Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has told those hounding the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, for returning to the Peoples Democratic Party from the All Progressives Congress, to stop it.
Soyinka, who spoke at the launch of his latest interventions series, Interventions VIII, titled: “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?: Gani’s Unfinished Business,” said he maintains the same position on all those who defected from the APC to the PDP.
He said: “I am not campaigning for any party.
“That is my position on those that leave their party to another.
“They do it for all kind of reasons.
“And I do not believe that Ortom, the governor of one of the states, should be crucified by any power or force for taking decision.”
The book, which formed the text of his speech at the 10th memorial lecture of the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi (SAN), was officially released to the public by Bookcraft on July 3, 2018.
Soyinka said he had, in a letter written to Ortom, told the governor: “As the leader of a state that experienced attacks, you have a right to seek the promise of an alternative means of security for your people because they remain your primary responsibility.
“We are all free over the actual choice of an alternative destination but no one can deny the inalienable entitlement to such action especially when they are provoked by disillusionment and sense of impotence under existing association.
“Suddenly we see the beginning of a heavy-handed campaign, reprisal and unruly circles over your political decision. This goes beyond any immediately-affected state. And alert us all to the threat against uncommon democratic definition and the basic right of free choice of political powers towards its attainment. I can only urge you to remain resilient, unbowed and undeterred.”
Soyinka said it was also wrong for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to be investigating Ortom, adding: “Due to the crisis in the country, someone defected and then the EFCC started chasing him.
“Does that look like a coincidence or what?”
Speaking on former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ortom said: “He frustrated the June 12 and often put himself forward on any issue.
“He is welcome to reform and as his slogan may be, the redemption process has started.
“I don’t give up on him and you will be astonished how I have often wished him well when he inaugurated his Presidential Library.
“I had planned to attend the event but I had a rethink.
“I don’t remember the good he has done.
“It will be very difficult to find one.
“I can’t remember one at this moment.”
On President Muhammadu Buhari, Soyinka said there are acts of mis-governance and unforced errors under him.
He said: “There are unforced errors and acts that are considered stupid. And failure to secure lives and languages of self-excusing which were condemned in the past but resurfacing all over the place.”
Soyinka, who decried the glossing over of “intolerable degrees of bloodshed in the country” said: “Also, failure to exert authority when and immediately when due which led to the killings. There is a cheapening of lives. The value of lives in the last year or so, on a level we haven’t witnessed in the country for a long time; and that is one of the reasons it has become essential that we all embark on ground- clearing for a new generation of leaders. And to make sure that in the process, we don’t bring back what we are just getting out from. That is one of the stupid acts that we could be held responsible for by the coming generation.”