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[From The Archives] How 31y.o Wole Soyinka was declared wanted for seizing radio station at gunpoint after his party lost 1965 election

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Details have emerged how then 31-year-old Wole Soyinka was declared wanted after he seized Ibadan Radio Station at gunpoint after his party lost election in 1965.

In the 1965 election drama, Soyinka had seized the radio station at gunpoint over western region elections rigging.

He stormed the station and held a Bereta pistol to the head of a broadcaster’s head to prevent the victory speech of the winner of a declared election result.

Soyinka had yelled at the broadcaster: “Give me those tapes. Give me those tapes or else…!”

He reportedly forcefully collected the tape and gave a substitute tape to the broadcaster to be slotted for broadcast.

The pre-recorded broadcast boomed: “Akintola go! Drop your stolen mandate, leave town and take your reprobates with you. Let them leave now before the people decide to wash the streets with their blood.”

Ironically, Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka, as he is now known, was seen on Arise News television during the station’s “Morning Show” calling the supporters of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, otherwise known as Obidients, “fascists”.

Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka
Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka

The name calling followed the speech by the Labour Party vice presidential candidate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed on Channels Television.

Senator Baba-Ahmed had said that swearing in the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on May 29 is tantamount to putting a death knell on democracy in Nigeria.

Prof. Soyinka, consequently, have come under a barrage of attacks, especially on social media, after calling Obidients “fascists”.

Reacting to the name-calling, Nigerians called out Soyinka, arguing that he lacks the moral standing to berate anyone on electoral offences as “he who goes to equity must come with clean hands”.

A concerned Nigerian, Tosin Adeoti, said that Obidients have not done half of what Soyinka did in the 1965 election, holding up a live radio station at gun point.

He wrote: “It is this same Soyinka who now talks about fascism and says Peter Obi supporters lost the elections because of their utterances.

“On an election that has been universally condemned?

“No Obidient has done half of what Soyinka did in that election; an action that he’s refused to call himself a fascist for or even condemn.

“I could not sit down and accept that somebody should steal my voice. I felt at one with the majority of the people.”

“An action he justifies by saying he was moved to take because the democratic rights of the citizens were brazenly stolen.

“This is the man who condemns people whose only offense is calling for justice on the internet. They hold no media station to ransom.

“They wield no weapon on the streets. Their offence? Vehemently oppose those they think are not qualified to lead them on social media.

“This is the people a man who fought military dictatorship on the streets and via the ink is offended by? Is this how to build a nation?”

Another concerned Nigerian, who spoke under anonymity, said:

“Between Obidients asking for rule of law to be followed without holding a gun in their hands and our well-respected Professor Wole Soyinka, who is the fascist?” Read more.

 

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