Prof Wole Soyinka’s Kongi Harvest Of Political Treachery And His “Oluwole” Syndrome

Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD

Odogwu of Ibusa, Delta State

Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

Leader, International Coalition against Christian Genocide in Nigeria (ICAC-GEN)

Email: Website:

Date: September 24, 2023

In a book dedicated to him titled: W o l e S o y i n k a: The Invention & The Detainee, the editor Zodwa Motsa, opened the introductory chapter with the following melody of lies from Wole Soyinka: “I have one abiding religion – human liberty – conditioned to the truth that life is meaningless, insulting, without fullest liberty and in spite of despairing knowledge that words alone seem unable to guarantee its possession….”

An intellectual work of literature is all about the literary imagination of the author. If the writer imagines criminality, he will tell the story of criminality; if he imagines moral debauchery, his story will always anchor on dishonesty; if he imagines lies his writings will not only be frequently coloured with falsehoods, but such author will always wear the cloth of lies as his garment of social identity, and if he sows the seed of treachery, his fruits will perpetually be that of how to sow treachery against his people.

Indeed, when it comes to the matter of the writer’s mindset, there is no strict rule as to the moral basis of his imagination. Here, there is no blurred line between intelligence and treachery. There are two different and separate cosmological themes in human life. One can be intelligent yet treacherous in his dealings with his fellow human beings and the society. Baring what Prof James Gibbs wrote concerning him, nobody is in doubt as to Prof Wole Soyinka’s intellectual capability and creativity? After all the highly successful armed robbers, drug peddlers and scammers are adjudged to be of high intelligence.

This is the case of Prof Wole (Oluwole) Soyinka as portrayed in his Kongi’s Harvest; a play anchored on pomposity of political treachery, moral depravity, and saboteur syndrome. Indeed, far from being a counterpoise to anti-democratic principles, Kongi’s Harvest became an intellectual recipe for military coup d’etat in Africa.

First produced in 1965, it became the revolutionary handbook used by the likes of Majors Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu and Emmanuel Ifeajuna in their abortive coup d’etat against Nigeria’s First Republic on January 15, 1966. In the words of an intellectual critique of Kongi’s Harvest:

The primary focus of the satire in the first part of Kongi’s Harvest is Kongi’s [Wole Soyinka’s] obsession with transforming himself into an imaginary omnipotent leader; and as we see the lengths to which he will go to accomplish this transformation, we become conscious of the obsession’s obsessive existence, and the laughter gives way to the realization that such madness is not amusing but destructive.

What could have been a better description of Prof Wole Soyinka’s current show of shame on Nigeria’s public space than the above analysis of his literary image?

The Bible says, “By their fruits we shall know them.” But beyond a person‘s fruit, he is also equally defined by the sociological connotation of his name in relation to the society in which he lives. This is where the meaning of the name: “Oluwole” comes in. The question is what does Oluwole stand for in the context of Yoruba socio- moral equation?

We all know that Prof Wole Soyinka’s full name is “Akinwande Oluwole Babatunde Soyinka”, and that he chose “Oluwole” Soyinka but decided to shorten it to “Wole” for obvious reasons; and that reason is that the name “Oluwole” in Yoruba socio-moral terms connotes dishonesty, falsehood, scam, fake and forgery. Speak of “Oluwole” and “Jankara” Markets in Lagos Island and Lagosians will readily know what you’re up to.

 In fact, if Prof Wole Soyinka cannot readily be associated with forgery, his precipitous thoroughfare of political ideas and activism is painted in lies, lack of self-defining principles, treachery, dishonesty of objectives and fake conceptions of his real image and integrity. This equally explains why Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s senior lawyer in the last Presidential Election Petitions Court— Chief “Oluwole” Olanipekun, SAN, decided to shorten his “Oluwole” to “Wole”, as did Wole Soyinka, just to evade the stigma attached to the meaning of “Oluwole.” Indeed, how many people in Nigeria today are aware that the second name of Dr. Ishola Oyenusi, the once dreaded armed robber of the early 1970s was “Oluwole?”

