The Labour Party (LP) has expressed its disagreement with Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka regarding his stance on the 2023 presidential election outcome and its candidate, Peter Obi.
In a statement released on Thursday by the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Obiorah Ifoh, the LP criticized Soyinka’s remarks and suggested that he was influenced by those who hold a biased viewpoint they referred to as the ‘Emilokan sentiment.’
Soyinka, speaking at an event in South Africa on Wednesday, asserted that Peter Obi did not emerge as the victor in the February 25, 2023 presidential election in Nigeria. He also accused the leadership of the Labour Party (LP) of attempting to impose falsehood on the public.
In response, the LP spokesperson stated on Thursday that Soyinka, being human, may have been swayed by information provided to him by others. The LP’s statement also pointed out that Soyinka was present in Lagos during the election and witnessed the violence that occurred at various polling locations, yet he failed to condemn such actions.
The LP emphasized that while they respect Soyinka’s status as a literary giant and acknowledge that the presidential election’s outcome is still pending in court, it is important to correct Soyinka’s inaccurate assessment and hope that he continues to act as a statesman.
The party’s statement read, “We understand that the literary giant is human and thus susceptible to emotions and probably said what he said based on information made available to him by those who share the ‘Emilokan sentiment.'”
The LP also highlighted that they hold great respect for Prof. Wole Soyinka’s accomplishments in the literary world but disagreed with his assessment of their party’s performance in the 2023 general elections. They emphasized the need to wait for the Supreme Court’s final judgment before making further comments on the matter.
In addition, the LP pointed out certain election-related issues, such as fraudulent activities and violence, that took place during the 2023 elections but clarified that these issues were not related to the Labour Party. They expressed their appreciation for Soyinka’s acknowledgment of their party’s role in breaking the political monopoly held by the two major parties and his willingness to support a demonstration based on truth.
However, the LP criticized Soyinka for not condemning certain incidents during the election, such as threats against non-indigenous voters and ballot box snatching in his vicinity. They also noted the global condemnation of the election outcome and the process, urging Soyinka to speak out against the irregularities.
In conclusion, the LP expressed disappointment that Soyinka appeared to be influenced by chauvinistic tendencies and called on him to adopt a more cautious and statesmanlike approach. They emphasized their commitment to building a New Nigeria, with the active involvement of Nigerian youth.