Obasanjo a seasoned predator, an infantile career liar — Soyinka

Prof Wole Soyinka

Soyinka Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, offered President Olusegun Obasanjo an unusual Christmas gift Wednesday by way of a 1,788-word biting response to claims Mr. Obasanjo made in his new and controversial three-volume memoir, My Watch.

Mr. Soyinka mockingly described the old general as “our Great Immortal, the Unparalleled Achiever, Divinely appointed Watchman”.

“Okikiola, [Mr Obasanjo’s middle name] the overgrown child of circumstance,” was how Mr Soyinka called out at the former president whom he characterises as an individual with “capacity for infantile mischief, and for needless, mind-boggling provocations, such as his recent ‘literary’ intrusion…”

Defining Mr. Obasanjo’s many public interventions as a “compulsive career of lying” and the former soldier as a “Master of Mendacity,” Mr. Soyinka promised a “full, frontal dissection of Obasanjo’s My Watch for later, most especially since the work itself is currently under legal restraint and is not readily accessible to a general readership.”

However, he described Mr. Obasanjo as “a seasoned predator on others’ achievements – he preys on their names, their characters, their motivations, their true lives, preys on gossip and preys on facts, preys on contributions to collective undertakings…even preys on their identities, substituting his own where possible. Well, hopefully he may actually believe in the inevitable End to all vanities?”

The two elder citizens have a long history of squabbles and public disagreements, but in his current comments, Mr. Soyinka is part-sarcastic, part-playful, but still broad-sweeping, from the personal to the policy ramifications of Mr. Obasanjo’s life story.

He derisively described Mr. Obasanjo’s pet possession, the Presidential library at Abeokuta, as a “Presidential Laundromat,” pointing to the circumstances of the  land acquisition  as “morally dubious” and suggesting that it was “blatantly developed through a process that I denounced as ‘executive extortionism’.”

The fund-raising event for the library drew intense public smack at the time, and now Mr. Soyinka likens it to the recent fund raising for Mr. Jonathan’s presidential election. “That obscene proceeding has certainly set a competitive precedent for impunity in President Jonathan’s recent fund-raising shindig,” Mr. Soyinka said, jeering at the relationship of the two presidents.

Mr. Soyinka was at his most scathing humour when he drew presumed parallels between Mr. Obasanjo, whom he calls “our Owu retiree soldier and prolific author,” and an admonitory fictional character in Fagunwa’s famous Yoruba novel, Igbo Olodumare: “The seventh…. is not among those who set out to improve the world but rather to cause distress to its inhabitants. It was through manipulations that he attained a high position.

“Having achieved this however, he constantly blocked the progress of those behind him, this being a most deplorable act in the eyes of God, and rank behaviour in the judgment of the dwellers of heaven – that anyone who has enjoyed upliftment in life should seek to be an obstacle for those who follow him.

“This man forgot the beings of earth, forgot the beings of heaven, in turn, he forgot the presence of God. The worst kind of behaviour agitated his hands – greed occupied the centre of his heart, and he was a creature that walked in darkness. This man wallowed in bribery, he was chairman of the circle of scheming, head of the gang of double-dealing, field-marshal of those who crept about in the dark of night.

“With his mouth, he ruined the work of others, while he used a big potsherd to cover the good works of some, that others might not see their attainments. He nosed around for secrets that would entrap his companions, and blew them up into monumental crimes in the eyes of the world. He who turns the world upside down, places the deceitful on the throne, casts the truthful down – because such is a being of base earth, he will never stand as equal among the uplifted.”

“Chei! There is Death o!” Mr. Soyinka concludes his response, in biting reference to the First Lady’s famous dramatic torment in the wake of the abduction of 219 Chibok schoolgirls.

Read Mr. Soyinka’s full response to Mr. Obasanjo’s book here


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  • Yonponyorin

    MY FATHER, YOU DESTROYED NIGERIA……….Iyabo Obasanjo

    “You and your cronies have left the country (Nigeria) worse than you met it at your births
    in the 1930’s and the 1940’s. Nigeria is not the creation of any of you. Although you feel you
    own it and are ‘Mr Nigeria’ – deciding whether the country stays together or not.
    I don’t blame you for the many atrocities you have been able to get away with.
    Nigerians were your enablers every step of the way.

