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My Watch: Soyinka Replies Obasanjo, Calls Him A Compulsive Liar

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka , Wednesday, gave a rebuttal to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s latest book, “My Watch” describing it as a narrative by a career liar always determined to crookedly project himself above his true standing among men.

Affirming his general detestation of such men, Soyinka said the Obasanjo brand was compounded by the inclination of even foisting the lies on members of the younger generation.

Obasanjo had in his book flayed Soyinka as a self serving critic who he said always sought to shine out among men claiming that the Nobel Laureate is a “misfit as a political analyst, commentator or critic.”

“For Wole, no one can be good, nor can anything be spot – on politically except that which emanates from him or is ordained by him.”

Continuing his assessment of Soyinka, Obasanjo had said: “He is surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful “aparo” (guinea fowl) hunter than a political critic, not to talk of what he would do as a politician,”  adding “I take him seriously on almost all issues except on the political particularly Nigerian politics.”

Replying Wednesday in a treatise, titled Watch and Pray, Watch and Prey, Soyinka said:

I had fully attuned myself to the fact that our Owu retiree soldier and prolific author is an infliction that those of us who share the same era and nation space must learn to endure. However, it does appear that there is no end to this individual’s capacity for infantile mischief, and for needless, mind-boggling provocations, such as his recent ‘literary’ intrusion on my peace.

Perhaps I ought to interrupt myself here with an apology to some mutual acquaintances – ‘blessed peacemakers’ and all – especially in this season of ‘peace and goodwill to all men’. Please know that your efforts have not been entirely in vain. I had a cordial exchange with Obasanjo over the phone recently – engineered by himself, his ground staff and/or a chance visitor  – when I had cause to visit his Presidential Laundromat for the first time ever.  During that exchange, I complemented him on making some quite positive use of landed property that was acquired under morally dubious circumstances, and blatantly developed through a process that I denounced as ‘executive extortionism’. That obscene proceeding has certainly set a competitive precedent for impunity in President Jonathan’s recent fund-raising shindig, editorialized in THE PUNCH (Dec. 23, 2014) as  “Impunity Taken too Far”. So much for the latest from that directions – we mustn’t allow Handing-Over notes between presidents to distract us for too long.

To return to our main man, and friendly interventionists, you may like to note that I went so far as to engage him in light banter, stating that some of his lesser sins would be forgiven him for that creative conversion of the landscape – a conversation that he shortly afterwards delightedly shared with at least three mutual acquaintances. I promised a follow-up visit to view some mysterious rock script whose existence, he informed me, was uncovered by workers during ground clearing. The exchange was, in short, as good as ‘malice towards none’ that any polemicist could hope to contribute to the ongoing season of peace and goodwill. Obviously that visit will not now take place, any more than the pursuit of vague notions of some creative collaboration with his Centre that began to play around my mind.

That much I do owe you from my report card.  Perhaps you will now accept that there are individuals who are born incorrigible but, more importantly, that some issues transcend one’s personal preferences for harmonious human relationships even in a season of traditional good will. The change in weather conditions sits quite well with me however,  since we are both acquainted with the Yoruba proverb that goes:  the child that swears his mother will not sleep must also prepare for a prolonged, sleepless infancy.  So let it be with Okikiola, the overgrown child of circumstance.

SOUTH SUDAN, Juba : The African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan (AUCISS), led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo (C), arrives in the South Sudanese capital Juba on April 24, 2014 for the start of its first field mission to the country that has been mired in conflict since December. The visit comes as fresh fighting and violence against civilians are reported in South Sudan. AFP PHOTO

One of the incessant ironies that leapt up at me as I read Obasanjo’s magnum opus was that we are both victims of a number of distasteful impositions  – such as being compelled again and again to seek justice against libel in the law courts. I felt genuine empathy to read that he still has a pending thirty-year case instituted by him against his alleged libelers! Judgment was delivered in my favour regarding one of the most nauseating only this year, after surviving technical and other procrastinations, defendant evasions and other legalistic impediments for nearly as long as his. That leaves only a veritable Methuselah on the court list still awaiting re-listing under the resurrection ritual language known as de novo.  Unfortunately, not all acts of defamation or willful misrepresentation are actionable, otherwise, my personal list against this newly revealed fellow-sufferer would have counted for an independent volume of the Nigerian Law Report since our paths first crossed during the Civil War.  My commitment to the belief in the fundamental right of all human beings NOT TO BE LIED AGAINST remains a life obsession, and thus demands, at the very least, an obligation of non-commission among fellow victims.

I must therefore reserve 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. So, for now, let me single out just one of the most glaring instances of this man’s compulsive career of lying, one sample that the media can readily check upon and use as a touchstone – if they do need one – in assessing our author’s multifaceted claims and commentaries on people and events. I refer here to the grotesque and personally insulting

Details later…

Culled from VANGUARD

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