Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has encouraged the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to remain resilient despite the “persecution” that followed his decision to defect from the ruling All Progressives Congress to the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party.
Soyinka, who gave the charge in his recent letter to the governor, argued that Ortom had a moral right to seek an alternative political platform given the level of insensitivity exhibited by the APC to the wanton killings in Benue State.
The Nobel laureate added that Ortom’s decision to seek an alternative platform should not be the reason for the heavy-handed campaign against him because he reserved his freedom of association.
The letter read in part, “As a leader of a people who took much of the earliest brunt of unleashed herdsmen savagery and cried in vain for help, you have a moral right to seek the promise of an alternative haven of security for your people.
“They remain your primary responsibility. We are all free to cavil over the actual choice of an alternative destination, but no one can deny the inalienable entitlement to such action, especially where provoked by disillusionment and a sense of impotence under existing association.
“Coincidences are, by their very nature, suspect, and I certainly perceive the beginnings of a heavy-handed campaign of reprisals from ruling circles over your political decision.
“This bodes ill for the nation. It goes beyond any immediately-affected state and alerts us all to fascistic threats against a common democratic destination, and the basic right of free choice of political paths towards its attainment.
“I can only urge you, therefore, to take heart, and remain resilient, unbowed, and undeterred.”
Soyinka had last week in Lagos made reference to his letter to Ortom, during the public presentation of his latest interventions series, Interventions VIII, titled, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business.”