Speaking during the question-and-answer session at the launch of his book titled “The Putin Files: Excursions Around The Ideology Of Pain”, the latest in the popular Interventions series in Lagos on Friday, Soyinka described some members of the Obidient movement as appalling to think that only governments and government agencies could be fascists.
Soyinka, who said this while responding to a question asked by poet and lawyer Ogaga Ifowodo, as to why he called Obidients fascists, used the 2020 #EndSARS protest as an example of a struggle driven by pure truth.
“#EndSARS is one of the most successful movements in this country,” he said.
He said that he supported the #EndSARS protest and even addressed some protesters when he was leaving Lagos for Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital during the protest.
“They begged me not to go, I said I’m going,” he said and narrated how he “stood on the median and addressed the crowd”.
In comparison with the #EndSARS protest, Soyinka said that what the Obidients were trying to do was mobilisation of youth to defend an untruth, noting that he had been there and seen when the immediate former Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, pushed people to kill innocent serving members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) by claiming he was cheated out of an election.
According to the literary icon, some Obidients claiming to be radical were playing the script of some other people, which had been designed before the February 25 presidential election.
He said long before the election, some people had schemed to tilt the country towards having an interim government.
“That tendency had been apparent even before the election,” he said.
“So some of those who thought they were being radical, they were being ‘mumu’ (foolish), and “playing the script of others”.
The Nobel laureate said that he knew that after his statement on Friday, a mob of Obidients would again launch an attack against him online by opening what he described as their “dictionary of abuses”, adding that he would be happy to face them.
“They can go back to the internet, open their dictionary of abuses ad start all over again, I will come back and tell them that you are ‘mumu’ (foolish). You were not playing your script,” he said.
He noted that if they were knowledgeable, they would be “able to put two and two together”.
Soyinka in an interview with Channels Television before the February 25 presidential election said that if Obi lost the election, it would be his followers who lost it for him.
Reacting to Soyinka’s statement, Obidients lashed out at him on social media and on some mainstream media.
But responding to the Obidients’ disparaging comments against him, Soyinka through a statement titled, ‘Fascism on course’ said the “seeds of incipient fascism in the political arena have evidently matured.”
He added, “It would appear that a record discharge of toxic sludge from our notorious smut factory is currently clogging the streets and sewers of the Republic of Liars. It goes to prove the point that provoked the avalanche Exactly!
“A climate of fear is being generated.”