Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, on Thursday dismissed claims that he had endorsed any presidential and governorship candidate ahead of the February general elections.
The social media space had been awash with reports in the last few weeks that the Nobel Laureate had subtly endorsed the Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate and incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan, by denouncing his major rival, Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress. “He (Jonathan) is the first president without any ties to the military mafia. All his children are in schools here in Nigeria. You cannot come across a skyscraper in any corner of Nigeria and people will tell you it belongs to him; even a seven storey building. I strongly believe that Jonathan is a phenomenal change from before and if we cannot find a better, young alternative, then we must remain with him until we can groom someone better. This is no time to go back to the military mafia and go back to our vomit”, he was quoted in the viral reports as saying.
But in a piece titled, ‘Identity Thieves and the 2015 Election Peace Accord’, Soyinka warned those spreading the rumour of his purported endorsement of politicians “to be less gullible, and avoid becoming cheap conduits for the deception industry”.
He said, “Let me thus seize the occasion of the Abuja accord to state categorically that I have never made a statement endorsing any presidential or governorship contestant. All such attributions are fabrications by faceless, often self-appointed agents of deception, and should be publicly pilloried.
“Whenever I choose to declare support for a candidate – as is my electoral right – I shall ensure that I deploy a medium that places my authorship beyond dispute”.
Reacting to the peace pact now known as the ‘Abuja Accord’ signed by President Jonathan and Buhari on Wednesday to ensure violence-free polls, Soyinka said he was impressed with the outcome of the meeting.
He described the pact as a “positive step in the direction of democracy”, and commended the efforts of a former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan and a former Secretary-General of Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, in ensuring the success of the accord.
According to the Nobel Laureate, if the peace pact is adhered to with sincerity, it would ensure a wholesome space for future elections, and avert further violence.
“It might even come close to what the democratic ideal should be, as canvassed by others, including Governor Fashola a few years ago”, Soyinka added.
He, however, said he was disappointed that the communiqué issued after the peace meeting did not make mention of victims of political violence.