The Nobel laureate described the past decade in Nigerian politics as ‘bloody’ and criticised the practice of suspected murderers being allowed to stand for election from their jail cell.
These inflammatory comments were made last Thursday at the book launch of Microseconds Away From Death – written by former Chief Press Secretary to the Ogun State Governor, Mr. Wale Adedayo. Commenting on the violent nature of political proceedings in the country, Soyinka said: “A lot of assassinations and attempted assassinations have gone on. In fact, it has been a bloody decade. Of all these high profile murders, amazingly, none have been solved. It is really amazing. In some cases, suspected murderers are even sprung out of jail and stand elections right from their prison cell and are catapulted straight to some of the most powerful places in the law making houses of this nation.”
One example of criminals being ‘catapulted’ into positions of power is that of Theodore Orji. In 2007, Orji was in prison on charges of financial fraud, yet managed to get elected as Governor of Abia State – to takeover from Uzor Kalu, who was serving as governor at the time – and was said to have been the helping hand in Orji’s appointment.
So what do you think – is Soyinka justified in making such comments? What do you think of the circumstances around Theodore Orji’s appointment and his subsequent work in Abia?