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Soyinka warns of the “seeds of incipient fascism” in the political arena and a “climate of fear” being generated.
Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has responded to criticism directed at him by Obidients, supporters of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, after expressing displeasure at a statement made by the vice-presidential candidate of the party, Datti Baba-Ahmed.
‘Fascism On Course’ – by Wole Soyinka
In a statement titled “Fascism On Course”, Soyinka said the “seeds of seeds of incipient fascism in the political arena have evidently matured”.
Baba-Ahmed, whose ticket with his principal, Peter Obi, emerged third in the February 25 presidential election, had spoken about the Supreme Court in a manner described by Soyinka as “fascistic language”.
According to the literary icon, “A climate of fear is being generated”
“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.”
‘Obidients’ – Wole Soyinka co-signs Seun Kuti
Soyinka also commented on the use of derogatory terms, saying that he agreed with musician Seun Kuti’s opinion that the term “Obidients” was derogatory to his sense of civic dignity and activist history.
“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.
“By contrast, I have no quarrel with “Yes Daddy”. Roman Catholics are used to saying “Yes, Father”. Secularists say “Enh, Baba”. The context and content are what matters, and lies – where established – raise bothersome issues such as Integrity Deficiency.
However, he went on to say, “Such beginnings – and instances are numerous – have culminated in the open intimidation of the Court of Last Resort, even before proceedings have begun.”
In conclusion, Soyinka emphasised that justice is the first condition of humanity and that society finds it unacceptable for a party to a dispute to resort to influencing tactics by extra-judicial means.
“Intimidation and threats are merely the obverse complements of material inducement. Those who fail to appreciate this are entirely free to their existence in an illusory world,” he said.
Pulse Takeout: Wole Soyinka’s letter to Obidients is like Apostle Paul’s letters to the Israelites, a scorching rebuke that will be talked about for centuries to come.