Prominent Nigerian playwright and critic, Professor Wole Soyinka, has shared his views on the 2023 Nigerian elections in a statement released from South Africa.
In his statement, titled “The Cape Town Re-Entry,” Soyinka reflects on the recent electoral process and its outcomes.
Soyinka begins by challenging the common perception of the Nigerian elections as an adversarial contest, suggesting that the ballot tally revealed the consequences of a political party’s internal division, particularly close to an election. He characterises the elections as a “Feast of Voluntary donations of the spoils of war,” highlighting how political rivalries within the same party can shape the electoral landscape.
He then alludes to the potential for political re-alignments and alliances, referring to an “Interim Peoples Party” (IPP), that often emerges in conjunction with the military. Soyinka mentions a menacing interview (presumably with a key political figure), and suggests that such interviews can set the stage for political re-entries and realignments.
“That, however, is not always the ultimate destination – the re-gifting may continue, prodded by a sudden surge of regret. There remains, lurking in the background, a far more potent beneficiary.
” In this case, we easily recall it as the unregistered but loudly canvassed IPP – the Interim Peoples Party, usually to be found in bed with the military. The notorious Datti interview, menacing, intimidating and unambiguous, sets the scene for such re-entry. Then, history repeats itself over and over again, as currently manifested along the West African sub-region. The “call to arms” is made literal by those whose trade is precisely that of arms.
Soyinka concludes by emphasising the role of the Supreme Court in determining the ultimate outcome of the elections. He expresses a firm stance that Peter Obi did not win the 2023 elections, contending that he and Abubakar Atiku of the PDP had effectively conceded the outcome before the voting took place.
“Barring such abrupt “patriotic intervention”, however, the last word belongs to the Supreme Court. Until that conclusive hour, wherever and whenever the subject turns to the Nigerian elections, my contribution can be taken for granted in advance: Peter Obi did not win the Nigerian 2023 elections.
“Jointly with his erstwhile colleague of the PDP, Abubakar Atiku, they donated the outcome, even before the voting.”
In his statement, Soyinka calls for politicians and their associates to take responsibility for their choices within the democratic process, suggesting that they should be accountable for the consequences of their decisions.