Omisore to Soyinka: “Politics is a game and an avenue to serve and the Nobel Laureate can throw his hat in the ring if he so wishes instead of making unsubstantiated claims and causing confusion here and there.”
By Emma Ogbuehi
The brewing war of words between the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Secretary, Senator Iyiola Omisore, and Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka escalated on Sunday with Omisore describing Soyinka as a confusionist who is both naïve and wicked.
The Nobel Laureate fired the first salvo in a statement on Saturday when he said Omisore’s endorsement as APC Secretary by President Muhammadu Buhari would tamper with judicial inquiries into Ige’s death because he is a prime suspect in the murder case.
In the statement titled, “Perhaps closed files should remain just that – Closed?” Soyinka said with the election of the prime suspect in the murder of the late Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Bola Ige, as National Secretary of the ruling party, the investigative revisit promised by President Muhammadu Buhari is already hamstrung and disrobed of credibility.
“I think the nation should simply relieve President Buhari of his pledge,” Soyinka said.
But accusing Soyinka of hypocrisy, Omisore said he should ask his cousin, former President Olusegun Obasanjo what happened to his Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
Insisting that he was not a member of the cabinet in Obasanjo’s government, Omisore said, “Civil and criminal law knowledge should tell the professor to ask his cousin, OBJ for the murder.”
Omisore said Soyinka does not stand on any high moral ground when it comes to crime against the state, reminding the Nobel Laureate that, “It is part of history and we are not too young, when we read of him, that professor too carried a gun into a Radio station; a criminal offense against the state. Yet, we continue to honour him.”
Omisore also said Soyinka is not as saintly as he claims to be, adding, “Can we also forget that Prof was appointed the chairman of education summit that gave birth to a single uniform for all secondary and primary schools and Opon Imo, during the tenure of Rauf Aregesola as governor of Osun State. A failed Education Policy that history will not readily forget.”
Accusing people he described as “drowning politicians” of spreading propaganda against him, Omisore, a former deputy governor of Osun State, said it was curious that Soyinka, who accused the Obasanjo government of complicity in Ige’s death when he described the government “as a nest of killers”, could now describe him as a suspect in 2022.
Taking exception to the eminent scholar’s statement, Omisore said “it is an unnecessary propaganda some drowning politicians are trying to spread.”
The National Secretary also threatened to sue a political group in Osun APC for fabrication and defamation.
In a statement by his office, Omisore said: “If the court of the land has vindicated a man, it is naive of him after nearly a decade to link Senator Iyiola Omisore to further search.”
He added: “The world is aware of the framing of Senator Iyiola Omisore and his travails and trials facing murder charges and his subsequent acquittal and discharge, almost a decade ago by a competent court of the land.
“So, how come any man, can still refer to him as a possible suspect? The Prof is very wrong to say all that. It takes wickedness to spread the statements.”
Omisore alleged that despite the fact that not all Soyinka’s intervention in national life has produced the expected outcome in the long run, society has continued to hold him in esteem.
“So, at 88, it’s better for him to stay clear of politics and not allow drowning politicians to use him to fight a cause he knows nothing about. It is a subtle warning to the respected Nobel Laureate.”
Omisore recalled that in 2004, Soyinka, who was 70, accused the Obasanjo government of complicity in the death of Ige by referring to the government as a “nest of killers”
He lamented that, in April 2022, the Nobel Laureate, who is now 88, is complaining about his choice as National Secretary.
He also regretted that Soyinka, once attacked another Yoruba son, Gbenga Daniel, an engineer and former two-term governor of his native Ogun State.
Omisore lamented that a decade after the Bola Ige murder case, Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka still referred to him as a prime suspect, despite being cleared by the court.
He maintained that the record shows that he and others were tried for two and half years and later discharged and acquitted by the court.
Omisore said: “The recent volte-face of Soyinka on the Bola Ige matter gives one a cause for concern. First, I was not a member of the cabinet in Obasanjo’s government, and second, a court of competent jurisdiction had set me and others free after a grueling two and half years trial with N2 billion damages awarded still unpaid by the state government.
“Besides, why has Omisore/Bola Ige matter become an issue of campaigns and elections deliberately used by Omisore’s opponents to undermine his influence?
“Or, are some people who are worried by the erudite and strong personality and capacity of Omisore as National Secretary using Soyinka to settle scores or pursue their political ambitions?
“Politics is a game and an avenue to serve and the Nobel Laureate can throw his hat in the ring if he so wishes instead of making unsubstantiated claims and causing confusion here and there, acts, that don’t befit his international recognition as an elder and statesman.”