denies promoting religious violence|
From Charles Coffie Gyamfi, Abeokuta
lawyer and Secretary-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council
for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Dr. Lateef Adegbite, has said
that recent statements by Prof. Wole Soyinka that he is a
promoter of religious violence were misplaced and untrue.
The Nobel laureate had in an interview in a news magazine
on the aborted Miss World in Nigeria called Adegbite a
religious bigot who thrived in promoting religious crises in
Soyinka had on Monday last week in a statement published by
several national dailies referred to his previous interview
with the magazine and insisted that what he had said of
Adegbite was the truth hence the Islamic leader could not
But the NSCIA scribe in a 23-paragraph statement titled
"Wole Soyinka's Misuse of Talent and Irreligious Tyranny,"
described the literary guru's allegations as mischievous as he
had done a lot to promote religious harmony in Nigeria.
Adegbite stated that since Soyinka spent all his time in
posh hotels abroad and only sneaked in and out occasionally,
it would be difficult for him to know the trends in the
He warned Soyinka not to be "intoxicated with the
admiration he enjoys world-wide for his literary prowess,"
adding that his talent is not a licence to insult others at
Said he: "Soyinka is well known for hurling tantrums at
people who do not share his views'', stressing that the writer
could continue to be involved in smear campaigns against
leaders of the Islamic faith but cannot destroy the reputation
they have built over the years.
"I will ignore calling me a fool since any one who does not
see eye to eye with Soyinka is a fool."
"In order for Soyinka to achieve a hyper effect for his
claim that I was promoting violence, he even attributed to me
certain Yoruba remarks that I never made''.
"The Nigerian Moslem leadership has never advocated nor
endorsed violent protests in airing their legitimate
grievances, rather we have always elected constitutional and
legal means in the pursuit of our interests," he declared.
Adegbite said when Soyinka called him a fool in an
interview in the weekly magazine in December, he considered
issuing a rejoinder but later resolved not to descend to the
writer's level but since "Soyinka has again referred to me in
the February 12 statement, it has become imperative for me to
Adegbite stated that most of the workers at his law firm
are Christians, adding that "since my school days and for
nearly 50 years that I have been a spokesman for Islam, never
have I advocated religious violence."