    You’ve never said “I don’t know” on any topic, ever. Of course, this means you
    surround yourself with idiots who will agree with you on anything and need you for
    financial gain, and, you need them for your insatiable ego. Your attitude is a reflection
    of the country. It is not certain which came first – your attitude seeping into the country’s
    psyche or the country accepting your irresponsible behaviour for so long.

    You are one of those petty people who think the progress and success of another
    takes from you; as you try to overshadow everyone around you, before you and after you.
    You are the prototypical “Mr. Know it all”“. The whole Nigerian system –
    including the public themselves, wants oppressors – not people working for
    their collective progress, and so, when no one is planning the future of a country,
    such a country can have no future. Nigeria has descended into a hellish reality
    where – for smart and capable people to ‘survive’ and have their daily bread –
    they must prostrate for imbeciles.

    • Ifeoluwa

      @ Yonponyonrin,

      You see now! Is this not an excerpt of Iyabo Obasanjo’s letter to her father – General Obasanjo?
      Why did the Nigerian media cry more than the bereaved by helping General Obasanjo to deny it?
      The journalists were writing that Iyabo Obasanjo did not write any such letter. Is this not the letter?
      Has General Obasanjo who himself initially denied the letter not written a book to confirm the letter?
      I can’t understand why Nigerian journalists allowed themselves to be used as a foot-mat on this letter.

      • emmanuel

        Se me see bunch of liars.

        Then said then that it was a concoction by Jonathan’s men, but the shameless oldman mentioned it in his crime dossier.

        This is bringing Obj and the press to justice!

  • emmanuel

    Will Obasanjo Close down PT if adverse comments about him are published? This is one good reason why Jonathan is the best leader Nigeria has ever had.

    PT publishes all derogatory comments against Jonathan but will never do such against Obj years after he left office.

    It took only a Hashamu to yell Obj shut up in Nigeria.

    PT a professional media outfit?

    • tundemash

      Cl0wn …. that is a Yoruba man rightly criticsing another yoruba man ….. compare and contrast that with the few creek e-rats (yourself inclusive) on this site and the old d@ft Edwin Clark !!!!!

      • emmanuel

        You introduce your ethnic biase in most discussions, but rob-it in on people when the typical Yoruba manipulative acts in Nigeria divide is made manifest.

        It is only allowed for an Obasanjo whose paternity is in doubt – Bastard…Fayose, 2012 Ekiti

        • tundemash

          very laughable a creek monkey claims I introduce ethnic dimension into discussions. Yu must a bre faced l1ar or u suffer from sever dementia. Who uses such word as ” You attack Jonathan because he’s from South South”, “You have Jonathan, you mist hate oil” , Federal Republic of SS &SE” and other s1lly words ?

    • Frank Bassey

      Not a bit.

  • Allayes

    I thought they said Yorubas never criticize their own? That they only criticize people from other tribes?

  • Adoki Achine

    Mr. Professor, big big grammer will not save you this time. They say you have double standards, one for your friends and another for people who you do not like. For instance you are currently in bed with Amaechi the Rivers State governor, and you are even doing one consultancy like that for the man AND YOU ARE GETTING PAID HANDSOMELY FOR IT. So you do not criticize people like that, whatever their crimes. TRUE OR FALSE?

  • Maria

    I hardly could understand a thing in this article. I think this professor must write in modern English and not this old-fashioned King James style of English. No one writes like this anymore.

    • Adoki Achine

      Incidentally, the man does not learn simple lessons for all the book that he claimed to have read. Remember that last book that he wrote, the one that was supposed to have been the epic of all epics? That book, what is it called again? The one that has one title like “Set Forth at Dawn….” something something something. For all the noise that he made about that book, when it finally, arrived, nobody could read it because nobody could make out what was in it. Now he cannot even tell us how many copies of the famous book he sold. I don’t even know how many people remembered the book.

    • emmanuel

      How did you to know about King James? I thought you serve the devil?

      • Maria

        Because that is whom you and your family serve… Satan is your master…efulefu.

