Obidients, others can’t stop me from telling truth — Soyinka

Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said the supporters of the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and others who are averse to contrary views can’t stop him from speaking truth to power.

He said despite the attack on his personality by Obi’s supporters who are known as ‘Obidents’, during the build-up to the 2023 general elections, he would continue his style of putting out facts in his interventions.

Soyinka had in May 2023 come under criticism on social media by LP and Obi’s supporters for faulting some remarks made by the LP vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed. The playwright had described Baba-Ahmed’s comments as “fascistic language”.

Speaking on his experience with trolls online in a recent interview with Noble Nigeria, Soyinka said the episode won’t change him, adding that those expecting him to keep quiet should get their head examined.

“Nobody, anybody on this earth who thinks he can stop me from telling the truth as I see it should get his or her head examined,” Soyinka said.

On the Obidient movement’s attack on his personality, he said, “Again, it has to do with education. I feel disgusted especially when facts are being ‘manufactured’. I read some of these things and I was disgusted. There is no other word for it, I really was disgusted. And I know it was orchestrated. The Internet has become so promiscuous and I know there is a relay mechanism that is triggered into action by those who control the trolls of the Internet.

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So, I just went about my business because nobody, anybody on this earth who thinks he can stop me from telling the truth as I see it should get his or her head examined, it is as elementary as that. But it is depressing to see those who wanted to be political leaders encouraging that kind of action, and attitude in the youth. And my mind went to the expression, ‘They don’t know what they’re doing.’

The literary icon, however, warned that if the trolls are not controlled, those instigating their actions would soon feel the wrath of what they have created.

He said, “Those who sow the wind will reap the whirlwind. These very trolls, these foot soldiers who they have trained in that aspect, one of these days, they will turn on them and teach them a lesson.”

“But it is for me a sad phenomenon, especially for those who want to lead a multi-texture society, different religions, different ethnic groups, different world views and who actually want to preside over sub-groups as one, it means that have already declared themselves incompetent to lead such entity and that’s it,” Soyinka added.

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