The Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka has labelled ‘Obidients’, supporters of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the February 25 poll, as one of the most repulsive concoctions he has witnessed in any political arena.

He stated this in a press release on Friday, noting that he agrees with musician Seun Kuti on the latter’s disposition towards the Obidients.

Prof. Soyinka had criticised an attempt made by the vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Datti Baba-Ahmed, to dictate to the Supreme Court regarding the party’s suit challenging the presidential election as unacceptable.

These remarks earned him sharp criticism from the Obidients.

In his latest statement, the poet fired back at the Obidients, stating that they thrive on intimidation.

His words: “The instigating contest – Nigerian Democracy 2023 –  has witnessed much that is innovative – largely in the retrogressive vein. Violence and ethnic profiling. ‘Spiritual’ warfare in the shape of sacrificial rams to keep ‘disloyal’ communities under restraint – in short, intimidation yet again!  Easily overlooked however are those missives of violence directed against dissenting voices, real or suspect. Such, for instance, were the virulent attacks and threats to the musician Seun Kuti, his family and iconic music Shrine.

“His crime consisted of nothing more than declaring the name ‘Obidient’ derogatory to his sense of civic dignity and activist history. Such beginnings – and instances are numerous – have culminated in the open intimidation of the Court of Last Resort, even before proceedings have begun. By the way, I do agree with Seun Kuti; ‘Obidients’ is one of the most repulsive, off-putting concoctions I ever encountered in any political arena. Some love it, however, and this is what freedom is about. Choice. Taste. Free emotions.”

Responding to those who said he resumed talking about Nigeria’s polity because of his hatred for the Obidients, Soyinka said “I choose my methods of intervention without the permission of social media border patrols, so where you find a gap, just pick up the baton where last deposited and stop whining and belly-aching – ‘he stopped talking all this while, why now?’  etc etc ad nauseum. Flat, easy disposable lies that gain traction by repetition. However, even more importantly, they remain irrelevant to the rights and wrongs of ongoing material issue.

“Sadly, these virtue vigilantes succeed with the ignorant and susceptible – especially among the younger, confused generation.  The consequence is that the nation is plagued by fake CVs compiled by all kinds of amateur commentators, still wet behind the ears, who have too few truths to build on before they are corralled into positions of No-Retreat. Nowhere has this been more evident than in the effrontery of attempts to place the present contention on the same podium as the twenty-year-old anti-Abacha struggle!

“This gross abuse of historic licence actually provides smug satisfaction for rookie activists. I advise them to seek out the school of survivors where pertinent lessons still exist for those with sufficient humility to LEARN before MOUTHING! Otherwise their world of false mythologies will collapse under their feet, and leave them dangling in the void.”

Without hesitation, the Nobel Laureate also condemned the N5 million fine placed by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Channels TV over the interview where Baba-Ahmed made the controversial remarks about the apex court.


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