Asked to respond to Obasanjo’s assessment of him in the former president’s book titled ‘My Watch’, where he notes that Soyinka is good at hunting and wines but a political illiterate, Soyinka said that he was hardly bothered because he believed that Obasanjo was a liar.
Soyinka said, “Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion. But the question is: ‘Who respects the opinion of a liar?’ I can spend the whole night proving that he is a liar. Obasanjo was once described by an economist, the late Prof Ojetunji Aboyade, as an economic illiterate.
They nearly ‘went into blow’ that night. It was Prof. Mabogunje who separated them. “So, if an economic illiterate calls somebody a political illiterate, no problem at all. “In ‘ My Watch’, Obasanjo told the first lie when he said he deplored lies.
Anybody who said he never plotted to have an unconstitutional third term in office, even as a writer, I need a word to describe him.” The former President and the Nobel laureate have been in a running battle taking swipes at each other over a lingering issue between them.
Obasanjo had once stated that Soyinka once vowed that the differences between the two of them would not be resolved on earth. Obasanjo had also in his book, My Watch, and at public events described Soyinka as an expert in wine matters than in political analysis.
He had said, “For Wole, no one can be good, nor can anything be spot-on politically except that which emanates from him or is ordained by him. His friends and loved ones will always be right and correct, no matter what they do or fail to do. He is surely a better wine connoisseur and a more successful aparo (guinea fowl) hunter than a political critic.
“Wole Soyinka is a gifted man. I have always acknowledged that but he is a bad politician and I have also always said that. That is my own point of view. He may agree with it, he may not agree with it. For instance, I know that if I want somebody to give me the best wine, one of the people I will go to is Wole Soyinka and I know he has a taste for good wine and I said that in the book.”
However, last year December, shortly after the book went public, Soyinka had, in a piece titled, ‘Watch and Pray, Watch and Prey’, vehemently protested such a description (of him), calling Obasanjo ‘’an expert liar, who lies to boost his ego.’’ But in an interview granted a private television station, Channels, on a programme tagged, ‘Book Club’, Obasanjo, while holding on to his words, said what he wrote about Soyinka was purely his view, adding that Soyinka did not have to agree with him.