Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka has dismissed reports claiming that Peter Obi’s recent visit to him was for “reconciliation” as inaccurate and inappropriate. Obi, the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, visited Soyinka on Sunday following a fallout between the literary icon and Obi’s supporters, known as the “Obidients,” after Soyinka criticized the former Anambra governor’s running mate’s comment about an exercise.
While many reports claimed that Obi’s visit was a reconciliatory move, Soyinka clarified in a statement on Monday that there was no need for reconciliation between himself and the entities of Peter Obi and the Labour Party, with whom he can relate. However, he stated that he was unable to relate to the “Obidient” or “Obidient Family” entities, and any notion of reconciliation with them was simply grasping at empty air.
During the meeting between Soyinka and Obi, which was attended by only two other individuals, Soyinka stated that there were discussions of the “burden of leadership,” “responsibility,” “apology,” “pleading,” “formal dissociation from the untenable,” and the “tragic ascendancy of ethnic cleavage,” especially under such ironic and untenable circumstances. However, the notion of reconciliation was never raised.
Soyinka’s statement emphasized the importance of accuracy in reporting and cautioned against the “diversionary invocation” of inappropriate terms such as “reconciliation.” It is yet to be seen how this clarification will affect the relationship between Soyinka and the “Obidients” going forward, as the 2023 presidential election draws closer.