Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has described former President Olusegun Obasanjo as the most hypocritical leader Nigeria ever produced.
Speaking in Abuja on Friday night at the gala dinner and award ceremony of the International Press Institute (IPI), Soyinka vowed to expose Obasanjo in Lagos on July 3.
Responding to a question from a participant on his constant criticism of Abacha, even in death, Soyinka said he was not after a particular leader but he couldn’t spare Abacha given his antecedent as a corrupt and brutal dictator.
“If I’m walking on the streets and I see a statue raised in honour of a torturer, a murderer and thief so recognised by the entire world that we are still chasing his loot, his loot is still surfacing all over the world… and then I’m driving on the streets and I see a structure in honour of that person, I have the responsibility to tell this President you cannot be serious about corruption if you build monuments in remembrance of that of that leader,” he said.
On Obasanjo, Soyinka said he might criticise the former President one day and embrace him the next.
“Obasanjo is the most hypocritical leader this nation has ever produced,” he said. “He has really crossed the red line because he’s trying to put himself at the helm of a recovery process. He kind of hijacked the recovery process, in decision, and I see that he is one of the least worthy former head of states to lead that kind of process.”
Soyinka and Obasanjo have a long history of opposition to each other, despite both hailing from Abeokuta.
They had a period of ceasefire but it resumed when Obasanjo released ‘My Watch’, his autobiography, in which he described Soyinka as a better connoisseur and hunter than a political critic.
“For Wole, no one can be good, nor can anything be spot-on politically except that which emanates from him or is ordained by him,” Obasanjo had written. “His friends and loved ones will always be right and correct, no matter what they do or fail to do. He is surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful aparo [guinea fowl] hunter than a political critic.”