said the country has no president-elect
despite the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announcing Bola
Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of the election.


The LP vice-presidential candidate said Tinubu would be
leading an unconstitutional government if sworn into office because the APC
candidate “has not met requirements of the law”.


Soyinka was one of many stakeholders who knocked Baba-Ahmed
over his comments.


In a subsequent statement, the Nobel laureate said he warned
Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the LP, that his supporters — dubbed
‘Obidients’ — may cost him the election.


Soyinka’s comments elicited anger from the ‘Obidients’,
especially on social media platforms.


 “Wole Soyinka, an
elder statesman is more angry about Datti’s Response to the fraudulent
elections than the fraudulent elections itself. Some Elders are overrated,”
reads one of the tweets.


“Don’t forget Wole Soyinka was one of those people that
foisted Buhari on us.  He criticized GEJ
so much and even likened him to King Nebuchadnezzar.  He also allegedly called his wife Hippotamus
in 2013. When they try to gag you with respect our elders, show them this
tweet,” reads another tweet.


In a statement on Friday, Soyinka said Obidients have worn
their refusal to accept constructive criticism as a badge of honour.


He maintained that the LP was sowing seeds of fascism and
generating a climate of fear.


Soyinka asked the LP supporters to refrain from attacking
and embrace fair hearing in situations of conflict.


 “It would appear that
a record discharge of toxic sludge from our notorious smut factory is currently
clogging the streets and sewers of the Republic of Liars.  It goes to prove the point that provoked the
avalanche EXACTLY!  The seeds of
incipient fascism in the political arena have evidently matured. A climate of
fear is being generated,” Soyinka said.


“The refusal to entertain corrective criticism, even
differing perspectives of the same position has become a badge of honour and
certificate of commitment.


“What is at stake, ultimately is – Truth, and at a most
elementary level of social regulation: when you are party to a conflict, you do
not attempt to intimidate the arbiter, attempt to dictate the outcome, or
impugn, without credible cause, his or her neutrality even before hearing has
commenced. That is a ground rule of just proceeding. Short of this, Truth
remains permanently elusive.


 “The ensuing
cacophony has been truly bewildering. It strikes me as a possible ploy to
smother recent provocations by other, far more trenchant issues, such as
revelations of declarations of a religious war.


“If so, let it be known that I have long declared war
against religious fundamentalism, the nature of which justifies the butchery,
kidnapping and enslavement of students in the name of religion.”



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