June 12: Wole Soyinka Refuses To Celebrate Democracy Day Over Bad Conduct Of 2019 Elections

Famous playwright and notable Nobel Laurette winner, Professor Wole Soyinka, who has been known to be a strong proponent of the advocacy of June 12 as Democracy day has said that he will by choice not be participating in the June 12 celebrations this year, linking it to how the 2019 elections were conducted.

The celebration which is in honour of the late MKO Abiola who is presumed to be the winner of the 1993 Presidential elections, was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, changing the celebration of Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 every year.

As he made contact with THE CABLE on Tuesday, Soyinka showered condemnation on how the 2019 elections were conducted.

CDH – Comissão de Direitos Humanos e Legislação Participativa

He said:

“This year’s recall of an uplifting day in the year 1993 comes up against a background of its most shameful disavowal: the 2019 elections – still under judicial contestation – an event that would be more accurately described as an exercise in body count rather than ballot count,” he said.

“The elections however merely reflected a pattern of savagery and abandonment of human sensibilities that have eaten away the sheerest sense of community in the nation. I have already described it as the final descent into the abyss of human degradation. The recent call – no matter how suspect the motivation –for what amounts to a national discourse on future directions was nothing new.

“A day dedicated to democracy – as a compelling morality of social existence – is merely frivolous unless directed at the recognition of the telling, prevailing features of the last exercise, which throw in question the free, hopefully educated exertion of human choice.”

Professor Soyinka further went on to stress that he was not participating in the Democracy Day celebration of this year by choice.

“I shall not participate in this year’s June 12 celebrations – from choice. It is part of my training exercises for withdrawing from public space, a resolution that I first half seriously injected into encounters over five years ago. That absence applies, not to the official celebration alone – of which I have never been a part anyway – but to the annual ritual by civic groups, a ritual of both tribute and defiance that has been unflaggingly observed till now,” he said.

Soyinka stated that Democracy Day deserved a truthful confrontation with the socio-political conditions and that it was not to be celebrated alongside groundless recriminations.

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