Professor Wole Soyinka has said the shortcoming of the supporters of the Labour Party, LP, otherwise referred to as Obidients, to simply accept criticism has become their badge of honour. The Nobel laureate shared this opinion in a record released on Friday, April 7, titled “Fascism on Course”. Based on him, Obidients have worn their refusal to simply accept constructive criticism as a badge of honour.
Recall that on Wednesday, April 5, Soyinka referred to as unbecoming and unacceptable, the remarks by the vice-presidential candidate of the LP, Datti Baba-Ahmed, saying they contained “fascistic language.” Baba-Ahmed had within an interview with Channels TV, called on President Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria never to swear in Tinubu, who was simply declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, since the winner of the March 18th presidential election. He opined that declaring Tinubu a success and issuing him a certificate of return was from the Constitution.
While berating Datti, Soyinka said he warned the presidential candidate of the LP, Peter Obi that his supporters could cost him the election. His comments on Baba-Ahmed, however, attracted backlash from the supporters of the Labour Party while they dragged Soyinka on social media.
In a apparent reaction to the Obedients, Soynka in the statement released today, said the Labour Party was sowing seeds of fascism and generating an environment of fear. He asked Obidients to keep from attacking and embrace fair hearing in situations of conflict.
Prof. Wole Soyinka
“A climate of fear is being generated. 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 the 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.
“That aspirant’s alleged gaffe cuts no ice with me. Far more alarming was the grotesque fantasy of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court disguised as a wheelchair, zooming off into space to a secret meeting with other parties of the conflict. On its own, that is sufficiently scary. Swiftly followed thereafter by a television tirade of intimidation, it strikes one as more than the mere antics of the mentally deranged. The tactics are familiar: ridicule, incriminate, then intimidate. Objective: undermine the structure of justice. Just as a reminder: this writer was not being rhetorical when he declared, on exiting prison detention: Justice is the first condition of humanity.
“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 the 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. By contrast, I have no quarrel with “Yes Daddy”. Roman Catholics are used to saying “Yes, Father”. Secularists say “Enh, Baba”.