Oyinlola is a liar – Wole Soyinka

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The controversy surrounding the status and ownership of the Centre for Black Culture and International Understanding deepened on Friday as the Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, described former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as a liar.

Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey By Wole Soyinka
Watch And Pray, Watch And Prey By Wole Soyinka

Reacting to some issues raised by Oyinlola on Thursday when he addressed a press conference in his town, Okuku, Osun State, Soyinka , on Friday, gave the former governor a one-week ultimatum to retract his statement.

According to him, Oyinlola lied against him when he said he opposed the establishment of the centre in 2008 and that he (the dramatist) discussed the matter with the late President, Umaru Yar’Adua.

Soyinka said in a statement he tagged ‘Prince Oyinlola in the Republic of Liars’, “How does one begin to slash through this thickening tissue of lies? Prince Oyinlola must be put to the strictest proof to substantiate several outrageous claims in his recent press statement. Failing to do so within one week from today will result in his taking his well-earned place in company of the current inmates of ‘The Republic of Liars’ – next in my series of ‘Interventions’, a public service series published by Bookcraft, due out in the next month.”

He described the allegation that he opposed the establishment of the centre as an exercise in “mind-blowing impudence.”

He added that it was also a lie that he (Soyinka) discussed the matter with former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Instead, he said, it was Oyinlola who wrote a letter to Jonathan requesting him to “call Wole Soyinka to       order.”

Besides, the celebrated writer noted that he was not the one that instituted or initiated the law suit on the status of the centre.

“On the other hand, I did oppose, and most strenuously, the conspiracy by some parties to transfer the Ulli Beier archives to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, situated in Abeokuta, even though paid for with the funds of Osun State. I opposed the recognition of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library as an affiliate of UNESCO in any category, since that library is a product of fraud, extortion and corrupt diversion of a nation’s resources.

“In this context, I collaborated with the late Gani Fawehinmi and Femi Falana. Action was taken in the same spirit as has continued to animate a number of civic organisations on the continent to prevent international image laundering by African leaders of questionable character, after losing credibility in governance. This has included higher institutions of learning and culture where millions were offered to endow chairs in their name.”

On Thursday, Oyinlola stressed that his permanent chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of the CBCIU was the condition given by the late Ullie Beire for giving his archives to the centre.

According to him, the condition was approved by the UNESCO and other stakeholders, including the Federal Government.

Oyinlola presented relevant documents and a court ruling in this regard.

But Soyinka, who was appointed the chairman of the board by Governor Rauf Aregbesola, insisted that such a clause and the fact that the centre was incorporated at the Corporate Affairs Commission were an anomaly.

As the controversy rages, stakeholders believe the Aregbesola administration has a duty to make its position known on the matter.

It has, however, yet to do so, as efforts made to get its reaction were not fruitful on Friday night.

But reacting to Soyinka’s ultimatum and allegations on Friday, Oyinlola denied lying against Soyinka.

Oyinlola said in a statement, “Soyinka should put his own (Soyinka’s) name on top of his list of liars now that he is writing his Republic of Liars. Liars hardly acknowledge truth when they see it.”


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