By Uche Amunike
Former governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi has paid a visit to Nobel Laureate and acclaimed playwright, Professor Wole Soyinka, Sunday, at his country home in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
Speaking, through a statement after the visit, Obi described Soyinka as one of Nigeria’s most respected dignitaries and international literary icon whom he had always taken like a father, and whom he holds in very high esteem for all his achievements and beliefs in the struggle for a better Nigeria.
Hear him: ‘His reputation as a fighter for justice and equity in our society has been legendary and we will never ignore them.’
‘I had a very useful and enriching discussion about his aspirations for a better and greater Nigeria, and he shared a lot with me about his dream for a greater, and more inclusive Nigeria.’
Peter Obi’s visit to the literary icon happened amid the controversy between him and the former governor’s supporters at the Presidential election of February 25th.
Recall that Obi’s supporters, popularly known as ‘Obidients’, had greatly criticized Soyinka for condemning the Labour Party Vice Presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed for his comments on TV, during an interview, where he stated that if President-elect Bola Tinubu was sworn into office on May 29, he would lead an unconstitutional government because the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, had not met the requirements of the law.
While describing him as being fascist, the literary icon stated that Datti’s comments towards the judiciary were most unacceptable.
Peter Obi, during his visit to the home of the playwright, explained that the reason why he visited him was to erase the unnecessary misconceptions about the relationship between the great icon and the obedient family.
Soyinka has however posited in a statement, Monday, made to respond to the different accounts of Peter Obi’s visit to him, that it was not appropriate use the word ‘reconciliation’ in their news reports as that word never came up during their interaction. He maintained that he had no fences to mend with the former state governor, which made the use of the word ‘Reconciliatory’ seem like an ‘inappropriate and diversionary invocation ‘.
His words: ‘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 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.’
He maintained that the word, ‘reconciliation ‘ never arose during their meeting.
He further said: ‘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. Discussions were frank and creative.
‘The notion of Reconciliation was clearly N/A – Non Applicable. It was never raised.’