How does one begin to slash through this thickening tissue of lies? Prince Oyinlola must be put to the strictest proof to substantiate several outrageous claims in his recent press statement. Failing to do so within one week from today will result in his taking his well- earned place in company of the current inmates of THE REPUBLIC OF LIARS – next in my series of INTERVENTIONS, a public service series published by Bookcraft, due out in the next month. For now, I categorically deny the following: Wole Soyinka

A.  DENIALS:

1.    That I, Wole Soyinka, at any time, opposed the creation of the CBCIU in     Osun State in act or spirit. This is an allegation of mind-blowing impudence,     since the very opposite constitutes the truth. 

2.    That I ever sought, by word or deed, or encouraged, supported, or even     discussed the creation of CBCIU on any spot on this continent outside Osun State,     Nigeria. 

3.    That I ever spoke or wrote to the late President Yar’Adua on the subject of the     creation of any such centre in Nigeria or anywhere else. My one and only     encounter with the late president was on the subject of the MEND insurgency in     the Delta region – as part of a group of intercessors, invited by that president. 

4.    Similarly, that I ever discussed the CBCIU, privately or on any forum, with     Yar’Adua’s successor, President Jonathan. On the contrary,  Prince Oyinlola     wrote a letter to Jonathan president requesting him to “call Wole Soyinka to     order” for “meddling” in the affairs of Osun state, having been “caught” visiting     Osun shrine. I was shown a copy of that letter.

5.    That I, in my own person, or the governing board of CBCIU did institute, or has     ever initiated legal action involving the CBCIU. That the Board should have     been involved in the legal proceeding is obvious and logical. The CBCIU     Board, created under the current governor, has always taken its legitimacy for     granted according to the laws of Osun State. Thus it had no cause to drag any     aggrieved individual to court. The responsibility for responding to any     litigation challenging Osun State laws is, I still assume, the primary responsibility     of the lawmakers, not the Board’s.      

B.    AFFIRMATIONS.

On the other hand, I did oppose, and most strenuously:

1.    The conspiracy by some parties to transfer the Ulli Beier archives to the     Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, situated in Abeokuta, even though paid     for with the funds of Osun State. 

2.    The recognition of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library as an affiliate of     UNESCO in any category, since that Library is a product of fraud, extortion     and corrupt diversion of a nation’s resources. In this context, I collaborated with     the late Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana. Action was taken in the same spirit as     has continued to animate a number of Civic Organisations on the continent to     prevent international image laundering by African leaders of questionable     character, after losing credibility in governance. This has included higher      institutions of learning and culture where millions were offered to endow chairs     in their name. 

3.    Attempts by any other claimant to soil the name of CBCIU in their projects, most     especially those that involve soliciting funds in the name of the Centre.

4.    The appropriation of public resources for personal benefit, no matter how     thickly disguised, and by whatever tortuous devices – including Certificates of     Incorporation. 

5.    Oyinlola’s potted history of the origin of the Centre for Black Culture and     International Understanding is – as can only be expected – a bundle of facts, lies,     half-truths, irrelevances and dislocated incidentals. He is absolutely right in one     off-hand remark however:  an ancient stench from the centre has broken the     bounds of all attempted containment, a stench known as MONEY LAUNDERING.     The opposition by the CBCIU to the proposed conference on GLOBALISATION is     that its underlying agenda is the globalization of this affliction on the wings of     Culture. Hence my inclusion of the Independent Corrupt Practices Commision      Public Crimes, and the new Itse Sagay led Advisory Commission on     corruption, in the distribution list of the text of my Press Conference. 

Ultimately, the lawyers will have their day in court, and the Law will have a final say.  Until then however, the legitimate CBCIU, acting as an entity, or simply as individuals and citizens, will continue to educate the public on the ethical implications of seemingly public spirited ventures, and frustrate efforts by any party to extend the purlieu of fraudulent activities that drag that name – and the nation – down to an undeserved level of international regard. 

    Finally, I advise Prince Oyinlola not to make a song and dance of the ritual salute of  “an officer and a gentleman”. Those who invented that slogan had yet to encounter the special category of negations within the Nigerian species!  

Wole SOYINKA

 

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