2015: Soyinka hails peace accord, denies endorsing candidates

By The Citizen
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Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has described the peace agreement recently signed by President Goodluck Jonathan, General Muhammadu Buhari and other candidates for the February 14 presidential election as a right step towards deepening democracy in the country.

He, however, denied endorsing any of the candidates for the general elections.

In a statement titled: 'Identity Thieves and the 2015 Election Peace Accord,' Soyinka said: 'It was with high expectations that I went through details of the Abuja peace accord recently agreed by the political party leaders, mandating decent and civilised campaign conduct among the contestants, their agents and supporters. I was not disappointed. It is a positive step in the direction of democracy, for which I must commend the efforts of those seasoned interventionists, Emeka Anyaoku and Kofi Annan. Adhered to with good will and sincerity, it should ensure a wholesome space for future elections and pre-empt further violence.'

He, however, regretted that the communique was silent on the trend of falsely attributing statements to members of the public in the run-up to the elections.

'I was disappointed that the communique makes no reference to the violence done to members of the electorate whose identities are stolen, abused and debased during this exercise. It is rapidly becoming commonplace to encounter totally fictitious statements, even entire interviews published and attributed to unsuspecting authorship. This criminal proceeding has even involved the cloning of media mastheads to which non-existent interviews are then attached. To render it in local parlance, this is political 419, and of the most despicable brand.'

Admitting that it would be unfair to blame the contestants for the development, Soyinka, however, insisted that the party flag-bearers had a responsibility to denounce the 'dirty tricksters in the strongest terms, even in their own interest.'

He condemned statements linking him with the endorsement of certain candidates for the polls.

He explained: 'I have never made a statement endorsing any presidential or governorship contestant. All such attributions are fabrications by faceless, often self-appointed agents of deception, and should be publicly pilloried. Whenever I choose to declare support for any candidate - as is my electoral right - I shall ensure that I deploy a medium that places my authorship beyond dispute.'