Nigerian playwright and Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has criticized the fear-inducing environment that he claims has developed in Nigeria’s polity since the last general election. In a statement titled “Fascism on Course (I),” Soyinka spoke out against “Obidients,” supporters of the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, who contested the February 25 election. Soyinka had earlier accused the vice-presidential candidate of the LP, Datti Baba-Ahmed, of fascist rhetoric in an interview on Channels TV. He also criticized voter suppression during the March 18 governorship and House of Assembly polls in Lagos State. The Nobel laureate has received online abuse from Obidients and was previously involved in a media controversy where his interview with Channels TV was distorted. In his latest statement, Soyinka said that an incipient fascism in Nigerian politics had matured and was generating a climate of fear. He condemned attempts to intimidate arbiters and dictate outcomes, stating that truth remained elusive without objective conflict resolution.
He called out the tactics of ridicule, incrimination, and intimidation employed to undermine the structure of justice. Soyinka reminded his audience of his previous statement that “Justice is the first condition of humanity” and condemned violence, ethnic profiling, and intimidation of dissenting voices in Nigerian politics.