Nigerian Nobel laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has said that nowhere on the audio clips leaked which featured Minister for Transport, Rotimi Amaechi, speaking about President Buhari, did he hear any insult.
The leaked audio clips which were released by an aide of PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, has dominated the national discussion in recent times and most outlets reporting on the story have insinuated that Amaechi somehow insulted the President.
Soyinka, who was speaking at the event tagged, ‘Nigeria 2019: Countering Fake News’, said that it was erroneous for anyone to see what was said as an insult and that the media needs to stop misleading the Nigerian people.
“Just two or three days ago, I read an item where a minister was supposed to have insulted the President and it was carried in some media and I checked the statement and of course there was a video and so on and I looked through it, I read the text again and again and I said I have to relearn the English language because I didn’t see where the insults were.
“So sometimes, print media feels compelled to compete with the electronic media and this is a great mistake because there is a reputation, there is an expectation and you should not be embarrassed to show yourself superior to a medium which is accessible to the lowest, the very dregs of society.” he said.
In the infamous clip, Amaechi was purported to have said: “The President is not listening to anybody. He doesn’t care. You can write anything you want. The President doesn’t care. Does he read?”
In other parts of the audio, Amaechi could be heard warning that what he was saying was not to be printed.
“These are not things you publish ooo. If you publish them, you will never sit with me any day.
“Three years of Buhari oo, everybody is crying, crying…pressmen are crying, farmers are crying, workers are crying, politicians are crying, students are crying, three years oo!
“The rate of poverty is very high. The people are hungry. Nigeria will divide!”
Amaechi also spoke of his utter lack of faith in the potential of the country and that nothing could change.
“This country can never change, I swear. The only way this country can change is in a situation where everybody is killed.
“This country is going nowhere. When Magnus (Abe) was secretary to the Rivers State Government, I told him that this country is hopeless and helpless and he told me, ‘Oga, stop it’. This cannot be coming from a governor.
“But two months in Abuja, Magnus came to meet me and said, I agree with you; this country is hopeless and helpless. All they do in Abuja is to share money.”