Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka: One of the most well known

and respected people in Nigeria, Mr. Soyinka has sparked a

storm of controversy by saying he would 'stone' President

Obama if he visited Nigeria, because this would be a kind of

stamp of approval for Nigeria's corrupt leadership.



The Daily Sun, Nigeria

The 'Stoning' of President Barack Hussein Obama


"In the event that he visited Nigeria, why did Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka threaten to stone Obama, a man he has confessed an admiration for? What was the hidden message in the warning? America is the world’s greatest democracy, therefore, its president must never fraternize with election riggers. … An American leader should not consort or associate with electoral thieves, lest he be guilty by association."


By Femi Adesina


June 12, 2009


Nigeria - The Sun - Original Article (English)

Campaign poster of John Atta Mills, who won his recent presidential election run by two percentage points. He was inaugurated January 7, less than two weeks before President Obama. For his nation of Ghana, President Obama's visit is being seen as a boon, but many Nigerians regard it as a snub.


BBC NEWS VIDEO: A South Africa human rights lawyer offers advice to President Obama, Jan. 7, 00:02:21WindowsVideo

Just a stone's throw away from Nigeria is Ghana, a much smaller African state that will host President Barrack Obama between July 10 and 11. The first Black American president has given Nigeria a wide berth - and good for him, because he could get pelted with stones if he ventures here. Who would throw the stones?


When Nobel Laureate Professor Wole Soyinka opens verbal fire on anyone, you would think hailstones were dropping.


Ask former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Sometime in 2003, Obasanjo wrote a letter to Soyinka accusing him of “perfidious falsehood.” It turned out to be one of the greatest mistakes of the Otta chicken farmer’s life. Soyinka opened fire on him - not only from the hips, but from every direction. I remember writing a piece then, which was headlined "Soyinka’s weapon of mass destruction."


Soyinka is again in the mood to open fire. But this time not verbal missiles - physical ones. Stones. Listen to him at an art exhibition held at the Italian Embassy in Abuja, recently: “If Obama decides to grace Nigeria with his presence, I will stone him. The message he is sending by going to Ghana is so obvious, is so brilliant that he must not render it flawed by coming to Nigeria any time soon.”


Trust the hirelings, ever quick to defend their masters, whether reasonable or not, to take up the gauntlet. Ambassador Jibrin Chinade, special foreign policy adviser to President Umaru Yar’Adua, took up Soyinka, saying his comments were “most unfortunate and undiplomatic.” He added that the writer embarrassed the Italian ambassador to Nigeria, who had invited him to the art exhibition. Is Chinade a mind reader? How does he know that the ambassador wasn't silently applauding Soyinka for telling the bitter truth?


From time immemorial, stones had always been offensive weapons. In the Holy Bible, God rained stones from heaven to help the Israelites conquer an enemy nation. And in modern times, Palestinian youths find stones a ready weapon to hurl against Israeli troops in their never-ending hostilities.



Even in the animal world, stones are worthy allies. There is a chimpanzee at the Furuvik Zoo in Sweden. Its name is Santino. What does it do every blessed day? It has a tidy pile of stones in its enclosure, which it throws at visitors to the zoo. Even Santino knows the power of stones as a weapon of protest and assault.



The Ghanaian Times, Ghana: 'Why Obama Snubbed Nigeria'
This Day, Nigeria: Obama's Choice to Visit Ghana and Not Nigeria Should Be a Lesson to Us

Boobab, Nigeria: If Obama Comes to Nigeria, 'I Will Stone Him'


In some other climes, shoes are what they throw. Remember last December 14 when former American president George Bush visited Iraq and addressed the press. So incensed was Muntadar al-Zaidi, a reporter with Cairo-based network Al Baghdadia Television, that he removed his shoes and flung them one after the other at Bush. The American president had to duck again and again as the projectiles flew in his direction. The journalist is today cooling his heels in jail, having been found guilty of assaulting a foreign leader.


But on a very serious note, why did Soyinka threaten to stone Obama, a man he has confessed an admiration for? What was the hidden message in the warning? America is the world’s greatest democracy, therefore, its president must never fraternize with election riggers. He must never be seen to hobnob with beneficiaries of do or die elections. An American leader should not consort or associate with electoral thieves, lest he be guilty by association.


Obama is going to Ghana, because the latter got its democracy right.


The world watched keenly as Ghana voted last December - and there was a stalemate. Eventually there was a run-off and the opposition coasted to power. Outgoing President John Kufuor didn't manipulate, distort or influence the process with the power of incumbency so that his preferred candidate could win. Honorable. 



In April 2007, the whole world including America watched, as Olusegun Obasanjo and Maurice Iwu conducted what is now on record as the world’s worst election. It was roguery at its worst. Daylight robbery. Brigandage. Heist. Plunder. The beneficiary of that evil is in office, pretending to be an elected president, and the man who supervised the elections is equally still in office, deluding himself day after day that he leads an independent commission. And you expect an American president to mingle with them?





And that on his first trip to Sub-Saharan Africa? Such a president would deserve to get stoned.


Remember that former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was among those who cried foul after the 2007 elections. She was here, and almost died of apoplexy at the brazen and bizarre spectacle she beheld. Remember what current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said of the election? She said it was disappointing and that it “failed that nation’s citizens.” These are some of people that shape American foreign policy. Do you think they would then advise their president to visit Nigeria in its current state? It won’t happen.


If Obama had mistakenly ventured here, and by chance Soyinka carried out his threat, what would we do to him? Arrest and lock him in jail as Iraq did to Muntadar al-Zaidi? It would by no means be strange to the Nobel Laureate. It is a road he's familiar with. The man truly dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.









































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US June 18, 10:18pm]