  • jjbenny

    I agree with you. Educated Nigerians think by using high flowing words demonstrate “they know book.” Those were the days. This is the reason that Soyinka’s presentations are boring. Obasanjo is right. Any nail that sticks out, Soyinka hammers it down. If not his way, there is no highway period.

  • Okache

    Wole Soyinka, no matter what anyone says, they cannot diminish your greatness. Your mastery of the English language is truly exceptional and it makes some people uncomfortable. Carry go, Nigerian literary equivalent of William Shakespeare. You too much, biko.

  • -Yande

    @Wole Soyinka

    Your disjointed and meaningless response though convenient, clearly exposed your arrogance, lack of respect for contrary views and any sense of social responsibility. Nigerians, in their ignorance have typically failed to recognize you as just another 80 year-old fraud, but personally, I have never been impressed. Nigerians seem to confuse the ability to convolute a foreign language as a measure of intelligence.

    Yes, you got a Nobel laurel, but again in my view, this was at the expense of a more deserving Chinua Achebe, and only as a result of your coziness with Babangida, who you now seem to owe an eternal debt. All through time, your reluctant criticisms of his atrocities have always been mild and coshed up in your favorite foreign language, whereas your swipes at Obasanjo are ever vicious and venomous. Yet you have to be utterly dishonest not to discern who amongst these two has caused the most harm to Nigeria.

    Despite your prolonged pretence, you are just another part, parcel protagonist of the corrupt, fraudulent contraption called Nigeria, completely devoid of any original ideas and progressive intelligence, and like I said before; you have never impressed me.

    • Maria

      St2pid rantings and jealous vomits… I think you should direct your anger at the Scandinavians who awarded him the laurel.

    • Wähala

      It was not Prof. Soyinka’s fault that Achebe never got honored with the Nobel Price…
      Neither was it Babangida nor any Nigerian that nominated Soyinka for the award, be fair and sensible with your criticism, your impression of/by Soyinka is simply put: Irrelevant. Go-siddon!

  • Frank Bassey

    Let’s wait for the dubious character’s reaction.

  • Wähala

    Vintage Soyinka… with big grammar signifying nothing!
    “He forgot the presence of God” – Prof. Soyinka (preaching Gospel to Baba Iyabo)
    Trust atheist Prof. and our only Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka, to rob it into OBJ’s nyash on the eve of Christmas. Prof. Soyinka afterall, has no deference to God & Heaven because he claims he’s Godless, believes in Sango and herbs. Leaves me wondering “presence of (which) God” fossil Soyinka is yabbing about… and whether na Babalawo treat Soyinka’s cancer. If this is an intro pending court release of My Watch biko, Soyinka should sheath his sword for OBJ. Nigerians have had enough of their childish public fight. Soyinka lied when he claimed OBJ was manipulative, that’s how he attained his power and influence. But Nigerians remember Baba was dusted-off from prison and made President to appease Soyinka & the Egba over MKO. OBJ was no “predator on others’ achievements” when he cleared our foreign debt and left a healthy foreign reserve and zero debt portfolio… that to me, was Baba best management of the human resources he worked with (Dr. NOI, Prof. Akuyinli, Dr. Ezekwesili, etc) while maximizing his considerable international clout to garner respect for Nigeria worldwide. And morally speaking, the able professor has no backbone to accuse Obasanjo on any crimes of moral turpitude… Soyinka claims he knows who the CBN sponsor of Boko Haram is yet, refused to name the man which would have choke-off the source of funds to the terrorists. to me, Soyinka is as guilty as Abu Shekau! Finally, I truly believe it’s a waste of time and diversionary to read the windy rebuttal by Wole because of the huge grammar that defeats the purpose of conveying a simple message to ordinary Nigerians. Soyinka is a clown bloated by the nagging attitude of Nigeria’s press starting all article/story with, “Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka…”. The man died in Soyinka, he’s deluded. Shikena!

    • glo

      Excellent points. Soyinka is now sounding like a broken record! There is nothing he said/have to say about OBJ that we don’t know already.

  • TAWANDA INCOMMUNICADO

    Year after year the ugly man Obasanjo keeps publishing a litany of lies . When will God bring us relief from this dangerous megalomaniac ?

