Movement restriction: Seek redress, Soyinka tells APC govs

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka on Saturday urged the governors of the All Progressives Congress prevented by security agencies from travelling to Ado Ekiti for the party’s final governorship campaign on Friday to sue for the violation of their human rights.

The playwright, who spoke in Lagos, said it was important for them to head for court in order to forestall future occurrence.

The APC said, at least three governors — Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State and Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State — were prevented from entering Ekiti State.

Soyinka stated, ‘‘We want to know who gave the order. All the governors should sue for the violation of human rights. Let us make a case out of it. Let us make an example once and for all. I want to encourage and insist that the governors should sue whoever is responsible for the violation of their human rights. I want them to remember that they are the custodian of the democratic process which we all believe. If they fail to defend themselves, they are guilty of the dereliction of duty towards those who elected them. If we allowed this kind of conduct to go unchecked, it would continue in a worse dimension. We have a responsibility to speak against it when the right of a Nigerian is violated. I don’t care whether that person is a motor mechanic on the road or a governor. You just hear order from the top. You don’t even know whether the top is wearing a skirt or a trouser. You hear ‘I have an order from the top to stop you.’ What kind of language is that? The prevention of governors from attending their own electoral campaign is not only unconstitutional but also criminal. It is not different from stealing ballot boxes and daylight robbery. I mean what is the difference? Electioneering is part of the democratic process.’’

He added that the development had proved him wrong when he rebuked critics who interpreted Vice-President Namadi Sambo’s utterance during a campaign in Ekiti to mean the ruling party was preparing for war in the state.

‘‘Vice President Namadi Sambo said during one of his (Peoples Democratic Party) campaigns that this election (Ekiti) was going to be war or fight-to-finish. I cannot remember exactly … Anyway, the word ‘war’ came in. I actually rebuked some of the opposition or critics who said that the VP came to announce the outbreak of war. I said, ‘c’mon be serious. This is what is known as a figure of speech.’ I never really bothered about expressions like fight-to-finish, do-or-die and it is war to the end. The critics were right. I was wrong because of what happened recently. The prevention of some governors and their supporters from going for their own electoral campaign is nothing short of an act of war. May be I should learn to be less metaphoric in my approach to language and learn politicians’ words,’’ he stated.

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