The Yoruba Consultative Forum on Tuesday attacked the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, for what the forum termed the playwright’s “undisguised campaign of calumny” against former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In a statement by its President, Prof. Tejumade Rhodes, the YCF berated Soyinka for “revelling in a poisonous vendetta and egregious abuse” against the ex-President.
Soyinka had lately, at different fora, attacked Obasanjo, describing the ex-President as part of Nigeria’s problems, warning Nigerians to be wary of the third force being inspired by Obasanjo to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
For instance, at the 10th memorial lecture of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), which held in Lagos recently, Soyinka, while admitting that the Buhari’s administration had not done enough, especially in the area of security, berated Obasanjo for posing about as the country’s messiah and urged the people not be fooled.
The Nobel laureate accused Obasanjo of hijacking some movements formed by some young people who were disenchanted with the running of the country by the Buhari administration and were working to send the ruling All Progressives Congress packing from power next year.
Also, last week at the public presentation of the public presentation of his latest interventions series, Interventions VIII, titled, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business,” Soyinka vowed that he would not be tired of criticising Obasanjo.
“He (Obasanjo) frustrated the June 12 and often puts himself forward on any issue… I don’t remember any good he has done. It will be very difficult to find one. I can’t remember any at this moment,” he said.
However, the YCF said on Tuesday that with his persistent attacks on Obasanjo, Soyinka had “definitely crossed the bar of decency and civilised literary grace.”
Describing Obasanjo as a courageous leader who never failed to confront the “errant” powers, the YCF said Obasanjo ought to be nudged on as opposed to the attacks being hauled at him by Soyinka.
The forum said, “At a time when everyone is nudging Obasanjo forward as the courageous rallying point against the present dislocations in our polity, Soyinka is salivating in some primitive laceration of the old soldier, revelling in a poisonous vendetta and egregious abuse against Obasanjo.
“In Soyinka’s warped cosmology, he insists that Obasanjo is not the fit and proper person to lead the new movement against the warped national polity. This is malicious, undignifying, spurious, a drooling mechanical twaddle bound for literary garbage.
“Of course Obasanjo, like all of us, is not perfect. But he is a courageous man, a superlative patriot who contends with any errant power with thorough sincerity, with masterful resolve to rectify the observable wrongs.
“Soyinka has now eroded his once sterling heights of great crusader and crashed his status to a Lilliputian pamphleteer, angry at the world, pouring venom everywhere without tactical purity.”
The forum said it had now resolved to take on Soyinka “with balanced intellectual vigour wherever he erupts again in his crude vitriol against Obasanjo.”
“Enough is enough,” the YCF said.