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Soyinka denies denigrating First Lady

22 May 2014, 12:46

Lagos - Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Peace Noble laureate, has denied an online media report which quoted him as saying that President Goodluck Jonathan was incompetent because he married an illiterate wife.

In a strongly worded statement, Soyinka disassociated himself from the alleged smear campaign against the First Lady, Patience Jonathan, who has been accused of an insensitive response to the abduction of the Chibok school girls.

An online publication quoted Soyinka as saying, “When you marry an illiterate woman as a wife, you make stupid decisions like Jonathan'' but the international literary icon said he had never at any time said anything like that.”

In the rebuttal he sent to media organisations, Soyinka appeal to editors to intervene to end fabrications contained in the on-line posting.  

“Let me state quite clearly that literacy is no indicator of intelligence, even though we all believe (I hope) in universal literacy. From childhood I have interacted with so-called "illiterate" men and women, sipped from their innate intelligence, and learnt much from them outside formal schooling,” he stated.

He said while he has previously chastised the First Lady over her “unacceptable” conduct, he had never referred to her as "illiterate" nor linked President Jonathan's governance  with his wife's educational attributes or lack thereof.

“I therefore repudiate this statement that could only have stemmed from some ignorant clod, who is additionally devoid of the moral courage of his or her own untenable convictions.”

Soyinka he has already written to the President's wife to disassociate himself from the alleged smear campaign.

He said he intend to take whatever legal steps are available once he has succeeded in tracing the source of the execrable material.

“To speak generally, Internet abuse is getting to be a universal plague, one that goes beyond personal embarrassment and umbrage. I strongly recommend collective, professional action to protect the integrity of the medium, and save it from becoming a mere vomitorium for unprincipled scallywags with, or even with no particular axe to grind. Such a trend is fraught with outright danger, and should not be underestimated,” Soyinka concluded.

– CAJ News

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