Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka,has claimed that former President Olusegun Obasanjo “knelt down” before ex-vice president Atiku Abubakar in a desperate bid to secure the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003.
Professor Soyinka said this in reply to a question at a special reading session to mark the presentation of his latest book, “Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Gani’s Unfinished Business”, at the Freedom Park, Lagos
Soyinka said, “Before the PDP primaries in January 2003, Obasanjo got everyone he knew could reach me on the surface on the earth including Yemi Ogunbiyi and my son, to get me to help him intercede when it was clear that (Abubakar) Atiku was in a position to take his job. He knew Atiku had a lot of regard for me and calls me ‘Uncle’.”
“The pressure was intense,” the literary giant recounted. “Of course, I could not have knelt before Atiku not to embark on a course of action that would lead to his boss’ disgrace. But I can confirm to you that Obasanjo as President knelt down before Atiku so that he would not lose his job.”
“But I warned Atiku that for making Obasanjo to kneel down for you, be sure you would have to pay heavily for that. I guess my warning came to pass if you remember Atiku’s dramatic change of fortune once Obasanjo was sworn in for a second term of office.”
He went on to dispell the notion that the long-running disagreement he has with Obasanjo is personal, Soyinka said his motivation is the desire that those he described as cause of the nation’s problems do not continue to recycle themselves as the solution.