  • Marine Commando

    ‘OBASANJO AS I KNEW HIM IN THE ARMY’ – Brigadier Alabi-Isama

    “I implore Olusegun Obasanjo to stop lying before he dies –
    an elder with a filthy mind; a leader who lacks wisdom of age does not
    deserve any respect. I went to primary school in Owu, so i know his family very well.
    He should be honest enough to tell the world the story of the man who was his father.

    For instance, during the Biafran Civil War, Obasanjo, who was then a Colonel,
    went to inspect Colonel Iluyomade but when he got there, there was shooting.
    Obasanjo got into his jeep and ran away but he was shot in the buttocks as he fled.
    A true army general will be shot in the chest, and not in the buttocks. He was a coward.

    Did Nigeria move forward when he (Obasanjo) was Head of State or President?

    He destroyed the heart of the national security. We can see the result today.

    He destroyed education in many ways. We see the result today.
    He destroyed a lot of other things.”

    …………..Brigadier Alabi-Isama

    [December 15, 2014]

  • Words on Marble

    “During the Biafran Civil War, Olusegun Obasanjo, who was then a Colonel, went to inspect
    Colonel Iluyomade but when he got there, there was some shooting. Obasanjo got into his jeep
    and ran away but was shot in the buttocks as he fled. A true army general will be shot in the chest,
    and not in the buttocks. Olusegun Obasanjo was a coward in the army”.

    ………………..(Brigadier Alabi-Isama, 2013)

    • Gboyega Aderemi

      @ Words on Marble:

      Nigeria has no heroes. Heroes are those who don’t steal. Besides, heroes have knowledge.
      Heroes make right judgement call and will never be adjudged in court to pay 30 billion Naira for
      genocidal assault on the people of Odi. Above all, heroes don’t commit incest with their son’s wife.

  • City Solicitors

    Editor Premium Times,

    RE: THE $3 MILLION WANGLED ON GALAXY BLACKBONE UNDER OBASANJO

    Before this controversy the President of Nigeria at the time, Olusegun Obasanjo,
    took $3 million from Nigeria’s national treasury as “legal fee” to “a single lawyer”
    simply for incorporating Blackbone Galaxy Company in Nigeria.

    Nowhere in the world, not even in the United States or in Great Britain, is such a fee
    payable to incorporate a company – a routine duty paralegals undertake. We can’t find
    justification for it by extrapolating statutorily prescribed fees in Nigeria’s conveyance matters.

    We therefore call on the Nigerian Parliament to open an inquiry into this $3million fee virtually
    wangled out of the treasury “to a single lawyer” for a job set at below $50,000 only, worldwide.
    We believe a case of fraud has occurred with presidential assent and we call on the Senate
    of Nigeria to enquire and pass a resolution condemning it as fraudulent to enable the EFCC
    commence a recovery proceeding in a court of law. Democracy is accountability worldwide.

    • Nkem

      City Solicitors,

      i agree with you people. That’s paying ₦600 million just to incorporate a company, haba!
      Yepa, Obasanjo has finished Nigeria. That is apart from self-awarded oil blocks in 2005.

      • Pelumi B. Johnson

        “It is no secret now that Nigerians hate their rulers; but when Nigerian “prayer
        warrior” masses now start to curse and pray for the death of their rulers, then
        there is a crisis. There is always euphoria and jubilation whenever a member of
        the Nigerian “thiefocratic class”; i.e.; President, Governor, Senator, House of
        Rep member, Minister or local government chairman, dies.

        When the plane of Governor Danbaba Suntai’s of Taraba State crashed,
        i placed a call to several friends i consider somewhat “God-fearing” and decent.
        The first response i got from each and every one of them is ‘make them all die,
        we are praying for the next one to die’. Surely there is justifiable un-precedented
        hatred for the ruling class like never before in the history of the country.”

        …………Paul Omoruyi
        (December 30, 2012)

      • G.Talabi

        Let’s call a spade a spade. No long English i beg. This is sheer corruption, pure and simple.
        What’s the difference between 600 million Naira here; and, James Ibori’s fraud in Delta state?

