First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has accused Prof. Wole Soyinka of spreading propaganda that is capable of inflaming the crisis that has engulfed Rivers State.
Ayo Osinlu, a Media Assistant to the First Lady, while reacting to Soyinka’s accusation that his principal, Mrs. Jonathan, is behind the crisis in Rivers State, said it was totally false as he did not get his facts correctly.
Osinlu said Soyinka, as a global and very influential personality, should watch his words as his views are capable of shaping public opinion either positively or negatively.
The First Lady, therefore, cautioned him to respect his age and desist from spreading propaganda so as to save him the misfortune of misleading his large followers both at home and abroad, to whom he said he has become an embarrassment.
She also noted that Soyinka should rather advise his governor friend, Hon. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, to retrace his steps, make peace with his people and the Peoples Democratic Party in the overall interest of the state.
The statement said: “Professor Wole Soyinka has a large following. This arises from his status as a global leading light of scholarship, the highlight of which was his Nobel Prize for Literature victory of 1986. His popularity also flows from his place as a teacher, through whose hands very many have passed.
“From both stand points, his opinions are highly influential, to the degree of having the capacity of shaping the views of many of his admirers around the world.
“This privilege naturally imposes a moral duty on the Prof, to carefully consider ALL the shades of the issues that inform his opinions. That way, he will avoid the misfortune of misleading his followers at home and around the world, and also fit properly into the socially constructive role expected of a man his age.
“Unfortunately, Soyinka betrayed this moral duty in his recent diatribe against the First Lady, Dame (Dr.) Patience Goodluck Jonathan. Of course this would not be the first time he would reach out against the First Lady, usually from self-righteously indignant lecterns. In this particular instance, his verdict was that Dame Jonathan was “stoking the crisis currently rocking her home state of Rivers…”, and thereupon asked Mr. President “to call his wife to order”.
“The good, old Prof reminds one of the truths that indeed, most of the giants on the street are men of like passions like everyone else. Worse still, most of them are actually standing on clay feet and would fail the test of a gentle push!
“Otherwise, who would have believed that the social, civil, constitutional and sundry rights crusader Prof will maintain a safe distance from the heart of an activity that is a potential threat to the peace, security and safety of the people of a state, then collect exaggerated stories and jaundiced perspectives from familiar propagandists and character assassins, and promptly summon the media to a “state of the nation” address!
“It’s an embarrassment to his throng of admirers and followers, that a sage of Prof Soyinka’s status, who used to be a gauge of public morality in this nation, would lend himself to a propaganda of high drive, to save a governor who elected to launch into a river without applicable survival skills.
“The calculation is of course clear. Attack the President and pull to pieces anyone associated with him, as a strategy for attracting public sympathy to the “clear underdog.” So, as his contribution to this project, the ageless war horse offers the elevated opinion, that Patience Jonathan is the problem with Gov. Amaechi.
“Prof Soyinka’s friendship with Amaechi is no secret. There is no attempt by the two to hide it, anyway. On the premise of that, the cerebral prodigy should encourage his younger friend to retrace his steps, make peace with his party and the people of his state, as well as smoothen the feathers he has ruffled.
“That is a more progressive way of sorting the mess, rather than make a career out of smearing the name of the First Lady, in the hope that the public would disapprovingly exclaim “leave the poor boy alone!”