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Wole Soyinka gives his accusers a 30-day ultimatum to prove allegations of fake academic credentials against him

Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka

By Nurudeen Shotayo

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Nobel Laureate Prof Wole Soyinka has given those accusing him of parading fake academic credentials a 30-day ultimatum to file their evidence to relevant authorities to prove their allegations.

The playwright vowed that if found culpable, he would strip himself of any titles and honours he might have been bestowed in his career.

Soyinka challenged the peddlers of the allegations to provide their evidence to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The Nigerian literary icon, however, said failure by his accusers to provide evidence within the stipulated time would mean that they lack honour.

This comes following the resurrection of an old accusation online, which suggested that there was a dispute over Soyinka’s degree from Leeds University in the United Kingdom.

In a 1998 article by one Joseph Dahip, he referenced a 1996 report in which a scholar, Prof James Gibbs, was quoted as unravelling some claims allegedly made by Soyinka.

The 1996 article partly read, “The claim by Professor Wole Soyinka that he obtained a first-class bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Leeds University has been challenged. Instead, what the Nobel laureate actually obtained from Leeds was a second-class degree. This startling revelation was made by Professor James Gibbs who has closely monitored the activities of former Leeds students in English literature.”

The report also quoted Gibbs as saying he used information from various sources, including contemporary Leeds publications, archival material, Soyinka’s work and “interviews I had with him” in arriving at his conclusion on Soyinka’s academic status.

But Soyinka in a statement on Friday, October 6, 2023, said he was awaiting the decision of his lawyers on whether or not to take legal action against those behind the allegations.

He said, “A document of unmatchable scurrility, last encountered during General Sani Abacha’s global campaign of calumny against opponents of his despotic, infernally venal and homicidal reign, is back in circulation. Duly modified to suit a debased internet culture, it is making its grimy rounds ironically under the auspices of a democratic political party, supposedly dedicated to an ethos of freedom of opinion and expression. The contents of that script are attributed, as before, to the scholastic industry of a Bristol schoolteacher.

“While awaiting a decision from my lawyers whether or not to dignify the current sponsors of this mouldy tract with legal action, I wish to state in advance that I voluntarily waive all protection under the statute of limitations, and insist that the laws that govern fraudulent academic claims be invoked and applied to these allegations to the uttermost limit.

I also declare, in advance, that if found culpable, I shall strip myself of any titles and honours I may have garnered in my entire career, from the most obscure to the most coveted.

“In return, I expect the purveyors of this sordid material to submit all evidence, however minuscule, to the nation’s investigative agencies – Directorates of Prosecutions, EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission), ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission), plus affected institutions and others – within the next 30 days. Failing this elementary service in public interest within the stated time, and/or if such allegations are yet again proven baseless, thus indicating that their sponsors can boast of neither honours to their careers nor honour to their births and origins, then, as a token of moral recompense, they should undertake to jump off the bridge of the symbolic River Niger, provided with life jackets to ensure a life of remorse after this ritual purgation, but chained to one another in a commendable unity of purpose.”


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Posted by on Oct 7 2023. Filed under Headlines, Wole Soyinka. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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