2023 elections: My faith in the system has totally crumbled – Soyinka

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Professor Wole Soyinka, a Nobel laureate, has expressed his disappointment with the recently concluded 2023 elections, stating that his trust in the Nigerian system has totally broken down.

Soyinka said the polls were “not exactly the most edifying exercise that we’ve been through” in an interview with Channels Television’s Roadmap 2023, which aired on Monday.

He disclosed that, despite having been out of the country for several months, the news he encountered upon his return was “horrendous” and unpleasant.

“On arriving, I came in for the World Poetry Day, and immediately, I was bombarded by the most horrendous narratives both pre and after the elections,” he said.

Since then, I’ve also read columns; I’ve seen Nigerian papers for the first time in months and I didn’t like what I read at all.”

The playwright went on to say that his faith in the system had “broken down completely,” particularly because politicians were unable to practice “restraints” in their actions.

“My trust has completely broken down, and even the bare minimum of restraint that we’ve come to expect from seasoned politicians has been completely jettisoned,” he continued.

Soyinka quoted the current Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, as saying that while elections are competitions, they should be treated as festivals.

“Elections must be keenly contested.” But I still believe very much in what I call the Fashola Dictum.

“They should be yet another aspect of the festive spirit of humanity – and this was anything but festive,” he said.

The February 25 Presidential and National Assembly elections, as well as the March 2023 Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, were marred by reports of widespread violence, voter intimidation, and logistical problems, among other things.

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