While some concerned Nigerians were worried over a seeming apathy of Wole Soyinka, an erudite professor and Nobel Laureate, on the 2019 election, the Abeokuta-born social activist has finally responded on the direction he thinks votes should go in Saturday’s Presidential election.
Riding on the credibility of Citizens Forum, his activism platform that was last heard of during the Sani Abacha military regime, Soyinka and his team arrived at peer consensus for the 2019 election.
Tired of the recycled old politicians, the Professor of Literature has declared his support for young and vibrant political class, which Kingsley Moghalu, according to him, represents and the most qualified of all the youthful candidates. “The forum rejected retrograde propositions of a political merry-go-round, which urge the electorate to choose this or that candidate in order to ensure ‘our turn’ at the next power incumbency”, he said in a statement on Friday.
Declaring his position in the statement, Soyinka said that Moghalu, a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), is a potential of high quality amid the over-abundant leadership materials for the 2019 election.
“Let me reiterate, there is over-abundant, but stifled leadership material, and there can be no excuse, now that that potential of high quality is being manifested, for constricting the political space in a population that is nudging two hundred million”, Soyinka said.
“Such potential compelled us to exercise utmost rigour in what proved to be a most daunting exercise. The final determination however is – the flag-bearer of the Young Progressive Party– Kingsley Moghalu.”
Speaking on how the forum arrived at the choice of Moghalu, Soyinka in the statement said: “Over the past few months, we studied the careers, experiences and track records of most of the presidential aspirants, and most intensely those actually short-listed by the opposition parties themselves. Like millions of Nigerians, we watched the debates. I physically interacted with some of the acknowledged top contenders, in some cases several times.”
“Overall, the exercise was exacting but also – therapeutic. It proved yet again that there is over-abundant leadership quality locked up in the nation, and that it is a collective shortcoming that the political space has not been sufficiently opened up to let soar such potential”.
The professor, who concluded his statement with a Chinese proverb that says, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step”, said voting Moghalu would be the first step in dislodging recycled old politicians and ushering in vibrant democracy and accountability in governance.
However, the endorsement, which is coming barely a week to the election, is well-received by Moghalu and YPP.
In a statement on Saturday, the YPP flag bearer described the endorsement of his candidature by Nobel Laureate as “humbling.”
He noted that the endorsement was important because of Soyinka’s reputation and the “elaborate process” his Citizen Forum went through before reaching their decision.
“Our party, the Young Progressives Party and I salute the courage and the good judgment of the Nobel Laureate and icon of democratic struggle in Nigeria,” Moghalu said in the statement.
“As Soyinka and the Citizen Forum have ended their search for a consensus candidate to lead the country in a new direction, I appeal to other Nigerians desirous of a new dawn, ushered by a competent and visionary leadership to also consider ending theirs with my candidacy” he said, while urging the electorates to approach the ballot next Saturday with a single purpose of defeating the recycled old politicians.”
Obinna Emelike and Iniobong Iwok