Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has expressed shock at the contents of former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s controversial autobiography titled, My Watch.
Soyinka, in a piece titled, ‘Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey’, described Obasanjo as an expert in telling lies and a shameless man.
Soyinka is one of the personalities the former President slammed in the three-volume controversial book which an Abuja court ordered security agencies to confiscate wherever it is being sold.
He described the literary icon as a misfit, a better wine connoisseur and a guinea fowl hunter in the book.
“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, ” Obasanjo wrote.
But, Soyinka who, by the tone of his piece did not find Obasanjo comment funny, said, “I despise that species of humanity whose stock-in-trade is to concoct lies simply to score a point, win an argument, puff up his or her own ego, denigrate or attempt to destroy a fellow being.
“However, even within such deplorable species, a special pit of universal opprobrium is surely reserved for those who even lack the courage of their own lies, but must foist them on others.”
He also took a swipe at the former President for openly condemning his former Special Adviser, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, who is “young enough to be his son.”
The playwright said, “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 statement that he has attributed to me for some inscrutable but obviously diversionary reasons.
“In the process, this past Master of Mendacity brazenly implicates an innocent young man, Akin Osuntokun, who once served him as a special adviser. Instead of conferring dignity on a direct rebuttal of an ignoble fabrication, I shall simply make a personal, all-embracing attestation:
“When an old man stuffs a lie into the throat of an age-mate of his own children – omo inu e! – we can only pity an irredeemable egomaniac whose dotage is headed for twilight disgrace.”
The literary icon also revisited the controversial Obasanjo Presidential library, saying it was acquired through ‘executive extortionism’ just as President Goodluck Jonathan recently got over N21bn at a dinner/fund-raiser last Saturday.
He noted that both Jonathan and Obasanjo were leaders known for impunity.
Soyinka said, “That obscene proceeding (Obasanjo’s Library Fund-raising) has certainly set a competitive precedent for impunity in President Jonathan’s recent fund-raising shindig, editorialised in The PUNCH (Dec. 23, 2014) as Impunity Taken too Far.
“So much for the latest from that direction – we mustn’t allow Handing-Over notes between presidents to distract us for too long.”
He said Obasanjo had no right to take the moral high ground.
Soyinka added that Obasanjo loved to call on the name of God but his actions implied that he probably did not believe in God’s existence.
He urged Nigerians to be careful about taking heed to the advice of Obasanjo as the former President was very deceptive.
Soyinka wrote, “In this season of goodwill, we owe a duty to our immediate and distant neighbours: CAVEAT EMPTOR! Let all beware, who try to buy a Rolex from this indefatigable watch peddler,” he said.
“Our author invokes God tirelessly, without provocation, without necessity and without justification, perhaps pre-emptively, but does he really believe in such an entity? Does our home-bred Double-O-Seven believe in anything outside his own Omnipotence?
“Could he possibly have mistaken the Christian exhortation – ‘Watch and Pray’ for his private inclination to “Watch and Prey?”
He maintained that Obasanjo’s book was written in a deceitful manner such that he took credit for the good deeds of others and then blamed others for his own failure.
“This is 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,” Soyinka said.
Soyinka compared Obasanjo to a creature in Igbo Olodumare, a novel written by the late Daniel Fagunwa.
Although he did not mention Obasanjo’s name while making comparisons, he said only one man could fit into that description.
He said, “The seventh (creature) 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.”