Between Soyinka and Peter Obi

Professor Wole Soyinka has jumped into the boxing ring again for a pugilist fight with his own shadow on any issue that concerns Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election.

He was reported to have said that Peter Obi should not contest the 2027 presidential election even when the latter is yet to declare his intention for the position. Of all the social, political and economic problems currently plaguing the country, Peter Obi is Soyinka’s obsession. 

Soyinka’s apparent hatred for Peter Obi appears to be a reflection of his collective hatred for the Igbo. What have the Igbo done to Soyinka and his ilk? Even when Peter Obi had paid a visit as a sign of deep respect, Soyinka seems not yet pacified.

Soyinka validated the 2023 presidential election even against his own conscience just to spite Peter Obi who contested the results of the election. From the benefits of hindsight, Soyinka and his ilk bitterly fought against the government of President Goodluck Jonathan because that government accommodated the Igbo and gave them a sense of belonging unlike the bitter experience meted out on them during the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

All economic growth and development indices plummeted under the Buhari government, was Soyinka not in this world? How many times (if any) did he speak or lead any protest against the Buhari government unlike his recurrent protests against the Jonathan government? Was Nigeria better in any ramification under Buhari? Why was Soyinka mute throughout Buhari’s eight agonizing years? Could it be because some of his friends like Rotimi Amaechi and few others were part of that government or Soyinka was simply afraid to oppose a government that ostracized and maltreated the Igbo?

Soyinka may be a Nobel Laureate which is a personal achievement but he should know that he’s not in the same class with Peter Obi in terms of contributions to the political and economic growth of this country. Aside from big grammar, what impact does Soyinka’s Nobel prize make in the life of ordinary Nigerian since he won it? Can he compare himself with Peter Obi who has created thousands of jobs through his chain of businesses? Nigeria’s fourth republic democracy can never be written without Peter Obi copiously occupying some pages for his contributions to Nigerian democracy by his landmark feats in the Nigerian courts. In what way has Soyinka elevated the country’s democracy? Na his big grammar we go chop? Does his grammar put food on anyone’s table?

Soyinka should not always be inebriated by his so-called Nobel prize. His Nobel prize could be likened to George Weah’s world footballer of the year. However, Weah later became the president of Liberia which makes him even greater. Personally, this writer would rather be a governor of a state than be a Nobel prize winner. The former, if well handled, can change the fortunes of millions of people and make a greater impact on humanity than a nebulous Nobel prize which is a personal achievement. Peter Obi as a governor made a reasonable impact on the lives of people. I learned that Soyinka was a head of a federal agency, what was his record? How did he perform?

Apart from Soyinka’s Nobel prize, he should not  forget that he was among those who introduced pirate confraternity in our tertiary institutions  which seems to have mestasized and morphed into a monster today. That’s one of Soyinka’s legacies which can never be erased from history.

Ifeanyi Maduako,

Owerri, Imo state

[email protected]