Nobel Prize winner Prof. Wole Soyinka criticized the use of the phrase “reconciliation” in media accounts of Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi’s weekend visit to his home in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The word, he claimed, was never mentioned, and his inclusion of it in the reports was “most inappropriate” and a “diversionary invocation.”
Soyinka noted that there was no issue to reconcile between him and Obi, but refuted any acknowledgement of or relationship with the “Obidient” or “Obidient Family” as Obi’s supporters are known.
A statement titled “A visitation, and the allure of’reconciliation'” by Soyinka responded to media claims that surfaced after the visit.
He claimed to know Obi and to be able to empathize to the group, adding that they had nothing to settle.
“However, I do not know, and am unable to relate to something known as the ‘Obidient’ or ‘Obidient Family,’ he noted.
The statement further reads: “Before it gains traction and embarks on a life of its own, I wish to state clearly that the word ‘reconciliation’, inserted into some reports of Peter Obi’s visit to me yesterday, Sunday, May 7, is a most inappropriate, and diversionary invocation.
“Let me clarify: I know the entity known as Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party. I can relate to him. I know and can relate to the Labour Party on whose platform he contested elections. There are simply no issues to reconcile between those two entities and myself.
The Obidients verbally assaulted the Nobel laureate for branding the running mate of the LP flag bearer, Datti Baba-Ahmed, as a fascist on Channels Television, TV.
Obi praised Soyinka in a message on his official Twitter account on Sunday.
He described the visit as enriching, adding that he had a useful discussion with the literary giant.
He said: “I visited one of Nigeria’s most revered figures and an international literary icon Prof Wole Soyinka. Prof Soyinka has been my father whom I hold in very esteem for what he has achieved and stands for in the struggle for a better Nigeria.
“His reputation as a fighter for justice and equity in our society has been legendary and we will never ignore them.
“I had a very useful and enriching discussion about his aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria, and he shared a lot with me about his dream for a greater, and more inclusive Nigeria.
“I reminded the Nobel laureate of the huge price he paid just before the outbreak of the civil war, fighting for the cause of the Igbo.
“I cherish this Sunday visit which was intended to erase the needless misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the Obidient family.”