A renowned playwright Professor Wole Soyinka has accused the Labour Party (LP) of lying to Nigerians that its presidential candidate Peter Obi won the February 25 election.
According to figures by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Peter Obi came third in the poll behind Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
However, Obi and the LP have insisted the elections were fraudulent and that Tinubu should be disqualified.
Speaking at an event themed “The Lives of Wole Soyinka – A Dialogue” organised by Africa in the World in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Soyinka said the truth matters to him, but many people always look for shortcuts.
He accused the LP of taking over the organised labour movement in the build-up to the 2023 election.
The Nobel laureate noted that Obi achieved “something remarkable” by breaking the monopoly of power established by the APC and the PDP.
“This recent election – two things happened first of all. One party took over the labour movement, which is not my favourite movement, and then it became a regional party.
“Whereas it was a marvellous breach into the established two camps. Peter Obi achieved something remarkable there, that he broke that mould. However, he did not win the election.
“I can say categorically that Peter Obi’s party came third not even second and the leadership knew it but they want to do what we call in Yoruba ‘gbajue’, that is force of lies.”
Baba-Ahmed threatened judiciary, Soyinka insists
Soyinka also alleged that the LP leadership attempted to mobilise young people to protest against the outcome of the election on the “banner of lies and deceit.
“They were going to send some of the hardliners, proud young people into the street to demonstrate.
“I’m also ready to be among such demonstrators but only on the banner of truth not on lies, and deceit.
“This party wanted the same thing (referring to 2011 post-election violence) to happen on the basis of a lie and we find this vice-presidential candidate on television boasting, insisting, threatening and trying to intimidate both the judiciary and the rest.
“What kind of government will result from that kind of conduct? In addition, they did not know this but they were being used.
“Before the election, there were certain clandestine forces, including some ex-generals, who were already calling for an interim government before the elections began.
“Some of them were known figures, including a proprietor of a university calling for an interim government before the election took place.”
This is not the first time Soyinka will be criticising the LP.
In March, he clashed with the party when he accused its vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, of making “fascist” comments on the outcome of the presidential election.