Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka has reiterated his warning that when confronted, corruption does fight back.
In a brief statement issued this evening, headed ‘Those Who Flounder In The Sewage of Corruption,”, he acknowledged the unflattering comments of the Rivers State government about the 80th birthday dinner to which he was hosted by the former governor and now Minister of Aviation, Honorable Rotimi Amechi.
Speaking to press correspondents on Tuesday, the Rivers Commissioner for Information and Communication, Dr. Austin Tam-George, accused Mr. Amaechi’s government of spending N82 million on the event.
“A government that did not pay salaries, closed the courts, but the administration had the courage to expend N82million to fund a dinner for Prof Wole Soyinka,” he had said. “These are facts on ground.
The Amaechi administration expended the money under the heading of borrowed funds.”
In a follow-up comment on radio on Wednesday, the commissioner said he would seek the permission of Governor Nyesom Wike to write to Professor Soyinka to find out if he was paid part of the money by the Amaechi administration.
Professor Soyinka said he had first ignored reports about the remarks, as it was not, and is not his business to probe into the catering and logistical implications of the hundreds of institutions and governments all over the world who have offered him unsolicited recognition over the years.
“Since then however, I have learnt of some unsavory statements by the insecure incumbent of the Rivers State government Lodge,” he said, adding that they included a loose invitation to anti-crime agencies to investigate the potential crime of being honoured through any occasion.
“The unprecedented call by this governor is prescient of a warning I recounted in my recent pamphlet publication THE REPUBLIC OF LIARS, and was taken from my address to an anti-corruption global conference that took place in Tunisia two years ago,” he recalled. “Those words were: CORRUPTION STRIKES BACK. In this ongoing instance, that expression translates most vividly as ‘Those who are neck deep in the sewage of corruption ensure that they splatter sewage in all possible and improbable directions.’”
“I do however fully support the Wikeleaks call for multi-directional probes,” he continued. “I recommend further that he involve the services of INTERPOL to guarantee its extension to all international organisations and governments to whom I owe uncountable events of recognition – including birthday luncheons, dinners, cultural receptions and events of real, fictitious, or simply opportunistic flavoring - to which I have submitted myself.”
Prof. Soyinka expressed regret about what he called the present level of abominable distractions.
“It is one that even I did not envisage when I warned – CORRUPTION STRIKES BACK!” he said.
Throwing the matter over to “EFCC and company,” and reminding them that they all know where he lives, he concluded, “Whether it brings honour or dishonour to the nation is another matter – I am saddened, but indifferent.”