Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has revealed that he paid President Bola Tinubu an embarrassing visit about five years ago when he told him not to contest for the post of the president.
Soyinka made the revelation on Sunday while speaking with State House correspondent after a visit to the president who is in Lagos on Christmas break.
Soyinka said he visited him at the time to tell him and former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, not to contest but leave the stage for young people.
Describing Tinubu as “olori kunkun”, the Yoruba word for a stubborn person, he said Tinubu ignored his advice and went for the presidency.
His words: “Actually, it was an embarrassing visit because when I visited him the last time, it was to try and persuade him not to run for office. I told himself and Atiku that they should please yield the ground to young people. That was the last time we met about five years ago. And I called him secretly, “olori kunkun”, the stubborn man.
“So, he ignored my advice completely.”
Soyinka said his visit to Tinubu on Sunday, was however, to find out how he had been faring.
“So, I came to see how he’s doing after neglecting my advice. I want to see how he and his wife are weathering Nigeria, as well as can be expected to wish them happy Christmas”.
“You know we are old friends. And it was as a friend that I told him ‘don’t run,” he said.
The Nobel Laureate said that he presented a seven-point agenda to the president toward moving the country forward “in these trying periods”.
He said he would not want to disclose what he presented, but added that a critical aspect was that of respect to the rule of law and adherence to the constitution of the land.
Soyinka added that the discussion also centred on the release of various Nigerians languishing in prison for standing on some personal principles.
He added that he was optimistic that something positive would be done about the incarceration of prisoners of conscience across the country.
Soyinka said he was aware that the president might not be in the know of such cases due to the bureaucracy involved in governance.
“That is the reason behind making this request; that is the way to get results for legal breaches,” he said.
The Nobel Laureate said that he would give his assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration after one year in office.
He said that that had been his tradition with Tinubu’s predecessors over the years.