Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has stated that he had been a victim of fake news recalling how people twitted that he once called the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, Patience, an illiterate, and denied ever making such statement.
Soyinka also tackled former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his endorsement of Atiku Abubakar, his former deputy and now presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after painting him as a villain for a long time.
Soyinka who spoke alongside key dignitaries and stakeholders like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during a panel discussion on ‘Beyond Fake News’, put together by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), said the former president acted in a manner that promoted confusion and fueled fake news.
The event was organized by BBC to sensitize the public on the dangers of fake news, especially as the country would soon go into general elections.
On the former first lady, he said: “I saw it in one of the social media platforms where a quote was attributed to me that I said it serves Jonathan right that he married an illiterate woman. I have never made any comment on this woman,” Soyinka said.
On Obasanjo, the Nobel laureate said “A former leader picks on a character for the better part of eight years that he ruled, calling him Lucifer. He continues after office saying same. Then all of a sudden, he suddenly says ‘This is your saviour’. What should you make of such a person?” Soyinka asked.
He stressed that efforts must be made to get creators of social media platforms like Facebook to check abuses leading to fake news on the social media, even as he recalled another incident involving a certain Nigerian resident in the US (names withheld), who reportedly created a Facebook account in his name with which he allegedly made money from unsuspecting members of the public.
He said the police in Nigeria were unhelpful in the matter, recounting that a petition sent to the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) on the matter had gone unanswered, even as he narrated efforts through private investigation to unmask the said character.