Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka has criticized Nigerian politicians for the use of what he terms crude and vulgar language in their respective campaigns.
Soyinka also berated former President, Olusegun Obasanjo’s biography, “My Watch” calling it “three tonnes of doctored and self-serving narratives.”
The eminent playwright made the comments on Tuesday, March 10, in Lagos during the public presentation of a book titled “Modern and Tradition Elite in the Politics of Lagos” written by Ambassador Patrick Dele Cole.
Soyinka accused the current crop of political aspirants of taking Nigeria to a “hitherto imaginable low in the art of public persuasion which – we have a right to imagine – forms the foundation of political life.”
“All of us here have passed through the electoral process furnace before now and I suspect we would mostly agree that never before have we been subjected to this level of sheer venom, crudity of and vulgar abuse of language in such prodigal quantities as in this current political exercise,” he said.
“The very gift of communication, considered the distinguishing mark of cultured humanity even in polemical situations, has been debased, affecting even thought processes, I often suspect,” he added.
Professor Soyinka also accused the Presidency of taking a prominent part in the crudeness using a recent statement attributed to First Lady, Patience Jonathan as an example.
“Speaking as objectively as is possible in such circumstances, I would say that, among the various camps, the most reckless and indecorous has sadly proved the incumbency camp, where restraint has been thrown to the wind with such abandon that even highly privileged spouses have publicly urged supporters to stone any voices raised in opposition to their cause,” he said.
Mrs. Jonathan urged her supporters to stone members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) during a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rally in Lokoja, Kogi State.
Soyinka had earlier expressed doubt at the capability of the two major contenders for Nigeria’s Presidency, President Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari, calling them problematic candidates.