Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has criticized the government for attacking the Benue State Governor , Samuel Ortom, over his defection from the All Progressive Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party.
Soyinka, while clarifying that he was not campaigning for any political party, said that was his position on those who defected from the APC to the PDP.
He words: “I am not campaigning for any party. That is my position on those that leave their party to another. They do it for all kind of reasons. And I do not believe that Ortom, the governor of one of the states, should be crucified by any power or force for taking decision.’’
The playwright spoke in Lagos at the launch of his latest interventions series, Interventions VIII, titled Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business. The book, which formed the text of his speech at the 10th memorial lecture of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), was officially released to the public by Bookcraft on July 3, 2018.
The Nobel Laureate said he had, in a letter written to Ortom, told the governor that, “As the leader of a state that experienced attacks, you have a right to seek the promise of an alternative means of security for your people because they remain your primary responsibility.
“We are all free over the actual choice of an alternative destination but no one can deny the inalienable entitlement to such action especially when they are provoked by disillusionment and sense of impotence under existing association.
“Suddenly we see the beginning of a heavy-handed campaign, reprisal and unruly circles over your political decision. This goes beyond any immediately-affected state. And alert us all to the threat against uncommon democratic definition and the basic right of free choice of political powers towards its attainment. I can only urge you to remain resilient, unbowed and undeterred.’’
The don also berated the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for investigating the governor, adding that Ortom left his former party ‘‘due to the crisis in the country.’’
“Due to the crisis in the country, someone defected and then the EFCC started chasing him. Does that look like a coincidence or what?’’ Soyinka queried.
He said ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo was busy hijacking existing movements, warning Nigerians to be wary of him.
He added, “He frustrated the June 12 and often put himself forward on any issue. He is welcome to reform and as his slogan may be, the redemption process has started. I don’t give up on him and you will be astonished how I have often wished him well when he inaugurated his Presidential Library, I had planned to attend the event but I had a rethink.
“I don’t remember the good he has done. It will be very difficult to find one. I can’t remember one at this moment.’’