Saturday, March 4, 2017
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Prof. Wole Soyinka and Populism
Retired general, Chief Olúṣẹ́gun Mathew Okikiọ́la Aremu Ọbásanjọ́ , GCFR, is the first Nigerian leader to become twice Head of State of Nigeria; first as a military Head of State from February 13, 1976 – September 30, 1979 and later as democratically elected civilian Head of State and 12th President of Nigeria from May 29, 1999 – May 29, 2007.
Chief Ọbásanjọ́ and the famous Professor Wole Soyinka, first black man to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986 are from the same Ogun State in south western Nigeria, but Soyinka has never hidden his aversion to the personality of Ọbásanjọ́.
The following is the opinion of Ọbásanjọ́ on Soyinka during a press interview for his 80th birthday to be celebrated tomorrow, March 5.
When you aspired to be United Nations Secretary General, Wole Soyinka kicked against it. But you don’t seem to have forgiven him?
You’re absolutely wrong. I don’t hold a grudge. Wole Soyinka is not God. And I don’t believe there’s any human being that is absolutely right. Wole Soyinka has what I believe he has. He’s a gifted person in his own way. But Wole Soyinka is not an oracle. I will not accept Wole Soyinka making cathedral statement on everything. I don’t believe that anybody could do that. So it’s not a question of forgiveness. When Wole Soyinka does what I believe is right, I will commend him. When he says what I believe is not right…Wole Soyinka is a populist and I don’t believe in populism.