Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka said yesterday that some politicians in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, should be answering questions from anti-graft agencies over corrupt practices during their time in elected offices.
Soyinka, who stated this in an interview on Channels Television’s The Morning Brief, also said there was conspiracy to annul the 2023 presidential election, describing as disgraceful comments by the vice presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, Datti Baba-Ahmed, that Bola Tinubu shouldn’t be sworn-in, having failed to score 25 per cent in the FCT.
The Nobel laureate said when it was time, he would beam his searchlight on such politicians and ask the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to go after them.
He acknowledged that President Bola Tinubu was a “doughty fighter” during the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, days over three decades ago, saying somebody’s record must always be taken to account.
Soyinka said: “Tinubu was a doughty fighter during the anti-Sani Abacha struggle…Even law recognises that somebody’s record must always be taken to account before you descend on that person for some kind of neglect, criminality, failure, whatever.
“However, I can never allow the past of any individual to twist my appeal on any urgent issue. I cannot say because you were a fighter during the NADECO struggle, therefore, I will sit down and watch you condone corruption, which includes failures.
“For instance, when it’s time, I’m going to look at those in his (Tinubu) government who should be under trial right now and yet who occupy critical positions in the ruling party.
“Are they answering questions from the EFCC? This and this individual who held this position at this time who had immunity at the time, no longer has immunity, ICPC, EFCC, what are you doing about them? What happened? We’ve been waiting.”
Soyinka, who disclosed that there was also a plot to nullify the 2023 presidential election, said: “History was about to repeat itself, some people were determined to take us back to those days.
“I am alleging that there was a conspiracy from the very beginning before the election to make sure the elections did not take place or that even if the voting did take place, everything be reverted to what happened under Babangida.
“When we all just woke up and discovered that even though the results have been calculated, even though the results had international bodies, including monitoring embassies and so on, even if we had the results directly, it was suddenly annulled.”
On Baba-Ahmed’s interview, the Nobel laureate said: “At that interview by Datti, that disgraceful and menacing interview, was for me the ultimate signal because this was somebody calling for the rubbishing of a structure he profited to ever become a governor.
“I am talking about Peter Obi. Even before the tribunal had said, his spokesperson, in this case Datti, came on the television to threaten everyone if his interpretation of results was not upheld. This for me was amoral, politically and socially amoral, it was playing into a certain script, even if they didn’t know it. Sometimes democracy leaves the stage for an individual contest for power and then commences its own struggle for existence or actualisation.”
We respect Soyinka but can’t keep quiet amid injustice – LP
But reacting to Soyinka’s attack on Datti, Labour Party ,LP, said last night that though respects human beings as well as institutions, it was not designed to keep quiet in the face of oppression and injustice.
National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiora Ifoh, said in an interview with Vanguard: “The constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees all citizens of this country the right to free speech, the right to hold an opinion and disseminate same.
“Our Vice Presidential candidate, Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, in several interviews before, during and after the election, gave life to the views expressed by our party and Nigerians .
“He does not deserve to be labeled or denigrated for expressing views he not only aligns with, but also feels strongly about.
“With due respect to our Nobel laureate, it is distasteful for him or any person for that matter, to insinuate that our party or our candidate was seeking to annul the election.
“Our position about what transpired was clear as stated in our petition which we pursued up to the Supreme Court – the highest court in the land.
“Both local and foreign observers agreed with our position that the election was flawed in many respects.““Our votes were brazenly stolen , our party supporters were maimed and in some instances, killed especially in Kaduna and Lagos. Which of this is a lie?
“What is disgraceful in saying that unless laid down constitutional provisions were duly followed, there shouldn’t be an inauguration?
“As a political party, we respect people and institutions but will not sit idly and say nothing in the face of glaring injustice.”