  • Martins

    Brilliant article. I have stated in other forums that the President has practiced/engaged in the greatest act of nepotism and cronyism since amalgamation of this country. Never has any leader in this country been so insensitive in making federal appointments in this country even during military rule. He has clearly shown that he’s a President for the North, by the North and of the North. I like your take on the aspect of abolishing federal character principle nationwide, we know those who benefit from it in terms of having ridiculous scores to get into unity schools. My joy is the fact that he won’t rule forever and all these actions will not suddenly make the North better than the South in 20years. If nepotism isn’t corruption, then what is. Soon they will label the writer a wailing wailer or corruption is fighting back.

    • I only pity those that dreamt of better days with this regime. Having read so much about PMB I concluded long ago that he has nothing good to offer. Nemo dat quod non habet. Nobody gives what he has not.

      • JayGeeX

        You are one of the few that understood and comprehended what they read about him..

  • Jibrin Ibrahim

    Very good analysis and advice. I hope those close to the President do draw his attention to the need for balance and national spread when making appointments.

  • Abugu Jude Chukwunonso

    The President’s disposition and body language when it comes to key political appointment resembles that of person on political vendetta. His 5% and 95% comment always comes to mind each time a new appointment is being announced. A good leader must be tolerant and fair to all his subjects. Unless the President has a hidden sectional agenda I see no reason for this crass Nepotism.

  • “Korede

    This post is rubbish. Northern Muslims. I want the same man to chronicle the same appointment under the immediate past governments. Is is becuase the so called Muslims or the northerners don’t make noise all the time? What has one faith got to do with the office he is occupying?

    No wonder the list of those that stole money as being revealed are both mosses and Christians. They are both from the south and the north.

    All the rubbish of religion intolerance put up during the 2015 election is being exhumed again.

    You may need to go and x-ray all the appointmentsavings of all the states too on this same religion and region basis and tell us which governor is also bias on those points

    • Mayo

      Since you are the one critiquing the write-up, the onus is on you to prove that the previous administration had a similar clannish outlook in appointment especially the security apparatus not for you to ask the writer to do so.

      Secondly, assuming you were right and the same happened under the previous government, the question is – is it right? A new government (voted in because people felt the old one was bad) is not meant to do the same bad things as the old government just because it was done by the old government. Why then was the old government voted out?

    • Codes007

      Sometimes, it is better to be quiet if you have no constructive statement to make. The writer has written his piece. Come up with a counter argument. That’s how reasonable people debate. You can equally educate us all.

  • Remi

    The author’s arguments are well taken and spot on. It is quite
    unfortunate, although not disappointing, that Buhari is being clannish and exhibiting
    cronyism in his appointments. I never expected anything better from him. When
    one looks at the distribution of appointments during his first coming, it all
    reeked of sectionalism too. The appointment of the Inspector General of Police
    (IGP) is indeed the most bizarre; one that I would say borders on the
    irresponsible and reckless. One wonders what qualities it is that the new IGP
    has that tromp the ones possessed by those 21 officers who were suddenly sent into
    premature retirement. Sadly, the north is not any better with these appointments.

  • Daniel

    The unveiling of a Greek gift from Daura.

    I pity Tinubu . What have the Yorubas really gained so far from this government, that necessitated working against Jonathan?

    Southerners ‘shine your eyes!’

  • IniObong

    It is irresponsible and criminal to want to reap where you did not sow. The southerners and Christians did not give him a chance. Why are you guys now crying. I think the appointments have been based on merit and trust. It is natural to trust the one that gave you a chance to succeed over the one that worked against you. Let’s stop wailing and be reason with our choices next time. Buhari will succeed and Nigeria will be better for it.

    • Emmanuel

      IniObong Your views are very undemocratic. So what they didn’t support him? A true leader unites and carries everyone along irrespective of whether they voted for him or not. It is in buharis interest to include them to show the reason why they should have voted for him, rather he’s busy proving them right. Exact reason why they didn’t vote him. He has no regards for nigerians that are not from the north or Islamic.

  • Cyokere

    Inibong! How can an educated person reason like this? Indeed, we are in a deeper problem than we thought. Can you please read through your comment again and see how unreasonable it sounds, coming from a rational and sane person like you. Haba!