Obi’s Visit Not About Reconciliation – Soyinka

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Playwright, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has termed as inappropriate and diversionary media reports that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the February 25, 2023 poll, Peter Obi’s visit to his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence on Sunday was for reconciliation.

Soyinka made the clarification in a statement on Monday titled, “A visitation, and the allure of reconciliation. ’’

Obi’s visit to Soyinka came in the wake of a war of words between the Nobel laureate and Obi’s supporters, known as Obidients, after Soyinka criticised the vice presidential candidate of the LP, Datti Baba-Ahmed, over his comments during an interview on Channels TV.

After the visit to Soyinka, Obi had, in a tweet, noted, among other things, that he cherished the Sunday visit to the respected writer, saying it was intended to “erase the needless misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the Obidient family. ’’

But Soyinka, in his statement on Monday, expressed reservation over the use of ‘reconciliation’ in some reports on Obi’s visit to him.

The Nobel laureate said, “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. However, I do not know, and I am unable to relate to something known as the ‘Obidient’ or ‘Obidient Family.’ Thus, albeit in a different vein, any notion of reconciliation, or even relations – positive, negative or indifferent – with such a spectral emanation is simply grasping at empty air.

“During that meeting, attended by two other individuals only, the word ‘reconciliation’ was never bruited, neither in itself nor in any other form. It simply did not arise. By contrast, there were expressions of ‘burden of leadership,’ ‘responsibility,’ ‘apology,’ ‘pleading,’ ‘formal dissociation from the untenable,’ all the way to the ‘tragic ascendancy of ethnic cleavage,’ especially under such ironic, untenable circumstances.’’

The elder statesman further said that the discussions were frank and creative, reiterating that the notion of reconciliation was clearly not applicable and never raised.

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