I Stand By My Comments On Soyinka – Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he maintains his view, as expressed in his three-volume autobiography, My Watch, that Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has better expertise in wine matters than in political analysis.

In the book, Obasanjo wrote, “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. His friends and loved ones will always be right and correct no matter what they do or fail to do. He is surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful aparo (guinea fowl) hunter than a political critic.”

However, last year December, shortly after the book went public, Soyinka had, in a piece titled ‘Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey’, vehemently protested that description of him, calling Obasanjo an expert liar, who lies to boost his ego.

But in an interview granted a private television station, Channels, on a programme tagged ‘Book Club’, Obasanjo, while holding on to his words, said what he wrote about Soyinka was purely his view, adding that Soyinka did not have to agree with it.

The former President, who added that he did not write the book to please anybody, also disclosed that there was a lingering feud between him and the Nobel Laureate, who, he said, had vowed that the differences between the two of them would not be resolved on earth.

Obasanjo, however, said he had told Soyinka that, in that case, whichever of them gets to heaven first should wait at the gate to welcome the other.

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He said, “Wole Soyinka is a gifted man. I have always acknowledged that but he is a bad politician and I have also always said that; and that is my own point of view. He may agree with it, he may not agree with it.

“But having said that, I also, in my book, bring out Wole Soyinka as I see him and that’s my own judgment; that’s my own perspective of him. He may agree, he may not agree but anybody can bring out his own perspective of me.

“For instance, I know that if I want somebody to give me the best wine, one of the people I will go to is Wole Soyinka and I know he has a taste for good wine and I said that in the book.”

Obasanjo also dismissed a rejoinder to his book titled ‘Watch the Watcher’, written by the Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, saying the book was not worth to be kept in anybody’s library.

Obasanjo, who said Odumakin was paid by former President Goodluck Jonathan to write the book, said he could not be worried because Odumakin did not write anything that would last.

Obasanjo said, “Yinka Odumakin was hired to do the hatchet job and he did it.

“It was part of the campaign of Goodluck Jonathan and he did serve the purpose of Goodluck Jonathan. But whether Goodluck Jonathan gained from it or Yinka Odumakin gained from it, well, it’s now left to history.

“But how should I worry about that; that Yinka Odumakin was hired by Goodluck Jonathan to do a job, which he did and Yinka Odumakin didn’t write anything to last? He wrote current affairs, not a book that anybody will seriously want to keep in his library and that’s the way I see it. And a book should be something that somebody wants to keep in the library.”

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