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Peter Obi unfit to lead Nigeria – Soyinka

Renowned Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has expressed strong views against the suitability of Peter Obi, the 2023 Labour Party presidential candidate, to lead Nigeria.

In a recent interview with Noble Nigeria, Soyinka noted the behaviour of Obi’s supporters, known as ‘Obidients’, during the 2023 general elections as a key indicator of his unfitness for leadership.

Soyinka criticised Obi for not curbing his supporters’ aggressive online behaviour towards those with opposing views, suggesting this failure demonstrates a lack of leadership capability.

The 89-year-old playwright and activists also accused Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, of encouraging these attacks against dissenting voices, including himself.

Soyinka further argued that Obi’s actions and the conduct of his followers showed a lack of readiness to lead a diverse and complex society like Nigeria, insisting that the former Anambra governor was in control of internet trolls prior to the 2023 election.

He said, “I hope for the sake of the nation that he doesn’t express interest in the next election because for me as a leader if there was any proof that he was unfit to lead that country, it’s in the conduct which he encouraged among his followers. I know for a fact, and I can give you an instance that proves that he was in control of those forces.

“But it is for me a sad phenomenon, especially for those who want to lead a multi-texture society, different religions, different ethnic groups, different world views and who actually want to preside over sub-groups as one, it means that have already declared themselves incompetent to lead such entity and that’s it.”

The Nobel Laureate further expressed his disappointment at Obi’s honesty and transparency, indicating that such behaviour casts doubt on his leadership qualities.

Soyinka recounted Obi’s first visit to him during the months leading to the presidential election, stressing that the LP candidate’s public statements contradicted the events at that meeting.

He said, “It’s simply because when he first came to visit me, you know, he did come at one time. And I watched him. I watched his actions and body language. It seemed to be very conciliatory.

“I remember the moment when he took out his (mobile device) after he made a statement like ‘Oh don’t worry. You don’t have anything to worry about these people. He was talking about ‘Obidients’. I remember he took out his phone, and he typed a message there. I was watching him very closely, I didn’t say a thing. And after that, everything seemed to be nice and cosy.

“And I saw and I read his statement about that meeting afterwards. The statement was a contrast to what actually happened, what we discussed, and I mentioned it in my response. It was a misrepresentation of what happened, and I made sure that I put a statement out saying ‘No, I’m sorry, this is not what was said. This language never came into it”.

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