Could it therefore have been a coincidence that two prominent “Oluwole” – Prof Oluwole Soyinka and Chief Oluwole Olanipakun, SAN, will be at the forefront of defending a man—Bola Ahmed Tinubu— known for his penchant for corruption and libidinous instinct for anything that walks on the four legs of dishonesty, forgery, insatiable embezzlement of public fund, and drug peddling; a man whose election as President and university degree from Chicago State University are products of “Oluwole Market?” The answer is emphatic No! Birds of the same feathers flock together, they say. A man’s name is his guide, so says an Igbo adage (Afa onye n’edua)!

Thus, it is not out of place for Prof Wole Soyinka with his towering image as an international scholar and Nobel Laureate in Literature, to still descend so low as to assume the role of the commanding-defender of a calamitous electoral criminality founded on leprous-minded gangsterism and addle-brained futurism. Think of Nobel Laureate in Literature sponsoring examination malpractice and forgery of university degree. Let us also not quickly forget that it was the same Wole Soyinka that created the gangrenous social calamity called secret cult among out youth today in Nigeria. From the Order of Sea-Dogs (Pirates) Buccaneer emerged; and then Black Axe, followed by Aiye and to other multiple violent-prone secret cults at village and Secondary School levels.

Nigerians have often been misled by the accolade called “Nobel Laureate”, believing that being awarded Nobel Prize in Literature by the Norwegian Government for defending Whiteman’s supremacist ideas, Prof Wole Soyinka automatically became a “Professor-Know-All.” The eternal truth is that Prof Wole Soyinka’s knowledge and intelligence are circumscribed only within the domain of his learning— “Kongi Republic.”

This explains why every attitude he displays on the public space with respect to matters of politics has always been guided by treachery, abuse of principle and mercenary syndrome—the subject matter of the Play. Historical precedents prove that Prof Wole Soyinka has never been a man of his words, bearing in mind that this was the same man who secretly composed the anti-Tinubu “Emilokan” melody.

As an intellectual chameleon lacking in principles and dignity of self, in November 2, 2016, in apparent opposition to Donald Trump’s election, Prof Wole Soyinka boasted: “The moment they announce his victory, I will cut my green card myself and start packing up.” On January 18, 2017, Prof Wole Soyinka in a clear act of dereliction of principles said: “I don’t have strong enough fingers to tear up a green card. As long as Trump is in charge, if I absolutely have to visit the United States, I prefer to go in the queue for a regular visa with others. I’m no longer part of the society, not even as a resident.”

Let us also not forget that it was the same Prof Wole Soyinka’s blurred moral judgment that sentenced Nigeria to Buhari’s political purgatory that now metamorphosed into the current political abyss called Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The following episodes in Prof Wole Soyinka’s chameleonic history of thoughts and actions only prove that “The Man Died” in the hands of the “Lion” of dignity for daring to destroy the “Jewel” of “Kongi” nation!

In 2007, Prof Wole Soyinka in an essay titled, “The crimes of Buhari” and published by Sahara Reporters issue of January 14, 2007, stated in opposition to Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency:

Until then, let us bury this particular proposition and move on to a far graver, looming danger, personified in the history of General Buhari. The grounds on which General Buhari is being promoted as the alternative choice are not only shaky, but pitifully naive.  History matters. Records are not kept simply to assist the weakness of memory, but to operate as guides to the future. Of course, we know that human beings change. What the claims of personality change, or transformation impose on us is a rigorous inspection of the evidence, not wishful speculation, or behind-the-scenes assurances. Public offence, crimes against a polity, must be answered in the public space, not in caucuses of bargaining.

In Buhari, we have been offered no evidence of the sheerest prospect of change. On the contrary, all evident suggests that this is one individual who remains convinced that this is one ex-ruler that the nation cannot call to order. Buhari – need one remind anyone—was one of the Generals who treated a Commission of Enquiry, the Oputa Panel, with unconcealed disdain. Like Babangida and Abdusalami, he refused to put in appearance even though complaints that were tabled against him involved a career of gross abuses of power and blatant assault on the fundamental human rights of the Nigerian citizenry.

Ironically the same Professor Wole Soyinka allowed himself to become an apostle of Muhammadu Buhari born-again propaganda and subsequently became one of Muhammadu Buhari’s paid high-profile campaign directors for the 2015 Presidential election.  In his 2015 tirade titled, “THE CHALLENGE OF CHANGE – A Burden of Choice”, and published in the Sahara Reporters issue of February 6, 2015, which was exclusively dedicated to running down the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and propping up support for General Muhammadu Buhari, the Nobel Laureate wrote in part regarding the suitability of President Buhari:

I have studied him from a distance, questioned those who have closely interacted with him, including his former running-mate, Pastor Bakare, and dissected his key utterances past and current. And my findings?  A plausible transformation that comes close to that of another ex-military dictator, Mathew Kerekou of the Benin Republic.

By 2017, Prof Wole Soyinka had begun to change from the tenor he was singing 2015 in support of Muhammadu Buhari to the bass of opposition. This is evident in the following statement titled: “Debate on Second Term for Buhari Disgusting” published in Punch issue of September 12, 2017:

Why are we talking about second term for heaven’s sake? I don’t understand this. I refuse to be part of that discussion. I absolutely refuse to be part of the discussion…Take simple security for instance. The average citizen feels less secure now than he did a few years ago; that is evident. When people talk about state police, there are reasons for it. When they talk about bringing policing right down to the community level, they know what they are talking about. This is also part and parcel of reconstruction or reconfiguration. The economy, there is a big question about it right now. Fortunately, everybody admits that we went through a very bad patch. Right now, it is a question of have we come out of it or not or there is no question at all.

The past few years have been years of real internal economic disaster for the average citizen. By August 2018, the penultimate year to Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election, Prof Wole Soyinka had become the leader of opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari. In his essay-cum-press statement titled “Buhari’s Pernicious Doctrine”, in Sahara Reporters issue of August 30, 2018, the Nobel Prize winner in Literature wrote:

The timing is perfect, and we have cause to be thankful for the advance warning, since not all rulers actually make a declaration of intent, but simply proceed to degrade the authority of the law as part of the routine business of governance. We have been there before. It should be of mere interest, not despondency, that this latest proclamation of dictatorial recidivism has also been made before an assembly of officers of the law, the Nigerian Bar Association. We expect a robust response from the NBA as part of its conclusions.

There is no shortcut to democracy. The history of law, even where uncodified, is as old as humanity. Numerous rulers have tried again and again to annul that institution. Sometimes, they appear to succeed, but in the end, they pay a heavy forfeit. So does society. The Rule of Law, however, outlasts all subverters, however seemingly powerful. If the consequences for society in defence of the Rule of Law were not so costly, any new attempt would be merely banal and boring, hardly deserving of attention. We know, historically, where it will all end.

There is no doubt that Prof Soyinka’s failed prediction on President Buhari’s born-again democratic credentials constituted one of the reasons for the suffering of the Nigerian masses under the latter’s administration. As Nobel laureate his endorsement of Muhammadu Buhari against President Goodluck Jonathan made him culpable to President Buhari’s crimes.

On February 18, 2023, Prof Wole Soyinka was reported to have endorsed Bola Tinubu’s election through his twitter-handler, in the following words:

Anybody, any cabal, any Viju milk activist, attempting to humiliate Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must have me to contend with. An average PDP man is angry with Asiwaju because he brought them to their knees. If anyone thinks that bringing down Asiwaju is his project, that mission will not only crash but it will boomerang. He owns Lagos! I hear you! Ask your grandfather and parents how they acquired your so-called family land. Is it God that allocated it to them?

The next moment, following tirades of criticism, he cowardly and swiftly pulled it down. In Punch issue of 19th February 2023, he denied in black and white ever endorsing Bola Tinubu in the following Sango-style oath-taking:

Professor Soyinka did NOT at any time or on any occasion issue such a statement. It is simply the works of peddlers of fake news and falsehood, who profit from Misinformation to gain political advantages. The media and members of the public are advised to ignore the message or any other political message that addresses or targets any political party or political actor. The same Prof Wole Soyinka is now spearheading the ignominious campaign to legitimize the criminally conducted Presidential election that produced a man that is afraid to present his university degree to those he claims to have elected him President, this time probably guided by the spirit of a bag of rice, refrigerator and cooking pots Bola Tinubu and his wife gave him when he returned from exile in 1999.

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